There was an article published by the Huffington Post recently comparing the before and after drawings by students and artists. The article strove to depict what happens to art after devoted practice is put into the work. The results were compelling enough for me to share with you some of the before and afters of my own students. While I don't have exactly the same images to show the before and after, you can certainly see a growth in the work from a student's early pieces to their later pieces.
There is real value to artistic practice; devoting time in class and out of class to improving both technique and conceptual development. These two elements are what I've always strived to develop in my students. It is important that an artist understand and gain a technical ability in a variety of media, giving them a strong foundation from which to work, as well as creating focus, or a direction in terms of the subject matter.
What comes as a result of these lessons, beyond the technical ability is a confidence and ease that generally wasn't there before. Most students begin lacking confidence, comparing themselves to others, and skeptical of their own capabilities. They leave me, in most cases, with a sense of artistic self-awareness and eagerness to continue, whether in art school, as a hobby, or professionally.
If you'd like to gain any of these traits and are looking for a mentor to guide your artistic pursuits, my fall lessons and workshops are enrolling now in my Studio on the 3rd Floor. I have openings for small group and privates lessons, as well as a workshop, called Painting in the Burbs, for adults. Learn more at traillworks.com/art-lessons--workshops.html.
Adult student Pat completed the first painting at another studio, then repainted it with my guidance at TraillWorks. We worked on mixing colors, anatomical structure and mass in the redo. This painting was a study from a photo she took of a scene from Downton Abbey, on her TV screen - hence some of the distortion in the figures, which she greatly improved in the second version.
Teen student Emily's work, at the start of lessons in 2011, and then around 2013. The first piece was completed from observation and reference photos in my studio using colored pencils and watercolor. She has developed a much more sophisticated use of color and shadows, and range of values in the apron (drapery study) that she drew in pastel two years later.
Child student Noa's work in 2008 next to his work in 2011. He was around the age of 6 when he began and probably around 9 when he drew my dog. Of course, child development plays a role here, but consider also that as children near adolescence their art-making drops off if not supported and nurtured.
Yippee, you've been asking and now I finally have an online profile on Fine Art America where you can comfortably view and purchase some of my works in print formats. Products range from canvas and posters to cards and iPhone cases. This is a well-regarded art seller with whom over 100,000 artists who have chosen to work. Prints are fulfilled and produced by Fine Art America. They handle payments, printing, framing, matting, packaging and shipments. Prints are produced by their own facility and arrive "ready-to-hang" with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To get my page launched and started, I uploaded seven of my most purchased pieces. Over time I will add more to the offerings. In the meantime, if there is something you're interested in purchasing that might not currently be on Fine Art America, please contact me and I'll see if I can add the piece. You can visit my profile directly at fineartamerica.com/profiles/jennie-traillschaeffer.html or you can find it through my store. I hope this helps ease the purchasing of quality prints of my work! Please let me know if you have any questions.
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After several months of not painting in my studio, my oldest is now in camp full time and I'm taking advantage of my younger son's naps to work on my marketing and paint in my studio. Whew - have I ever needed this! Just the other day I discovered a study published in the Huffington Post about the value of making art. The article, "Study Says Making Art Is Good For Your Brain, And We Say You Should Listen", it looked at two groups of people, one group that focused on art appreciation and another group that focused on art creation. The team of German neurologists found the pursuit of making art "improves effective interaction 'between certain regions of the brain.'” I can tell you without the research that I certainly feel more focused, calm and balanced after a painting session. But, I welcome any research that validates and even show more value in the arts.
With this research in hand, and after listening to Auggie fuss and cry for about an hour before finally succumbing to his nap, I decided to paint rather than work on my computer. I had begun the above painting at the end of last year and haven't touched it until today.
It's always challenging to reenergize something that is dried up and sitting in a corner. But, after about 45 minutes of painting and applying more and more wet paint, making form, structure, and color adjustments, I'm feeling the piece come back to life. Yesterday I shared this with my sitter's daughter, an almost six-year old with an avid art interest. She suggested that I put ice cream in the scoop, but while I did not want to pursue that avenue, she did spark my brain. Something might be added in the near future. So, stay tuned and see what changes! You can check my progress on my Works in Progress page on my web site.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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Want to read more from the past? Click here to read archived blog posts from my previous blog on Blogger.