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.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, our new pup, Cider, while making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is often spurred through my teaching, and travels.
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