Richard Schmid gives advice.

Today I am posting a quick copy of a painting by Richard Schmid (mine is obviously graphite).

Richard gives some excellent advice in his book Alla Prima that applies to both painting and drawing. It really struck a chord with me.

Every time you make a drawing or painting and it is not working you can narrow the problem down to 1, 2, or 3
different problems or a combination of these problems.

1. Something is wrong with the drawing (meaning measurement/proportions)

2. Edges – not paying close enough attention to where the edges should be hard or soft

3. Value (and color in the case of painting)

If your drawing is not working, don’t just complain about it! think about what is wrong with it and fix the problem.

Too often I will make a drawing and just say to myself, “man, that was an awful drawing… Ah well, if I just keep working at it they will get better.” Well, this may be true but I will improve a lot faster if I play more of an active roll in problem solving.

This reminds me of a story that I read somewhere. It goes something like this:

There once was a young boy that wanted to become a wood worker. He moved to a tiny little town to study under one of the best woodworkers in all the land. On the first day that the boy started studying, the master woodworker told him that he must stay in the shop until he finished cutting a giant pile of lumber to prepare for the next day. After the master woodworker went home, the boy, excited to show the master how much of a hard worker he was, stay in the shop all night long. When the master arrived the next day, the boy had not sawn through even 1 log! When the master asked him what he had been doing all night the boy picked up the saw and with the blunt side of the blade he tried his best to make a cut in the wood.

You can have all the determination in the world but if you aren’t thinking about what you are doing, you are not going to be getting very far.

Every time I make a drawing I am going to think about why or why not the drawing is working and try my best not repeat the same mistakes over again.

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