Most of what I know about painting and art history I learned from old books, and every once in a while I like to reread them, because learning is a lifelong process.
That led to an idea. What if we created a free forum on the blog where we could all compare notes about a favorite book?
What book to start with? It could be a biography, an art history book, or an art instruction book.
And it should be broken up into chapters. We're all busy, so we can read and discuss just one chapter a week. I'd like to suggest we begin with Harold Speed's "The Practice and Science of Drawing."
Harold Speed (1872-1957) was Royal-Academy trained portrait painter. His teaching method focuses on solid principles that have stood the test of time. Check out some of his drawings and paintings at the National Gallery website. Edit: And there's a slideshow of his work at BBC (thanks, Glenn)
Like Solomon J. Solomon and some of the other great teacher/practitioners of his day, Speed expresses an insightful respect for the old masters. One thing I like about his concept of "mass drawing" is that it offers the student a natural transition between drawing and painting.
|Harold Speed, Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon|
|Harold Speed "Drawing" (Dover Edition)|
This isn't going to be a workshop. I'm not the teacher, nor will I be comprehensively summarizing the points of the chapters. I'll just share my basic take-away from each reading, and I may show an example of how those thoughts affect — or have affected—my own practice. I'm expecting to learn from you and from the discussion. I will try to answer a few questions, but I'm hoping that members of the forum can help shoulder some of the Q and A.
We'll discuss a new chapter every Friday. The discussion will take place in the blog comments. Let's get started a week from today with the Preface and the Introduction. That's your assignment, and mine, too. Those who have time can do practice exercises related to each chapter as we move through the book.
If someone wants to set up a Facebook or Pinterest group for posting artwork, that would be great, and I'll link to it. (Edit: Here's Pinterest link, thanks Carolyn Kasper. Keita Hopkinson also created a GJ Book Club Facebook page here.) I may stop by for a quick visit, but I'll probably focus most of my attention and comments on the blog so that the forum and discussion will be archived and searchable.
Let me know in the comments what you all think of the idea.