|James Gurney paints James Warhola, photo by Patrick O'Brien at MICA|
For both, I lower my expectations about how well the painting is likely to turn out. That's because I have to fire up both brain hemispheres so I can talk and draw at the same time, something I'm not as accustomed to doing as art professors are.
|Demo portrait in watercolor of Dennis Nolan, professor at Hartford Art School|
While I'm up there, I alternate between moments of confidence and moments of doubt. I think it's best to avoid expressing too much of either emotion. What the audience genuinely does need is a practical understanding of how that internal struggle plays out on the page. How do you spot an error, and how do you fix it? What makes you decide to rub something out? What things to you need to get right at different stages?
The demo should be not merely a display of the outward process, but also of the reasoning behind the process, so that the student has a map to find their way through the thicket.
Greg Ruth interviewed a lot of other artists on this topic, and you can read the range of thoughts on demoing on the blog Muddy Colors.
I'd be interested in any comments from those of you who are veterans at doing painting demos. And I'd also like to hear from students about what you like most about the best demos you seen (It's OK to name names or suggest videos). Also, what are your pet peeves about demos that haven't been helpful (without naming names).
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