Or... Reflections from Elmore's art class, from a newly initiated Elmorian.
What a week! What with the combination of the environment and the people around that had to be one of the most intense art class experiences of my life. Never mind the fact that, when you consider time spent, we had the equivalent of a whole college semesters worth of art instruction, in 8 days, there is one real significant difference.
When in your typical art class, one generally has a whole range of people with their own goals and different career's in mind. In this class, it was all fantasy artists, or those focused on it as a hobby. Unlike college, this gives one a certain commonality of purpose and makes it real easy to talk to folks. Even for an introvert like myself. Course, a lot of the inside jokes are not going to make a lot of sense to anyone who wasn't there. But I expect any forthcoming students will need to work that out for themselves.
Course, fantasy artists, as a bunch, I have found tend to be quite a bit more open minded, and generally more decent than most folks. Certainly the case here. These are good people I hung out with over the week, certainly highly entertaining, and I was glad to meet all of them.
This was much less formal than your typical art class, which tends to assume library voice conditions. The clever comments were fast and thick, the camaraderie was certainly there, but despite all the chatter, we actually managed to accomplish a fair bit.
We all had frustrating moments when things weren't working right. I did put forth a point that this isn't necessarily a bad thing however. Getting frustrated with yourself when working on a project is a good thing. It means you genuinely care about the labour you're putting into it. Doesn't matter what it is. You are hard on yourself because you genuinely believe in what you are doing, and you care about it being the best product, art, furniture, tic tacs, or whatever you put forth. There's probably something wrong with an artist who doesn't get frustrated with their progress from time to time. It means they just scrawl whatever on a canvas and let forth with an attitude of 'good enough', and don't progress with their craft.
As an aside, I've often been told I am too hard on myself. But, if not me, who else is going to be? Unless I want to spend my life in school, and have teachers looking over my shoulder, I have to be my own worst critic, so I can be better. Sometimes, your goal isn't to be the best, or the most successful, however you define it, but instead one has the goal of constant self improvement. The desire not to stand still.
Course, I got something of a big head from all the good commentary I was getting over the week. I still maintain it was bullshit in a number of cases. But I am sure the local lot I know will step in like troopers and bring my ego down to a normal level again.
As an example "You paint like you draw, and your style clearly comes through. You definitely have your own look." And similar such paraphrases.
The work environment certainly had a nice mood too it. The gamers ought to appreciate it, it was like working in a medieval tavern. Certainly, looking around at the nearby landscape, it's clearly obvious where much of Larry Elmore's backdrops and indoor scenes come from.
I actually picked up some new tricks over that week, and am quite eager to put them into practice on my next projects. There were some tricks with colour, that Larry often referred too as "Keith Parkinson shit colours" (not exactly board approved fine art technical terms, but who cares?!) that we did that never occurred to me before. Not to mention some mixing of artistic medium for colour thinning purposes that I'd not heard of previously. Granted, my art education over the years has been somewhat spotty due to moving around a lot. But this class was full of great tips and tricks for beginners as well as more experienced artists. And we had a range in there.
A bit about Larry's art studio. Whether you're a fan of his art or an aspiring artist, its worth a visit. Course, you'd probably need a week to visit, and an archaeological team, to appreciate the 3 decades of art work, not to mention loads of artist comp products, stacked deep on the walls and in the corners.
The model photo-shoot was fun. And the girls were very good at putting up with a dozen people shouting instructions at them all at once. Not to mention standing in some cold water. A pair of real troopers there. Not to mention both being very nice people.
It's not often I get to set up exactly what I am looking for. I generally have something of a haphazard approach, even with people I know. Which results in a lot of drawings constructed of Frankenstein like hybrid compositions that are seldom what I fully intended. This time I was able to take 10 minutes and put the models in some scenic poses I had scribbled up previously, as ideas occurred to me.
A bit about the place we were staying, the Doe Run Inn. If you get a chance, go. Its a neat place. Built in 1822, there is a lot of character in the corners. Props go to the waitress staff who hit the right note with us wierdos and gave plenty of sass to go around.