I’m in the UK, mid 30’s with not a lot of time on my hands (happily married, working long hours and a delightful 4 year old boy) but I developed a real fascination for learning to draw and paint (like the old masters) about 2 years ago and set about devouring anything I could get to aid me in that direction of an evening. I read books, try to draw as near to every night for an hour or two as I can and have I believe got noticeably better:-
So thats a self portrait in April 2017 with no art education to speak of, and then April 2019 after as about as much concentrated effort as I could give it. And a photo of me this warm July 2019 morning just for reference. I think you’ll agree it gets better the further to starboard you go.
Trawling the internet along the way I found a lot of help in Scott Waddell’s videos, Douglas Flynt’s Videos, random YouTube stuff and just from trying real hard to copy drawings/paintings I like in my sketchbook. But I seem to have now hit a plateau, and just don’t know how to take my art further, or if I’m doing anything wrong from a technique perspective which is affecting my growth. Now I’ve discovered Mr Waichulis and well this entire methodical and procedural approach looks to be exactly what I am after. So I’ve just ordered the LoD (and LoP for later) set and am pretty excited to start at the beginning again and smarten my marx up as much as possible. Seeing the output and results all you guys and gals are consistently getting is very inspiring. I’m going to try to participate here a bit too, to keep a check of my progress and no doubt beg for guidance when I get stuck.
Catch you around!
Good luck! That’s a vast improvement. You must be proud of coming that far on your own in a couple years time. Sounds like you have a great attitude and approach. In fairness I actually like the style and expressionistic elements of the first one. But your technicianship looks like it’s come a long ways.
I’m a full-time apprentice of Tony’s at his studio in Pennsylvania and like many I can definitely vouch for the efficacy of his program. I’m glad to have a chance to do it full-time in person, because I think long-distance, the biggest challenge would be to just have the discipline to do it, as well as the lack of ready access to direct feedback if you get frustrated or have questions. This forum can help with the latter I’m sure, as Tony and most of his students (including myself) are always pretty happy to chat, help, or even take on remote students privately. Here’s a few of the key, general takeaways from my experience with Tony and with the LOD curriculum over the last few years, maybe you’ll find them interesting or helpful:
It’s not fun (most of the time). It is repetitious, frustrating, and tedious – like practicing piano scales, or working out. I sometimes think of that scene in the old Karate Kid movie where Mr. Miyagi has Ralph Macchio’s character painting the fence and doing various housechores day in, day out, until he gets frustrated to the point he wants to quit. Then he finds, to his surprise, he’s been learning all along, unconsciously building low-level automaticity that’s going to serve him very well. It just wasn’t what he thought it was going to be like. To me, LOD is a lot like that.
Deliberate practice is everything, whether you’re doing LOD or something else. All the repetitions in the world won’t do you that much good if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing, analyzing it critically and honestly, and striving to improve.
It is possible to develop tremendously – proficiency with visual art is learned, like anything, not a magic power some are born with and others are not. In the spirit of your own comparison, here is a self-portrait I did not long before coming to study with Tony (desaturated) and one I completed recently after a couple years at Waichulis Studio. Art’s very subjective of course, and there are things I still like about the old one – I’m fond of eccentric stylization, and photorealism isn’t really my end-game, personally – but, I’d imagine most would agree the more recent drawing contains far more evidence of proficiency, experience, and practice. And needless to say I still have much to learn and improve upon.
Thank you for all those points, that’s a very helpful take on things.
I can’t exactly take all the credit, there were a lot of ideas and techniques I’ve taken from videos and books, and a lot of mistakes too… I think I’d have progressed a lot quicker if my time wasn’t so monopolised - but then maybe I wouldn’t be so driven if I had more time, so who knows, anyway thanks for the kind words.
I may well regret saying this, but I’m actually looking forward to the grind of repetition and clinical nature of the program, there’ve been a few instances where I get my hour at night that I can pick up a pencil/paintbrush and I’m stuck for what to draw or copy, so having more of a set regimen is going to help me focus more on the minutiae of a single end goal which I’m probably overlooking at present in trying to do too much at once or not being consistent in my aims.
I’m not seeking photorealism either, it’s not quite my aesthetic, but I do want to be capable of that level of finish. Tony’s rack paintings are something else and the way he softens edges and can change the dynamic across like a few square inches to focus attention or lead you around an image is phenomenal. There’s so much going on in there and it’s so careful and subtle. I will be definitely attempting a vanitas in that vein when I get good enough. Your picture post-Waichulis studio study is incredible, and what you’ve got going on there in atmosphere is fantastic, i’d love to be able to do that.
All sounds excellent, man. Apply yourself, and you’ll do well.
Great work Martin. It’s funny that both of you (and me as well) never set out to be photorealists, but somehow we feel obliged to achieve something of that standard before we can call ourselves artists and move on!
@bedwardewald I’ve always been interested in how long students take to complete the LOP and LOD programmes. I always imagined they were done within the space of an academic year. But you say you’ve been there a few years?
Totally. I think there’s a benchmark there which allows artistic freedom - I don’t want to be creatively limited purely down to a lack of skill. There’ll be plenty of time to get more impressionistic afterwards
Yeah, I’m in my 3rd year. It can be completed in as little as 2-3 years; most take 3-4. Some take longer still. Depends on many factors.
Definitely relate. When I applied with Tony it was with the same exact sentiment. I’m probably in the minority apprentice-wise insofar as I’m not actually all that into photorealism, trompe-l’oeil, or even classical realism. I like expressionism and surrealism. But I don’t want to pursue things like that until I really have the equivalent of a 4+ year degree studying just the foundational elements of visual technicianship full-time and have some demonstrable mastery of oil painting. (And since we’re there studying almost every day every week, 4 years at Tony’s studio is probably more equivalent to 8 years of college classes, in a way.)
I really had no idea it was that long. But that makes me feel better!