The great Robert Henri, whose words in his magnum opus The Art Spirit ignited my own flames in opening up the African continent to the possibilities of interpreting the western style of picture-making, unfortunately, I lacked the opportunities to get a proper education in that style of art Bouguereau, Jean Léon-Gerome, Sargeant, Ilya Repin… all inspired me, both by the depth of their techniques, and the idea they were expressing.
Making art is hard. Like life, it requires tremendous passion and attention. It also requires solid relationships built on respect. the more admiration you have for your master, the more you are elevated into greatness. In my opinion, the revival of the atelier teaching method is only the beginning of the rebirth of art. Soon enough, the world will get rid of the impostors and liars that call themselves modern artists.
I still fail to explain, why I’m not an artist, even though most conditions were met for me to become one, I drew from an early age, my parents were supportive, and I received art supplies as a gift, yet, to this day, aged 32 years old, the only thing that resonates with me is a deep and immense frustration born out of my inabilities to clearly communicate my ideas and feelings.
I only recently started to understand why things turned out that way, and the obvious answer is a lack of training. I spent my whole life reading about art, but very little time doing art which led to this disastrous situation, as Da Vinci once said "The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips performance”, there is really no place for theory in an artist training.
Most of my peers, here in my country, in Senegal, fake it. They go onto adopting the Dada style of art, doing abstract art, just because they lack the skills and artistic vision to make proper art. I consider most contemporary artists to be impostor and liar, they ignore that Picasso could draw as well as Michelangelo at age 12, I think an artist should make creative decisions based on choice, and not because he lacks fundamentals skills.
“There is no pleasure in this world without skill.” — Alan Watts, Philosopher
Skill is the foundation by which we bridge our understanding of things. Without it, there is no way of comprehending our craft and therefore no way of achieving clarity or expressing our vision at its fullest creative potential.
skills-based training in realist art is what brought tears to my eye when I discovered the Lod program a few months ago, because it is the whole focus of the foundation, and lack of skills is the source of my pains.
I’m often reminded by Vincent Van Gogh story that everything is possible if you work hard enough, despite his lack of talent, he relentlessly worked at learning to draw and paint, even goi
ng through the Bargue drawing course three times in his life, he was a real source of inspiration into pursuing a serious art training.
Fortunately for me, discovering the LOD found me in the doing, being jobless at the moment, I draw on average 15 hours a day, following the deliberate practice method, getting used to doing the exact same thing for hours without getting bored, like drawing a straight line, or circles, and completing the Bargue plate in sequential order using the sight-size method.
My ultimate dream is to make the best of what the west has to offer in art and bring it to my country where pictorial art is almost nonexistent, I’m sure my people have great stories to tell. Even more than being an artist myself, my aim is to be a teacher. I want to learn to paint as realistically as possible, without making any judgment about my subjects.
This way I will be able to teach people the skills and leave to them the choice of what they want to express.
Hussein Dembel Sow
An aspiring artist from Senegal, West-Africa