Guest Blog by Suehyun Choi, Drawing Basics instructor
What color is the sky outside? You may answer, “blue.” If it’s cloudy, you may say, “gray,” just like how grapes are purple, and strawberries are red. You may say that a tree is brown, no matter what time of the day. Leaves, of course, are ever-green. But they can turn into a wide range of oranges in the fall. We know the rhyme: “Roses are red, violets are blue, …” lemons are yellow, and rocks are gray.
I attended a portrait workshop early in my painting career. The world famous instructor told me that “there is no gray in nature.” Nowhere in nature will you observe a perfect blend of black and white. The cloudy sky is not gray, but rather takes on a hue of yellow, brown, or even a little green. Concrete, asphalt, and even stone never adhere to a fixed “color.” They dynamically respond to the presence of light and its surroundings.
As artists, we get the chance to challenge our preconceived notions about what we see on a day-to-day basis. Creating art requires admitting that we cannot exactly replicate reality as we know it. Instead, we take advantage of the opportunity to express how we experience the world. We transpose our understanding and experience of the world and express it in the medium of our choice.
When we create art, we consider the following things:
- We analyze reality and select aspects of it that we want to express. We extract them, in a way, and carefully consider the bounds and limits what we perceive.
- We select the medium and manner this will be expressed in. We consider the physical characteristics and processes that this entails and execute them.
- We decide upon the story, the message, and even emotion that this artwork will bear and deliver.
This artistic process – comprised of an analytical, physical, and emotional component – is not reserved for a particular medium like painting and drawing. No matter what your choice of art is – whether it be traditional art, digital, performing, or even print and moving media – this artistic process welcomes your expression of your experience.
There is a story about an adult who was lead to believe that she was bad at art. As a young student, she drew trees with a black crayon. The black trees were so because it was observed in the dark, because she had experienced them that way. Her classmates and teacher mocked her, “Trees aren’t black – they’re brown.” And so the individual decided that she was bad at art.
The emotional aspect of the process cannot be taught. No one can force you to see trees as black, blue, or even purple if you do not experience them that way. However, a teacher can assist you with observing and analyzing reality. To help you question whether or not a tree is, indeed, brown as you had once thought. In addition, an art class teacher can introduce you to different techniques and medium in the art world. Even a ‘red apple’ does not take a simple ‘red’ color. To truly express a ‘red apple,’ I would incorporate some green, yellow, even blue to create magenta to bring the apple to life.
You owe it to yourself to find a medium that suits your experience. Take an art class today. 😉