At LFAS the foundation course is designed to guide you through the fundamentals of drafting, seeing abstractly and a beginners introduction to oil painting. During this term, I requested to teacher shadow, and I am currently assisting during one of the foundation courses. As I continue to study at the Atelier going back to the basics with the new students, has been quite helpful.
One of the main things to understand during the foundation course is that the techniques are there to train your eyes to see the correct shapes displayed and to learn to problem solve. Learning to do these two things eventually leads to successful drafting and paintings with practice.
The Saturday morning class I assist with is full with a range of young to mature students all attending for various reasons with one goal in mind, to learn to draw better. One of the things I have found consistent with some of the students as well as myself is hesitation. The fear of losing all the lines one spends making when it comes time to block in the shadow shapes. Eventually, this fear subsides once they begin building up their values and realize not all the information is needed. It was explained to me when I started my foundation course by one of my tutors that with his method, we learn to create representational art, we are not learning to draw hyper-realistically. Once that understanding clicks with you, one realizes how much more freedom they have as an artist with these techniques.
My primary goal with assisting is to grow as an artist in as many ways possible. Teaching has helped me go back to the basics and refind those problem-solving essentials I had forgotten and replaced with bad habits.
As I am still learning it is also easier to understand the new student’s fears and hesitations as they are the same as my own. One of the best reminders from this experience has been how to continue to see in mass and simplifying the form. Oddly enough seeing the mistakes in someone else’s work is a lot easier than your own.
As I am trying to be as faithful as possible to the process as well as finding starts that work for me I have realized one of my biggest weaknesses has been over rendering. This a hard habit to break but trusting that our brains are intelligent enough to fill in the gaps of information left out should lead to a visually more realistic image. As seen in John Singer Sargents paintings it’s the simplification of a form and the choices he makes that make his artwork so sophisticated and captivating.
Trusting the process as well as trying to build confidence in my decision making I believe is something that may be a long battle. However, progress is a slow process, and it’s important to remind ourselves this. As I continue to assist, I hope I can help some of the new students build up the tools they need to progress further and proceed onto more advanced classes confidently.
From this experience I find myself wondering what style of teaching I would like to take on in the future, a combination of the teachers I have learnt from that will help resonate with future students. What I do know is that teaching is an art form in itself and I have had some of the best to learn from at LFAS. I shall continue to find a balance to eloquently relay the gems of information passed down to me during my studies. This experience has been hugely helpful, and I hope to continue to help out as much as I can in the future.
After half term, we begin our introduction to oil painting, and I cannot wait!