This list for painting students made me think of many discussions I've read in this forum. I'm pasting it here because it is possible that one day the online article <http://www.asllinea.org/the-painters-pr ... vival-kit/> might disappear. The advise is for traditional painters, but I think many of these ideas could inspire dedicated sketchers, too.
Advice for Artists
The Painterâ€™s Primer, A survival kit, By Irwin Greenberg, November 21, 2013
Irwin Greenberg circulated this primer to his students at the High School of Art & Design and the Art Students League of New York. He died, age 87, in 2009.
Like a lot of realist painters, I started teaching as a way to stabilize my income. I was amazed to discover that it would be one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Somehow, everything I have learned in my life found a place in the studio classroom. Teaching also forced me to objectify my thoughts and make them comprehensible to my students. But the greatest reward, by far, was getting to know that special kind of person, the art student. His hunger to learn and commitment to what Robert Henri called the â€œart spiritâ€ has been a never-ending inspiration to me. I am sure I got the larger share in the exchange.
1. Paint every day.
2. Paint until you feel physical strain. Take a break and then paint some more.
4. When at an impasse, look at the work of masters.
5. Buy the best materials you can afford.
6. Let your enthusiasm show.
7. Find a way to support yourself.
8. Be your own toughest critic.
9. Develop a sense of humor about yourself.
10. Develop the habit of work. Start early every day. When you take a break, donâ€™t eat. Instead, drink a glass of water.
11. Donâ€™t settle for yourself at a mediocre level.
12. Donâ€™t allow yourself to be crushed by failure. Rembrandt had failures. Success grows from failure.
13. Be a brother (or sister) to all struggling artists.
14. Keep it simple.
15. Know your art equipment and take care of it.
16. Have a set of materials ready wherever you go.
17. Always be on time for work, class, and appointments.
18. Meet deadlines. Be better than your word.
19. Find a mate who is really a mate.
20. Donâ€™t be envious of anyone who is more talented than you. Be the best you can be.
21. Prizes are nice, but the real competition is with yesterdayâ€™s performance.
22. Give yourself room to fail and fight like hell to achieve.
23. Go to sleep thinking about what youâ€™re going to do first thing tomorrow.
24. Analyze the work of great painters. Study how they emphasize and subordinate.
25. Find out the fewest material things you need to live.
26. Remember: Michelangelo was once a helpless baby. Great works are the result of heroic struggle.
27. There are no worthwhile tricks in art; find the answer.
28. Throw yourself into each painting heart and soul.
29. Commit yourself to a life in art.
30. No struggle, no progress.
31. Do rather than donâ€™t.
32. Donâ€™t say â€œI havenâ€™t the time.â€ You have as much time everyday as the great masters.
33. Read. Be conversant with the great ideas.
34. No matter what you do for a living, nurture your art.
35. Ask. Be hungry to learn.
36. You are always the student in a one-person art school. You are also the teacher of that class.
37. Find the artists who are on your wavelength and constantly increase that list.
38. Take pride in your work.
39. Take pride in yourself.
40. No one is a better authority on your feelings than you are.
41. When painting, always keep in mind what your picture is about.
42. Be organized.
43. When youâ€™re in trouble, study the lives of those whoâ€™ve done great things.
44. â€œPoor meâ€ is no help at all.
45. Look for what you can learn from the great painters, not whatâ€™s wrong with them.
46. Look. Really look.
47. Overcome errors in observing by exaggerating the opposite.
48. Critics are painters who flunked out.
49. Stay away from put-down artists.
50. If youâ€™re at a loss for what to do next, do a self-portrait.
51. Never say â€œI canâ€™t.â€ It closes the door to potential development.
52. Be ingenious. Howard Pyle got his start in illustration by illustrating his own stories.
53. All doors open to a hard push.
54. If art is hard, itâ€™s because youâ€™re struggling to go beyond what you know you can do.
55. Draw everywhere and all the time. An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached.
56. There is art in any endeavor done well.
57. If youâ€™ve been able to put a personal response into your work, others will feel it and they will be your audience.
58. Money is O.K., but it isnâ€™t what life is about.
59. Spend less than you earn.
60. Be modest; be self-critical, but aim for the highest.
The Painter's Primer
PHOTO: Stephanie Cassidy
61. Donâ€™t hoard your knowledge, share it.
62. Try things against your grain to find out just what your grain really is.
63. Inspiration doesnâ€™t come when you are idle. It comes when you have steeped yourself in work.
64. Habit is more powerful than will. If you get in the habit of painting every day, nothing will keep you from painting.
65. There are three ways to learn art: Study life, people, and nature. Study the great painters. Paint.
66. Remember, Rembrandt wasnâ€™t perfect. He had to fight mediocrity.
67. Donâ€™t call yourself an artist. Let others name you that. â€œArtistâ€ is a title of great weight.
68. Be humble; learn from everybody.
69. Paintings that you work hardest at are the ones you learn the most from, and are often your favorites.
70. Read values relatively. Find the lightest light and compare all other light values to it. Do the same with the darks.
71. Grit and guts are the magic ingredients to your success.
72. Let your picture welcome the viewer.
73. Add new painters to your list of favorites all the time.
74. Study artists who are dealing with the same problems that youâ€™re trying to solve.
75. Have a positive mindset when showing your work to galleries.
76. Donâ€™t look for gimmicks to give your work style. You might be stuck with them for life. Or, worse yet, you might have to change your â€œstyleâ€ every few years.
77. If what you have to say is from your deepest feelings, youâ€™ll find an audience that responds.
78. Try to end a dayâ€™s work on a picture knowing how to proceed the next day.
79. Donâ€™t envy othersâ€™ success. Be generous-spirited and congratulate whole-heartedly.
80. Your own standards have to be higher and more scrupulous than those of critics.
81. Howard Pyle said, â€œThrow your heart into a picture and jump in after it.â€
82. Vermeer found a lifeâ€™s work in the corner of a room.
83. Rembrandt was always clear about what is most important in a picture.
84. If, after study, the work of an artist remains obscure, the fault may not be yours.
85. Critics donâ€™t matter. Who cares about Michelangeloâ€™s critics?
86. Structure your day so you have time for painting, reading, exercising and resting.
87. Aim high, beyond your capacity.
88. Try not to finish too fast.
89. Take the theory of the â€œlast inchâ€ that holds as you approach the end of a painting, you must gather all your resources for the finish.
90. Build your painting solidly, working from big planes to small.
91. See the planes of light as shapes, the planes of shadows as shapes. Squint your eyes and find the big, fluent shapes.
92. Notice how, in a portrait, Rembrandt reduces the modeling of clothes to the essentials, emphasizing the head and the hands.
93. For all his artistic skill, whatâ€™s most important about Rembrandt is his deep compassion.
94. To emphasize something means that the other parts of a picture must be muted.
95. When painting outdoors, sit on your hands and look before starting.
96. When composing a picture, do many thumbnails, rejecting the obvious ones.
97. Study how Rembrandt creates flow of tone.
98. If you teach, teach the individual. Find out when he or she is having trouble and help at that point.
99. Painting is a practical art, using real materialsâ€”paints, brushes, canvas, and paper. Part of the practicality of it is earning a living in art.
100. Finally, donâ€™t be an art snob. Most painters I know teach, do illustrations, or work in an art-related field. Survival is the game.