Friday, September 1, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Darrel Anderson

Darrell Anderson knows a thing or two about painting and drawing. In fact, when it comes to sketching you could say he wrote the book on it! That book, Value Sketching With Markers, helps artists at every level capture the world around them in a simplified and bold manner. As painters, being able to cut through all the clutter in life and organize what we see into meaningful compositions is crucial, and this book teaches strategies to do just that.

In his book, Darrell says, "Drawing is like fishing. The more you do it the more you intuitively know where the good ones are hiding." 

The knowledge Darrell shares in that book was won over years of study. His primary teacher was the well known Ron Lukas, who studied with Sergei Bongart. The Russian influence shines through in his bold brushwork and beautiful, sensitive, color combinations.

It doesn't take long while browsing Darrell's website to figure out that he has the heart of a teacher. His blog features instructions on making your own pochade, getting started in gouache, myriad posts on the painting process and the life of an artist, even a post on how paint dries! It's a treasure trove that is worth exploring!

He's been kind enough to share a few stories and lessons he's learned just for PAWA Blog readers:

"Sometime in or around 1989 a group of us ‘art plebes’ were sitting in a tavern with our teacher and continuing hero (still), Ron Lukas. I was sitting a couple seats from him and was feeling perceptibly frustrated because we all had just finished taking one of his workshops and I didn’t think I had done so well. may have been me....asked the question about how could it be possible to learn to paint if we didn’t have much (or any) innate talent.

Ron’s answer has formed the foundation of my hanging in there despite many many many flops and, also, the basis of all the teaching I’ve done. He said....and this is very easy to remember.... 'Talent and desire are the same thing.'

I left the bar feeling much better and, when the gremlins began appearing again, it was that short sentence that pulled me out. Since I have said ‘I quit’ at least 2,247 times since then, remembering Ron looking at me with a beer in his hand responding to the question without hesitation has been my lifeline. That and desire."

And another: 

"Sometime in the late 80’s a former student of David Leffel moved into our neighborhood. I would bug him for any little bits of what he knew. One day we were in his studio talking about the effects of light and, because he and David were friends, he picked up the phone and called New York to have him let us know what he thought about light and how to think about it.

David summarized light in a way that has kept me engaged with the thought and image for several decades. He was much more eloquent but I’ll give you what I have. He said that light was like a mountain stream. It comes down from the heights in many ways. Sometimes it is forceful and blasts off rocks, vases, flowers and barns with spray and foam flying in every direction, getting everything wet and involved in its tumbling descent. Lots of hard edges, color and movement. Other times it will flatten out into a calm peaceful pool, eddying around things with barely a swirl, edges disappearing, energy dissipated.

On sunny days, like when snow melts at higher elevations and fuels the stream, there is so much intensity, color and force it is hard to sit still with the desire to capture just a little of its energy on canvas. The whole drama can happen on a person’s face a still life or a wide panorama.

On overcast days there is less movement, contrast and the breadth of color becomes more subtle, values less extreme. The conversation is more peaceful, sensitive, thoughtful and the careful color comparisons become fuel for a different interpretation.

It doesn’t matter what you paint, landscape, portrait, or still life, the light still does this. I find it fascinating and, while my talent is still trying hard to catch up with my desire, here I am still painting, swearing, scraping, smiling and trying hard not to feel too guilty because I get to do it."

Now if reading that doesn't make you want to go grab your brushes, I don't know what will. Thank you, Darrel, for sharing with us!