An Artist's Journeys in Nature

Art and the Cartoon Comic – 1

Aberdeen - Patricia HowittMoving up to Aberdeen when I was 8 marked the real beginning of art in my life.  From this point on, ‘artistic’ output and awareness really started to develop, and revelations came thick and fast.

We lived first in a semi-detached Army villa in the suburb of Seafield. At the bottom of the street was – is – a small park called Johnstone Gardens built around a rocky landscaped stream, surrounded by paths, shrubberies, flower beds and rock gardens, with tall trees as a backdrop. I was given my first little camera and shot many photos – now lost – in that park. 

My mom took me there often : it was a ‘wild’ landscape in miniature.

Magnolia Screenprint - Patricia Howitt

Magnolia Screenprint – Patricia Howitt

I’d just got a serial comic – it was Odham’s “Mickey Mouse Weekly”.  My folks enjoyed it too, but I’m sure my dad was looking for artistic quality in what he chose, and I’m really grateful. I looked forward to that comic, and devoured its contents.  It wasn’t all Disney though – many of the other cartoons and illustrations were of a different quality and appealed less.  I found myself gradually getting a preference for the Disney style of artwork.

Two principles stand out in Disney’s works, and I’d like to think they are a good training ground for any artist.  Firstly, clarity of line. The Disney line is stylish in its boldness. Eye and hand are coordinated to produce a highly polished, clean result.

The First Principle : Clarity of Line (ie Draftsmanship)

In today’s art world it’s kinda cutesy and clever to leave your viewers guessing.  “Is that a fish or a bird?”  “Is that a person standing in all that murk or is it an elephant?”  Hmmmm.  Too many people are getting away with bad draftsmanship because their creations are regarded as “innovative” or “thought-provoking”.  We are putting a premium on gimmickry rather than solid grounding.  Art is becoming cerebral instead of visceral in its appeal. 

Maybe the fact that the Universities have got in on the act of training people to be artists has something to do with it.

I admire Prince Charles for stepping up to the plate and founding The Prince’s Drawing School.  It’s time someone stood up for the real fundamental values in Art. There’s nothing ‘old fashioned’ about it – these fundamentals apply to digital art just as they’ve done to traditional art through the centuries.  For more information see also Wikipedia on The Prince’s Drawing School.

Botanical- Coprosma-Cape-Gooseberry

Botanical Illustration – Coprosma and Cape Gooseberry

Photographs are definitely not art

Right now, photography is doing its darndest to take over the Art space.  Many would say, “If you can get a good photograph why go for paintings?”  And that, of course, provides another excuse for the current trends in Art proper.  Well, I’m sorry, photographs (even manipulated, Photoshopped ones) won’t ever compare, and that’s because they lack involvement of the hand, eye, brain and understanding of the artist – the true creative process.  And I mean involvement with the subject-matter, not the photographic process.

About which, more next time
Patricia

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