Monday, December 10, 2012

The Natural Way

It is hard to believe that it is early December. This year has been on fast forward for me, and it seems like it could be late August. However, the weather has not waited for me to catch up, and it is cold out. During these winter months I enjoy changing my routine. I have been working on the exercises prescribed in the book The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides. I first heard about the book, from what I consider a great learning tool, Oil Painting, Develop Your Natural Ability, by Charles Sovek. Nicolaides taught at the Art Student's League. His influence on the teaching of drawing has been long-lasting and substantial, and his book is still in use today. In brief, he advocated a three-pronged way of learning to draw, through (1) slow and meticulous contour drawing, (2) free and rapid gesture drawing, and (3) vigorous tonal drawings of weight or mass.

The book has 25 Chapters. In order to complete the book, there is 15 hours of drawing to be done for each chapter. The 15 hours is broken into 5,  3 hour sessions. Nicolaides wants readers (participators?) in the book to have an experience. It takes much work to learn to draw, and any serious art school works it's drawing students for hours on end as well. I'm at the beginning of my journey into the book, but it already feels like a fascinating journey. For instance, in several university classes, there have been assignments to do blind contour drawings. My experience in the classroom is that these are quick, one minute at best, gesture drawings, but in the book, Nicolaides demands an hour. An hour, of moving your eyes and hand in unison a hair at a time, tracing around the subject. Mind you, that is the last hour of the 3 hour session, where the first two hours being very gestural. I'm hooked!

 There is still time to register for my winter workshop in Fish Creek. To view the class description, supplies list, and to register, please visit the Peninsula School Of Art Website. The workshop is the third from the top. If you have any questions, please email me at

Wildes Interior 14x11"

Sunflowers Still Life 16x12"


Dan Corey said...

That interior is Faaantastic !! I love still life but a great interior is my weak spot.. You had me at Pthalo..Ha!

Chris Gillis said...

sweet interiors Kyle - the first one really has some goodness going on - great light and your drawing is superb. Looks like the book is paying off.

I'm going to try to find that book, sounds sweet.

Matthew Holt said...

The interior painting is great, Kyle. Love it. Great sense of light bouncing around the room and through the curtains. The book sounds really cool...pretty intense.

Kyle Martin said...

Hi Dan, a fellow commenter here, is actually holding a pthalo blue tube of mine hostage! Good thing I've got the 10oz tube of classics that you brought here!

Hi Chris, Thanks so much. I'd reccomend the book, it's a ton of hours, but at least it's concentrated study.

Hi Matt, thanks! Glad I got some of that light. I have to get back to this house, the woman who owns it is a friend of mine, and allows me free reign. It's really great.

Dan Corey said...

Anyone who would take your Pthalo no friend. :))

Matthew Holt said...

Still can't get enough of that interior...just returned to look at it today again! Am I the hostage holder?!...I don't know what the hell you have in that box. I opened it for the first time just the other day and I don't know how you identify your tubes of paint! Probably more paint on the outside of the tubes than the inside. Don't worry, I'm scared of Pthalo!

Candace Brancik said...

Beautiful paintings Kyle! Especially the interior--you nailed it. I'm going to check out that book. Thanks for the info :)

Mick Carney said...

Just to echo the remarks about that first one it is an absolute gem.