advice from my art teachers

My art teacher Naomi Campbell at the Art Students League said to do these three things:

1. Make it strong
2. Keep it simple
3. Edit it down

Is this brilliant or what? She advised us to start with a big solid shape. To convey a gesture, make a strong line.

I love this. I’m a dip-my-toe-in kind of painter but this advice gives me permission to be bold.

Speaking of permission, Robert Burridge, my teacher at the Holbein workshop in Vermont, begins his class by passing out permission slips – bright magenta slips with the word “Permission” printed on them.

And whatever question you ask him, Burridge said, he will always answer, “Yes.”

“More blue?” “Yes.”

So one smart aleck asked, “What if I ask, ‘Does my painting stink?’ Will you say Yes?”

And Burridge said, “I’ll say, ‘You have permission to start over.'”

And that’s kinda what Campbell said today too when she said, “It’s only paper. Don’t try to make it perfect.”

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This guy was eating lunch and smoking at the same time, sitting outside the Art Students League today.
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4 thoughts on “advice from my art teachers

  1. I’m a super-beginner and just signed up to take classes with Ms. Campbell on Monday nights at the ASL. I’m glad I found your post. I’m not quite as nervous. Thanks.

    1. Carol, I love taking classes at the Art Students League. There are always a lot of people way better than me! But I’m okay with that. There’s room for everyone.

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