Drawing is intimidating. It’s a skill that people either claim they “can” or “can’t” do, not recognizing that it must be learned. This spring, consider coloring outside your normal boundaries and learn to draw in “Introduction to Drawing.” Instructor Laura Spector has more than 14 years of experience and dependable practices that can launch any novice’s artistic career. I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Spector some questions about her upcoming course and her own personal history with art.
Do you have any encouraging words for beginners who are not comfortable drawing?
Everyone has to start somewhere. Most types of artwork can be accomplished learning basic skills and practicing them and then practicing them some more. Remember to relax, breathe, have fun and progress at a rate of speed that works for you. Even the most advanced artists continue practicing because the unraveling of learning to create good art is a life-long adventure. It’s good to keep in mind that beauty takes time and there’s no finish line, there’s only more art to practice making.
What do you enjoy about helping people become better acquainted with art and drawing?
It is always satisfying to see students discover that creating good art is a skill that is attainable with practice. It’s easy to assume that known artists have a sort of untouchable talent. However, after just a few classes many of my students are able to understand basic techniques that can be applied to create similar work as their favorite artists. Aside from that, my goal is to help students attempt to create and appreciate beauty. There is always room for more beauty in our lives.
When did you start teaching?
I started teaching in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2001. I had already led several workshops based on my own artwork at various universities. Nothing prepared me for the excitement of working in a classroom with a dedicated group of students and watching their creative skills rapidly develop over several weeks.
In 2002 I opened a community art center called ArtSpace. It started as a handful of friends attending a couple of drawing and painting classes. By 2009, ArtSpace had expanded into two locations offering art and music classes, children’s summer camp, college prep classes and fundraising exhibitions in conjunction with six international schools and the U.S. Consulate. When I left Thailand, I had worked with hundreds of students of all ages from dozens of countries. It was a fantastic, unforgettable experience that molded the way I teach; creating community became incredibly important.
What initially attracted you to art?
Good art is a dialogue with history and potentially with future generations. The windows that paintings and drawings provide are glimpses into the stories of men and women throughout time. Artwork is one of the strongest storytelling devices that exists. When looking at a painting, the viewer can imagine the story of the person or things rendered in the artwork, while considering the timeline of history when the artwork was actually created, the circumstances of the artist at the time they created the artwork, the relevance of the person or things depicted in the artwork, as well as what has happened to the artwork during its physical journey from the time it was created until today. Many of these artworks have hidden stories and multiple layers of meanings within a simple image. I never just see a picture. I see everything around, above, below, before and after the picture. I’ve always been attracted to art because it makes time disappear.
Can you offer a “sneak peek” of some of the exercises participants will be working on?
One of the oldest and most helpful tools for drawing is the grid. Various versions of the grid can be dated back to the 15th century when artists would perforate paper and dust charcoal through the holes to create a gridded surface to help break up the image of what they were drawing into smaller sections for precision in their drawing or painting. Other artists would create elaborate systems of grids using strings. My students will create a simple grid over a master drawing, turn it upside down and draw it. The outcome is always impressive, especially for those completely new to drawing.
Ms. Spector is ready to help you start on your lifelong drawing adventure. With grid drawing and other techniques, participants will ease into the elusive art of drawing, developing skills through practice … and more practice.
“Introduction to Drawing” starts March 9.
Laura Bailey, Marketing Coordinator