Lessons in Classical Drawing by Juliette Aristides
Somehow I managed to fail my high school art class. Part of the problem was that I wanted to learn to draw, but these classes tended to be craft oriented. So, while I emerged with plenty of experience with a hot glue gun, I did not learn to draw or become a more astute observer of the world.
Despite my lackluster performance in school, I forged ahead in my study of art. Drawing in my sketchbook became a haven for me, a refuge and place of fascination. Drawing was a tangible expression of my thoughts and a beacon to me during many dark hours. Still, regardless of my investment of time and my devotion, I was constantly bumping against the limitations of my skill. I was unable to push beyond the place where my natural ability failed me.
I was seventeen when I first heard about a man teaching the secrets of the old masters in the small town of Coplay, Pennsylvania. I did not know what it meant exactly, but I felt resonance—as if a long dormant gene was stirred and awakened.
My father and I decided to make the trek to visit Myron Barnstone. We arrived one evening and climbed up the two flights of stairs to his studio. Myron himself opened the door, meeting us with an authoritative force. His very presence scared me to death. With a cigarette dangling from his mouth and one eyebrow raised fiercely over his bifocals, he stared at me as if sizing up my capability. Then he looked at my dad and said, “You are going to spend $100,000 on Juliette’s education, and she will be a waitress the rest of her life.”
Nice try, Myron.
Studying at the Barnstone Studios was the hardest thing I had done up to that point. I was making up for lost time. Drawing, which had always felt so natural, all of a sudden felt cumbersome and awkward. My drawing got worse before it got better. Yet accompanying my frustration was the joy of total engagement. It was as if I had been given a new set of eyes. I was suddenly seeing connections, patterns, and relationships that I never dreamt existed.
I fell in love with the process of studying art and over the next decade worked with the best people I could find—at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, and various ateliers. Throughout those years of practice, I learned many things. I understood, firsthand, that studying art is a lifetime pursuit, endlessly challenging and rewarding. I also learned that drawing is as teachable as math, music, or writing. Anyone can draw. The secret of making great art lies in combining foundational skills with sensitivity of expression. The most important thing a student can do is get time-tested information and build on it consecutively, allowing plenty of time for practice.
In this book, I will share with you the sequential steps that will enable you to learn to draw. I will break down the act of drawing into simple tasks. Through this process, you will form a solid foundation upon which you can build skills in as many artistic directions as your taste and temperament desire. The accompanying DVD will eliminate some of the gaps in the learning process that come from working primarily from books. Together, this book and DVD will allow you to see for yourself that the techniques of the masters are not entirely cloaked in mystery. With adequate time and practice, they will become your own. The world needs more beauty. I encourage you to take the plunge and learn to draw—and I wish you much joy in the process.
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"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist deserves to be a physical book in Barnes & Noble & on my coffee table!" - Elliot McGucken
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive e-books ever written on the topic of design in art. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced art/photography student, this user's guide is indispensable. I recommend it to all of my artists and photographers and have it linked to my website The Artist Angle." - Jennifer Finley "Though I am not a newcomer to photography, I am far from being a professional. So too, it has only been in the past few months that I discovered dynamicsymmetryart.com. I was transformed from being concerned with camera equipment, f-stops, shutter speed, ISO to considering how I would apply the principles of classical art training to my photography.
As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people. My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos. I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher, Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio