“Draw Like A Painter – Draw Like Crazy”  – Retreat in Paradise with Casa Co-Founder/Director Robert Masla

Robert Masla, Seiji Ozawa, ball point pen gesture drawing in sketchbook

“Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint”. – Arshile Gorky


Bob Masla conducting a demo at the falls of Chicos Paradise near the Casa. 

Any great painter will tell you one of the best ways to improve your painting, aside from paint, paint, paint, is to draw. Drawing teaches you how to see and how to think visually, and how to paint! But how many artists take the time to draw? Drawing and painting is about taking shapes, lines, values, edges, etc. and putting them together into a cohesive whole that yields the artists desired effect. Similar in some ways to a jigsaw puzzle or a map, and at the same time a mirror, the artist needs to articulate all the various elements to work together to create something that is a cohesive whole and simultaneously actually far more than just the sum of its parts. It is infused with their vision, their energy.

Whether you haven’t drawn since you where a child or you are a professional painter – this fast moving fun workshop will have you drawing like crazy and learning as you play!

Join me for this studio and on location experience where you will be introduced to my unique and award wining teaching style. You will be encouraged to push the edges of your creative expression and discover new techniques and methods for mark making, rendering and confronting the “blank canvas”.

Robert Masla, Listening to the Mark, 16″ x 20″, charcoal, graphite and graphite wash on 150lb. Fabriano paper

Rembrandt, Girl Sleeping, brush with wash and white body color, (in the hair). Dutch, circa 1654. Could easily be a Sumi-e brush painting from eastern master.

 Piet Mondrian, Chrysanthemum, drawing, (conte, charcoal?), on paper, Dutch, circa 1908. Although known, along with Kandinsky, as one of the founders of Pure Abstraction and ultimately Non-Objective Painting, & most famous for his austere “grids” of color, Mondrian drew flowers through out his life. See an interesting article that appeared in the New York Times in 1991 coinciding with an exhibition of his flowers.

Piet Mondrian, Tree II, drawing, (conte, charcoal?), on paper, Dutch, circa 1912.

Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 3 (Trees), oil on canvas, Dutch, circa 1912.

“There is only 1 Rule in Drawing and Painting and the Creation of Art 

and that is –  

There are No Rules in Drawing and Painting and the Creation of Art.
There are No Limits on the Creative Spirit or the Methods She Chooses to Express Herself”

This is the first thing I tell participants in all of my workshops. There are no rules, there are however, methods, techniques, processes, formulas, helpful hints, that when applied, (or not), will yield somewhat predictable results, (we will explore a variety of these further through the course of this workshop). Each artist takes from these and uses, or not, these “methods”, experimenting, synthesizing there own vision, manifesting their own unique signature, (we will look at more of these as well). Like thumbprints, no two are exactly alike.  Which brings me to my second rule of No Rules, and that is….

There is Only One Right Way to Make Art

That Right Way is the Way You Choose to Express Your Vision

It Is All About the Intention of the Artist

Which brings us to the 3rd and final rule of No Rules, and that is…

There are No Mistakes
I’ll say it Again – There are No Mistakes in Drawing, Painting, the Making of Art.

There are Only Opportunities For Change and Growth

Again, it is all about the individual artists intention, wether the artist is working abstractly/ non-objectivley or they are working representationally, (what some people like to call realism, I prefer the more accurate description, naturalistic observational re-presentation). The issue is wether the work fulfills the artists intention or not. Right or Wrong is really not a part of the creative process, it is very linear and analytical while creativity is wholistic. It has its place in the self critique of the work, (often confused internally with the internal dialogue of “criticism”), – “mistakes” don’t really exist in the creative process, only aspects that don’t serve the intention and are a sign of a part being incongruous with the whole, (or not, depending on your intention) and thus creating opportunities for change and growth. The creative process, as I see it, is one of exploration, play, experimentation, a search to manifest the artists intention, (only the artist can decide what that is). It either does so, or it needs to be altered, changed, modified in some way, so that it works to manifest their intention. Again, there are methods, techniques, formulas, etc. that this workshop is designed to explore – the craft of drawing and painting (i.e knowing the potential and limitations of a given media, establishing values, or methods of mixing colors to achieve a desired result, etc. etc.), these will expedite or simplify the more “accurate” arrival at the artists intention. The more of these the individual artist masters, is like having more colors on your palette – so to speak, so you are not limited by your technical ability. There is more for you to choose from when the creative muse strikes.

Artist often change direction in the course of creating, it is part of the process, the exploration, the “becoming Whole” that makes the whole thing so exciting. It’s what I call listening to the paint or in drawing, listening to the mark. Sometimes we are just more present than other times, but the practice itself of drawing and painting is really about being present and observing, with all of our senses.

There are many examples of this change of mind, changing of direction, the exploration, in both old and contemporary master drawings and paintings. They are referred to as Petimenti or little repentances, (from Italian, pentimento, singular), sometimes they are only visible through X-ray or infrared reflectography. When they are left visible in the work for us to see it is actually quite fascinating as it gives insight into the mind and thought process of the artist. – Don’t get it “right” the first time, not a mistake – explore, experiment, it is an opportunity for change and growth.

Rembrandt after da Vincis' Last Supper72dpi

In this detail of a drawing by Rembrandt of Da Vinci’s Last Supper there are many examples of pedimenti, where Rembrandt “changed his mind”. Particularly around the figure of Christ, his head(s) and hand(s).
Stay tuned for further installments for Draw Like A Painter – Draw Like Crazy, and join me at one of the Workshop Locations.

Meanwhile, there is an exhibition, (which I hope to see), all about this idea of the evolving creative process, changing direction and questioning when is a work “finished”:

Unfinished – Thoughts Left Visible
is currently on exhibit in New York till September 4 at the new
Met Breuer