Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Technician

     When people ask me who my favorite artist is, I toss it around a bit and generally come back to my preferred artistic technician, Jacob Collins.  I’ll let you read his resume and artistic credentials at  It is impressive and thorough.
     It is rather difficult to study with such a great artist, even though he has established several ateliers, and continues to teach even today.  I suppose someday he will provide insight to the masses.  But transferring his type of wisdom doesn’t come easy and it can’t be obtained through any self-taught discipline.  It’s the same reason there are no self-taught black belt masters or brain surgeons.
     The very nature of atelier drawing is rooted in the apprenticeship method of learning.  I would point you to one of the best books available on the subject.  The book is titled “Classical Drawing Atelier” by Juliette Aristides, and several works by Jacob Collins grace its pages.  I suppose with the Charles Barque drawing book and the Aristides book, you could launch yourself a great deal of the way down the road.  Collins’ mastery of his craft is remarkable, and I consider him a true Master Artist.
     His website is full of drawings and paintings that continue to motivate and inspire me.  Within his drawings section, notice the working sketch titled “Study For a Red Head”.  This drawing of a woman’s torso will show you how in-depth Collins’ pre-study and working sketch information is.  Notice that nothing is being left to chance.
The drawing and painting, both titled “Carolina”, are among my personal favorites.  I saw a photo of this painting several months ago and Pam was able to locate the show booklet, so I could study the painting in more depth.
     In many ways I feel access to someone with Collins’ skill level is difficult to obtain without taking a three-year sabbatical to study in Italy or New York.  Maybe this is a self-imposed obstacle commonly known as “a good excuse”.   In the meantime, I will keep the bar high for myself, and seek inspiration and knowledge from great artists like Jacob Collins.  See if his work doesn’t inspire you.   

Images © Jacob Collins.  Content © Mark Kohler.

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