Tag Archives: library

Is an art education necessary?

There’s an ongoing debate about whether an artist needs a ‘proper’ art education before they are considered a ‘true artist’. Some say yes, others say no. What do you think? Does an art education matter in this day and age?

First of all, what is an ‘art education’? Generally speaking, an art education can include anything like:

  • studying art in college
  • attending art workshops at a local center, or
  • taking private art lessons.

For some people, a ‘real’ art education means getting a college degree or studying for years with a master artist, like an apprentice.

Yet, there are also many ways for budding artists to educate themselves without attending college for art or studying under a master – and without spending a fortune.

Instructional videos, artist forums and art websites are readily available for free on the Internet, where you can learn just about any technique you can think of. Plus, magazines and books are available from local libraries.

Attending college for fine art is cost-prohibitive for many people, especially since a fine art education does not produce any qualifications for well-paying jobs. Engaging in ‘self-education’ allows an artist to save money and learn what they want to learn, at their own pace, instead of being forced through the college structure.

On the other hand, there are undeniable benefits to learning art techniques firsthand from a skilled artist – whether it involves watching an art professor paint on a canvas in a certain style, or looking over the shoulder of artists sketching at a figure drawing workshop. Those benefits can’t be gained from self-education.

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to getting an art education versus self-educating. Is either one better, or are they just different? What do you think?

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Introduction to Color Expert Johannes Itten

“Color is life; for a world without color appears to us as dead.” – Johannes Itten

When you take an art course on color theory, you can thank Johannes Itten for laying much of the foundation for what you’re being taught. Johannes Itten was a Swiss artist and teacher who taught at the Bauhaus in Germany. He published several books on art theory, the most popular being The Art of Color.

Sir Isaac Newton is credited with creating the first color wheel, which included 6 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, cyan and blue. Around 250 years later, Johannes Itten expanded Newton’s color wheel to include 12 colors instead of 6. These 12 colors included red, yellow and blue as the primary colors; orange, green and purple as the secondary colors, and 6 intermediary colors created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. This is the same color wheel often used in school’s today to teach students about color theory.

Itten also examined color saturation, contrast and hue, devising theories for creating different color combinations that are still useful to artists and designers today. He looked at the expressiveness of color, and also the way colors affect one another. He also explored the emotional properties of colors which he considered to be fairly subjective, proposing that we each have different individual reactions to colors.

For more information about Johannes Itten and his color theories, look for his books online or in your local library.

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