When you are learning to draw and paint I think it is important to go to art galleries. Many of my students and learners like going to art galleries but sometimes I do get asked why I think it is important.
Beginner learners can find looking at famous artists and professional artists’ work deflating because they feel they are a million miles from the level of skill they are at. Of course you could think this way but try to be inspired by what you see rather than discouraged.
Local or National?
I think going to any art gallery is valuable, small local galleries are just as valuable as the big national galleries. The national galleries will offer more opportunities to see more famous artists but local or smaller galleries could give you the opportunity to see more contemporary lessen known artists.
Galleries are for Everyone
A surprising number of students and learners find visiting art galleries intimidating. I think that is due to the ‘exclusive’ image that makes some people feel unwelcome. Galleries are however often full of all walks of life and they should be for everyone. Many in the UK are still free and this great resource should be made the most of!
What Can You Learn From Artists?
Going to the national artists gives you the chance to see famous artists work and gain knowledge of art history. The more you see the more you understand the different art movements and how each emerged from the previous trends and influences.
Being close up to a giant canvas gives you sense of how the art was made. There is something very exciting about seeing the real brush strokes, it can tell you so more about the process of its creation than looking at a secondary image of the artwork.
Use the artwork you see to inspire you to develop new ideas and new ways of doing things. The more art galleries you go to the more creative you will feel. I think seeing artist’s work means much more when you create art yourself.
Of course anyone can appreciate art but when you are in the process of creating and learning about art you get much more from looking at art. You will find yourself asking how the artist made the marks, what media did they use? How did they get that colour? and being more critically aware and curious about artists’ work.
Visiting galleries could inspire you to experiment and try new ways of creating that you had not considered before. The world of art is so diverse, the more art you see the more you see how many different ways there are to represent the world around us.
Make the most of touring exhibitions from around the world to see international art. Exhibitions often exhibit more than just final or well known pieces, you often get a glimpse at development drawings, sketchpads, the artist’s notes and other ‘hidden gems’ that provide a fascinating glimpse into their creative minds.
I really like seeing how a final piece of artwork got developed, often you can see all the preliminary drawings which is fascinating. I find looking at artist’s sketchpads really interesting, most famous artists like Seurat (below) made several sketch studies for their more famous paintings.