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About Traditional Art / Professional Member Clara LieuFemale/United States Groups :iconnew-sculptors-guild: New-Sculptors-Guild
Sculpting has no exclusiv medium
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Brainstorming a series of fine art tutorials has me thinking a lot about this idea of accessibility. One of the aspects of the contemporary fine art world that has always bothered me is how incredibly exclusive it is.   In my experience, so much of the fine art world behaves in an elite, condescending manner towards the layman. Take contemporary art galleries, for example:  the last time I was in New York City walking around art galleries in Chelsea, one thing I noticed was how cold and unfriendly the people working in the galleries were.  I walked into one gallery where the two people at the desk wouldn’t even make eye contact or greet me as I walked into the gallery. In the past, when I did make an attempt to talk to someone in the gallery, I felt like I was intruding on their space, and how dare I try to speak to them. Can you imagine any other business or store treating a visitor in such a manner? All of these qualities sends a harsh message to the average person that the contemporary fine art world is off limits to them, it’s a closed world that they cannot enter.

Drawings that Work: 21st BCA Drawing Show

Many other fields, like design and illustration, across the board aggressively make themselves accessible to the general public.  There are millions of professional blogs, TV shows, online tutorials, social media sites for these fields. This accessibility is completely accepted and encouraged by other professionals in these fields.  This is not the case in the contemporary fine arts world.  The vast majority of professional fine artists today present their work with a mystique.  They don’t generally show any glimpse of their creative process, all of the mistakes and blunders are completely hidden from the public. One of my favorite things about Julia Child was that she was not afraid to make a mistake on camera.  Instead of being embarrassed by her mistake, she would transform it into a teachable moment and explain how to fix it and move on. For many people, her mistakes taught people just as much, if not more than when they watched her do something perfectly.

I’ve written in the past about how at times I get self-conscious about the fact that I blog extensively about my fine arts work.  I worry that many of my academic colleagues would look down on the kind of writing and blogging that I do.  My approach to my writing is conversational and not written for an academic audience.  For this reason, I’m an anomaly in the academic fine arts world.  This is why I’m thinking that a series of art tutorials from someone with my background could fill a niche that has not been addressed so far.

I'm a teacher, and I am beginning to work on a series of online fine art tutorials featuring a wide range of hands-on techniques and approaches.  The series would be inclusive of many methods of drawing, printmaking, sculpture, painting, and much more. 

What has been your experience with online art tutorials? What have you seen that has been useful to you? What would you advise against? What topics/techniques would you be interested in seeing? 
I am starting to brainstorm ideas for creating a series of online art tutorials, featuring a wide range of techniques and approaches from my point of view as a fine artist. What has been your experience with online tutorials? What have you seen that has been useful to you? What would you advise against?

I was teaching at RISD yesterday, and was able to carve out time to have lunch and dinner with two other RISD faculty. I talked to both of them about my “pie in the sky” idea of creating a show for fine artists which would feature tutorials on techniques and approaches in visual art. Both of them were very encouraging about this idea and it got me thinking that maybe I’m not crazy, and maybe this really is something I should seriously think about pursuing in the near future.

While I enjoy writing my advice column “Ask the Art Professor” for the Huffington Post, I have come to the realization that the format of a written advice column is limited when it comes to the visual arts. Yes, there are endless topics to be discussed, and I do intend to continue the column-but-ultimately to truly drive an idea home it seems like the format for talking about visual art has to be, well, visual.

I’ve been doing some research, trying to get a sense of what has been done before in how-to art shows.  All of the videos I’ve come across have been embarrassingly awful, demonstrating terrible approaches to drawing that offer both cheap shortcuts and incredibly inefficient ways of working. Or, I’ve found a few select documentaries that depict someone who is a contemporary master of an extremely difficult, specialized technique. While these documentaries are really great and fascinating, the techniques being shown are so advanced and require such high end facilities that for the average person, the technique is totally inaccessible.

In thinking about how I might approach this, I’ve been considering cooking shows as an analogy to what I might want to do. I love to cook, and hands down my favorite chef isJacques Pepin.  I’ve watched his shows and cooked through many of his cookbooks throughout my life. He embodies the perfect balance of accessibility and mastery in his cooking shows. In his demonstrations, he delivers content in a distilled, simple manner that anyone can understand and actually put to practical use.  He provides solid, fundamental ideas but is also extremely detail oriented.  I hate recipes that say “salt and pepper to taste.”  By contrast, Jacques Pepin always tells you precisely how much salt and pepper to put in. Simultaneously, he is undeniably a master chef, and does amazing things that I will never be able to do as a home cook.  (I will never, ever, be able to chop garlic like he does.)

I think there is a void in the fine arts that I could potentially fill, and it’s exciting to think about the possibilities.

Final Crit

Recently I’ve been thinking about other opportunities I could create for myself that would allow me to broaden my teaching.  Currently, my teaching is focused on my classes at RISD and through writing my “Ask the Art Professor” column for the Huffington Post. (although the column has been on hiatus because I am preparing for my solo exhibitions in November.  I’ll resume the column when the two exhibitions are up) I enjoy both, but lately I have been feeling an itch to somehow expand beyond those two veins of teaching.

In graduate school, I once helped a friend with some sculpture techniques, and she said to me “you should have your own cooking show!” From what I’ve seen online, it seems like there is a huge audience that is starving for tutorials in art.  In some ways, I’m thinking of taking my friend’s suggestion literally:  a “cooking” show for artists.  This is totally pie in the sky, but I figure that it doesn’t hurt to think about it, and we all have to start somewhere.  I like that this is percolating in my head right now, and that something new is stirring in me. What do you think?  What would you like to see from me?

Brainstorming a series of fine art tutorials has me thinking a lot about this idea of accessibility. One of the aspects of the contemporary fine art world that has always bothered me is how incredibly exclusive it is.   In my experience, so much of the fine art world behaves in an elite, condescending manner towards the layman. Take contemporary art galleries, for example:  the last time I was in New York City walking around art galleries in Chelsea, one thing I noticed was how cold and unfriendly the people working in the galleries were.  I walked into one gallery where the two people at the desk wouldn’t even make eye contact or greet me as I walked into the gallery. In the past, when I did make an attempt to talk to someone in the gallery, I felt like I was intruding on their space, and how dare I try to speak to them. Can you imagine any other business or store treating a visitor in such a manner? All of these qualities sends a harsh message to the average person that the contemporary fine art world is off limits to them, it’s a closed world that they cannot enter.

Drawings that Work: 21st BCA Drawing Show

Many other fields, like design and illustration, across the board aggressively make themselves accessible to the general public.  There are millions of professional blogs, TV shows, online tutorials, social media sites for these fields. This accessibility is completely accepted and encouraged by other professionals in these fields.  This is not the case in the contemporary fine arts world.  The vast majority of professional fine artists today present their work with a mystique.  They don’t generally show any glimpse of their creative process, all of the mistakes and blunders are completely hidden from the public. One of my favorite things about Julia Child was that she was not afraid to make a mistake on camera.  Instead of being embarrassed by her mistake, she would transform it into a teachable moment and explain how to fix it and move on. For many people, her mistakes taught people just as much, if not more than when they watched her do something perfectly.

I’ve written in the past about how at times I get self-conscious about the fact that I blog extensively about my fine arts work.  I worry that many of my academic colleagues would look down on the kind of writing and blogging that I do.  My approach to my writing is conversational and not written for an academic audience.  For this reason, I’m an anomaly in the academic fine arts world.  This is why I’m thinking that a series of art tutorials from someone with my background could fill a niche that has not been addressed so far.

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claralieu
Clara Lieu
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art
United States
I am a professor, writer, and visual artist. I currently teach as a Critic in the Division of Foundation Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. In the past I have taught in the Illustration and Printmaking departments at RISD, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, at Wellesley College, and at the Lesley University College of Art and Design. For four years I was the Director of the Jewett Art Gallery.

My work explores isolation and mental illness through drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. I have exhibited at the International Print Center New York, Bromfield Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Currier Museum of Art, the RISD Museum of Art, and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center.

I am a blogger for the Huffington Post, where I write an advice column for visual artists called "Ask the Art Professor". I published my first book, "Learn, Create, and Teach: A Guide to Building a Creative Life" in 2013.

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:iconmiguelopazo:
miguelopazo Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like your gallery, I feel is like a representation of many episodes on my mind
Reply
:icon33m:
33M Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014
after vacation I was delighted to see your newest deviations come through....Wonderful work.  I learn very much from your work and your writing.

M
Reply
:iconimfragrance:
imFragrance Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014   General Artist
Your blog is very helpful ! Thank you for your helpful advices.
Reply
:iconodistrait:
Odistrait Featured By Owner May 21, 2014
I just finished going over a few of the post on your advice column and watching a portion of your lecture video. It has been truly inspiring so far and I will definitely share your advice column with the teacher who oversaw my work at the magnet art school I attended in high school, so that other students might benefit from your advice. I hope that's okay.

thanks again,

Jean
Reply
:iconclaralieu:
claralieu Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Of course!  I am delighted that you found the columns and video interesting.  Thank you!
Reply
:icongraveyardbat:
GraveyardBat Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
Hey,

Since you used a lot of Dura Lar in your works I've always wanted to try some.
I found some in the art classroom so I jumped at the opportunity to use it. I have to admit, I really like it and I want to keep on experimenting.
 
Here's the work.
graveyardbat.deviantart.com/ar…

I did another work using the paper, but I haven't uploaded it yet.

Have a nice day!
Reply
:iconclaralieu:
claralieu Featured By Owner May 10, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Cool, thanks for sharing!
Reply
:icon33m:
33M Featured By Owner May 6, 2014
miss seeing your work.....had to come and see if you are still here....Hooray, you are....Just stopped by to say Hello....

M
Reply
:iconcurtis-macdonald:
curtis-macdonald Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Amazing work. Truely stunning.
Reply
:iconfajoor:
Fajoor Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013
Loved your work
Reply
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