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Drawing Lesson 45, Part 2 – What is Fine Art

Discover What is Fine Art

Video Lesson Description

In this video lesson you will discover What is Fine Art and also see how this calligraphic artwork is created.

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What is Fine Art

When it comes to the question “What is Fine Art” and what is the purpose of Fine Art, many contemporary artists are confused.


What is Fine Art
Considering “What is Fine Art“, I believe in the true quality of fine art-working, and my clients and collectors respond with mutual beliefs, sometimes purchasing almost an entire exhibition in the opening evening.

My fine artworks ended up in collections of private art lovers in Northern America and Western Europe.

Reflect on the question of “What is Fine Art” and the contemporary art market, my discovery was shocking. Today, the art business is the most profitable, yet completely unregulated market in the world! How did it happen? What lead to this situation? We need to make a short excursion into the history of art to see when it all went so wrong.

When it comes to the topic of “What is Fine Art” and art’s history, we see that until the 15th century, fine art had sacral and utilitarian purpose. No artist was producing paintings for the pure aim of being admired as a subject itself. The church was the main and only client able to afford marvelous masterpieces intended to glorify the commissioner and religious faith. It was a status quo up to the time when Italian bankers and republic rulers came into play. With new money came a new agenda for fine art. No longer was art to be sacral, it was liberated to fulfill another meaning – to become an object of admiration, the measure of status.

Fine artists obliged with readiness. Before that, people didn’t think long “What is Fine Art”, no artwork was created because an artist wanted to simply express himself, all works were commissioned and the client had his say on what and how to paint.

The Renaissance brought something new to the art marketplace. Sacral art turned into fine art. It became an object that could be valued accordingly to the fine artist’s talent. The value of the artwork stopped being measured by its size, amount of and price of art materials, and time spent by the artist.

The art became a commodity fetishism, it was idolized as the object itself, it was worshiped for the ‘power’ people assigned to it. Art workshops, run by professional fine artists, with the help of numerous apprentices, started to produce artworks that could be purchased not only by kings and church officials, but also by the middle class. The demand of those private citizens shaped the fine art market for the next 500 years. Art styles came and went, fashion was being changed from generation to generation by new consumers, but art managed to stay civilized and fulfill its primary purpose – to be a beautiful object that deserved to be admired, loved and worshiped.

When we look back and consider “What is Fine Art”, there has been always progress in fine art. New generations of fine artists were coming and competing for the attention of clients. Those who were brave enough to reject old styles and create new ones left many ‘isms’ in the history of modern art: impressionist, cubism, modernism, supermatism, and so on. Seeking awareness by any means and making bold and revolutionary statements, brought many artists into the spotlight of the media. Somehow traditional art skills started to be replaced with creativity.

After the Second World War, art had entered its contemporary phase. The market ideology was masterminded and financially fueled by those whose intention it was to use contemporary art as Cold War undercover propaganda weapon. Billions of dollars were invested into the promotion of contemporary art. Multiple private foundations became subsidized, funded and ruled by one governor. These foundations were and still are actively advocating and pushing contemporary art to the public. The main objective of this activity is to destroy traditional ideals of fine art and superimpose new values and morals of life. The main strategy of achieving this goal is brainwashing the public via mass media and cultural events.

When it comes to the ‘What is Fine Art’ persuasion, if they say long enough that a piece of garbage is art, then gradually people will start believing it. If someone buys that garbage for an insane sum of money, then it becomes officially confirmed as the greatest art ever created.

The price of artwork was no longer linked to the talents or skills an artist displayed. The price was created by inflated demand, fueled by PR and marketing efforts invested in the promotion of a particular artist. The contemporary art marketplace had shifted the focus of attention from a particular masterpiece to an artist’s name. The painting, drawing or sculpture itself becomes less important as the name of its creator.

In the 1970s, various art communities started to form because art didn’t matter – artists’ names were “it”. Art communities competed for the attention of the media; members of those communities competed between each other. Creativity went into overdrive. It was not enough to make a creative work of art; only the most shocking works stood a chance to be talked about. The capital followed as rich investors recognized an opportunity. Art started to yield the highest return on investment legally possible.

This, in turn, encouraged new waves of young people to join the movement. They wanted a piece of fame and fortune. The fastest way to get it was to become a contemporary fine artist. No education, skills nor previous experience were necessary; anyone with a pulse was qualified. The number of fine artists exploded. It was reported that there were about 2.3 million professional fine artists in the USA in 2005 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is about 1.4% of the entire US workforce. In the UK, 60,000 fine art students graduate each year and every single of them wants to be remarkable – but this wish cannot be fulfilled by studying and mastering the traditional skills of fine art. Today, financial success and celebrity status is awarded to an artist with little regard to how skilful he or she is, creativity and talent are optional.

How to Draw a Female in Black Ink

The “How to draw a female” topic takes its inspiration from a female figure by Raphael’s drawing ‘Study for a Sibyl’, dating back to 1512-14. The original drawing – in red chalk over stylus – by Raphael is now in the collection of the Trustees of the British Museum, London.

This “How to draw a female” artwork is being created as a decorative drawing. As a decorative work, this drawing does not necessarily demand a hyper-realistic appearance, but to be stylized and simplified. That means, the figures features can be rendered without the utmost naturalism, keeping quite an illustrative appearance. This approach is widely accepted in the decorative art.

The dark values of the shadows are achieved by the use of denser lines. The gradation from black to white is a bit limited in ink drawing. This is inherent in the technique; where gradations of values can only be achieved by varying the density of lines, and lines thickness, but there is no ability to vary the tone of the line itself.

Folds in the female figures cloth, rendered in fluid lines, and cascading downwards. Longer strokes require hand movements, rather than just finger movements. Downward lines are more natural to draw, as it is more organic to move your hand down the paper.

The shades of the drapery folds are rendered with parallel curved strokes from the pen. The lines are curved in such a way as to compliment the direction and form of the folds. The distance between the lines is a bit denser at the beginning of the shade; we do slightly bigger gaps in the middle; and finish the shaded area with shorter and denser lines, once again.

The outlines of the drapery folds are also curved. Their lines vary in thickness, starting with a very thin line; and then we gradually increase the pressure on the pen, making the lines wider; and finish the line with less pressure, making it thinner once more.

We use short curved, sideways strokes, for rendering the shades of the folds. These strokes are quite thin; and every line plays a critical role in the shading. Unlike in a graphite drawing, we cannot afford to make mistakes and try fixing them with an eraser. Therefore, every well-defined and unique stroke in pen should contribute to the overall shading appearance. Note how I’m holding the pen-shaft at this moment. My fingers are gripping it further away from the nib. This helps me with two things: first, to reduce the pressure on the pen; second, it is a more economical way of making fast strokes, with fewer finger movements.
Longer strokes can cover several folds simultaneously, thus visually combining darker areas. To build up values of shades we can go over the hatching once again, while changing the direction of strokes.

The combination of longer lines and shorter strokes makes the drawing more vibrant and artistic.

The shading on the female’s arm is rendered in a series of curved lines. These lines follow the shape of the arm. The cast shadow under the female’s hand is rendered in denser strokes, with visibly smaller gaps between lines.

We build up the value of the dark shade by cross-hatching the dark area once again; this time, the direction of the slightly curved strokes is about 45 degrees to the previous direction of the lines. Once again, there is no need to apply a thicker line here; the value would be darkened by cross-hatching, rather than going bold in the shadow. This approach will result in some degree of transparency in the shadow, so even in the darkest areas of the drawing we will have visible gaps between the lines.

We continue rendering her hair. The direction of the strokes follows the natural direction of her hairstyle.

We apply the final touches to the female figure, in very short strokes and dots.

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