I want to paint like the Russian masters!
Artwork by Lawrence Heyda
I have been drawing ever since my childhood. I remember when I was sick in bed and about 7 years old, and I was trying to draw my foot when my mom came in and told me to put it back under the covers. I grew up idolizing Norman Rockwell. I used to collect the Post magazine covers he did, as well as the Boy’s Life covers. I attended and got a degree in Painting at a major university, but there was no classical training at all.
The teachers simply pushed brushes and paint into our hands and said, “Go for it!”. When I graduated I felt that the only thing I had learned were a few tricks from the sculpture department. So, I went on to become a sculptor. I did figurines for the Franklin Mint, Civil War heroes for Chilmark, special effects for the movie studios, and even a bronze bust of Ronald Reagan for the Reagan Presidential Library.
But as the years passed I kept wanting to go back to a real art school to learn the methods that were taught in the old French academies. I even traveled to Europe in search of a good school. I thought there was one in Italy, but it turned out to be just like the ones in America. I did do a few paintings for some books about the spiritual practices of Krishna Consciousness, but with every brushstroke I felt like an amateur. I tried to find the answers by pouring over books on the Old Master techniques, but most of them were not detailed, or were out of date. Now, since I am on the mailing list of the Web Art Academy, I read every posting with great interest, and I especially drink in the incredible art done by the Russian masters, like Shishkin, Repin, and Vasily Surikov. It seems like Russia is the only country that never let the tradition of classical realism die. So, if I can win this nice competition I would like to learn FINALLY all the techniques of the old masters and create some canvases of lasting beauty before I leave this world.