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Welcome to Art 03A

By deciding to take this course you have made a commitment to developing your art skills and learning more about art. The next step of that commitment is to complete the assignments in a timely fashion and return them to your instructor.

You will find your course work much easier if you develop good study habits. A habit is a thing you do often and in a particular way so that it becomes automatic. How do you create study habits? Think about your daily and weekly routines. When do you have a period of time that you can set aside just for studying? Perhaps you are free on Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons or on some evenings during the week. Decide now that you will not allow yourself to be distracted by phone calls, television shows, or other outside events during this time. From now on, the time that you reserve will be just for studying and working on this course.

Of course, besides the special times that you allow just for this course, you can be studying art while you are doing other things. When you walk or drive to school or work, you may notice the color of wheat growing in a field or the reflections in the water and oil puddles on the street. All day you can watch the expressions and gestures of people when they are happy, tired, angry, or nervous. You can look at the shapes of vases in store windows or the design of the chairs on which you sit. You might begin to see the carvings on old architecture or the layout of a garden. All the time you are looking at the world around you, you can be studying art.

It would be a good habit to keep a notebook or sketchbook of ideas. Jot down ideas you have for art projects. Make notes about anything that impresses you—for example, the way the shadows of the house across the street look very purple in the evening. You may wish to draw sketches of an interesting object or scene. Sometimes you might just feel like doodling in your book. This notebook is just for you. You determine how or if you want to keep a journal. I find that it is helpful to make notes in my journal in the morning while I am having my first cup of coffee and in the evening as I relax before going to bed. Looking back in my journal gives me new ideas when I suffer from artist’s block. Because your notebook or sketchbook is just for you, you do not need to share it with your instructor unless you care to do so.

The more you practice, the more skilled you will become at both seeing and making art. You will also begin to develop your own style. There is no right or wrong style; each person’s style is his or her own way of expression. We all develop and improve our style by practice. For this reason, you should not feel limited by the assignments you are required to do. There are many other suggestions for art projects given in your textbook. If you wish to do one of these assignments, feel free to do so after you have completed the required assignments. Only the required assignments need to be turned in to your instructor.