"Be responsive to change and be flexible with the rules." Roger von Oech
David R. Becker
© 2000 Nita Leland
I met Dave Becker in an Internet discussion group for artists and found his responses to questions lively and informative. Later on he developed his own web site and had a book published, so I was even more impressed with his many talents.
Q. I get the impression you've always been an artist. What's your earliest memory of making art?
A. You're absolutely right about always being into art. I remember in grade school loving to do those tempera pictures on a kid's easel with that cheap paper. My mom saved all those drawings, then when I was in high school she tossed it all. I would love to look at some of those scribbles now just to reminisce.
Q. Did you have lots of encouragement as you developed your art?
A. No one in my family was an artist, but my dad says I got it from him. He never got the chance to develop his skills or go to art school. My mom put me in drawing class around seventh grade. My first experience was with charcoal. All my art teachers from grade school to the American Academy of Art helped me to become the painter I am today. I thank you all!
Q. Are you presently making your living as an artist? Any advice to artists who would like to do this?|
A. I work as an illustrator for an advertising agency, but I'm a jack-of-all-art-trades. I paint in oil, watercolor, pastel, mostly watercolor right now because I can paint anywhere anytime. But different subjects require different mediums. I do drawings, make signs, help out with school logos, signs, charts and flyers. I teach and do demos and give talks. I love it and learn a lot along the way. I feel any artist should learn to draw and design. With those two elements under their belts they can go any direction to become whatever type of artist they choose.
|Dave Becker's new book, How to Sketch With Watercolor is for artists who love to play with their paints and make sketches for studio paintings but don't necessarily want to do completed plein air paintings. Dave's books are full of practical information on techniques and materials and feature his colorful paintings of a variety of subject matter.
|Q. Your first book, Watercolor Composition Made Easy, has lots of good design tips. Are they applicable to other media? What prompted you to write your books?
A. Good design and composition work in all the arts, be it abstract or realistic. First, I wanted to make prospective students aware of my work and how I teach for future workshops. And second, I've always dreamed of having a book published like my mentor, Irving Shapiro. I wish he were alive today to see what he did for me.
Q.You're a skilled draughtsman. What advice do you give students on skills and goals?
A. A good life drawing class is important, but it's even more important to learn to draw from your mind's eye. Learn to see the drawing in your head before you put it to paper or canvas. Draw constantly. Every day. Learn the fundamentals of creating a picture. I've never been into teaching a certain style or technique, that should come automatically if you know the basics and practice constantly. You can't do it without practice.
Q. Your Web site took a lot of work and you did it all yourself. How did you manage this? Has the site been worthwhile for you?
A. Staying up late helps, along with keeping lists of things to do. I learned by helping an art club with its Web site. The Internet has become a wonderful place for the artist. It's a portfolio you don't have to carry around, constant advertising without big cost, exchange of information on commissions and sales of paintings. It basically makes things a lot easier.
Q. If you could go anywhere in the world to paint or teach, where would you go?
A. Everywhere I haven't been yet. Something I haven't seen before is always exciting, whether it's five or five thousand miles away. I definitely would like to see Venice. Seems like every artist should go there.
Thanks to Dave Becker for sharing your views. You can
email Dave. Dave is a popular workshop instructor. Visit his web site for more information..
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