Link to book
Jerry Saltz took an exercise from the copy I sent him and posted it on Twitter sans attribution:
From Alix Bailey:One of the last times I visited him in his studio he showed me your book.
probably needs some fine tuning but to be on the other side is rather exciting after 10 years of writing editing gettin permissions for reproduction etc.
A thorough review from James Sundquist a painter in RI:
This text is a great treatise on drawing and its roots in perception. I felt the book operates on many levels that makes it an accessible and useful text to many. A large portion of the book is more or less a course designed by Mr. Mugar on how to train a student's eye and how to translate that into drawing. The progression of drawing exercises is rooted in a vigorous study of perceptual theory and history, which grounds the drawing process into something concrete that anyone can learn. Drawing is not about learning how to draw, its about learning how to SEE.
For the beginner, this offers a very specific course one can follow to begin to develop and train their perceptual and consequently, their drawing faculties. For someone more advanced, or for the mature artist, it offers a great refresher on seeing and making to reintegrate into their practice. For the teacher, this offers a step-by-step course in drawing one could deploy over the course of a semester. There is also lots of interesting art historical anecdotes that relate the development of drawing and painting to parallel discoveries in the sciences.
All in all a good read and a good practical text to have in the studio or classroom.
from MIKE ANANIAN professor of art at UNC-G
This fine Sunday I have been able to smell the roses: with coffee by my side and a little time to relax, I sat and read more of your book on drawing. Although I have only read as far as chapter 2, I just had to pause to exclaim that I'm deeply impressed with your insights about the relationship of value and line and the physiological functions of the seeing, visual cognition, etc. versus the intellectual and aesthetic. I must confess, with my beginning students measurement by way of line and the distinction and discernment of planes, again using line instead of value contrasts, has been my teaching method. Your book has already challenged me to reconsider my approach not only in my teaching of drawing but also how I begin a painting in my studio. It's a wonderful book. I just wanted to let you know that. When I finish it, I'll review it enthusiastically on Amazon!
Mark Stone does a nice summary of the book on twitter http://henrimag.com/?p=11485
here is MARKS first response:
Hi Martin - I've put together a post for your book which I plan to post on Saturday morning on Henri. I really enjoyed the reading and I think you've done a wonderful job putting together an interesting and useful "handbook" for artists! I also enjoyed your history through art and how that informed the construction of your "lessons" for artists. Good job, Martin!
My first response:
It dawned on me that in this book I have collated 30 years of teaching in 7 different academic settings. I was developing new exercises right to the end when I taught at NHTI in Concord,NH in 2007. On the one hand I am chagrined I had to move around so much on the other all that change helped to generate new ideas. What I found intriguing was the universality of visual intelligence.The community college students at NHTI, many of whom would transfer on to 4 year schools were the equals of Dartmouth or UNH students.
I added the following to the site on Amazon:
Perceptual theory as a basis for learning how to draw. The author describes his own development as an artist at Yale College and advanced studies at the Beaux-Arts in Paris and at Yale University where he acquired his MFA. He studied with William Bailey, Lester Johnson, Al Held, Erwin Hauer and Bernard Chaet the author of "The Art of Drawing".cThis book is deeply informed by readings in cognitive theory and personally discovered connections between drawing, painting and science. Moreover, it is shaped by 30 years of teaching at Dartmouth College, The University of New Hampshire, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the Art Institute of Boston, now part of Lesley University. The book uses images of student work, the work of the artist and that of his teachers in particular Al Held and Erwin Hauer. It is one of the few books available to the student and teacher that makes the work of the 20thc abstract painters teachable and not esoteric. Mugar sees a clear correlation in the evolution of artistic styles and the understanding of how the eye sees the world. The book is a practical textbook with explicit exercises but also a philosophical text on what art is at this point in History
From Svetlana Alpers who is an acquaintance of my sister Betty in NYC:
Thanks for sending me your brother's book. I have now taken the time to read it through.
I share his interest in the relation between seeing and drawing/painting.
It is full of interesting points-- starting off with the review of David Marr in the NYRB which was not only important for your brother but for myself and Michel Baxandall ( also mentioned in the text.) We both thrilled to Marr's discoveries and the opportunities they offered to think newly about seeing by painters and thru pictures ( as it were). Studies of vision have moved fast since then and Marr seems a bit old-fashioned !!!
Perhaps your brother makes too quick and firm a link between the knowledge we have about the eye and seeing and what artists do/have done- the "lines" he posties in Cezanne do not convince me. Baxandall, who was much concerned with the question of vision and painting , thought we did not know nearly enough to make the kinds of links claimed in this book.
There is a kind of single-mindedness running through-- an anxiety to be or is it to do or make right. Maybe writing thoughts out in a book is different from practice in the classroom. I expect your brother has been a fine teaches-- in fact his students' work and his own look good on these pages.
ever , Svetlana and
from a classmate at Belmont Hill School Jay Paris:
from Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe
Hi Martin, Thank you very much for sending me your book, I enjoyed it and have a couple of people in mind who'd probably like to look at it. All the best, Jeremy.
From another Yale classmate Dr Joe Knight who went on to study English literature at Harvard: