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Thread: A great teacher I was honored to have briefly studied under - Fred Fixler

  1. #1
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    A great teacher I was honored to have briefly studied under - Fred Fixler

    Since he came up in the context of a thread on color, I would love to introduce you all to an amazing teacher and illustrator I wish you all could have experienced = Fred Fixler. He was such a clear teacher of an older style he actually worked in (think Andrew Loomis style plus some other ideas as well). The bits and bobs on his website carry a teaching energy distinctly 40's and 50s illustrative flavor which featured solid representational art principles which could be used as an end point or could be personalized and steered to a more contemporary, personal look because the principles and methods at the heart of what he taught made for a great foundation. It sure is interesting for me to revisit some of that. Had I stumbled onto him early in my art life, my stuff would be very different. As it was, he filled in gaps in my education nobody else I found was teaching. A wonderful man. Sorry to hear of his passing. Thanks Fred. Enjoy!

    http://www.fredfixler.com/

    http://www.fredfixler.com/index.php/cave-22/ (Check out the clickable pale green links on the left and right too. Fixler's Law is especially handy and in a nutshell.)
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  2. #2
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    'Lucky you!....Good memories and experiences to have DA... I can imagine he had a great sense of humor judging by his photos and was probably one hell of a good teacher and well loved by all of his students over the years ...
    Thanks for the links on Fred, it was fun checking out and revisiting all of his work and a real blast recognizing it...We grew up with his artwork, and that's a good memory in itself!
    Take care,
    Steve

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    Very sorry to read of a great teacher passing. I only wish I had teachers close to his level when I went to Fine Art college.My experience was so terrible I gave up Art for over 15 years!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemawmv View Post
    'Lucky you!....Good memories and experiences to have DA... I can imagine he had a great sense of humor judging by his photos and was probably one hell of a good teacher and well loved by all of his students over the years ...
    Thanks for the links on Fred, it was fun checking out and revisiting all of his work and a real blast recognizing it...We grew up with his artwork, and that's a good memory in itself!
    Take care,
    Steve
    Oh he was definitely beloved by his students. Not only did he have a good, supportive demeanor, but his pupils walked away with genuine skills. His methods were very understandable. And he aimed students in the right direction to other artists of his ilk. And it wasn't uncommon to see people on breaks sharing books about the Pre-Raphaelite and Loomis and soaking it all in. He really fired people up.

    One of the main things that made him so extraordinary was that he was really hands on and consistent. So when he would sit down and start fixing your painting or drawing, he basically repeated what he had always said, then showed what he was talking about.

    One of the biggies for me was considering the planes of the head. I never learned to think that way per say. I had always been taught about proportions and then render in the features and that usually got me there, but not always. ie. If there was a shadow I would paint it in. But he hammered home the idea of looking at it in terms of planes. And it made enormous sense when you saw him doing it and talking through his process. It provided a strong structure. Some models and lighting did not show everything clearly. But in using that formula, you knew what was there. And you could add to it in ways that were convincing. So no longer was I a slave to a model or a photo what I was looking at. One could thereafter enhance.

    There's nothing quite like the feeling when the light suddenly goes on and you 'get it'.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCP View Post
    Very sorry to read of a great teacher passing. I only wish I had teachers close to his level when I went to Fine Art college.My experience was so terrible I gave up Art for over 15 years!
    Brother I hear ya. I had that same experience even when I was paying through the nose for supposed high-end education. I was lucky enough to get some great teachers. But it certainly was uneven and seemed to be the luck of the draw with who's class I got assigned to. My gut would knot up when I saw the cool stuff the other classes that I didn't get were doing. And when everybody was at lunch they would be talking up their classes and the very skillful demonstrations and inventive assignments their teachers gave, and even their charisma. And it was all happening a couple doors down. I got way too many teachers who would say a couple words and then either wander gazing at the work without comment except for lackluster homework critiques or sit somewhere and read.

    Fred was always moving from student to student demonstrating and helping. His lectures mostly came when he was sitting fixing your painting. It was not uncommon that he would be sitting with someone painting over their work and everybody would wander over and it would turn into a lecture-demo. All the time. We just couldn't get enough. It was like manna from heaven.

    When you see what a difference a good teacher makes to a student, one models everything thereafter on that and resolves to embody the best from all the teachers one has had when and if you yourself are wearing a teacher's hat.

    I consider that my education really took off once I was out of school when I had to define myself because I wasn't anywhere near where I wanted to be when I left school. Fred and his school came late in the game for me. His school came into being long after I had graduated from a different school. But had it lined up and I had the awareness of the value of it, I would have dispensed with all others and just done his. What is more, his classes were small and because he cared, you got lots personal attention. <sigh>
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

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    It's so memorable when you get an exceptional teacher, isn't it? Kind of like Robin Williams 'seizing the day' with his character's students.

    You are lucky to have crossed paths with a highly skilled artist who wanted to share his talent with his students. His portraits are exceptional, and his commercial work, though dated by modern standards, is so competent. Wonderful!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by copespeak View Post
    It's so memorable when you get an exceptional teacher, isn't it? Kind of like Robin Williams 'seizing the day' with his character's students.

    You are lucky to have crossed paths with a highly skilled artist who wanted to share his talent with his students. His portraits are exceptional, and his commercial work, though dated by modern standards, is so competent. Wonderful!
    You would have loved him. I went and looked at those illustrations again. I never saw most of the ones on his site. Some I did. He didn't bring but a few to my class. Since I was studying head painting he probably kept those pictures of the classroom and the banquet room for showing his illustration oriented classes. Had I seen them I would have surely asked him what photos he used for those particular elaborate illustrations, how many he took, how many models he had and so on.

    He was roommates for a time with Bama (as I recall?) who was really hot in book covers at the time Fred was on the East Coast. I would guess they shared models. I would also guess that New York had no shortage of out of work models, not to mention one's readily available family and friends.

    I recall it being always one of the hardest things for me finding the perfect models, the perfect stuff to shoot as reference, as well as rummaging around in used book stores looking for esoteric existing photos. Sometimes the clients provided it, in which case it made the job a heck of a lot easier. But budgets required minimizing expense and that meant a lot of improvisation and posing myself. So I would have loved to have discovered what Fred did to get reference for all the very literal stuff he painted. Probably this and that.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting, Robyn! Be well. And I want to hear about your new used car and if your animals approved.
    Last edited by D Akey; 08-17-2014 at 09:13 PM.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

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