Tuesday, December 13, 2011

UPDATES. Gage Academy of Art, Seattle.

Time flies and it's been too long since I've taken the time to write about what has been happening in the classrooms and studio.

This one was a real treat to get to teach.
The pose was 10 weeks long and students executed charcoal drawings, oil sketches and 1:1 contour drawings (which they transferred onto  their 30"x40" canvases).
Additionally they were working on a dark ground with set palettes in a slightly indirect way.
(Pictured above are model, Lessa Lamb and, L to R, artists Julie Hougham and Dorje Bellbrook)

Here are Aron Hart and Zooey England at work on their portraits of Lessa Lamb in week #6 (of 10).

My regular Portrait Painting in Oils (for beginners/all levels) which has met every Saturday morning for the past several years has also been going very well.

And there was an exhibition of the student's work in my Perspective for Painters class.
In this class, students deal with the problems that a painter is mainly concerned with when seeking to render or check their renderings by using traditional perspective systems, with an emphasis on tonal drawing.
The assignments explore and dissect historic works with an eye to incorporating the information acquired to create personal works from life.
The image above is an example of what students are doing by week #2 (one point perspective with an emphasis on atmospheric effects) and the image below is from week #3 (the interior of St Marks, Seattle. Also one point perspective with an emphasis on atmospheric effects).

Additionally my classes on Figure Painting in Oils and Drawing for Beginners have also been going quite well.

(Lessa Lamb posing)
This weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a three-day Portrait Sketch in Oils workshop at Gage Academy, here in Seattle.
It was a full capacity crowd and students executed rapid studies (with me shifting the light and the model changing position) every morning and longer poses every afternoon.
Day one was grisaille, day two was limited palette and day three was full palette. The models ranged greatly in age and coloration so there was a lot of emphasis on gradually expanding the palette.
I demonstrated at the outset of the session every morning and afternoon.
There will be many more classes and workshops of this sort in the next 6 months and I will try to write about them before, during and after.

Two hour grisaille study by workshop student Heidi Aubrey.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SUMMER CLASSES. Gage Academy of Art, Seattle.

This Summer, Gage Academy of Art will have it's regular two Summer sessions, during which 5 week courses will be offered.
This is an excellent opportunity to receive condensed classes which encapsulate the regular course work at an accelerated pace, be introduced to new, specialized ideas and skills to take away and use independently, or get your feet wet on a few subjects which will provide a foundation on which to add further study during the regular, ten week quarters.
I can tell you that they are a bargain because I teach just as much information and provide homework assignments and supportive materials which more than make up for the lack of studio time.
This Summer I will be teaching:

Drawing for Beginners. Saturdays, 10am-1pm (7/2-7/30) Thursdays, 9:30-12:30 (8/4-9/1)

This course will focus on still life subject matter in the mediums of graphite and charcoal.
Essential principles such as perspective, proportion and  understanding how light operates on your subject will be covered extensively and repeatedly through exercises which will range from simple to moderately complex.
The focus will be on creating drawings that form a bridge to painting.
As such you can expect to train your eye to see and render shapes and tones with fluid edges just as you would in painting, always striving to see from large to small and to simplify what you see to create a pleasing pattern that is uncluttered with confusing information.
Demonstrations in every class. 

Portrait Painting in Oil. Thursdays, 6:30-9:30pm (6/30-7/28)

A rare weeknight scheduling of my popular Saturday, Portrait Painting in Oils, Class.
In this course we start on a toned ground, as I learned to work at both The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and privately with Nelson Shanks in his studio in Andalusia, PA, with a limited palette gradually working in more colors as we progress through our classroom and homework studies.
The planes of the head and features are all covered repeatedly as are tone and temperature and color relationships with a particular emphasis on drawing with the paint and fluid handling.
Weekly homework copy-assignments further emphasize all of the issues we cover in class while providing examples of time honored methodology from the old masters to currently working contemporary masters.
Demonstrations in every class. 

Beginning Oil Painting.  Saturdays, 2-5pm (7/2-7/30)

A great foundational class dealing with the oil painting medium and it's various uses.
Beginning with quick tonal drawing exercises in charcoal (in order to see the large pattern of light and shade through tonal relationships) we then dive right into painting using still life subject matter that is selected to gradually increase in difficulty and pertain directly to the palette settings and techniques being introduced.
Grisaille (or painting in a gray scale) limited palette and indirect methods (glazing) are all covered.
Panel and canvas preparation, color theory, old master study-copies (as homework), mediums (oil, resins, solvents- their use and safe handling) are covered in addition to learning to see like a painter and think some steps ahead in your process.
Frequent demonstrations cover paint handling and classic techniques throughout.

 Master Palettes 1, Baroque to Rococo. Thursdays, 1:30-4:30 (6/30-7/28)

In this course we explore the use of the toned grounds and set palettes of the painters of the 17th and 18th centuries (such as Simon Vouet, pictured above, and his fellow Caravaggisti, or followers of Caravaggio) through the Rococo Era, with particular emphasis on the English portrait painters (Reynolds and Romney) and their English trained American contemporaries (Stuart, West and Sully).
These artists exploited the tones of their grounds to great advantage and laid out their palettes in a sequential fashion from sitting to sitting with great understanding of underpainting vs. overpainting and finish.
These ideas are used extensively by many outstanding contemporary realist painters (Bo Bartlett and Vincent Desiderio spring immediately to mind).
I recently taught a 5 day workshop version of this course to the Aristides Classical Atelier, to some significant acclaim from Juliette, and can tell you that it is filled with valuable, hard to find information which will serve you well whatever the style in which you wish to paint.
We paint nude figure and portrait models in this class and we get started painting on the first day.
Demonstrations and introductory presentations in every class. 

Intro to Portrait Drawing. Mondays, 6:30-9:30 pm (8/1-8/29)

This is the class I have been eager to teach again.
We use a wipe out method and work in charcoal in a very painterly approach that considers the planes and forms of the portrait at the same time it considers edge qualities and seeing from large to small.
We use the medium (charcoal, chamois, stump, white chalk, etc.) in a manner which mimics the use of paint as we learn to see and render and design with an eye toward painting.
Planes, features, tonal relationships, simplifying at first leading toward selectively emphasizing, historical precedents are all covered and repeatedly discussed and emphasized.
Demonstrations in every class.

Beginning Figure Painting. Tuesdays, 1:30-4:30 (8/2-8/30)

Beginning with short (single session) poses we learn to mass in the figure based on anatomical and proportional references and guidelines and the pattern of light and shade.
Using a simple, dual temperature, palette at first we create a clear dichotomy of light to shade, careful about our edge qualites and tonal relationships.
Onto this "drawing with the paint" foundation we build our further studies, utilizing more color and more refined rendering (which occurs in successive passes) always striving to see from large to small, macro to micro and general to specific.
A very popular and successful course.
Demonstrations in every class.

Master Palettes 2, Goya to Degas. Thursdays, 1:30-4:30 (8/4-9/1)

Part two of the Master Palettes course (offered in the same time slot) takes us through the 19th century which was book-ended by the Rococo trained, proto-romantic genius, Goya and the Renaissance obsessed, experimental, modernist Degas.
Each of these artists used their love and understanding of past masters ( for Goya it was Velasquez and for Degas it was Mantegna, Holbein, Raphael, Bellini and Ingres) to create groundbreaking works which are still being analyzed and admired.
Their palette settings and toned grounds, the concepts on which they based their choices and the ways that they used these means both traditionally and toward new ends will be covered in this class and provide an enhanced completion to Master Palettes 1.
Nude and portrait models will be the subjects and we will begin painting on the first day.
Demonstrations and explanatory presentations will be part of every class.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Teaching the Juliette Aristides Atelier.

The week long workshop in Juliette Aristides' atelier went well. We covered the bolus earth grounds of the 17th century, under-painting with a dual temperature palette, glazes and working wet-into-wet while glazing.
The last three days were devoted to the sequential palette settings and some of the ideas of the leading portrait painters of the 18th century. For those studies we worked on a grey ground in a more direct method, eschewing (but not before discussing ) the grisaille approach of Reynolds and Romney in favor of the more or less alla prima approach of Stuart, Gainsborough and Lawrence.
It was a lot of fun and I am very fortunate to have been invited by Juliette to present this information and lead this extensive workshop.

All 20 of the atelier students at work.

A photo of one of the students' palettes displaying a typical "set" portrait palette, second sitting, in the 18th century vein.
(Elizabeth Zanzinger at work, below)

Elizabeth Zanzinger elizabethzanzinger Juliette Aristides juliettearistides Aristides atelier gage academy of art
Michael lane Gage Gageacademy aristidesatelier Juliette Aristides

Heartfelt thanks to Juliette and all her dedicated students.

Additionally my regular semesters' offerings have been moving along well.

Here is a students' two hour figure study in oils under way in my Saturday afternoon figure painting class.
We had only met twice at this point and the students have all risen to the challenge of creating a full length figure painting in just two short hours (after I demonstrate and lecture for the first hour of the three hour session) very admirably.

Another photo from the second week of the term.
This time it is perspective class.
Students have been applying the slide lecture and drawing demo information from the first part of class to rendering classic views (this time from the Colosseum in Rome, circa 1820).
Students use sepia wash as the medium which helps them understand tonal relationships as a perspectival device, along with edge qualities. Composition is also discussed while analyzing these assignment images.
Soon the class will be taking frequent field trips to nearby cathedrals to draw and paint on-sight.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Classes at Gage Academy of Art, Seattle.

New classes at Gage Academy of Art this coming (Spring) semester.

Intermediate Figure Drawing:
In this class we work on large-scale drawings of the figure in charcoal.
I made 4x5 foot drawing boards and students work on drawings on brown paper, stumping and highlighting with white chalk.
It's a great way to combine your drawing approach with your painting technique.
Attention is paid to gesture, balance, anatomy and form and the experience of making large drawings allows students to describe the features of the figure in a way that feels very natural. Frequent demos, explanations of anatomy and light and shade take place in every class.

Portrait Painting in Oils:
Students work on portraits in oils, initially in a limited (warm/cool) palette and then with a more extended palette (with premixed tints with plenty of explanation about their use) and then finally with a full palette.
There are demos in every class. Homework assignments explore the works of the masters through copying assignments and direct vs. indirect painting methods are also explored throughout the course.

Figure Painting in Oils:
This Class is a combination of the above listed drawing class in terms of the method of simplifying and blocking in the figure combined with the use of color and many of the methods of the portrait class.
Additionally there are detailed descriptions of the figure through classroom demos and suggested homework assignments. From simple blocking-in,  to using and understanding colors in a systematic way -the end result will be that you will find yourself drawing with the paint while working from the figure in a way that feels like a natural extension of your drawing practice.

Perspective for Artists:
All of the usual issues of perspective drawing are thoroughly covered in this course.
Additionally tone, temperature and atmosphere, light and shade, shadows, composition and edge qualities are explored in depth through the use of sepia wash.
Dual temperature (warm/cool) wash drawings with white opaque highlighting are eventually accomplished and students learn to use perspective while trusting their instincts as painters and developing their knowledge of the history of perspective and its real-world application for painters.
A short lecture with projections and overlays which reveal perspective schema, old master copies and work from nature are part of every class.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Teaching at Path with Art. Seattle, WA.

Path with Art is a Seattle based outreach program which offers multi-disciplinary art instruction, free of charge, to people who are struggling with the unique challenges of homelessness, addiction and mental illness.
I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them last year, when I taught a self portrait drawing class. It was a great experience and I made a few friends for life.
I now have the honor of working with this organization again and will be teaching an Introduction to Watercolor class this term.
I'm sure that this will be one of the best teaching experiences I have this year and I'm very honored to have been asked.
Read more about this great organization here: www.pathwithart.org 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Workshop requested by Juliette Aristides.

Gilbert Stuart's Palette
National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institution

This Spring I will be conducting a week-long workshop on historic grounds and palette settings in the Aristides Classical Atelier here in Seattle.
I'm honored to have been asked to work with Juliette and her well trained atelier pupils for this fun intensive workshop.
We will be covering bolus earth grounds and techniques based on certain 17th century Neapolitan painters and also the grounds and palette settings of many of the leading portrait painters of the 18th c.
Juliette is a wonderful artist, scholar, educator and popular author and it will really be a lot of fun to work closely with her on this.
If you haven't seen her work, here is a link: http://www.aristidesarts.com/

Juliette Aristides
Oil on Canvas

Juliette Aristides
Charcoal on Paper

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nelson Shanks Apprenticeship and Master Class at PAFA.

This image is from an article in "The Portrait Signature" magazine, written by Bart Lindstrom, about my teacher and mentor Nelson Shanks.
In the article there is a mention of my successful efforts to create a "master class" at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (the first such class ever offered at PAFA) which would include an exhibition in the museum.
That is how I got to know Nelson.
His home and studio were located 20 minutes from Philadelphia and there had always been talk around the academy of his, then defunct, apprenticeship program, which involved intense one-on-one study at his home and studio.
My friends and I used to go see his work at More Gallery in center city and would often discuss our reactions to and fascination with it.
When I first met Nelson he was telling me that he had never been invited to do anything at PAFA in all the years he had lived in Bucks County (just next to Philadelphia). I thought that if I wanted to take a class with him that I would have to create one that he would be willing to teach so I took up a petition among the students and some of the faculty ( Al Gury, Deborah Deichler and Edith Neff) also signed it.
There was a new President at PAFA, Gresham Riley, and he was receptive to the idea, so I made appointments to meet with him to further discuss the possibilities of creating this kind of class.
When Nelson received a letter from Riley inviting him to teach a workshop/seminar at the academy, which would also include a solo show in the academy museum, he was more than happy to invite me over for dinner (risotto and beer) to get to know me.
The following morning, at 6am, I was back there working in his studio and I just kept returning day after day, each day proving my willingness to be there by working very hard. I recall that I lost a lot of weight running for trains and working long hours but the education I received was better than I had ever hoped for and I am very grateful to Nelson for taking the time to teach me.
Here is the entire article.