Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Workshops at Gage Academy of Art, Seattle.


I want to begin by saying how much I love the workshop format because of how easily it allows students to retain the lessons of each drill-like exercise, which can often grow hazy over the course of a busy week, and apply them to each new study.
Practicing, adding to, perfecting our understanding are what we are after.
Mornings are generally filled with introductory drills and fast studies, while longer afternoon studies allow students to add refinement to their work.



When I was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine arts in Philadelphia I was very lucky to study with Rozwell Weidner who had been a student of Daniel Garber and he pushed us constantly to make tonal drawings.
Here is an example of a drawing by Garber.

And, for comparison, a detail of one of his paintings

Later, as a student/assistant in the studio of Nelson Shanks, I found that this same approach was the only way he executed his drawings.
The obvious advantage to this practice is that it stresses that one see and work like a painter.
The particular challenges of painting, starting with large shapes, closely related middle values and mostly diffused edges all need to be present and foremost in our minds whether we are drawing or painting.
While going into great detail regarding the planes of the head, light and shade, proportions, this class also helps bridge the gap between drawing and painting  and provides practical advice that applies to both.
Being a quick and concise technique I have found that it is the best way to draw in order to prepare for a painting and so any portrait painter should be familiar with the techniques.


Many of us are moved to express ourselves through the most expressive subject of all, the portrait.
Yet there are many practical difficulties, such as adequate time with the subject or a reference which is more alive and accurate than a snapshot.
In this workshop, students refine their understanding of the forms and colors of the portrait as well as build their speed byworking on fast studies in the mornings and from one long pose every afternoon.
The mechanics of the painting process as well as the plane and color changes of the subject are studied repeatedly and instructor demos begin each session.


What do you think about when you are looking at the portrait subject in front of you?
If you are like me you are probably thinking about the beauty of nature and lunch.
In this fun and informative lecture-lab two day workshop participants will draw from models, after a lecture-demo, while referring to planar and skeletal head models and diagrams.
Knowing the simple and clear shapes and patterns of what what lays under the skin is of immense use when drawing or painting a portrait.
If you haven't delved into this information yet or have been left cold by the prospect of learning it from a book then this workshop, with hands on drawing from a different models each day, might be perfect for you. 
Bones, muscles, veins, fat, the effects of age, color and tone changes and more will be covered.

Thank you.
I hope to see you there.