Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Seattle Atelier Review

A very nice recent YELP review of Seattle Atelier: "
One artist wanted to recreate the rigorous perceptual painting curriculum of Max Meldrum and his followers in America as a contemporary perceptual painting school in Seattle and this is it.
Michael Lane combined his academic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (under Sidney Goodman, Deborah Deichler, Elizabeth Osborne, Louis P Sloan and Roswell Weidner) private training with Arthur DeCosta, Ben Kamihira and and an apprenticeship with Nelson Shanks and the perceptual painting lessons of the students of Charles Hawthorne (Shanks, was the student of E.Dickinson and took over Henry Hensche's school for him at the end of his life) and the lesson-ideas discussed in Hawthorne and Meldrum's time in Paris, notably those of Whistler, Duran and Sickert as they related to Corot and the Macchiaioli (set down by Meldrum) to create the program.
No drawing was offered. Students worked sight size, solvent free in oils, 6 to a room, with 15 feet of space to take their positions at focus points and created alla prima paintings only. The emphasis was on memory training and students wrote out and vocalized the order and sequence in which they viewed the salient features of their subject. Much emphasis was placed on the rate of speed at which each point of the subject; bright spots, edges, etc. (in any subject) were seen and also for how long. The analytical process, palette preparation and testing of relationships for every painting was lengthy. Dickinson's "profound squint" and darkening lenses were employed for this analytical comparative process.
Classes emphasized an equal balance between indoor and outdoor painting and weekend painting students were frequently on a beach in the morning session and painting still life that afternoon. With both paintings created sight size, utilizing the same principles of conducting a rigorous analysis of how the subject is seen, felt and remembered.
Classes met for 4-6 hours each and the classroom was left open to students for as long as they needed to complete their work for that lesson/day.
No one had recreated the classroom setting and specific lessons of Meldrum in this way in the US since direct students of Meldrum, Joseph Allworthy (Chicago) and Percy Leason (New York) had presented them in the 1950s-early 1960s. Extensive recordings and documents of teaching and lesson plans were accessed and incorporated into the curriculum.
The program offered a work study scholarship position in every class to students and students could demand a full prorated refund at any point in any class.
The arch of the full-course took a year to complete (one full day per week) and what it offered was designed and meant to supplement and enhance the lessons which atelier and bfa students in the region were already receiving. The time slots in which classes ran rarely conflicted with those other programs.
It eventually morphed into an outdoor-only volunteer run program The Northwest Landscape Painting Initiative and the curriculum would culminate annually with a course taught by Lane at the JSS in Civita at the invitation of Israel Hershberg (2016, 2017, 2018) where students who had been learning to paint Seattle based on the teaching of Corot could paint where Corot had created many of his most beloved works, which had formed the basis of their study from the first day."