Monday, October 31, 2011
Marianne and Skip—FAS students, 50 years apart
We just got a letter from Marianne Lenti, who is currently enrolled in the FAS Oil & Watercolor Painting Course. She described the experience she’s having with the Course, and included a tale of a wonderful coincidence.
I am currently enrolled in the Oil & Watercolor Painting Course, and am enjoying each and every lesson. The feedback has been very fruitful, especially the personal letter, which is the next best thing to being right there with the teacher. Having recommendations, corrections, comments of the teacher in writing may well be BETTER than some “workshops” I have attended. The attention is much more personal than a class could ever be.
Here in South Carolina I study art with Luther (Skip) Shelton. He started his artwork painting bomber nose art on planes during WWII. He also took the Famous Artists School lessons IN THE FIFTIES. I just happened to choose the same school over 50 years later. He has spoken of this experience as “life changing.” He was a commercial pilot for many years, before becoming an art teacher/illustrator/muralist here in Greenwood, SC. I thought you’d like to know he was still recalling his lessons with you.
It’s always such fun to hear about our alumni, especially those who are passing on their knowledge and skills to a whole new generation of students. Thanks so much, Marianne and Skip!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Satire at the MOMA
An exhibition currently up at the MOMA, Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine, showcases the artists’ use of satire over the centuries. While the exhibition does include 20th century artists, it appears the majority of the works are older, some dating back to the 17th century. The writer of the NY Times review argues that satirical works do not hold up to history since the potency of the subject matter is diminished to the audience. What do you think, are the artworks still relevant in their own right or should they have curated a more contemporary show?
Friday, October 21, 2011
Exhibition of drawings provides a snapshot of Picasso’s career
The Frick Collection (look at their home page for a slide show of Picasso’s drawings) in New York is currently home to an exhibition titled “Picasso’s Drawings, 1890-1921: Reinventing Tradition.” Although exhibitions of Picasso’s works are not infrequent, this low-key offering takes a close look at one period—from youth to early middle age; and one medium—drawing. It begins with an awkward, cautious pencil rendering of a small statue, drawn when Picasso was 8 or 9 years old. Although he may have begun tentatively, it didn’t take long for him to begin to display his natural gifts, as the next drawings in the show illustrate.
From these early days, the show traces his development and the myriad influences that are evident in all phases of Picasso’s art. He constantly pushed the boundaries of his materials and his subjects, whether the human face and body, landscapes, or still life. In Paris in his twenties, he was exposed to drawings of all kinds, from classical to contemporary, and the exhibition is filled with examples of these influences. In one drawing, Picasso seems to be responding to the so-called primitives of the French and Italian Renaissance; in another, to Gauguin’s Tahitian subjects. There are hints of references to Iberian and African sculpture. The exhibition celebrates Picasso’s lifelong habit of looking at every kind of art available and taking from it the themes he would develop in his own unique way.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tips on figure drawing
Drawing the human figure is a rewarding activity—but it can also be very frustrating. Here are some helpful hints from the Famous Artists School Instructors on how to overcome some common problems:
One way to start a drawing is to lightly sketch in the general position of the figure—not so much its detailed appearance, but what it is doing. Try to see the whole figure, not just an isolated part. Once you have established the proper overall size and action, you can start defining the various parts of the body.
A proven way of checking your drawing for error or “faulty seeing” is to look at its reflection in a mirror. Many professional artists keep a mirror handy so they can study their work at various stages as it develops.
Look at the figure not as a drawing, but as if he or she were a real person —one you passed on the street. Then ask yourself some questions. For instance: if I saw this person, would he look as though his arms were too long or his head too large? Would I consider her too heavy or too thin? Does he look as though he is falling over, or as though he is doing what I intended to depict? Should I emphasize the action just a little bit more?
Study anatomy or muscles, but concentrate mainly on what muscles do. Don’t allow your figure drawing to be so dominated by muscles that you lose sight of the overall effect.
Good luck and keep drawing!
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