End of Term Review!

I just had my end of term critique and review with Matthew and Lisa. It is always amazing to put all the work that you have done in a term out there to really look at. I have made up in home work and extra work what I have missed in class due to health struggles and feel very good all in all with my output.

In the figure drawing room I had a number of pretty solid block-in’s and outline drawings. I had a Bargue drawing, a master’s copy and a cast drawing still in progress, some workshop paintings, a homework still life painting and some completed extracurricular pastels all done within the last few months.

I think the thing that disappointed me the most was the Bargue and Cast drawing. Matthew thought they went very well and wants me to call them lessons learned and move on to new projects this coming term. I do not like to not finish things. I know I would have done a better job on it and gotten so much farther if I had been able to get to class more often for critiques. That is where the health stuff gets so frustrating – but I just don’t let myself go there. I do the best I can do with what I got and I work like a banshee, be it at the studio or at home. I do the art because I am compelled by it, I study these techniques because I am compelled to learn. The health stuff is at most a frustrating distraction.

The consensus of the critique was very favorable and they pointed out things that I had done very well, and why they were done well. Regarding general things I can work on in this coming term – I need to stand back more from my work. Make an effort, even though I work at home in a chair… get up and just stand back, use the mirror more often, come to the studio when I am able, off hours and use the studio so I have the space I need to really stand back from my work.

In my drawing and painting, begin to loosen up and try for a quicker understanding of the form while utilizing all of the classical techniques I am learning.

Focus on solid beginnings and let go of the need for clean finishes at this point. With solid beginnings a clean finish will just be that much more powerful. There is much wisdom in this… it is one of those teachings that apply to both art and life.

The critique led into the plan for next quarter. I am very excited because there is a huge difference in the basic approach I have been taking to my work! I cannot wait to get started.

Plan for next quarter –

Classes and objectives:
Figure Drawing Wednesday 9-12pm – Focus on three day block-ins, then move to another position. Take the block-ins to a generalized understanding of correct form and relationships. Not going for a finish.

Cast Drawing Wednesdays 1-4pm – Start a new cast <old man>. Focus on getting to where I left the last one quicker. Maybe do some simple cast painting projects for a portion of the class.

Independent Projects Fridays – Work on cast, cast painting, some still life painting.

  • Weekly Homework: Try for five figure block-ins of no more than 1 – 1 ½ hour per drawing per week.
    Use pose book or magazines for model.
  • Paint from LIFE and focus on the block in in a more alla prima application. Use my work shop paintings as an examples.
  • Begin drawing without the use of grids.
  • Apply energy that would be directed into pastel work into the painting exercises. Let go of needing to get to the finish of things.
  • August – Make use of the studio space and set up a little space to paint/draw.

Art School Growing Pains

Time flies! It’s been way too long since last I checked in. First off, I want to send a shout out to fellow artist and former Neoteric student Dan – This post is for you , finally!

Each student that studies with us, even for a short time brings with them their unique contribution to the group as a whole and leaves there mark with every one of us. As the school has grown I have been able to watch the growth and shifts of this dynamic group of learning artists. I see how the school itself responds to the needs of the group and the needs of the individual at the same time. We are such a small school right now, an intimate gathering of artists working with a shared goal to elevate our understanding and ability to draw and express our thoughts through the language of classical realism. It is that common ground that unifies the different personalities and individual needs into the vision that is our school.

I see Lisa, Matthew and Jonathan working hard to formulate a fresh teaching philosophy and curriculum that embraces not only their roots in traditional classical realism at the Florence Academy, but also the needs of their students as artists in the here and now. They try new things, and some stick… and some don’t. They go back to their roots, and then stretch their understanding of those roots some more. In it all they are building the teaching style and core philosophy that the Neoteric will eventually be known for. This is such a special time and the core of the teaching remains constant, though sometimes it can be a little unpredictable when you come in the morning ready for a three hour sitting only to find out that you’re having a plein air day or a gesture drawing warm up. I have learned to just go with it… because in it all these young teachers will find through trial and error what works best, what really takes the student where the student wants to go in the shortest time possible. Many of our students are part time or less than part time students but have the expectation of full time results. How will the school meet those expectations? Only by stretching their own understanding of curriculum a little bit.

I find all of this fascinating and I really believe that I am watching a little history in the making when I see this very talented and sincere group of artist/educators making the map as they drive the roads. And it is all for us… the students. This special crew that stands easel to easel and does the hard work of learning the form together.

This is an incredibly exciting time for us as we venture into the role of a cooperative, elevating the importance and functionality of the “group” and the individual to a new level. I feel so much connection to each one of my fellow students and it is my honor to draw with each one of them.