Friday, December 19, 2014

Best of: Drawing I

I sort of see why a lot of teaching jobs want people with two years of experience.  This will be my fourth semester teaching this same class at the same school and I finally feel like I have the curriculum nearly just right.  

The anxiety of doing it on the fly the first few times has rewards, a lot of surprising drawings come about, seems like both terrible and fantastic.  But many of these students have never drawn from life before and some have never drawn at all.  So I needed to find the speed and types of assignments that work for them as a group.  And I think it created a really solid bunch of drawings this time.  Which is really what a foundation course should do right?  I felt for the first time like every single student came away with an understanding of drawing principles, some stronger than others but still, I'm confident they are all ready to move forward, and that was good.  

Now I think its time for me to up the crotchety, scary, tough thing.  When I started out I figured the best way to have understanding students was to be an understanding instructor and that worked.  But for 2015 I'm going for that equally liked but feared dynamic. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Best of: Figure Drawing

I have been a bit absent on here recently, it was final crits and so I couldn't do much else but deal with that for the past week plus.  Today is the end of the semester.  Phew.  Need to recharge.  

I taught figure drawing again and it was a small, nice class.  A mix of 200 and 400 level students, we started with line moved through anatomy, proportions, value, light, space, and other formal matters but also got a chance to discuss and make drawings about what it means to draw a figure whether they become a sitter or a body or a part of a narrative.  This was new since last semester and I think it really added to the drawings.  Below is an example from each of the units we covered.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Pick: Dustin Metz

Half Night Still Life oil on canvas, 30x28in. 2014

Fiji Light Bottle, oil on canvas, 14x11in. 2013

Double Bottle Still Life, oil on canvas, 14x11in. 2014
 Really enjoy these paintings by LA based painter Dustin Metz.  They are part of the 'studio still lives' series on his website, where there are so many good things to look at.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

First Friday and Weekend Festivities

Ben Jones, Still Life, Oil on Canvas, 8.5 x 12 inches
This post contains my personal list of must-hit shows this holiday.  Tried and true secrets in the sea of mediocre craft bazaars this time of year.  

1.  The first show is not a holiday show per se, it has serious, career painters in it.  Lilies, Figs and Folly is a still life show curated by Bill Scott at Cerulean Gallery.  But it has a whimsical air to it that is nice this time of year and at least 35 pieces that could make a really beautiful gift.  Click that link  for prices and images, but even better come to the opening on Friday from 5-8pm! (Reading that back it sounds very commercial and lame, I think the language of black Friday has infiltrated my brain.  But really, why wait in an 8hr line to buy a tv when you can buy an original painting at a wine and cheese event?  Artists are so civilized.)  The painting above by Ben Jones, the one below by Claire Kincade and the one after by me, Giant Salad, are all going to be there.  

Claire Kincade, If I Had a Stage, Oil on Panel, 24 x 20

Giant Salad, 2014, Oil on Panel, 16 x 20

2.  This I should really not tell anyone else about.  PAFA's website has hidden it deep in its vault.  I always chalked that up to negligent IT but I'm starting to think it is purposeful placement.  Literally took me 10 minutes to find the page.  The holiday print sale (click link for said page) is happening on Friday from 5:30 - 8:30pm and its one of the best things going.  Students sell gorgeous original prints in the printmaking studios for dirt cheap because they are students and you get to take advantage of them and buy the best of the best.

3.  The University City Arts League, where I worked for many years, is having its annual craft show.  A favorite of mine with many west philly artists participating, high-quality ceramics and jewelry are always a sure thing.  They even have a swanky postcard this year:

4. The Clay Studio, a personal philly favorite for gifts for others and myself  is having a holiday sale on Friday and Saturday.  

5.  The Center for Creative Works in Ardmore, Pa is having a sale on Thursday from 4:30 - 7:30.  So yea, this is actually the first thing happening on my list...tomorrow!  In truth, I haven't been to the building before but I saw this show and loved a lot of what was being made there.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Winter Drawing

A beautiful drawing for this time of year by Carson Ellis.  All the trees are looking like this in my neighborhood.  Actually, today a man told me that ginkgo trees drop all their leaves in one single day.  So maybe that day was yesterday.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Image Makers at NOVELLA

Hey friends, I've got news -- I'm part of this totally killer show! 

 So come see!  Show is at Novella Gallery on the Lower East Side 164 Orchard St.  Opening is December 10th from 6-9pm and it continues through January 10th 2015 (whaaa? 2015? when did that happen?)

I'm really looking forward to seeing how all these painters' visions hang together but I have no apprehensions with curator/artists Avital Burg and Eleanor Ray at the helm.  Here is the press release:

"Elena Sisto’s Seeing Sound shows the back of a small canvas placed at a jaunty angle in front of a woman’s face. The visible edges of her cheek and neck appear to be blushing, suggesting an intense, perhaps playful, engagement with the image on the canvas. The space between her face and the canvas is compressed, as if she might be pressing her nose against its surface. Many of the works in this show similarly project the viewer into an image, with assertive, frontal shapes, close cropping, or a shallow space. Sisto’s Seeing Sound also presents an apt image of the show’s central concern: the artists’ engagement with the image itself, often as the catalyst from which other painterly elements emanate.
In Image Makers, Novella Gallery presents the work of 11 artists, offering a range of approaches to image making: from day-lit clarity to enigmatic fragmentation, and from explicit autobiography to hinted narrative. Varied source materials and sometimes-autobiographical details are transported into fictive realms that remain open and generous in implication. Each artist’s work articulates a clear interest in the meeting of the image with the language of painting, whether as a distillation of the observed world, a questioning of preconceptions, or an ordering of personal history. As Susan Jane Walp wrote about the world of painted equivalents that Lennart Anderson opened to her as a student, “For lack of a better word (and one he might not approve of), it was an abstract world. Entering it was entering a realm of infinite possibility, and from the very beginning I loved dwelling in it.”"