Saturday, August 20, 2011

Part 1 Scholarship Week for Atelier Students Aug. 2011

Shannon Blencowe, Anna Schull, Claudia Post, Amber Neri, Lydia Tokonow
Each year I sponsor a Scholarship week for gifted or talented students that I find in a local yearly art show for teens.  Nancy Tracy founder of the Tracy Art Center in Old Saybrook, Ct. has been instrumental in this. Nancy herself was one of my students many years ago. She invites me to visit this yearly exhibition and choose from the work which art students I think have special talent and talent I think I might work with. Not knowing whether the work is done by a 13 yr old or an 18 yr old or a boy or a girl, I carefully evaluate the ability I see. This year I chose three students . All three of them, I contact and offer them the opportunity to come to my own private studio to take classes (or should I say all day workshops) under my instruction for an entire week. I give this scholarship opportunity only once each year free of cost. This year I chose Anna Schull to my surprise is only 14 yrs old , Amber Neri 16 yrs old and another student who could not take advantage of the opportunity away at summer camp. This time unfortunately cannot be made up.  I also gave two of my existing students Shannon Blencowe (she herself is the daughter of a fine artist) and Lydia Tonkonow whose mom found me through the newspapers. Lydia started off last year studying under one of my students Shannon Gilmore who is now at Paier College of Art here in Connecticut. When Shannon left me just a couple of months ago, I took Lydia into my mentoring program and she joined Shannon Blencowe.
Four young teens were in my scholarship workshops , two complete beginners and two with experience in my teaching. I train them academically just as I was trained and in the fine arts. I believe in an all round academic art education and exposure to every aspect of art, being an artist, art philosophies, art history, current contemporary artists working today, visits to  galleries, museums etc etc.
This blog is meant to tell my readers about the three full day workshop I conducted last week with my four students. They worked each day from 10am until 4pm and on the fourth day I invited all of their parents to come to my studio with their gifted teens to listen to my individual evaluations of each student and my recommendations to each of them for a continuing art program. I gave each parent two recommendations from two of my past students and their parents who are both now in Art College in Boston, Mass. to insure my intent, seriousness , qualifications and authenticity and successes.

On the first day, the two students already studying with me I considered to be advanced. The two brand new students were my beginners. I wanted my advanced students to listen carefully to how I taught, explained things and what I did in order that they themselves might be called on to teach a brand new student in the future. The first day I talked so much because there was so much to go over. I talked about easels, lighting, standing or sitting at the easel, Art books I recommend for each of them, their supplies, how to use them as a professional would, where to buy supplies, how I expected them to work and to listen. I teach them as if they were in intense training to be professional artists. I talk about my philosophies, my art experiences from my teens to this very day at almost 67 yrs. of age. I talk about not just being a professional artist and learning the skills etc. but also LIVING YOUR LIFE AS AN ARTIST in every way.
What information they are ready to retain will stick. Later in time when they are ready they will absorb more art information.  But at the beginning, I test each of them to see just how much they can absorb, what their attention span is, how serious they are to learn, and the way they handle and respect my private art studio, and the look in their eyes. Believe it or not I can see their passion, and if they connect with the language of art. All four of my students definitely passed the test. Each day I found myself more excited working with them. I wanted to give them more and more.

The first day I asked my advance students to set up two still life set ups in a large still life box propped up at eye level . The box was made for me by my husband and it is just perfect in size and folds down flat to be stored easily. They first draped the inside with a light to middle value cloth and then on each side they chose different intense colored cloth to drape over that. On one side would be a more complicated still life with a cast of a woman's head, a skull, a bottle and a key. On the other side they composed a simpler still life with a simple jug, lemon, apple and orange. They took time to make sure that each artist at their easel had a good view and composition to work with
The advanced students set up their easels on the right side of the studio in order to see the advanced still life on the left side of the box. The beginning students set up on the left side in order to see the still life on the right side of the box.
I even had them set up the proper light to work on both sides of the box. The composition is extremely important and crucial to the success of the work. There was much discussion and each subject really took on a life of it's own in our conversations.

This is one final set up the way it looked for Anna at her easel
This is Anna's view and her beginning drawing for her pastel.
This is Amber and Anna beginning their drawings.
On the right is Amber drawing from her view of the still life

This is Lydia  below an advanced student working on her view of the still life and is half way completed. Her easel was about 12 ft. away from the still life and I had her tape a 5x7 digital of her view just to look at for detail if needed.

This is Shannon Blencowe working very rapidly at her lay in and building up her pastel layers. She has been studying with me for one year now and is maturing with her drawing and painting.

please see part 2

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