Monday, July 11, 2016

Jon DeMartin workshop highlights

by Wendy Wagner,
Level Four student

Recently, 16 artists came together for a Figure Drawing workshop with New York artist Jon deMartin.

Jon was a beloved instructor at Studio Incamminati, so I had heard many good things about his class. He did not disappoint.

On day one, we started with short poses: one, five, then 20 minutes, working up to a single pose for the afternoon. Jon graciously answered questions during the breaks, and used various visual examples, and explained materials.

Day two included a demo with the figure in the morning, and we started a new afternoon pose. Please excuse the quality~ I hastily took the pics with my iPhone.
Day 2 demo, taken with iphone
Day three included a morning of short poses, with shorter demos from Jon, including a quick portrait, and one with the model in various difficult gestures. In the afternoon, we continued on the drawing started the previous afternoon.
Short demo on the head in perspective
Many people felt the workshop was not long enough, and I agree.

Interested in a workshop with Jon this summer? Visit his website to see if he has one near you.

Students brought their copies of his book, Drawing Atelier - The Figure: How to Draw in a Classical Style,for him to sign. It's available at

Like many artists, I get books that are highly recommended, and don't have the time to read them. Why? Too many words, and not enough pictures! Jon's book is easy to read, explains the information clearly, and has nice visual examples. It is definitely worth the investment. I can say this because, yes,  I did read it. ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Meet our graduates at our upcoming Senior Exhibition June 14

by Wendy Wagner
Level Three student

The end of a school year and beginning of summer. At Studio Incamminati, we have a new group of talented artists ready to pursue their work beyond our walls.
Four more family members moving on. It is hard to imagine myself being in their position in one short year, as they leave big shoes to fill. Best of luck to all as they embark on the next chapter.

Please feel free to stop by and meet them in person on June 14, 2016, 6-8pm, in a showcase of their work at our studios on 12th and Callowhill streets in Philadelphia. You can see the artwork up close, and find out firsthand about their experiences as a student.

Can't make it? Here is a sampling of their visual theses:

Lis Dembling
Still Life with Decanter and Snake, 18 x 24, oil on canvas.  The Phone, 12 x 16, oil on canvas

Still Life w/Decanter & Snake, Lis Dembling, oil on canvas
The Phone, Lis Dembling, oil on canvas

Jarred Fisher
Party’s Over,  11 x 14,  oil on panel. Squabbles, 9 x 12 oil on panel
Party's Over, Jarred Fisher, oil on panel
Squabbles, Jarred Fisher, Oil on panel

Nell O'Leary
Formula (detail),  18x24, oil on canvas. Moving Again, 16x12, oil on canvas.

Formula (detail), Nell O'Leary, Oil on canvas

Moving Again, Nell O'Leary, Oil on canvas

Dian Paramita 

Heartbit, 18x14, oil on canvas. Fish Head alla prima, 14x11, oil on panel.

Dian's website:
Heartbit by Dian Paramita, oil on canvas
Fishhead, alla prima by Dian Paramita, oil on canvas

Alexander Soukas
 Avalokiteshvara (detail), 19x25, charcoal on toned paper. Homage, 18x24, oil on canvas,

Avalokiteshvara, Alex Soukas, Charcoal on toned paper (detail)
Homage, Alex Soukas, Oil on canvas

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Focus: Level Three

by Wendy Wagner
Level Three student

Somehow, we are in the last stretch of our year. I'm not sure where the time went, but as Level Three  students, we are in our last mentorship cycle.

I asked my fellow classmates to share with me one piece from "the year in mentorship."
It could be the Philadelphia Museum of Art master copy, a Nelson Shanks master copy, or a still life, which was painted alongside a teacher or fellow in their studio.

Take a look at what we have been doing.

Angelique Benrahou: "Bacchanalia Hangover" 24 x 20" Oil on canvas
by Angelique Benrahou
David Clark: "Untitled_1" Oil on canvas
by David Clark
Linda Dennin: Philadelphia Museum of Art Master copy of Rembrandt's "Head of Christ" 12 x 16" Oil on panel
copy by Linda Dennin
Jason Jenkins: "Black, White and Copper" 16 x 12" Oil on canvas
by Jason Jenkins
Anna Sang Justice: "Radish" 13 x 12" Oil on canvas
by Anna Sang Justice
Lynn Snyder: "The Age of Innocence" 16 x 24" Oil on linen panel
Here is a link to Lynn's blog discussing this painting:
by Lynn Snyder
Michela Mansuino: "Copy of Nelson's Painting" 18 x 24", oil on canvas
You can find more about Michela's work at
Nelson Shanks copy by Michela Mansuino
Kathleen Moore: "Encouragement and Reward" Oil on canvas
by Kathleen Moore
Tom Plassa: "Byron, Lord Hoppenstance" 11 x 14" Oil on canvas
by Tom Plassa
Wendy Wagner: "Child Christ in Blue" 16 x 20" Oil on linen
by Wendy Wagner

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Monday, March 28, 2016

The Women of Studio Incamminati

by Wendy Wagner
Level Three student

March has been Women's History month. In light of this, I thought I would highlight the women of Incamminati.

As a female, I look up to the instructors as examples of where my own career can go. I asked some of them about the women to whom they look for inspiration.
I did not give parameters, because, as you know, inspiration can come from anywhere - from someone's work, words, or examples. It does not mean one who paints as you do. And, of course, your taste may change with whatever phase you are in at the time.

Instructor Lea Colie Wight listed women such as Rosa Bonheur, and generally all the work by Helene Schjerfbeck, contemporary painters Kouta Sasai, and our own Jafang Lu. She added Cecelia Beaux, and Mary Cassatt from her earlier days.
To view Lea's work, go to
Examples of Lea's Inspiration
Instructor Robin Frey cited Florida artist Nike Parton, who taught her the importance of painting every day and following your heart.
Her website is:

Fellow, and recent SI grad Shira Friedman mentioned influences such as Cecelia Beaux, Kathe Kollwitz, Elizabeth Eakins, Mary Cassatt and Minerva Chapman.
To view Shira's work, go to:
Examples of Shira's Inspiration
Instructor Natalie Italiano mentioned that early on Cecelia Beaux was an inspiration, but currently she is enjoying the work of Margaret Bowland.
Natalie's page is

To learn about the work of our other female instructors and fellows, click on the links below.

Instructor Alisyn Blake
Instructor Katya Held
School co-founder/Instructor Leona Shanks:

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Modeling the Mouth in Plasteline, a Structural Analysis with Instructor Dan Thompson

by Michela Mansuino
Level Three student

Let's start with the muzzle, which is a platform for the mouth. The muzzle starts at the tear duct, called the infraorbital furrow. It descends upon the associated substructures, the cheek pad fat, the masseter muscle (a muscle that runs through the rear part of the cheek from the temporal bone to the lower jaw on each side and closes the jaw in chewing), then down and over the submental triangle at the bottom, below the chin. 

These drawings illustrate the artistic form of the muzzle.

Modeling the muzzle was attaching a thin strip of clay in a sling-like manner.

Once the muzzle sling was in place, we turned to a giant mouth Dan had modeled for us.  The toothpicks indicate the direction of the planes.

Notice the nodes, they are sizeable. They have a quality that point upwards, and give the face a pleasant look.


To make the mouth on our planar head, we started with the nodes. We attached them first, like two buttons, halfway between the bottom of the chin and the top of the philtrum, (the vertical groove between the base of the nose and the border of the upper lip). Then we dug out the sulcus for depth.

Here is how mine started, with the nodes and tubercles in place. And that dip is the beginning of the sulcus, which I then dug out much deeper.

Next, we dug deeply right next to the nodes, to create the corners of the mouth.

Here is a profile of it.

Here is a detail of it. I didn't like mine, I thought I should have made the wings of the lips much thicker.

Dan's was beautiful.  He always makes his aesthetically pleasing.

The most striking concept was that of the "Y" making the "shield" shape in the center of the upper lip.  Dan drew this out for us in de-coded form. When you think of the structure in this way, you leave out lines around the apex of the upper lip, and you model the form, whether in clay or in paint.

Under the sulcus, we added the mentalis muscle, like a large button in the center, under the bottom lip, and the tubercles, marking the width of the ramus in front.  Let's take another look at Dan's giant mouth.

Painting a mouth will never be the same again.  Now we have a sound concept working from the live model. Dan was very persuasive when he said that first you had to have the center of the mouth marked, then the wings and pillows of the form would be worked out in perspective from there. Great advice, now to put it in practice.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mentoring Level Three

by Wendy Wagner
Level Three Student

Friday's in Level three are my favorite. I hate to pick one day over another, because I learn a lot in each, but the concept of Mentorship is a program component which excites me.

We rotate seven-week cycles, which consist of:
  • One rotation making a museum copy at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Two rotations of working on a personal still life alongside a teacher or fellow
  • One rotation copying a Nelson Shanks painting

Usually in the sixth week of each cycle, we all gather and walk from space to space to see how each student's piece is developing, discussing the challenges we have faced. This gives us one more week to make adjustments based on feedback received.
Today, you will shadow such a day.

8:30 a.m. I arrive at school on a 19-degree day to continue on my Nelson copy.
Instructor Robin Frey paints alongside us in the studio, working on her own piece. She dispenses advice as needed to move us along. Students Lynn Snyder and Linda Dennin are there as well.

12:15 p.m. We meet in Instructor Peter Kelsey's studio to see the progress of David Clark.
Then, we enter teacher Natalie Italiano's space to see the work of Tom Plassa. Next door is Paul Worley, who discusses his approach while working under Fellow Shira Friedman.
Students working on personal still life paintings
We then travel to the Mentorship room, where four original Nelson Shanks paintings hang. Lynn, Linda and I speak of our experiences copying the work of our school founder, an inspiration to all of us.
Students copying a Nelson Shanks original
After that, we visit our lecture space to see what Kathleen Moore and Angelique Benrahou were working on at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Student copies from the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Finally we enter the studio of Instructor Alisyn Blake, to see the development of student Michela Mansuino's painting.
Original student still life
By 2:00 pm, we head back to our easels to continue.
Another day in the life of a Level Three student.

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