Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Demonstration on Painting the Features with Peter Kelsey

Hi again,
Recently, it was Spring Break at Studio Incamminati. For some, a chance to rest up, and for other it is a chance to travel, or visit family. For me, it was a chance to take an intensive workshop on Ecorche Drawing and Anatomy with Peter Kelsey. The workshop itself was fantastic, and provided an opportunity to go deeper and get more specific than we did during the Ecorche and Anatomy portion of the full-time program. I brought all my left-over question with me, thought of more on the spot, and got all of them answered. For an anatomy enthusiast like me, it was a brilliant experience and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
As a bonus, and in a display of generosity with his time and his knowledge, Peter Kelsey stayed late one evening and offered a three hour demonstration on painting the features in oil. The demonstration was open to the public, and I for one, eagerly ate it up. Here it is, as it progressed.

The demo was thoroughly enjoyable, and very much appreciated.
Until next time,
Jason P. Jenkins

Monday, April 14, 2014

Open House Spring 2014 Demos

Hi Again,
Recently, Studio Incamminati had is annual open house. During the open house the facilities are open to the public, tours are given and questions are answered. It is a great time to meet with the community and potential future students, and satisfy any curiosity about the school and the program, and to get a look at the studios and student and faculty work.
We also had guests from New Wave Art, Strathmore, Gamblin, and Silver Brush, sharing information about their wares and generously distributing samples. Coffee, and remarkably good cookies amongst other fare was provided, and stimulating conversation abounded.
Center stage however was held by faculty, alumni, and student demonstrations from the live model. One of the precepts at Studio incamminati is, in order to learn, it is often optimal to ioslate one skill in an exercise, and in isolation push it, even to the neglect of other skills, to the brink of its breaking point (and possibly beyond), in the service of learning its limits and its capabilities. Then in can be reintegrated with other the other skills and employed with greater knowledge, assurance, authority, and proficiency. In a manner of speaking, that is the difference between study and performance, and as Henry Hensche said, "we must have both." In the demonstrations at the open house, each artist took one skill each , and demonstrated them as the school teaches them in exercises.
Duotone by Sakiko Shinkai

Duotone by Stephen Early

Color Study by Joseph Dolderer

Charcoal by Josh Breslin

Portraiture by Katya Held

Color Study by Leona Shanks

Grisaille by Rob Goodman

Charcoal by Peter Kelsey
The open house was a good experience for all, and the demos were an enlightening experience for me as a first year student. I highly encourage prospective students, artists and art lovers, and the community at large, to come by next time, and see what we are all about. Perhaps we'll see some of you there next year.
Thats it for now,
Jason P. Jenkins

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dan Thompson Color Study Portrait Demo

Before our spring break, Dan Thompson gave us a 3 hour color study demonstration. In the study, Dan demonstrated side by side on the same canvas, the two key components of form we've been studying independent of each other up until this point - form and color.

In the first stages, Dan proceeded to block in the model's head and first color notes in the same manner that we have been practicing the last 4 weeks, described in my last blog post here.

Dan painting Dan!

The first pass of color notes on left, and first planes of head in grisaille on right. 
The 3rd pass of color notes. Note the unified lights and shadows. 

After 2 or 3 passes of adjusting his color notes, Dan worked in grisaille during the model's breaks, to construct a planar head. This head, based on the sculptures we had made in our first semester, served as a guide in breaking down the innumerable color variations seen in nature, into a coherent and dimensional form.

Dan in action

The finished demonstration

By acquainting ourselves with the forms of the head in the first semester through hands on sculpture, and opening our eyes to light key and color in the second, the simultaneous demonstration of grisaille and color study brought Dan's lesson home beautifully- that every plane change is a color change, and every color change, a plane change. The better your perception and understanding of both color and form, the more intelligently you can interpret and break down form with convincing solidity and realism.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Level One played a prank on our beloved instructors Natalie Italiano and Joe Dolderer.

For the last seven weeks we have had an assignment to copy a master painting in the grisaille technique, that is to paint the values in a reduced scale of five tones.  Usually we use burnt sienna and ultramarine blue and a number 4 Silver bristle filbert on a toned canvas or canvas paper.

As usual we hung our homework up on the board and gathered around to see each other's efforts and critique the work.  We especially enjoyed our instructors reactions....
to Picasso.

 To copy Picasso's self portrait was revealing in that it was so blatantly primitive.  There were no real values to speak of and the flatness of the picture plane was painfully boring to us after having drawn from the model every day seven hours a day for the last nine months.  It takes years of practice to learn how to see and draw accurately.

  Antonio Mancini 1852 - 1930, Italian
We studied Mancini's realist subject matter and dark palette, we learned a lot about painting the mouth by copying this painting. 

And we didn't get in trouble at all.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NYC and Some Recent Reading

Hey Everyone,
I hope you all are doing well, and enjoying lengthening days.
If you have the opportunity to get to NYC between now and April, you should get to the Met. That is how long Bouguereaus's Nymphs and Satyr (seen above) will be there on loan from the Clark Art Institute (which is undergoing renovations). I managed to go see it a couple of weeks ago (I actually got to the Empire State building, Grand Central Station, Times Square, The Frick and The MET all in one day. My first time in NYC, and a whirlwind of surgical proportions I assure you), and was in awe before it. Not to mention all the other spectacular works whose company it is currently in.
Otherwise, I thought I'd share a few interesting articles I've read recently.
Firstly a couple of pieces that I thought were steeped in a bit more gravitas.
Today I came upon this piece by Roger Scruton, (who I first discovered in his documantary, "Why Beauty Matters" and who is a Keynote Speaker at TRAC2014). Not everyone is in agreement with Mr. Scruton's work, and I've heard him come under critical fire, but I am a fan.
I also recently read this Keynote address given by Fred Ross of the Art Renewal Center, at the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, where our very own Nelson Shanks was being honored.
This piece from Brandon Kralik over at The Huffington Post also caught my interest.
On a lighter note, not that long ago I found this gem. And a few days ago, I found this one. I think it was shared on the Atelier Movement Group on facebook, but don't quote me on that.
In other news, I hope you all got your submissions sent in for the Portrait Society of America's International Competition. The deadline was on March 4th and sent mine in just in time. As you all know Kerry Dunn won last years with his piece "Toto and I", and I'm looking forward to see what dazzling pieces are chosen by the judges this year.
Well, thats it for now. I'll leave you with Kerry's prize winning piece.
Till next time,
Jason P. Jenkins

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Light Key Color Study with Dan Thompson

Due to technical difficulties, I come to you 2 weeks late with an update on Level 2 and 3's class with Dan Thompson. My apologies!!!

This blog entry is an account of our first day into Light key color study. Dan started with a very thorough, 3 hour lecture and discussion on Henry Hensche and the tradition and lineage of colorist  methodology in painting. Here at Studio Incamminati, we inherit a tradition of a colored approach to seeing from our founder Nelson Shanks.  Nelson studied briefly with Henry Hensche, but was profoundly influenced by his ideas and teachings on color study which are an integral part of our program and curriculum.

After lunch, Dan demonstrated the process of a color study. Color study is a way of arriving at an understanding of color by stating and properly relating the colors of various masses to one another. By disregarding highly refined drawing (aided by the use of a palette knife) the artist makes a series of color 'notes', or guesses, at the color of each shadow and light mass of the subject. These initially garish and chromatic statements are an attempt at capturing "the shock of the light" or what Hensche called the "light key," the correct arrangement of colored relationships that will give the sensation of the light condition the subject is bathed in, in this case, artificial light. Unlike tonal painting where a local color is chosen for each object and is lightened or darkened to describe its form with black or white, colorist painting seeks to also describe the 'color of the light' whether it's the warm orangey glow of a halogen bulb, or the cool and ambient blue of natural light. Disassociating the color of the light from the local color of an object is the great fun and struggle of color study.

Dan's initial drawing

Dan's First pass

Dan's final pass

Dan's palette - note how separate and clean his piles are
Carolyn Gabbe
Alexander Soukas
Nell O'Leary
Christopher Nixon

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Still Life Drawing Class, Level One, Part Three

This month we started a new approach to still life.  We kept our set ups simple.

We had three days to work on our drawings although the first day was spent doing four thumbnail sketches of various compositions, horizontal, vertical, cropped and all inclusive.

Here is Linda Denin's finished study of the still life.

Here is Hope La Salle's finished study of the still life.

Here is Lynn Snyder's finished study of the still life.

Here is Dale Longstreth's finished study of the still life.

We used but three objects and drapery, and spent more time adjusting the light.

As artists, sometimes we start with a story about the objects before we compose our picture and sometimes the story evolves as we think about the condition of our set up.

Here is Wendy Wagner Campbell's finished study of the still life.

Here is Paul Worley's finished study of the still life.

Here is Angelique Benrahou's finished study of the still life.

The drawing of a still life is usually much more beautiful than the actual still life.  This is because we interpret the gravity and the light as it appeals to our senses. 

Here is Kathleen Moore's finished study of the still life.

Here is Jason Jenkins finished study of the still life.

Some of the objects were truly simple.

After composing the thumbnails four times, a wonderful wonderful drawing usually happened.

Here is my finished study of the still life.  About half way through the drawing I had a story in my mind about these objects and the condition of their arrangement.  I call this drawing "Habitat" now, because it makes me think of a middle class condition of life.

Here is David Clark's finished study of the still life.