Friday, January 22, 2016

Day Four in Level Three of the Advanced Fine Art Program

by Wendy Wagner
Level Three student

Advancing through the semester, welcome to Thursday's class - though, it is actually taught twice weekly. On Tuesdays, we are led by Lea Colie Wight, on Thursdays, our instructor is JaFang Lu.

Disclaimer: Let me start by saying this is not a biased post. Before enrolling as a full-time student, I took charcoal drawing with JaFang through the school's Continuing Education program, and loved it. She is an amazing teacher, and one day a week was not enough. Flash forward a few years, and now I attend full time.

8:00 a.m. It's cold  in Philadelphia. The thermometer reads 29 degrees, as I arrive at school.
This is my view (sans model)

8:30 a.m. Today is my day to monitor the class, so I set up the model stand with help from classmate Kathleen Moore. Since our class has 12 students, we have two models. It's wonderful to have lots of space around the model stand.

9:00 a.m. Class begins with a warm-up gestures consisting of four five-minute poses.

9:26 a.m. We are on day three of this seven-day pose. What I appreciate about this class is that the instructor adjust it based on individual needs.

In other words, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Students are working on individual weaknesses, at the same time. The teachers guide us based on how we are progressing. If you need more time in a particular area, you take the time to work it out.

At times, they will demo on our work. Other times they make a small color note. Or maybe they will paint alongside us, calling the class to watch when necessary. Whatever it takes to forge ahead.

JaFang has this wonderful ability to show you how little you know. You may think you have pushed your color relationships, and she will come by, adjust a note to show you how it could really be. Sigh.

3:45 p.m. Class is over.

I snapped some pics so you can see how we are advancing. We have four days left to build the final painting. Taken with my iPhone, they are not in the best light, but you get the idea.
Progress of Level Three students

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dan Thompson, The Planar Head, Modeling The Nose in Clay

by Michela Mansuino
Level Three student

One of the most beautiful drawings of the nose, and something many artists aspire to, is that of Stephen Rogers Peck, from his "Atlas of Human Anatomy." After modeling this in clay and drawing it from life, I think about the nose in a very different way. I see it structurally in my mind's eye and see it organically in front of me. And, it's all thanks to our instructor, Dan Thompson.

To help us, Dan started with a giant nose. This has a straight mast in the center, representing the columella.

To this structure, then, two strips of clay are added, representing the wings of the nostrils - the alar. Dan uses toothpicks to hold it all in place.

Two more strips are added, representing the alar cartilage.

Four small cones are added, filling the negative spaces in between these strips.

Dan demonstrates the attachments one more time on his planar head. He starts by adding clay around the base of the nose like this:

He works the clay into place, making a platform on which the nose will be built.

On top of this shaped platform, Dan adds a slab of clay, a triangular wedge, which represents the "mast" of the nose, or the columella.

To the mast, then, Dan adds the two strips of clay that represent the wings of the nostrils.

Emanating from the tear duct, traveling down the length of the nose and tucking under the wings, are the two strips representing the alar cartilage. Notice how these strips start by twisting and then meet at the tip of the nose before they dive under the wings.

The negative spaces are then filled with four small cones.

This what my own planar head looked like when I attached the slab  representing the mast of the nose.

When I added the strips representing the wings and the alar or wing, I had attached them too low. See here how Dan corrected my attachment on the right, making the wing much higher in relation to the tip of the nose, where the alar meets in front and creates the "ball" of the nose.

I also started to attach the "sling of the muzzle. This is a thin strip of clay going on either side of the face, starting at the tear duct and wrapping around and under the jaw, making "the canopy of the jaw."

 Thanks to Dan Thompson, I know I see the nose much better now.