Honouring Vale Pam Hallandal 1929 – 2018

Former Head of Drawing VCA

A brief perspective from a past student, colleague, and friend.

Pam Hallandal was committed to, and passionate about drawing. She regarded it as an important discipline that informed other mediums such as painting, printmaking, graphics, and sculpture. Pam was devoted to her own art practice which initially consisted of sculpture, then drawing and printmaking. Her teaching career spanned four decades, and her personal focus was always to elevate the status of drawing within the art world.

Portrait of the artist’s mother. Pam Hallandal. Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery collection

Pam was appointed Senior Lecturer of Drawing at Prahran College of Technology in the 1970s. Later named the Prahran College of Advanced Education, the institute eventually merged with the VCA in the early 1990s. Uniquely, this course enabled students to exclusively study the discipline of Drawing in a full-time capacity, achieving a Bachelor of Fine Art.

As a brief overview of the nature of the Drawing Department established by Pam, first-year students were required to participate in core subjects including weekly classes in Life Drawing, Structural Drawing and General Drawing. In essence, this meant drawing basically between the hours of 9am to 4pm, four days a week. On Wednesday, Art History, tutorials, and electives such as Painting, Sculpture, Photography or Print Making were taken.

During the second year, the course enabled participants to pursue more personal approaches to drawing and select relevant subject matter. In the third year, students were allocated individual studio spaces, but were still required to participate in weekly Life Drawing classes.

The structure of the course was clearly defined. Pam encouraged students to work from observation in the studio and develop the language of drawing primarily through the use of black and white mediums, such as charcoal, pastel, pencils and ink wash on paper. Alternatively, students would be encouraged to make small studies out on field locations in sketchbooks and in visual diaries. From these initial responses, more sustained drawings were developed back in the Drawing Department studios.

Pam was never interested in teaching set techniques, regimented rules, theories or formulas. She believed in allowing the drawing to develop intuitively in response to the subject matter, and in students developing a personal vision through a visual dialogue expressing one’s own intentions. She presented drawing as an exciting prospect requiring discipline, dedication, understanding, and practice. She intrigued the imagination of her students, encouraging, enlightening and provoking the curiosity of those who came into contact with her.

Periodically, Pam would arrange for visiting artists to teach a “block” of study in addition to the regular course. This provided further insight and stimulation to a specific topic in their area of expertise. For example, Rick Amor would take students for a workshop related to the urban environment, drawing buildings and the Chapel Street area. He would discuss the application of the Golden Mean and other compositional devices. Guy Stuart would accompany students on day trips to the Botanical Gardens, providing the opportunity to work from public statues and exotic plant forms. Other strategies included presenting a series of personal drawings to a prominent artist in a group critique situation. Guests included Brian Dunlop and Michael Shannon.

Regular lecturers within the Drawing Department would take groups out on day trips to draw at the Melbourne Zoo, St Kilda foreshore or perhaps to a local dancing studio. The focus was often on gaining an understanding of the importance of “gesture” within a drawing.

Students participated in annual Drawing camps and would head off to a beachside or river location, for example, to immerse themselves in a rugged and unruly natural environment. This provided a strong contrast to the College Studio located in the heart of busy Prahran, surrounded by people, trams, trains, cement buildings, power lines, and bitumen roads.

Pam orchestrated a rich and fertile learning environment for her students, personally monitoring their progress throughout the course, and afterwards as they forged their own identities, careers and status in the art world and workplace. She led by example – her own hands and fingers were usually embedded with and stained from constant use of black compressed charcoal.

Many have been fortunate to benefit from the rich experience of her teaching practice. Others have simply enjoyed viewing the quality of her drawings, prints and sculpture which now belong in national and state gallery collections, as well as in universities and libraries collections throughout Australia. Pam’s career highlights included winning the Australian Dobell Drawing Prize for excellence in drawing in 1996 and 2009 (the only female to do so). This prize has been held in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Pam has been included in “Backlash” at the NGV in 1986, in many major drawing related exhibitions at Heide, Mornington Peninsula, Gold Coast City Art Prize, The Centre Gallery, S.H. Erwin Gallery, Sydney, Kedumba Invitation Art Award, NSW, Australian Drawing Biennial, ANU and a recent major solo at Ballarat Art Gallery.

Past and current tutors employed at Melbourne Art Class have benefited directly from Pam Hallandal’s teaching, wisdom and expertise. These include Maree Woolley, Michelle Caithness and myself.

Written by Michelle Zuccolo

 

 

Have you asked Google “how to draw”?

Google recently revealed the top ten “how to” searches of all time, and “how to draw” made it in at number 5.

When you ask Google “how to draw”, the search results show an overwhelming number of step-by-step websites and videos on how to draw anything from a fox to the 3D alphabet. Whilst these instructional blogs and videos seem to satisfy the searcher’s needs, we know that it is with continued drawing practice that drawing skills improve. In fact, we have noticed that some students come to our classes after reaching the limit of what they can do through online training videos.

This is one reason why we do what we do. We design classes that help everyone and all skill levels – including those who are googling “how to draw”.  Our teachers are all practising artists themselves, and aim to help you with whatever you are searching to do creatively.

Why do we draw?

We begin expressing ourselves unselfconsciously through drawing before we can say our own name as it is an instinct we are born with. But by the time we finish school, most of us don’t pick up a pencil again for a very long time. As drawing does not seem to be of tangible use for everyday life, it is easy to place less importance on it, and ultimately forget about it.

We draw for self-expression; to process thoughts and feelings; for pleasure; to record moments in time; to read and interpret the world. Drawing is valuable in our lives because it is a form of visual thinking and challenges us in different ways, from hand-eye co-ordination, to how we really understand and “see” an object in front of us.

People often seek drawing classes in adulthood because few things in life can generate the same feeling that creativity can. Drawing can be calming, it can challenge us and change our brain patterns. Drawing classes are also a “mature” way to continue what we loved doing as children; we may attend classes for the familiar feeling that drawing creates within us, or because we want to become a master of the craft.

Jesse Dayan, Two Empty Chairs and a Top Hat Signifying a Brief Absence, Charcoal on Paper, 2012

We have also noticed that many people at Melbourne Art Class, once they have retired, seek drawing classes with us, because they now have the time to pursue something they have always wanted to do. We feel privileged that we can help these people reconnect with their creativity and the lost art of drawing.

The reasons why we draw are subjective and widely varied, however, we want to emphasise that it is never too late to pick up the pencil again.

We can teach you “how to draw”

Our classes provide an environment that cannot be replicated in an online tutorial. When you are around creative people, you feel yourself become more inspired and more likely to be motivated to return week after week. Practice, ultimately, will improve your drawing. And we believe everyone can draw.

We have a few drawing classes scheduled for the remainder of 2017 and we would love to help you improve, or refresh your drawing skills:

Drawing Bootcamp with Marco Corsini – Nov 4  

An intense crash-course introducing you to the fundamentals of drawing

Drawing in Nature – en plein air with Marco Corsini – 5 week course from Nov 12

A unique opportunity to draw alongside, and receive tuition from artist Marco Corsini in his natural element – the outdoors

General Drawing – Cylinders, Flowers, Folds and Fish with Marco Corsini – 6-week course from Nov 11

Be introduced to various classical strategies and techniques for drawing from Still Life

Introduction to Drawing – The Four Elements of Sketching with Hilmi Baskurt – 5-week course from Nov 21 

Explore the four basic elements of sketching and drawing, including understanding the subject’s structure, proportions, and the placement of its compositional elements.

And here is the rest of the list of “how to” questions we have been asking Google. How many have you asked?

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to get pregnant
  4. How to lose weight
  5. How to draw
  6. How to make money
  7. How to make pancakes
  8. How to write a cover letter
  9. How to make French toast
  10. How to lose belly fat

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Incredible works from our Drawing Course

Another Introductory Sketching Course has just drawn to a close, and the students are extremely pleased with their results!

During the first of six lessons with Hilmi Baskurt, students are free to draw however they like. Hilmi’s instructions began after this initial drawing, which is put to the side to compare with the final drawing at the end of the course. You may not be able to believe that complete beginners created these drawings from Still Life below..!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Inside our Drawing and Mixed Media Workshop

Hilmi ran our first workshop for the year – a Drawing Workshop using Ink and Shellac. It was a marathon workshop, where students created a still life, beginning with charcoal, then two layers of shellac and finished with black ink and white paint!

Hilmi began the workshop teaching students some of the fundamentals of drawing. Students were to choose a number of items of still life that Hilmi had meticulously arranged, with black sheets behind them, which Hilmi explained was important because it creates the shapes of the still life. You see the shape of something by looking at what is behind it, and a dark surface makes this easier.

After students finished the drawing in pencil, they then used charcoal to enhance the dark and light tones within the image.

Once students felt they had a finished sketch, Hilmi put down a big plastic sheet, and made sure everyone wore gloves for, what students felt, was a daunting, yet fascinating process. They laid their works on the plastic sheet and poured shellac all over the page, moving around and smoothing out the shellac with small spatulas. Students were hesitant to pour the runny mixture on the thin paper, however the shellac sealed the charcoal drawing beneath and eventually created a hard surface; changing the images instantly! Students added two layers and then left them to dry for half an hour. If you are familiar with Hilmi’s mixed media works using shellac, he normally uses at least eight layers of shellac!

Hilmi pouring the shellac over the charcoal drawing
Hilmi pouring the shellac over the charcoal drawing
KC smoothing shellac over her drawing
KC smoothing shellac over her drawing

Once the images were dry, the next step was to add ink in the darkest areas, and diluted ink for the mid-tones. Painting over the shellac was unlike anything they had experienced; the new texture of the paper was unpredictable; there were bubbles, rough and smooth areas, which made it very interesting, yet challenging to apply the ink! The final part of the workshop saw students adding white to the lightest areas, which was what Hilmi called creating ‘magic’. It really did lift the still life images off the page!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you’d like to join one of our next workshops, you can view them here.

 

New day art classes at MAC!

We have been asked for a long time now, when will we be holding art classes during the day?!

Well, we are excited to announce we will be running two new Drawing and Painting (Studio Art) classes during Tuesday and Friday mornings from 2017! Finally, we hear you say!

Artist Marco Corsini will be presenting these daytime art classes and they will run the same way as our popular evening Studio Art Class (don’t worry, he will still be taking our Tuesday night class)!

Vicki Mullina, oil on canvas, 2016, Studio Art Class

Marco’s Studio Art Classes are our longest-running and are the foundation of Melbourne Art Class. We welcome people from all creative backgrounds, skill levels – anyone who needs a space to be creative, become inspired, acquire specific skills, continue an artistic project – the list goes on. The unique element about this class is that we limit enrolments to only ten students, so Marco is able to provide critical feedback, drawing and painting tuition or just help you get your idea out of your head and onto the canvas.

To get to know Marco’s classes a little better, you can read about his Tuesday evening class here.

Our classes are held at Enderby Studio, 314 Church Street, Richmond.

Daytime Art Course Dates

Term 1 Tuesday mornings: Feb 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, Mar 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th (8 sessions)

Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

Term 1 Friday mornings: Feb 10th, 17th, 24th,  Mar 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st (8 sessions)

 Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

If you have any questions about our new daytime art classes, please don’t hesitate to email Lauren at hub@melbourneartclass.com! We look forward to helping you add some creativity to your week!

 

A marathon workshop using ink, shellac, charcoal and pastel

Last Saturday we held a Drawing Workshop using Ink and Shellac with Hilmi; we were very excited because it was our first of this sort and it proved to be very popular.

The workshop’s primary focus was on structural drawing techniques and describing value. Hilmi summed the experience up as a marathon day, where students worked from Still Life, beginning the day with a structural drawing, then introduced value with ink washes and then sealed this with a shellac layer. Pastel and charcoal was then used to further develop the drawing.

You can see their incredible process below! Unfortunately we do not have images of all our students’ works (if you are not featured here and would like to share your work with us – please email Lauren).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another Drawing Intensive sees brilliant work produced!

Over the ANZAC Day weekend we ran a small Drawing Intensive Workshop. Small because we had a smaller number of enrolments – however the result was an intimate workshop where Hilmi was able to focus on each student’s process, skill level and individual learning desires.

Incredible work was produced by each student, and we are proud to show it off! As you can see below, we had a range of skill levels, which is why we keep our classes small, so every teacher can provided one-on-one training. You can see the progress of each student over the three-day weekend:

Ivana has been attending our classes since late last year and has been challenging herself with drawing classes. As you can see, it pays to put in the effort!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was Jonathan’s first class at MAC and his progress over the three days was impressive.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was also Erin’s first class at MAC, and she has since enrolled in our six-week Drawing Course with Hilmi. She produced some incredible work. We also received some heart-warming feedback from here too, “I enjoyed the workshop immensely. Hilmi created an environment where we were all able to work at our own pace and develop as individual artists. We moved quickly through the curriculum but Hilmi’s precise articulation made it doable.

In the past I have done intensive workshops and they have left me exhausted and somewhat despiteful. This weekend, time flew and I looked forward to the next exercise. 

It didn’t take me long to book my next class package, for all the reasons listed above. I must also mention that the cost of the classes makes it very accessible. I did a lot of research before booking the intensive workshop and found Melbourne Art Class to be the cheapest – by far. But it wasn’t cheap value.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These workshops are a good way to supplement ongoing study, and we had Katelyn, who is a VCE Studio Art student. She wanted to enhance her drawing skills and gain a greater understanding of tone and structure and produced some brilliant work!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

If you would like to attend an upcoming Drawing Class here at MAC, check out our classes, or join a waiting list! We’ll be opening enrolments for our next round of classes soon. We also want to thank everyone for their hard work and for letting us share their works!

Attending to the lightness of seeing

Drawing and Painting Student, and Guest Blogger Ivana, inspires us with her newly-found dedication to agreeing to pay attention to the act of seeing.

A little while ago a post floated across my facebook feed, one of those pithy inspirational quotes – you know the sort; the sort that is ever so wise and makes you feel good and whole while otherwise scrolling cat vids*.

From William James, the American Philosopher and Psychologist it said simply:

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.”

It got me thinking around a bunch of stuff. Now, some of that stuff is pretty personal and I’ll hold it close but in respect to the act of drawing there is an insight bound in the idea of agreement and attention I thought might be relevant and of interest. Here goes…

Left to my own devices, I’m a sloppy drawer. Hard handed and while not lacking confidence in attacking the page I’m a little too focussed on immediate gratification. I just want to get that damn image down! Quickly. I’ve got 20:20 vision and know one end of a pencil from the other but you might not always be able to tell when looking my work.

Here’s an example, sketched quickly at home:

Moomin with Mummy, Ivana Lees
Moomin with Mummy, Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I take drawing classes and I do this for two reasons:

1) To develop technique, and;

2) To tame my giddy inner self and focus on seeing.

It is true that with each drawing and each class my technique improves; manipulation of material and touch becomes easier, tips are gained and tricks learned but… If that’s all a drawing class was, I’d still be a sloppy drawer –with admittedly significantly better tools at my disposal.

So this is where the second point comes in. Obtuse perhaps, but insanely important it’s about the act of seeing – agreeing to pay attention to the act seeing; to force myself to do this in a structured and warm but firm environment.  To learn to look at. To learn to look around. To learn to look through. To learn to truly look. To agree to do this so that I might actually see. Through this, my naturally excited hand becomes light and free; truly trained and tamed and my work while still distinctly mine becomes all the better for it. At least, that’s my goal. Some recent Melbourne Art Class drawing class works:

Ivana, charcoal on paper, March 2016
Ivana Dash, charcoal on paper, March 2016
Ivana, charcoal on paper, March 2016
Ivana Dash, charcoal on paper, March 2016

Now, I’ve done a number of MAC drawing classes with Hilmi Baskurt and am intensely driven to continue however other than the obvious improvement in technique (which in itself is delightful and not in question) I was feeling a little at a loss as to why I was so compelled. After all, I lead a busy life like everybody else and classes come at the cost of doing something else. Then, I saw that little quote and my gut instinct got a voice. I want to learn to see.

I agree to attend to being able to see.

Written by Ivana Dash

*BTW, cat vids are awesome. I have nothing against cat vids. Oh look! Here’s one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUtn3pvWmpg

Student work from our Drawing Classes with Hilmi Baskurt

Artist Hilmi Baskurt’s Drawing Courses explore the four elements of sketching – the structural sketch or basic line drawing; value sketching (light and dark); chiaroscuro (black and white) and contour sketching, or continuous line drawing. Being aware of these four elements helps students with their observational skills and will lead to a more finished drawing.

These courses attract a wide range of people – from complete beginners to artists who would like to return to the fundamentals. Because our classes are small (no more than ten students), this allows Hilmi to help everyone individually, no matter what skill level. It also allows a student some freedom in their choice of work.

The first term of classes saw some fantastic drawings being produced, especially since a number of our students had never drawn before. We love doing what we do when we see a new artist complete a drawing they never thought possible – or see an object of Still Life in a way they had never considered!

Here are some of the works produced in our recent six-week course with Hilmi:

Jamie
Jamie
Kate
Kate
Song
Song
Emily
Emily
Georgia
Georgia
Steve
Steve
Cheryl
Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also ran a Drawing Intensive Worksop over the Labour Day weekend that crammed the four elements into a boot-camp style course, as well as one day focusing on Life Drawing. These workshops are extremely popular; a lot of our students complete this workshop and then move onto our six-week drawing and Life Drawing courses. In both of these courses, students can complete folio-ready drawings, depending on their skill level.

Here are some images from our students undertook the Labour Day Workshop:

Stella
Stella
Casey
Casey
Chandrima
Chandrima
Donald
Donald
Ivana
Ivana
Jenni
Katie
Katie
Vipul
Vipul
Patrick
Patrick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come and sketch with us over the ANZAC Day weekend!

We are running a three-day drawing workshop over the ANZAC Day weekend and enrolments are currently open! You can read more and enrol in the workshop here: http://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-intensive/. If you have any questions about the course, or any classes we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lauren at hub@melbourneartclass.com.

You can see all the drawing courses we offer here: http://melbourneartclass.com/drawing/

 

Award-winning artist Irene Ferguson joins MAC

We are extremely fortunate to have artist Irene Ferguson in our rank of professional artists/teachers here at Melbourne Art Class!

Irene is currently teaching our popular six-week General Drawing Course, and her Sunday Studio Art Course begins this weekend (enrolments are still open!).

Irene was born in New Zealand and we are very lucky she has chosen to cross the Tasman after wandering all around the world. She completed a Master Fine Arts at the New York Academy of Art, (cum laude) and also has a Diploma of Fine Arts, with Honours (printmaking) from Otago School of Fine Art, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Irene Ferguson with Blue Girl

Irene has had over thirteen solo exhibitions and a number of group exhibitions in her career, and has worked as studio assistant for both Jeff Koons and Louise Bourgeois.

A highly-recognized artist, Irene has been a finalist in many prizes, including the BP Portaiture Award at the National Gallery in London.

Irene is best known for her portraiture work. In 2008 she won the Adam Portraiture Award with her work, The Blue Girl, Johanna Sanders in her Back Yard (pictured).  She travelled to Italy in 2010 to the Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy to complete her training in portraiture. And Irene will soon be taking a portraiture class here at MAC!

We currently have one class with Irene with places still available – our Sunday Studio Art Course, where we invite all artists, whether you are a complete beginner and would like to learn how to draw or paint, or if have your on project you would like to work and receive critical feedback. The nine-week course begins this Sunday April 17th, and you can enrol and find out more about the course here: https://melbourneartclass.com/sunday-studio-art-with-irene-ferguson/.