I learned to mix black – this may have changed my world

Ivana’s inspiring experience during our Summer School

Ivana was one of a few students who undertook the challenge of completing both our Painting and Drawing Masterclasses in-between Christmas and New Year (not to mention the challenge of the heat)!

She has had previous experience in painting, however it was the first time she had ever experienced life drawing. We gratefully received her feedback and detailed experience below, and hope you also find it helpful and an insight into the classes we hold here at MAC. Thank you Ivana for allowing us to share your wonderfully candid account! This is why we love what we do.

“My objective in these classes was twofold. To refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation as these are areas where I am poor. Also to dive into the Flemish technique as I’m obsessed by light and form but am yet to represent them in a way I find satisfying. The class was a remarkable opportunity to do that.

I see an immense difference and again, must say I’m thrilled with the result. I think I’ve come a long way in a short time. At home, I paint something I am more often than not unhappy, sometimes to the point of wanting to go all ninja on it, beat it with nun chucks and chuck ninja stars… You’ll be pleased to know that these works remain safe from Japanese implements of combat. J

…I’m also practicing Flemish technique on some small canvasses at home (I’m intent on capturing that light, dammit!) and am happy to share those once done and if I’m happy with them.

Ivana Dash, Still Life Imprimatura
Ivana Dash, Still Life Glaze (work in progress)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My focus was on learning; the technical in these two specific areas (refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation) and that goal was achieved. I am thrilled with the results.

I think it’s also important to point out that these are my first still life and portrait paintings. Ever.

Now, with my drawing skills they are significantly less progressed and in respect to the drawing class, I think I was probably on a par with the others. I spoke with Hilmi about this before signing up as it was a Masterclass, and he encouraged me to do so as refining skills in this area would only be of benefit to my painting… even if I was slow and didn’t totally rock the class.

He was right.

First time working with charcoal, first time life drawing – I Loved It!

I don’t think my drawings will be hanging anytime soon, however even I could see the progress as the days progressed. See what you think:

Day 1: Still Life Gestural  
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Dark Base w/ shellac and Day 4 painted highlights
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Light Base.
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3: Life Drawing #1. Pencil + Black Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Life Drawing #2. Pencil + Black & White Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, I was thrilled by the results and have become slightly obsessed with life drawing. I need to do more. Soon!

I also learned to mix black. I think this may have changed my world.

I really enjoyed Himi’s teaching style. He’s quiet and confident, firm and precise but also gentle. I think one of the most important things in a learning environment is to have the freedom, comfort and latitude to feel free to make mistakes; countered with a confidence in your lecturer that they can pull you up on these without making you feel like an arse and have the skill to pull your work back from the brink so you can move forward. That’s a tricky balance.

Hilmi did this with me many times and I am hugely grateful and inspired to continue.”

We are very appreciative of any feedback we receive and also encourage students to share their work with us so we can share it with everyone at MAC!

We have two painting courses beginning this Saturday, running for seven weeks – Painting from Still Life with Hilmi Baskurt and Painting from the Life Model with Marco Corsini. These classes are open to all skill levels and our teachers will focus on drawing fundamentals in the beginning for those of you who are new to painting. We also have students in the class who have been returning for many terms. If you are interested in joining these classes, you can find out more information and enrol here: http://melbourneartclass.com/painting-courses/

What happens every week in Marco’s Studio Art Class

Marco Corsini’s Studio Art is a term-based course and has tended to be an eclectic fusion of talks and presentations by Marco (about four or five per term), guest speakers (one per term) and studio time.

We have a range of students attending this course; from dedicated, practising artists who have been with us for over three years, high school students supplementing their in-hours art classes, to creative people who just need an outlet.

The skill level is extremely varied as well – students tend to either be beginners who are guided through the fundamentals, or more experienced and ongoing artists who work on their own projects with Marco’s guidance. That’s the beauty of our Studio Art program – you can be the creative individual that you are, in an encouraging, non-judgemental environment, and also receive critical and professional artistic guidance if that is what you seek.

Lauren Ottaway, Red Kitchen, acrylic on canvas, 2015. Completed in Studio Art Class

We have had individuals on a Tuesday, arrive inspired with a new set of stamps and a stamp pad and stamp on huge pieces of paper all night, whilst others work painstakingly at an oil painting they have been focusing on for weeks. And we always have one or two beginners working on exercises set by Marco with his still life arrangement. The mix of people and their combined creativity is truly inspiring.

This class nurtures creativity and expression, and many students also find it an oasis from the “daily grind”. I was part of the class for three years and it was like a breath of fresh air where I was able to access that creative flow where time does not exist. Having this in my busy, corporate week was invaluable.

Marco’s Studio Art class is where I began to take my art practice seriously. Many of the materials are provided for beginners so the program allows a cost effective entry into art practice.

The class is limited to ten students to allow one-on-one tuition. Enrolments are now open for next term: https://melbourneartclass.com/studio-art/.

Upcoming Folio Development Classes

Folio Development Classes

Attention! Art Students!

If you’re halfway through Year 12 or even finishing your university degree and want to improve your folio or concepts, our Folio Development classes held over the Term 2 school holidays may just be what you need!

Click here for more information:
http://melbourneartclass.com/folio-development/

How to take quality photographs of your artwork

Taking quality photos of your artwork is very important. Whether you are taking for an art competition, blog or social media post, it is imperative that you achieve the closest likeness to your artwork as possible.

Subtle things such as yellow light and the angle of your camera can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your photograph. However, taking a photograph of your artwork like a professional is not that difficult to achieve!

Lighting, positioning and your camera set-up

These are the basic things you need to consider when taking a photograph of your artwork.

It goes without saying that a quality digital camera (like an SLR) with high mega pixels is going to achieve greater depth and quality in your photos, but if you follow the below tips you can create quality photos with almost any type of camera.

  • You need to choose where you will shoot your artwork – inside or outdoors. If you are taking photographs outside, be mindful of glare and position your artwork where you can get an even amount of light.
  • Set your artwork up on an easel as perpendicular as possible. Your artwork’s edges must be parallel with the view finder of the camera. If it is tilted at all, the shape or your artwork will be distorted. Try not to zoom in too much, and leave as little space around the artwork as you can (which you can edit later on the computer).
  • If you are taking photographs indoors, make sure the light is coming from one source, either natural light from a window or one fluorescent overhead. Also make sure that the fluorescent light is not green or yellow, because this can really affect the colour of your artwork. Your camera might have a “white balance” setting for florescent, halogen, lamp, candle etc. which you can experiment with.
  • You can either use the auto-focus centre on your camera, or the manual set-up if you can. For manual set-up, you will want to have the aperture lower, which will let in less light and give the image more depth. Ideally you would use a tripod, or rest the camera on a surface to keep the camera stable.
  • Try to take a lot of pictures of your artwork. It takes a bit of effort to set up the photograph, so it is better to have a lot of images to choose from when you load them onto your computer.

Once you have done this a few times you will get to know your camera and hopefully find a good location to take photographs.

In this digital age, where over 1.8 billion images are uploaded everyday on Instagram alone*, it is important to publish quality. Every image of your artwork on the internet is part of your on-line folio.

* http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/now-upload-share-1-8-billion-photos-everyday-meeker-report-224688.html

That finishing feeling

We tend to have so much happening in our lives. When we wake up we already have a list of what we need to do that day formulated in our head and on top of this, we also have constant interruptions from an electronic device in our pocket, which seem to easily distract the best of us.

Many of our students at MAC have commented on the wonderful feeling they get in our classes when they take time out of their busy lives to concentrate on sketching or painting, and then finish a piece.

Carla Murray, oil on canvas
Carla Murray, oil on canvas

 

Are you ever able to concentrating on one thing – that you enjoy – until completion?

Because of these to-do lists we create in our lives, this state of being a constant “work in progress” doesn’t often allow us to stop, take our time, complete something, then reflect and admire. Daily “stuff” inhibits the pursuit of activities that bring us joy – especially those that allow us to be creative.

Another reason why we may not finish what we start is because we get a feeling of satisfaction when we tell other people our intentions. Over a long period of time, there have been a number of studies undertaken that have shown that people are less likely to pursue their goals after they have told people about them*. This is because once we let someone know about our new idea that requires our action, we get a feeling that satisfies our self-identity, which unfortunately renders us less motivated to complete what we set out to do.

Why it feels good to finish artwork

When was the last time you admired some flowers in your garden and actually sat down to sketch them? Or walked down to the river to photograph the ripples on the water? Finishing something generally makes you feel good, and finishing a piece of art definitely has something special about it.

When we start something new we receive a dopamine rush, hence why we like to tell people about our goals. This rush is not unlike the same feel-good sensation we get from doing anything we find pleasurable. This positive sensation is linked to the increased activity of dopamine in the brain. We also receive a dopamine rush when we complete something.

Creating art is significant because it is something created and finished by the individual for the purpose (mostly) of the individual. However, it is not like writing a novel, or learning a language; these end-points seem almost unreachable. We can control the time it takes to complete a piece of art, and the completion is made all the more satisfying because we have brought an image to life from a white, flat surface which we can admire.

Although there is a sense of completion when we finish reading a novel, or watching a movie, it is different because we may feel like we have lost something; the story is over and the characters lives’ are frozen in time on the final page. Though when we see a piece of art we have completed, we may feel a sense of pride and achievement that lives on as long as the work does. Even finishing the tiniest sketch of a leaf – and being happy with it – can bring about this feeling. It is so simple, yet so special.

At MAC, we aim to inspire people who take the time out of their routine to be creative with us. Some simply pick up a piece of charcoal and make marks on paper, while others spend weeks and months touching up an oil painting they are deeply involved with, and proud of. No matter what your medium, we hope that you too feel that wonderful sensation of completion, whilst enjoying the journey of creating art. Now go and pick up that pencil!

*Peter Gollwitser, Symbolic Self-Completion

 

Summer Art Classes at MAC

Over the summer holidays many of us our leave our paintbrushes and pencils where we left them after our final art class. So we have introduced two new short courses to motivate you to continue your art practice throughout the break. These short courses are also great gifts to give at Christmas time because the gift of creativity and experience is invaluable. Be sure to request a gift certificate upon payment.

Drawing and Painting Intensive with Marco Corsini – Dec 29th, 30th and 31st

Join Marco this December for a three-day Intensive Drawing and Painting Course.

Marco Corsini, A kind of homecoming, 2014, Oil on linen, 120 cm. x 120 cm.
Marco Corsini, A kind of homecoming, 2014, Oil on linen, 120 cm. x 120 cm.

Marco will combine a series of presentations with personal tuition in drawing and painting, with an emphasis on working from observation and the development of sophisticated technique. Some of the aspects covered include composition, underpainting, representing form, space and texture, colour and its relationship to composition and form, and more.   Find out more information and enrol here

Introduction to Drawing with Hilmi Baskurt – Jan 15th to Jan 29th

This course presents a fantastic opportunity to learn the four elements of sketching with our new teacher, Hilmi Baskurt.

Hilmi Baskurt Untitled
Hilmi Baskurt Untitled

A former student of iconic British painter Frank Auerbach, Hilmi will introduce you to structural sketching, value sketching, Chiaroscuro and contour sketching. Hilmi earned a Master of Fine Art degree in painting from Royal Academy of Arts and his Masters’ thesis was on the subject of Composition. This drawing course will be extremely beneficial for beginners and artists who would like a refresher over the holidays. Find out more information and enrol here

An inspiring start to Term 4 Painting

Saturday morning painting classes recommenced two weeks ago, and the work being produced by our early-morning artists is phenomenal.

Marco will be teaching us a variety of different painting techniques this term, which a number of our students are currently using. Below you can see examples of the students’ current pieces, which are all works in progress.

Lynne Oil Painting 18 10 2014
Lynne’s oil painting in progress

This is Lynne’s oil painting. She has chosen to work from a photograph and is using a “layering” technique with opaque colours, which also can be called a tonal painting.

Lynne has been with MAC for two terms now and continues her art practice in her spare time, which we like to encourage all students to do!

Marco will be demonstrating this “layering” painting technique later in the term.

Leigh's oil painting in progress
Leigh’s oil painting in progress

To the right is Leigh’s current oil painting. She is working from still life, which Marco arranges every lesson.

Leigh has chosen a “blocking out” technique, using a local colour on the vase and a yellow underneath the apples.

Rivkeh's oil painting in progress
Rivkeh’s oil painting in progress

Rivkeh has joined MAC this semester wanting to learn different painting techniques.

She is currently working on one of the busts we have here at MAC. Rivkeh began with a dead colour painting but has continued to model the form using the semi opaque and opaque white for the second layer.

You can see the burnt umber that she used in the first layer and it demonstrates how effective this painting process can be when creating shadow and variation in tone.

Spencer's oil painting
Spencer’s oil painting in progress

Last term we had a model sit for us and Spencer is continuing this work.

He has also used the glazing technique; he began with a monochrome underpainting and has since applied several layers of colour. He achieved the sensitive skin tones using glazing and layering techniques.

Spencer has been with us for two terms now and we are excited to be part of his creative journey!

Meagan's oil painting in progress
Meagan’s oil painting in progress

Meagan is also working on her painting of the model from last term.

She also began with an underpainting, which has helped her achieve the skin tone (especially on his forearms) and his vest.

Meagan’s technique for painting skin in striking; when you get up close to her painting, the different colours on his face almost looks like patchwork, but as you can see, our eyes make all the colours work together.

Jude's oil painting in progress
Jude’s oil painting in progress

Many students bring in current projects they are working on so Marco can offer feedback.

Jude, who has been with MAC all year, always has several paintings on the go, and we love seeing her progress.

She learns a considerable amount with every painting she completes, from the reflection of water on skin, to how to realistically paint cloth. Jude has been working on the painting to the right for a few weeks and at the moment she is working on the difficult task of painting a newspaper at that angle.

If you would like to watch the progress of these paintings, and works of art from our other classes, follow Melbourne Art Class on Facebook and Instagram.

Lauren Ottaway, Louis the Frenchie

Lauren Ottaway, Louis the dog, 2013
Lauren Ottaway, Louis the dog, 2013

Aside from the abstract works which are described in the previous post, Lauren also paints some wonderful figurative works. This image of Louis the dog beautifully describes something of the dog’s personality.

Lauren will be exhibiting in Melbourne at Lentil as Anything from January 4th. For more information about Lauren, please go to http://www.laurenottawayart.com

Lauren is a participant in our studio art program.

Children and art

The following is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent earlier today which may be of help in understanding what I am trying to do in the Young Artist Program.

Until the age of thirteen or fourteen a child needs to be reassured that their own creative processes including experimentation and failure are all valid. I am trying to allow the children to emulate the creative processes that I see a mature artist go through. By doing that I am hoping that the child will be equipped with confidence and creative processes to deal with the challenges of anything they choose to take on. At some point the child’s vision widens and seeing skills they do not possess; they choose to acquire those skills. It is at that point that a systematic direction can be given. To some degree these two aspects are present in every child at every stage so I am trying to read the child to know when to let them go and when to give direction and I do that every class.

If the child were to produce mermaids and dogs every week I would not see that as being any different from Fred Williams producing landscapes. My role then is not to distract from the child’s vision but to support them in developing that vision and give technical advice when necessary (which at this age, may or may not be taken on). My other role is to expose the children to art and art processes which I try to do although the children are often so absorbed in their own work they barely seem to notice.

Marco Corsini