Monday, December 14, 2009

Teacherly correspondence... which I elucidate my current highly-psychological angle and methodology for my class in response to a prospective student:

I'm responding to your request for more information on my portraiture/figure-drawing class -- also attached as supplement is last quarter's syllabus, from before I changed the title, and a full list of concepts and activities to be addressed during the course of the quarter.

Basically, what we'll be doing is initially going to be aimed at loosening up and disinhibiting from the way that we normally tend to look at things and worry about how they're going to look on the page. Things like working in crayons and all in colors, without reliance on outlines, without looking at the page (much), without seeing the subject right-side-up, and working on non-white backgrounds, while focusing in on light and shadow, gesture, bulk/weight and balance, and apparent mood and character. The most "technical" aspects of the class will be in learning and working with the standard proportions of the human body and face, which change considerably from birth through adulthood, and in learning how to use page space most effectively in forming a composition. Activities are both accessible and challenging at the same time, because there is no single right or wrong way for one's artwork to come out -- the emphasis is on strengthening your instincts and making the most of the conscious artistic process.

Drawing will mostly be from life (posed modeling or partner drawing), from statuary (usually just the first and second sessions) or from photographs (either yours or from my extensive collection), though some projects will call for drawing from imagination based on a verbal character description, or on changing the subject of a pose. The overall idea is to "unlearn" stylistic assumptions and habits, opening the way for clearer observation and awareness of how one sees and how to get it onto the paper most effectively and realistically. This is particularly important when it comes to drawing (or painting, or sculpting) people, because (as people ourselves) how we typically see each other stops with personal recognition, evaluation of attractiveness and interpretation of emotions and intent, rather than actually observing the qualities of the human face and form as a physical object in space and as an individual person.

I hope this succeeds in clarifying my class content and methods, and do feel free to contact me directly with any further questions.


Kagen Aurencz Zethmayr

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