Wednesday, March 21, 2012

copping an art feel

Once a month, I go to the library and peruse the film rentals. Their foreign film section is rather large and you can find films from Middle Eastern, Indies to classic silent films, art, music and documentaries to European standards. (I usually pick up French films to brush up this language I learned years ago and am in fear of losing; possibly my French has waned in years and would like nothing more but an intense three month immersion in Paris. Helas alors, I have other travel priorities!) But often though, I have scored several times by picking excellent films wonderfully filled with content that is deeply satisfying to me.

Last week, I rented a Danish film called The Inheritance by the director Per Fly, Cassavetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Barton Fink from the Coen Brothers (which I have yet to see.)

The Inheritance was a ritzy showcase of gorgeous visuals with gorgeous actors along with their gorgeous dysfunctions. While it was slick, I enjoyed it; the acting quite good and throughout the show, the architecture shown in several homes with interiors filled with art murals and abstracts excited me and gave me hope for contemporary painters and the art world. That aspect alone sated my film whims, but it was Cassavetes' film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie that stayed with me after several days of viewing it. It starred Ben Gazzara who was the over the top star playing a casual cool, aloof strip joint owner. I loved that it was set in sleazy Hollywood; feeling the wide dirty boulevards of the strip, that balmy fuzzy sea air and elements of the crazy fast life of city freeways made me nostalgia for the west coast. Cassavetes uses random, gritty scenes and jumbles his settings that often seem askew. He films actual situations and lets them fly, usually setting up for funky and disjointed scenarios. Nevertheless, he leaves you thinking about his films and what will happen to the characters in the story. There is really no beginning or ending, but pure living as it is. His films are raw and candid, his characters engaging in their ordinariness.

Films give me a good dose of art; the cinematography and places/countries/cities from where they are filmed are feeders of time for me. This is what I do when I cannot get into the studio and teaching classes becomes all consuming. I watch and study films, do a bit of reading and try to add significant impressions to my blog.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

drawing from thin air

My blog entry consists of works from a Beginning Drawing Class A105 that I instruct on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I enjoy teaching students who are open, interested and that take risks. It isn't easy to teach concepts that are mercurial and that do not easily translate, like perspective, movement, space or line. Usually, I am so close to my practice that I don't understand the confusion on a student's face when they exclaim - well, how do you do it? This class is composed of eight students; I teach each one to find their voice and results bring a variety of art expressions. Many of the works that are presented in this blog are far beyond a beginning drawing status and students have completed some very complicated studies.

We study simple objects and complex still lives with several objects using shading and cross hatching. The above drawings give you an idea of class projects.We also study landscapes. Students use photography to apply to their studies; observing how nature arranges itself and simplifying our subject matter is never an easy thing to do.
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Simple objects with light and shade are integral. Once light and shading is developed, this concept forms our pictures on how we see things into recognizable and successful imagery. This is a great example of a MacDonald's french fry carton looking like it needs to be filled!
Interiors are never easy, but the class develops a quick understanding on how line divides and forms a room.
A complex still life study comprises of two or more objects. We start to employ colors, one at a time. Later, students build their compositions by using two colors.
This is a very sophisticated study by a sophomore in high school. Emma has decided to take my class and does some startling works. Printed drapery is an achievement to handle in drawing!
After spring break, we are going to see "Pina" at the Bear's Tooth Theatre, the documentary on the life of the dancer Pina Bausch directed by Wem Wenders. We will start drawing the figure shortly afterwards.