Hi! Off and on over the past two years I have been taking online classes through the Art Students League of New York. And, it has been quite the learning experience.
Before I go any further, though, I would like to share my personal recommendation for online studies through the Art Students League.
Also, I would guess that these online classes are evolving. Therefore, when I share with you what we did while I was taking the class, maybe things have changed a bit.
General Impressions. To begin with, I wish that such an opportunity had been available to me twenty years ago when I started my art career. The classes are great, the instructors are world class, and the price is about as affordable as it comes. It has been like diving into a smorgasbord of classes to choose from.
What I particularly like about the classes that I have taken is that the instructors give such individual attention. To explain, the experience level of the students may vary, but, the instructors are able to make sure everyone learns and gains from the experience.
Another positive is the supportive climate and especially in the critiques! The feedback from the instructors just inspires me to work harder.
My Intention: Study! What I’m trying to say is that for the past two years my main concern has been studying and learning. Perhaps, then, that is why many of my drawings may seem simple. Well, that is they do to me. For example, I am not drawing multiple figures or objects. Rather, I am focusing on just one or a pair of things. And, again, the reason is that I am trying to improve my understanding and skills in drawing.
Or, plainly speaking, I am trying to make sure I have a solid foundation in drawing. One always has something new to learn in drawing, or something one can do better. And, all is well and good, if I understand the basics.
Some of the basics that I have been studying are angles, proportions and alignments. Hmmm, those three demand a blog post of their own.
Michael Burban’s Class. Anyway, the first class I took from the Art Students League was Michael Burban’s Elements of Figure Drawing, Anatomy for the Artist. It was a wonderful class in that not only did I learn a lot about human anatomy, I also learned how to do research on human anatomy. For example, if I want to draw a portrait, perhaps it would be a good idea to do some research to understand the skull and the muscles that effect what we see as a person’s head.
In Mr. Burban’s class, we drew from a live, online model for about an hour and a half (with breaks). Then, Mr. Burban talked to us about human anatomy from an artist’s standpoint. Then, he would give us an “assignment” to work on as fit our needs. The homework was interesting! Each week, we were encouraged to send him an image of one of our drawings. And, then, he would send us back a critique. The critiques were so useful!
Karen O’Neil’s Class. After a break for some travel in the spring and early summer of 2021, I decided to take Karen O’Neil’s Beginning Still Life Painting. I love her work and think that still life may be something I would like to work on. Another inspiring instructor and worthwhile class. And, yes, I had to admit to myself, the beginning class was appropriate as I had (and have) much to learn. We focused on one color per month.
During class, Ms. O’Neil would give us a demonstration. She would talk through her color choices and how she mixed her colors. Then, we were to set up a simple still life and try painting it ourselves. The completed works were submitted for Ms. O’Neil’s critique. It was an interesting way to learn about still life and color mixing. And, listening to the critiques of other artists’ works was as interesting as listening to the feedback on my own. I may yet go back and take her class some more. Note to readers, if you want learn about color mixing, you might try Ms. O’Neil’s class!
The fun part of about the Art Students League is that you sign up month by month. So, after a couple of months with Ms. O’Neil, I thought I would switch to watercolor. After all, watercolor is my preferred medium. So, I enrolled in Marcelo Doldoce’s “The Figure In Watercolor”.
In my next installment, I’ll talk about Mr. Doldoce’s class and the follow-on classes I took.