Friday, February 27, 2009

Amazing Art Intensive in Santa Fe

I've just completed the second week of a fifteen week intensive art course taught by Anthony Ryder in Santa Fe. Tony, as we students call him, has developed a well thought through curriculum.

The focus is on realism and learning the ins and outs of figure drawing and portrait painting. Sixteen students gather in his studio for six hours, five days a week. Students come from all over the world to study with Tony, a disciple of Ted Seth Jacobs. Jacobs is known for his major contribution to the revival of traditional drawing and painting.  He taught in NYC at the NY Arts Student's League during the 70's when Tony studied with him.  

In our course we have artists from New Zealand, The Bahamas, Holland as well as all corners of the United States. There is a diverse age range. Most have studied art extensively and some are outstanding in their own right. A few, like myself, have had limited training. All of us are totally focused and intensive in learning as much as we can.

During our first week we did some (approximately 4" by 6") poster portrait paintings in oil. Here the emphasis was totally on color with demonstrations focusing on value, hue and intensity of each brush stroke. Some students came with their own palette of colors. Being totally new to oil I choose 20 colors from Tony's list and it was quite exciting to open my tubes and start my palette.

The second week included three demonstrations related to figure drawing. Early in the week we learned to do "envelopes" and "block ins" of 40 minutes poses. By mid week we expanded to three hour poses which added gesture curves and finally on Friday, shading.

The high level of teaching reminds me of Juilliard and the opportunity I had to study with some of the masters of modern dance such as Martha Graham, Helen Tamiris, and Louis Horst. Classes at Juilliard as well as other venues of master classes were filled with strongly thought out concepts and beautiful philosophy as well as an encouragement to reach your highest potential. It is quite wonderful to be experiencing this excellence again.

In addition, the atmosphere at the studio is not one of competition, but of acceptance, and warmth with everyone focused and eager to learn. I am so grateful to be able to be part of this program!

And of course it is really neat to be in Santa Fe. The weather has been great with mostly blue sky days and temperature getting into the 50's. We are wonderfully located close to the Plaza but exploring our own neighborhood will have to wait awhile since Murray is dealing with Sciatica and finding it hard to remain standing or walk more than a short distance. He starts physical therapy this week and we are hopeful that it will help and it won't be long til the evenings and weekends will be spent exploring Santa Fe together.

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