Saturday, May 22, 2010

Student Saturday

I'm going to start a new tradition, beginning today of posting about my students and their work on Saturdays. We'll start with some recently completed works by three students, and hopefully in the future I'll be able to write more about what my students are working on, maybe get into videos of some of my lessons! Who knows where it will go.

But, for now, for those who don't know, I've been teaching private and semiprivate lessons for three years and just this year began small group art lessons to children age 5 - adults. My lessons are very intimate which allow me to develop technique and individual goals with my students. I have a BFA in art education and painting from Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts, with experience teaching in the public schools.

My philosophy of teaching is somewhat grounded in DBAE (Disciplined Based Arts Education) which was developed in the 80s by the J. Paul Getty Foundation. This is not a curriculum, but an instructional method that focuses not only on studio production, but also on art history, aesthetics, and criticism. How do I apply that to my lessons? Well, I definitely hone in on technique, methods of creating, but then introduce historical context, discussions about personal taste, and constantly modeling constructive criticism.

In the case of Miles' pinch pot below, this was his first real experience with clay. I showed him some examples of pinch pots and hand built pots by potter, Maria Martinez, discussed texture by showing him examples of textured clay and then identifying what created the texture, and finally constructed his own pinch pot while I pinched one of my own. He brought in found objects to implement a repeating texture around his pot and had to consider which textures to use, placement and design. Finally after the pot dried, he applied rub 'n buff in a few select colors to emphasize certain parts of the pot, while unifying the entire structure.

Laurel, an adult student of mine, was given an assignment to develop a mixed media piece focusing on a metamorphosis. In her case we did not look at many examples of the topic, instead I wanted her to develop work in a free thought manner, paying attention to composition, figure ground relationships, and exploring a variety of media. Her piece evolved over several months incorporating acrylic paint, inks, pens, and graphite. Her experience lies in works focusing on representation so this below was quite a departure.

Finally, Tina, another adult student, just completed her first oil painting in several decades. Her goal was to learn to paint again. Because this was our first time working together I gave her an object to paint from life. I did not introduce a lot of contextual examples or ground this piece in art history, aside from the process of painting. She learned to first conduct an under painting (a thin, monochromatic, traditionally neutral layer of paint covering the image that lays out the groundwork for the painting), then spent weeks laying color to achieve the excellent depiction of a depression-era glass pitcher.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Welcome David Ohlerking to TraillWorks

Cheddar Alley, 24" by 48", Oil on Panel,
©2010 David Ohlerking.
$1200, unframed.

Romanesque Revival in Newton, 12" x 24", Oil on Panel,
©2010 David Ohlerking.
$300, unframed

Pennies in Newton, 12" x 24", Oil on Panel,
©2010 David Ohlerking.
$300, unframed

TraillWorks has accepted a new artist to represent. Please welcome David Ohlerking of Philadelphia, PA to the gallery. When I met David last week upon his visit to Newton's Cheddar Alley for a day-long portrait-painting session I was struck by his energy, friendliness and ability to paint! I am in awe of David's loose, gestural, immediate approach which follows the methodology of 20th Century Abstract Expressionist and Bay Area Figurative Artist, Richard Diebenkorn. As part of his studies with painter, Alex Kanevsky and a project to paint free 15 minute portraits, David is following the rules of painting that Diebenkorn laid out sometime between 1966 and 1976, written here:

Notes to myself on beginning a painting (from The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, by Jane Livingston, ©1977, p.115)

1. attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.

2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued — except as a stimulus for further moves.

3. Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.

4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.

5. Dont “discover” a subject — of any kind.

6. Somehow don’t be bored — but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.

7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.

8. Keep thinking about Polyanna.

9. Tolerate chaos.

10. Be careful only in a perverse way.

Thus far, David has presented me with three works, all of Newton, to represent at TraillWorks. For now they are unframed, but we will be working on framing them to hang them in the gallery. In the interim, here are the 2.0 versions of the paintings. David plans on painting free 15 minute portraits at Cheddar Alley on Thursdays when Spring Street is open late. Stop by Cheddar Alley; meet David, get your portrait painted and then see some of his paintings at TraillWorks.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Newton's Tour of Art Tomorrow

I know it's late notice, but if you are looking for something to do in the NJ area, Newton is hosting it's 4th Biannual Tour of Art. Throughout the week, starting tomorrow on 2nd Saturday, artists will be setting up their works throughout the Town of Newton in the fabulous boutiques, galleries, and eateries on Spring Street. Weather permitting, live music will be performed by Carl Ferriere outside in front of the Newton Fire Museum.

TraillWorks is participating with guest artist, photographer, Lori Calderone, of Sparta, NJ. Several of Lori's photos of European travel destinations will be on exhibit through Saturday, May 15th. An evening reception from 5 - 8pm is planned where you can follow a map, tour the art and meet the artists.

For more information, visit