Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finding the Gesture in a Drawing

Instructor Jon deMartin works with a student during a long pose.

Our Wednesday evening figure drawing class taught by Jon deMartin gives students an opportunity to work on drawing both short poses as well as a long pose during each class. This long pose lasts four weeks. On occasion, the same model will be scheduled for two months. Continuing students may then have an opportunity to work on their drawing for eight weeks.

The main focus for each class is on the long pose. The last quarter of each class is for short poses and allows students to process and apply concepts they've learned while working on the long pose. These short poses start with one minute and end with twenty minutes.

I spoke with Jon to gain some insight into the process he teaches:

"When we begin a drawing, we start with the action of the pose.
  • Try to look at one line that can abbreviate the pose. If you had one line to draw, what would you draw?
  • After that, start looking at the scale of the head and if the head looks right. 
  • Then look for lines of contrast, the shoulders and the hips. Usually there's one side of the figure that's active, the other side is passive. And it's that duality that gives contrast and dynamics to a pose.
  • We then have the opportunity of time to embellish the drawing from that point. We start looking at structure, the structure of form and then modeling the form with values.
Jon demo's modeling

Most of the mistakes are made in the first few seconds of drawing. Movement is the life of the drawing. Look at the initial movement or moment the model inspired you and try to retain that same impression throughout the entire drawing, from start to finish. Keep that initial spark or idea.

All levels are welcome. It's not so much about the outcome but about the process of learning. Drawing is the acquirement of knowledge and the product is the result of a good process."

The next session of Jon's figure drawing class begins next Wednesday on October 3rd at 6:30pm in our North Studio. To sign up for this or any of our other classes, send me an email.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Glimmer of Light: A New Exhibition of Lauren Sansaricq’s Landscape Paintings at Saint Anselm College

Lauren Sansaricq's exhibition of her landscape work will open tomorrow, September 27th with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00pm at Saint Anselm College. The show will run from September 28th to December 6th at the Chapel Art Center in Manchester, NH. If you are in the area, it is a must see event; in the words of Jeniffer Krieger of Hawthorne Fine Art, "Lauren is a tireless technician who can hone in on the most subtle details of nature within its grandest views. She demonstrates an artistic prowess and commitment to faithful design which is not only rare for her age but also uncommon for the age in which we live.”

Home in the Wilderness
To learn more, go to

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Portraits

4 hour portraits from the weekly session!

Jacob Collins

Travis Schlaht

Edward Minoff

Charlie Mostow

Leeanna Chipana

Connor de Jong

Friday, September 21, 2012

Opening Tonight at the New York Historical Society

Asher Brown Durand, White Mountain Scenery, Franconia Notch, NH; 1857, oil on canvas
from the Robert L. Stuart Collection, on permanent loan from The New York Public Library

Speaking of landscape painting...after completing a national tour, Nature and the American Vision returns and opens tonight at The New York Historical Society. On view through February 21, 2013 are forty-five iconic works from The Hudson River School including Thomas Cole's five part series, The Course of Empire. 

The exhibition will also feature works that didn't tour including: 
  • newly conserved Studies from Nature by Durand as well as a number of important landscapes that have been recently treated.
  • Pool in the Catskills, c. 1870, a rare landscape painting by Durand's only female student, Mary Josephine Walters
  • Morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, c. 1859, a large major work by William Sonntag that has not been displayed in decades;
  • and two Italian landscapes by the African-American landscape painter, Robert S. Duncanson, on loan from Charlynn and Warren Goins. (see our post about Duncanson's current exhibition at The Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University).

The exhibition is organized in four thematic sections: The American Grand Tour, American Artists A-Field, Dreams of Arcadia: Americans in Italy and Grand Lanscape Narratives. These works showcase American artists embodying powerful ideas about nature, culture and history in their paintings in locations both near and far.

The GCA Salon will likely visit this exhibition one of the Friday evenings that the museum is open late. Stay tuned for more information!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Anthony Baus, Coffee House, 18"x24", graphite on paper

A gathering to "aut delectare aut prodesse est" (either to please or to educate). Join us as we refine our tastes and increase our knowledge through conversations and viewings. The salons will be held every 2nd and 4th Friday in our North Studio from 5:00-6:30pm. The program will vary.

We begin on Friday, September 28th from 5:00-6:30pm with art and conversation regarding the Hudson River Fellowship. This summer the fellowship moved to New Hampshire's White Mountains and we look forward to viewing work and gaining more insight into their experiences. Work will also be available for purchase.

Emilie Lee, Rainy Day on the Androscoggin River, 8"x10", oil on linen

The menu features select amuse bouche and apertifs provided by attendees. (please bring some, share some, food & drink - optional).

Your salon hosts are Katherine Whipple of Avon, Elizabeth Beard of Youngstown and Joy Tomasko of Bethel. RSVP's are encouraged. Please click here.

At work with a view of Mt. Madison 

Also, on a space available basis, participants may pay a fee of $15 to drop-in to the evening drawing session in the South Studio that begins at 6:30pm. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday Portraits in the North Studio

Check out some images and work from the latest Monday portrait session!

Leeanna Chipana

Adrienne Stanger

Jacob Collins

Anthony Baus

Jacob working away

Sally Cochrane

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beginning a Still Life

Instructor Tony Curanaj working with a student on a block-in

Instructor Tony Curanaj has offered a few tips, especially geared for the beginner, on setting up a still life.
  • Try to keep it simple.
  • Try not to get organic materials that change too quickly.
  • Use consistent lighting.
  • Do drawings first. Start with little thumbnail sketches. Once you have the set-up, do a nice basic drawing either directly on the canvas or on another piece of paper and then transfer the drawing.
  • Think composition. Again, keep it simple. Try to compose things that look natural, not forced. They should belong together. The arrangement shouldn't be too stiff or contrived. It should flow.
Instructor Sam Hung working with a student on a block-in

There are still a few spots available in our monthly Still Life class offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9pm. The next session starts on October 2nd. Email me at to sign up.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monday Anatomy Lectures have begun

Our Monday Anatomy Lecture Series started this week but you are still more than welcome to drop-in on the day of or sign up for some or all of the rest of the series. Lectures are held in our Sculpture Studio from 6-8pm.

The two hour session features demonstrations using both a live model and a hanging skeleton. Handouts are provided if you RSVP in advance. Bring a pencil and drawing pad since you will do some drawing at the end of the lecture.

When I stopped by, Mason was instructing participants to find their own external occipital protuberance. To do this at home, look for the bony bump just where the middle of your neck meets the bottom of your head.

Next up is the ribcage!

To sign up for any of the lectures-email:
Ala carte cost of $25/each. Package discount available.

Remaining schedule:
Sept. 17: Ribcage
Sept. 24: Pelvis
Oct. 1: Shoulder Girdle, Arms & Hands
Oct. 8: No lecture/building closed
Oct. 15: Legs & Feet
Oct. 22: Head & Face
Oct. 29: Neck & Back
Nov. 5: Torso
Nov. 12: No lecture/Building closed
Nov. 19: Upper Arms
Nov. 26: Lower Arms
Dec. 3: Upper Legs
Dec. 10: Lower Legs
Dec. 17: Comparative Anatomy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lecture & reception tomorrow at Columbia

Clearing in the Forest, 1866, by Robert S. Duncanson
Courtesy the Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University is featuring an exhibition of works by 19th century landscape painter, Robert S. Duncanson, from September 5 - December 8, 2012.  Tomorrow/Thursday, September 13th there will also be a curator's lecture at 5:30pm in the Stronach Center followed by a reception from 6:30-8:00pm in the Gallery.

Duncanson, a Cincinnati based-artist, was part of the Ohio River Valley landscape painters. He followed the model established by the Hudson River School, achieving success and acclaim even with restrictions imposed on him as an African American or "free colored person." More than 20 paintings and drawings from the 1840's to 1870's will be on view.

map to the Gallery
To reach the Morningside Campus of Columbia University take either the 1 train or Bus 104 to 116th Street. 
Enter the campus via the main gates located at 116th Street & Broadway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Works in Progress

We're now into our first week of school, and students are beginning to model their figure drawings and paintings, as well as tightening up their cast block-ins. These are all in-progress works, but look out for the finished works at the end of the month!

Andrew Bonneau

Sally Cochrane

Anthony Baus

Patrick Byrnes

Connor de Jong

Sam Hung

Connor de Jong

Patrick Byrnes
Seeram Mangroo

Katie Whipple

Niki Covington

Liz Beard

Anthony Baus

Seeram Mangroo
Adrienne Stanger

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Portraits

On most Monday afternoons, Jacob Collins and faculty paint alongside Water Street Atelier students in our North Studio. It's a one-time, 4 hour long pose. This afternoon, Jacob and the students were joined by Nick Hiltner, Travis Schlaht, and Ted Minoff. We've had a very full and inspiring launch into the new year at GCA!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School!

The GCA core program is back in session, with familiar faces as well as new ones. Expect new images of work in progress and finished student work in the coming weeks and months!

Jacob Collins giving his annual inaugural speech to the students.
Breakfast at the Coffee House next door to GCA!
Adrienne Stanger continuing on her cast from last year

First year students working on Bargue block-ins