Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Look Back: Summertime with GCA's Instructors

Today is officially the first day of fall and before summer becomes an even more distant memory, here's a glimpse into how our GCA core and part-time instructors spent the longer and perhaps more leisurely days (aside from teaching classes and workshops in our studios!)

And to further celebrate the change in seasons, LIC Arts Open has launched a new initiative in which several neighborhood museums and galleries will be open to the public every Third Thursday of the month. To kick it off, our adjacent gallery, Eleventh Street Arts is hosting a pop-up exhibition, "New Arrivals" featuring several of GCA's locally based instructors and our new and returning Resident Artists. Join us for the opening tonight, Thursday, September 22 from 6 - 9pm.

Jessica Artman
photo of Jessica by Fred R. Conrad for the New York Times
This summer was spent hitting the books, both text and sketch. I resourced all the figure drawing books at my disposal to do anatomical studies of the figure. While this is an on-going project, my goal is to better understand the figure without always referencing the model so I can draw from the model quicker and more efficiently. Once a week, I also worked in the new ICAA cast hall. This cast collection used to be integrated with Grand Central Atelier before our school moved to Long Island City. I was inspired by their redesign of the room and enjoyed the nostalgia of working in that building again. 

Jessica's finished painting of the ICAA cast collection
My focus was the subject of studying from the classical. I wanted to capture the interior of the new space and the amazing light effect from its North facing windows. A fun added bonus was being featured in the New York Times along with colleagues Charlie Mostow, Anthony Baus and Nina Lomeo (graduate of the ICAA's former Beaux Arts Atelier).

Jessica also brought her cat back from the brink of death!
Jessica teaches our new Sunday Foundations of Figure Drawing class this fall.

Colleen Barry & Will St. John
Eve St. John at one week old by Colleen
Graphite and chalk on paper.
We're enjoying our two month old daughter Eve St. John. Eve was born on July 6th, 2016.

Colleen loves drawing her new muse and has recently joined instagram - follow her @colleenbarryart

Colleen teaches in the core program and will return to Evening Figure in the new year. Will teaches in the core program and Evening Figure class this fall.

Anthony Baus
Santa Maria Maggiore, ink wash and pen, 2016 by Anthony
This drawing began in Rome during the Autumn of last year. I set up an easel across the street from Santa Maria Maggiore for three days. First laying in the architecture, rearranging it to fit my paper, then settling on the perspective while referencing 18th c. prints of the same subject by Guiseppe Vasi and Piranesi. The foreground was lightly designed with a vague idea of its role in the composition, knowing that it would later be finished in the studio. 

Anthony at work in Rome
Completing this drawing was my first project upon returning to New York at the beginning of Summer. The rich history of this church became the inspiration for the ruins and figure arrangements that lay strewn about the foreground. I included stories such as the Miracle of the Snow, the kidnapping of Pope Gregory VII and an old icon reputed to have been painted by the hand of St Luke the Evangelist.  

Anthony teaches in our core program and Evening Figure class. He will also teach an Architectural Ink Wash workshop October 8 - 10.

Patrick Byrnes
"Flowers in a Mason Jar" painting by Patrick 
This summer I made quite a few floral sketches, often sharing bouquets with friends in the studio. Some of the paintings went up to a gallery in Massachusetts. These one or two-day oil sketches were really fun and challenging and a nice change of pace from my usual work with live models. We had a really hot summer here, so I also frequently rewarded myself with a spritz at the end of (aaand sometimes midway through) the day. I think I called this one "Flowers in a Mason Jar"; it was my favorite of the lot. 

Cheers! We loved having you as an Artist-in-Residence for two years, Pat!

Patrick teaches in our core program as well as our Evening Portrait and Sunday Portrait Sketch classes this fall.

Devin Cecil-Wishing
Process collage of Devin's self-portrait
I've been meaning to do a self portrait for a while now and somehow or another I kept putting it off for other projects. I finally decided that this summer was going to be the time to do it. I'm primarily a still life painter and it had been a while since I had painted any people so it was fun to get to paint a portrait again. 

Process collage of Devin's "Guacamole" painting
They say paint what you love and what do I love more than Mexican food. This summer I painted the main ingredients for guacamole. I started this right before I went to Texas in late July and then finished it in August when I returned. 

Devin teaches in the core program as well as the Evening Cast, Saturday Light & Color and Sunday Cast classes this fall.

Zoe Dufour
Zoe's 1st place winning sculpture
This portrait was done for the National Sculpture Society's Head Start Portrait Sculpture Competition. It was only three hours long, so it's much less time than I would have liked to spend completing a piece. It was fun to see what everyone accomplished when pushed by the time constraint.

Zoe at work at StudioEIS in Brooklyn.
This is us gearing up to resin harden some costumes on British soldier sculptures. I sweat so much doing this that you could see an underwear outline on my shorts- it was the only dry part of my clothes!

Zoe teaches in our core program this fall.

Katie Engberg
Katie's portrait of Sonia
I wanted to create this painting because I was interested in exploring another culture, while staying in New York City. My model, Sonia, moved here several years ago from Mumbai, India. I was interested in exploring the different colors and textiles of the sari, the rich darkness of hair, and her warm and glowing complexion.

Sonia's "stunt-double"
The biggest challenge was by far painting the sari. With each break between poses the sari inevitably moved slightly, so I ended up creating a Sonia stunt-double (aka a really creepy head on top of a cardboard box) and draped the sari the way I wanted it. If I were to do it again, I think I would spend more time in the design stage of draping the sari exactly the way I want it…and maybe I wouldn't use a cardboard box. 

Katie's fiercest critic
Katie teaches our Evening Portrait class this fall.

Brendan Johnston
Dune painting by Brendan
I spent the summer plein air painting on Long Island. Because the weather was crazy hot I gravitated towards working near the water. This is a Dune painting completed during two afternoons. Sand and dunes are tough to paint. I found that compressed values are key. 

Brendan and Theo soak in the sunset.
Brendan teaches in our core program this fall.

Emilie Lee
Emilie chasing storm clouds in the mountains of her hometown.
The highlight of my summer has been my Farm-to-Canvas weekend retreats. The idea came about when I befriended the new owners of the farm that was my childhood home (Golden Well Farm and Apiaries). We've worked together to create a unique experience based on my idea of a perfect weekend in Vermont: it's a combination of plein air painting, farm-to-table meals, yoga, swimming in the river, playing outside, and quality time making new friends. 


Tail End of Summer (Charlotte, VT), 9"x2" oil on linen. 
I painted this from the tailgate of my car while Honey took a nap inside. 
Painting is a very solitary activity, so it's a real treat when I can share the experience with other artists, and Vermont is such a dreamy place to do it! 

Honey and I showing off our big accomplishment of the summer!
My other goal this summer was to teach my puppy Honeycrisp to ride on a stand up paddle board as we cruised beneath the sunset on Lake Champlain. The beach is only a 15 minute walk from my studio, so we practiced a lot and I'm happy to report that she now jumps right on the board all by herself as soon as I put it in the water! Follow me on instagram @emilieleelee for pictures of Honey and all the paintings we make together!  

Emilie will return to NYC for a long weekend this fall to teach Plein Air Painting in Central Park: September 30 - October 2.

Edward Minoff
Painting by Ted. Add the Dordogne region of France to your bucket list...
This is a small sketch from the Dordogne. I was in France for 10 days and did some small sketches in preparation for a larger commission.

Wish We Were There! photo by Kate Lehman
I also had a brief stay in Paris and spent some time with Travis Schlaht and Kate Lehman. 

Ted teaches in our core program this fall.

Greg Mortenson
"Orveda" graphite on Stonehenge
On view through September 29
at Arcadia Contemporary in Culver City, CA
Conversation I had with my 3 year old when I found her coloring on a drawing I was finishing for an upcoming show. 
Me:  Lily, you can't color on my drawings!
Lily:  I wanted to make you happy.
Me:  Listen, you can only color on the papers I give you, not my drawings.
Lily:  But that's my job... To make you happy.
drawing by Greg with embellishment by his daughter, Lily
All aboard! Greg, his kids and his friends' kids rule the playground
Greg teaches our two Saturday Long Pose Portrait classes this fall.

Charlie Mostow
2 hour Portrait Study by Charlie in plaster
At the end of the spring semester I did a demo for my Evening Portrait Sculpture class; the result of which was this portrait (pictured in plaster):

It is smaller than life size, about 10 inches tall. From the bottom of the chin to the top of the head is about 6 inches. I didn't measure for this portrait. I just went with my gut for scale, proportion, and likeness. 

In my final critique as a student in May, Josh Larock looked over all my other work and said, "You've got something there." I was surprised! That little dinky two hour portrait study? A few weeks later, a client wrote me and wanted the piece in bronze. 

I made a mold and shipped it to a friend and fellow sculptor Joey Bainer in Colorado. He poured the wax and took the piece to a foundry. Here is the result in bronze. 

Portrait by Charlie in bronze
Next month I'm going to fly to Colorado and weld the cap on, chase the metal, patina the piece, and mount it with Joey. 

This is cast 1 of 8. Other copies are available for purchase.

photo of Charlie by Fred R. Conrad for the New York Times
Charlie teaches in our core program as well as our Evening Figure Sculpture and Ecorche class this fall.

Lauren Sansaricq
"The Basin in Evans Notch" by Lauren
I started this painting outdoors at The Basin in Evans Notch, N.H. at the tail end of the Hudson River fellowship. I have been increasingly more interested in doing larger works en plein air. This painting, although not small, ended up being the precursor to a much larger piece I recently have been working on. The piece is 24 x 48 in. and my largest outdoor painting to date! I feel the practice of working on a larger painting outdoors very strenuous, yet very gratifying. All the information I need and all the beauty of nature is right before me!

Lauren at work on her largest outdoor painting to date!
Lauren will be at GCA this fall teaching a studio landscape workshop: Understanding the Sky for Artists November 18 - 20.

Katie Whipple
"A Celebration of Peonies" 12"x30", oil and 23k gold leaf on wood
painting by Katie
I completed this piece in June for Collins Galleries' annual Summer Salon show. It was my first time showing with Collins and I was inspired to put my best foot forward since I would be showing alongside some of my favorite painters. Little did I know when I started, it would become the thesis of my summer. I spent nearly the entire summer, and now still working into the fall, painting pictures of white peonies. It began as the simple desire to paint this gorgeous seasonal flower, but quickly grew into other commissions and side projects. Currently, I am working on a large, 2'x4', version of this painting that is headed to an Indianapolis Public Library in October. 

All eyes on peonies
This painting was painted "flower by flower." I did not set up a bouquet to paint from, but rather painted it one flower at a time, one day at a time; composing the piece as I went along by painting the most beautiful or interesting flower each day. These are the methods I developed while making demos for my students in my "Designing Nature" class. I am excited to continue the class this fall and teach these methods to my wonderful students, as well as work on developing my own studio habits in painting nature.
Katie & Brendan's puppy Theo is very skilled at hide & seek...
Katie teaches the Designing Nature class on Tuesday afternoons this fall. She'll also teach a workshop on Drawing the Portrait in Chalk: Renaissance Inspired Portrait November 11 - 13.

Justin Wood
"Honey", 11"x14", oil/canvas on board
I painted still life's for most of the summer in preparation for my solo show at Collins Galleries. One of the works included in the show was a still life titled 'Honey.' I had the idea to make the painting after being lucky enough to find a piece of honeycomb at my local farmer's market in Queens.

Justin's son Ben, born 4/26/16
"Daddy's poor and needs to feed the baby. Please take his class."
Justin teaches in our core program as well as Evening Cast, Saturday Cast and Thursday Still Life. He will also teach a special 3-day workshop on Underpainting October 8 - 10.

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Registration is open for our upcoming fall workshops, come draw and/or paint with Emilie, Anthony, Katie, Justin and Lauren!

And while our fall classes are underway, there are a few spots available in some of them to join late or for the next pose. View the weekday afternoon and evenings list and the weekend list for more information.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Workshop Highlight: Self-Portrait with Gregory Mortenson and Patrick Byrnes


For the first time at GCA, we're offering a Self-Portrait workshop. One of the instructors, Gregory Mortenson, sat down to talk about what inspired this new workshop and offered some insights into his own work and process.

Most Saturdays after teaching my weekly portrait class, I found myself in Patrick's studio to see what he's working on. I stay way too long, and my wife is always upset because I get home 2-3 hours after I finish teaching. Patrick always has some beautiful painting that grabs my attention because of the bold brush work and riveting likeness. We start bouncing ideas off of one another about current paintings or future paintings and the next thing I know my wife is calling to ask why I'm still at the GCA hours after I should be home.


Self-Portrait by Patrick Byrnes, 2016
This workshop offers an interesting perspective not just for the students, but for myself. I started teaching at the GCA in 2010 and I really haven't heard another teacher's perspective since my days as a student. Since I'll be demoing while Patrick is teaching, I'll be able to hear his take on a lot of the technical points of drawing and painting that I'm so interested in. On the flip side, while I'm teaching I'll be able to see his masterful demo.
Self-Portrait by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi, 1867
Which artists' self-portraits are you drawn to and why?

You can't have this conversation without Rembrandt. The texture and soulfulness of his paintings has inspired generations. 19th century artist such as Bouguereau, Kramskoi, and Henri Fantin-Latour come to mind for their academic prowess. But I also love a good Van Gogh or Egon Schiele self-portrait.  They all seem to pull me into a time machine of sorts. I feel like I'm sitting across from them, sharing our inner most thoughts over a beer.

Self-Portrait at 34


For the past several years, you've been painting a self-portrait almost every year. Talk about what inspired this and the discoveries you've made along the way.

I didn't start that series with the intention of doing a series, in fact the first one was a beard study for a biblical painting. I liked how it was turning out so I pushed it further than just a study. The next year someone commissioned me to do a self-portrait. The third year I did an article on the steps of painting a classical self-portrait for American Artist Magazine. Suddenly I was three paintings in on a series. When you lined them all up I could slowly see myself aging as well as my technical abilities improving. I decided to keep the series going.
Self-Portrait at 35

In your series, environment, gaze and wardrobe also play a large role. What informs your choices?

I've done all of them for different reasons.  The first one, as I mentioned earlier, I did for a beard study.  Later I was getting into genealogy and I liked the idea of doing a self-portrait depicting each of my ancestral roots.  The first was my Russian heritage where I depicted myself with a Russian fur hat.  I still need to do one for my Swedish, Scottish, and English roots.
Self-Portrait at 36 in Fur Hat
I was also interested in using two mirrors to paint myself from a profile or 3/4 view where the painting wouldn't be looking directly at the viewer. That was an interesting exercise because it felt like I was painting myself from a stranger's vantage point. Outside looking in. 


Self-portrait drawn with colored pencils and white charcoal
Just as you have done, your students will sit down at an easel and face themselves in the mirror. Give us a hint to some of the advice you will give as they stare and start to work...

I've done so many self-portraits that everyone calls out my narcissism, but keep in mind, this isn't vanity, this is a free, reliable model.


To view more of Gregory Mortenson's Self-Portraits and artwork, visit his website: gregorymortenson.com

There's a few remaining spots in the workshop he's teaching with Patrick Byrnes this Friday - Monday, September 9 - 12 from 10am - 5pm every day. To Register, visit our our website here.

Greg also teaches weekly Long Pose Portrait Drawing and Painting classes in the mornings and afternoons on Saturdays. Patrick teaches Portrait Sketch on Sunday afternoons and Long Pose Portrait Drawing and Painting in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Kathryn Engberg. Fall classes start the week of September 12th and registration is open. View more about our weekly afternoon, evening and weekend classes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Jessica Artman & Savannah Tate Cuff tie the Sixth Structure Prix

With our Full-time Core Program starting up again in just one week, let's flashback and finally honor on our blog, the winners of the final Structure Prix for the 2015-16 year. Yes, winners-we had another tie!

Instructor Colleen Barry wrote the following critiques.

"Jessica's drawing is an accurate depiction of the proportion of the model. I love her handling of the hatch marks in the arm and torso. She has employed a successful control of her values and compression in the light areas. There exists a believable structural connection of the arm and the torso. Not to mention a successful depiction of the foreshortening of the arm. The head is both expressive, beautiful and honest to the models likeness. Overall a stunning work of draftsmanship."

detail of drawing by Jessica Artman
drawing by Jessica Artman
"Savannah's drawing is award winning for its naturalistic form rendering in the torso, the stunning portrait, the excellent representation of the model's proportion and the wonderful compression of values in the light areas. There is also a very beautiful expressive handling of the hatch marks in the arm, torso and head. Excellent structure of the deltoid and pectoral area."

detail of drawing by Savannah Tate Cuff
drawing by Savannah Tate Cuff
This is the sixth time the Structure Prix has been awarded in the spirit of inspiring healthy competition among peers as inspired by weekly cash prizes at the Academy Julien in Paris during the 19th Century. The seventh winner(s) will be announced mid-October 2016.

Jon Brogie and Kevin Müller Cisneros won the fifth prize in April 2016.
Sandra Sanchez won the fourth prize in March 2016.
Katie Engberg won the third prize in February 2016.
Raina Dai won the second prize in November 2015.
Kevin Müller Cisneros won the first prize in October 2015. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Artists on MET Breuer's "Unfinished" Exhibition: Epoch Times Article

Join Milene Fernandez and Epoch Times for a stroll through the MET Breuer's "Unfinished" exhibition in the company of GCA Founder and Artistic Director Jacob Collins, along with Jordan Sokol, artist and Academic Director of the Florence Academy of Art - US Branch in NJ, GCA artists and instructors Brendan Johnston, Sam Hung, Sally Fama Cochrane, artist Edmond Rochat and Amaya Gurpide, a principal instructor at Florence Academy in NJ.

What Unfinished Masterpieces Say to Living Artists: 
Spotlight on the third floor of the MET Breuer's Unfinished Exhibition.