Friday, May 27, 2011

An Interview with Artist Erik Koeppel

Recently, I sat down with senior Hudson River Fellow Erik Koeppel to discuss his work and the Fellowship. Erik studied at RISD and the NY Academy of Art; however, his heart lies in classical landscape painting, which has led to his involvement with the Fellowship and GCA. Erik will be teaching a workshop on landscape painting as an extension to the Fellowship this summer. You can find out more about his ten day workshop in the Catskills here.

Could you tell me a little bit about your artistic journey, from student to professional?

One of my teachers told me, which I think were wise words, is that if you focus on making great
work that you really believe in, then once you’ve achieved that, your career will happen in a very
Kaaterskill Creek by Erik Koeppel
14" x 11"
Oil on Panel
Private Collection
natural way. I feel that that has been true in my own transition so far; in that I never set out to promote myself, I just tried to make great work, and slowly people came to notice it and I can continue to make the work I want to make.

You’re one of the senior fellows at the Hudson River Fellowship; what initially attracted you to joining and aligning yourself with this group of contemporary artists?

I heard about the Fellowship randomly through an email. At the time I was trying to make ideal landscapes in my studio, and preparing for a show of that subject. So when I heard about this opportunity, where the main idea was spending a month outside painting in nature and trying to do what the masters did, I thought that is really appealing to me.

How much do the ideals and methods of the Tonalists and Luminists of the Hudson River School affect your work?

I am more influenced by individual paintings or artists that I find to be really great, rather than a particular movement from art history. Such as in the Tonalists, I prefer Inness to Whistler, and with the Luminists, I am more influenced by Church and Gifford. Overall major influences for me are Durand, Corot, Claude, Turner, Constable; artists I consider to be the forefathers of landscape painting. Claude Lorrain is the overarching figure though, he was a major influence on almost every great landscape painter in history.

Kaaterskill Falls by Erik Koeppel
Oil on Canvas
Private Collection

How much have the annual gatherings of the Hudson River Fellowship changed your
work since you began attending?

I am influenced by so many things, but the experiences that I have with the Fellowship, getting out into nature by myself and thinking deeply about my relationship as a human being with nature, and then studying it very closely - not only what it looks like, but also what it feels like to be in these amazing places. Being immersed in a place like that, has spurred changes in my work and my approach to working that has made me seek out the real landscape a lot more as an influence in making ideal landscapes. Although my previous landscapes were certainly informed by my own experiences, I had never really gone through the process of trying to paint a large painting of a specific spot, like Constable or Cole would. But now I also take on such subjects as
a specific waterfall and try to make it work in a composition like Cole and Durand did. I think that starting to do that at the Fellowship led me down a path where I wanted to do it more and more.

The Rising Sun After a Flood by Erik Koeppel
Oil on Canvas
Private Collection
You’re teaching a landscape workshop this summer as part of an extension of the
Hudson River Fellowship; what will you be focusing on teaching during this workshop?

We’re going to cover a lot of ground in ten days that will be helpful for students of all levels, from proficient painters to beginners. I’ll start off with composition, which I believe is very important; we’ll look at examples of master paintings to show how to see compositions in nature, and then from there go through the process of how to understand light and shadow in the landscape, as well as color. Beginning students will get more hands-on training, while more experienced students will be able to incorporate and explore these ideas and methods amidst their own working process. I’ll also demonstrate some layered painting techniques that were used in traditional outdoor studies.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring landscape painters out there?

Be moved by nature, and try to bring that true response into your paintings. Your paintings can only be as rich as your own experience of Beauty. From there, learn to communicate that experience as the masters did.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

News from Summer Workshop Registration:

While our Core Program is in the home stretch, our Summer Workshops are ready to go to bat...we still have some limited availability, including Mason Sullivan's sculpture workshop, The Portrait Inside & Out. Open to all levels, this course will investigate facial anatomy, bones and muscles, as well as how emotions affect these structures. Students will work from demos, skulls, as well as a live model.

The course runs June 13 - 17; M - F - 10am - 5pm. $600. See below for some special sneak peaks inside the very detailed manual that Mason created to accompany the course as well as a glimpse at a demo. The full manual is only available to workshop participants!

Click here for the full description & to view our other workshops.
Email to register.

Monday, May 23, 2011

End of year student show

Please join us for an exhibition of drawings, painting, and sculpture by students in the full time Water Street Atelier "core" program. Opening reception is Friday, May 27th, from 5:30-7:30 PM. You may also come see the work during the month of June between 1:00-2:00 PM and 5:30-6:30 PM. This event is free and open to the public!

"Raul" by Colleen Barry, oil on linen

Please RSVP so we know how much booze to get:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Candace Profile by Jacob Collins

The ACOPAL show (America China Oil Painting Artists League) will be opening this Wednesday at the National Arts Club in NYC. The show will feature works from the top American realists working today, including a large number of GCA/WSA instructors and alumni. Paintings by Jacob Collins, Edward Minoff, Tony Curanaj, Travis Schlaht, Kate Lehman, Michael Klein, Joshua LaRock, Patricia Watwood, and Dan Thompson will be hanging in the exhibit.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Student Work April 2011

by Brendan Johnston

by Spencer Brainard

by Brendan Johnston

by Victoria Herrera

by Will St. John, from the Saturday Structure Class that he is co-teaching with Colleen Barry

by Colleen Barry, from the Saturday Structure Class that she is co-teaching with Will St. John

by Colleen Barry

by Carla Crawford

by Brendan Johnston

by Andrew Bonneau

Sculpture by Abigail Tulis

Sculpture by Abigail Tulis

Sculpture by Pierre Bombardier

by Pierre Bombardier

by Pierre Bombardier

by Pierre Bombardier

by Pierre Bombardier

by Pierre Bombardier

Friday, May 13, 2011

new paintings by Gregory Mortenson

Gregory Mortenson, who studied at the GCA from 2006-2010, has been busy working on commissions and painting on his own since he left us. Here are a few recently finished pieces:

Gethsemane, 40 x 50" oil on linen, by Gregory Mortenson

John, 9"x11", oil on linen, by Gregory Mortenson

Mother With Child, 36"x26" oil on linen, by Gregory Mortenson, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weekend With The Masters in NYC

American Artist Magazine's "Weekend With the Master's intensive" is coming up June 22 - 26! Jacob Collins, Ted Minoff and Scott Waddell are taking part and will be co-teaching a Classical Figure Drawing workshop in the same building where GCA is located! The workshop will kick off with a full day demo by Jacob Collins on Thursday, June 23. Students will then work from the same model on Friday with instruction by Ted Minoff, and on Saturday with instruction by Scott Waddell. The workshop wraps up with a half day critique on Sunday with Ted and Scott. For details, or to register on the American Artist Magazine website,

Jacob Collins:
Jacob Collins is a leading figure in the contemporary revival of classical painting. He earned a B.A. in history from Columbia College, attended the New York Studio School, the New York Academy of Art, and the Art Students League of New York. As a student, Collins also copied extensively in museums in America and Europe. His work has been widely exhibited in North America and Europe and is included in several American museums. Collins is the founder of the Water Street Atelier, The Grand Central Academy of Art, and the Hudson River Fellowship.

Edward Minoff:
Edward Minoff graduated with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Throughout his high-school and college years he studied painting and sculpture at the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy of Design, and at Vassar College. He has copied works from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Hispanic Society, The Prado, and The Louvre, among others. After co-founding the animation house AMPnyc, he began to study with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier and eventually left commercial work to devote himself entirely to painting. Later he journeyed to Italy to study at The Florence Academy of Art. He is a core instructor at the Grand Central Academy of Art and a co-founder of the Hudson River Fellowship.

Scott Waddell:
Scott Waddell was born and raised in Central Florida. He received his B.F.A. from Florida State University. After college, Waddell spent the next several years studying classical painting at The Florence Academy of Art and the Water Street Atelier under Jacob Collins. In 2006 Scott moved with his wife to Connecticut, where they continue to reside with their son and many pets. Waddell divides his time between painting portraits, fine-art narratives, and teaching at The Grand Central Academy of Art. He also teaches workshops at various art institutions throughout the country.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jacob Collins Exhibition at Adelson

Jacob Collins has a show opening tonight at Adelson Gallery in New York City. Jacob Collins is the founder and tireless leader of the Water Street Atelier, the Grand Central Academy of Art, and the Hudson River Fellowship. If you plan on attending, Please RSVP to (212) 439-6800 or

Glasses, 2011, Oil on canvas, 15 x 27 3/4 inches

Richard, 2011, Oil on canvas, 26 x 26 inches

Algae Pond Catskills, 2010, Oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches

This exhibition ends July 28 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

GCA shout out in the Wall Street Journal Today!

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article about the open studio I participated in on Saturday! You can read the entire article online, but here are the bits that give a mention to GCA and what we are doing here:

"Ms. Lee, after living the itinerant life of a rock climber and a model for outdoor-gear companies since she graduated from college ... recently moved to Brooklyn and is studying painting at the Grand Central Academy of Art. I can report without exaggeration, based on a recent visit, that she's a landscape painter of great promise....

Ms. Lee's figure studies are as elegant and feel as confident as an Ingres. I also loved a small Vermont landscape that reminded me of college. She said she's baffled by much of contemporary art: "It's all about shock. You get to the point where people aren't shocked anymore.

"A lot of contemporary art seems to be about the inner struggle of the artist," she said. "It's not about the execution. The way I approach art it's not about me at all. It's just trying to be faithful to nature." .....

While I was there, a gentleman who had found Ms. Lee on Facebook and collects the art of her teachers dropped by and purchased one of her figure drawings (she would go on to sell four more works Saturday). Afterwards, he told her she was underpriced, and reminded her to buy those red dots artists place beside sold paintings.

"Yes!" she shouted as soon as he was out the door but still well within earshot." -- Ralph Gardner, Wall Street Journal, 5/9/11

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sculpture Competition Finalists are Announced!

GCA's 2011

Classical Figure Sculpture Competition Finalists are...

Kristin Bortolotti

Susie Chism

Kevin Christman

Angela Cunningham

Chad Fisher

Anna Lee Hoelzle

Hinomori Kawabata

Mark Porter

Lori Shorin

Will St. John

James Stewart

Leroy Transfield

These twelve sculptors will compete for 40 hours over 5 days to sculpt a 32" figure from life.

Full details, competitor bios, and schedule of events at this link

2010 GCA Classical Figure Sculpture Competition, DAY 2

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Emilie Lee open studio tomorrow

Tomorrow (Saturday May 7th) I will be participating in an open studio event in Union Square, NYC. There will be more than 50 artist's studios to visit at this event! I will be in 41 Union Square West, Studio 410 from 12-5 PM showing my studies from the last 3 years at GCA and the Hudson River Fellowship. Stop by and say hi if you're in the area!

by Emilie Lee 10"x12" oil on linen, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

end of year student exhibition

Please join us for an exhibition of drawings, painting, and sculpture by students in the full time Water Street Atelier "core" program. Opening reception is Friday, May 27th, from 5:30-7:30 PM. You may also come see the work during the month of June between 1:00-2:00 PM and 5:30-6:30 PM. This event is free and open to the public! Please click here to RSVP!

"Raul" by Colleen Barry, oil on linen, 11"x14", 2010

Monday, May 2, 2011

Information session: Beaux-Arts Atelier

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America is hosting an information session for our new full-time, one-year program in classical architecture, art, and design, the Beaux-Arts Atelier, which will begin in September, 2011. The information session will take place at 20 West 44th Street, Suite 310 on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. A reception starts at 6:00pm. During this event, you'll have the opportunity to learn about the application process, speak with staff and instructors about program content, and get a sense for what this unique program is all about.

Questions? Please contact Anne Wolff Lawson, Registrar, at or (212) 730-9646, x. 108. RSVP by Wednesday, May 18th.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

GCA alumni place in the Salon International 2011

The Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio, TX has announced the results of their "Salon International 2011" competition. Among the winners are several GCA alumni:

One of three "Top Award" winners: Self Portrait by Gregory Mortenson
, Oil, 10 x 9 inches

"Top 50 Award" winner: Acorn Squash by Todd Casey, Oil, 9 x 14 inches

"Top 50 Award" winner: Sailor's Tribute by Danny Grant, Oil, 16 x 24 inches