Monday, September 30, 2013

Snapshots from Evening Classes

September is coming to a close and we've enjoyed a productive Autumn so far in our evening classes! Take a look at a sampling of works below.  Most classes start with new models and poses this week. We will share an update from our Saturday classes at the end of October.

Andy Nabong, Color Theory 1 with Tony Curanaj

Elena Rykoff, Portrait Sketch with Rick Piloco

Jaime Morren, Portrait Drawing with Will St. John

Michael Lasky, Evening & Saturday Cast

Student Work from Structure Drawing with Colleen Barry

Ed Bienstock,  Figure Drawing Short and Long Pose with Jon deMartin

Martha Crow,  Long Pose Portrait Drawing with Scott Waddell and Patrick Byrnes

Sunday, September 29, 2013

More Works in Progress from the South Studio

Here are a couple more images from the South Studio - I'll get some shots of the finished pieces at the end of next week!

Liz Beard
Patrick Byrnes
Connor de Jong
Sarah Bird
Zoe Dufour

Friday, September 27, 2013

ICAA Fall Continuing Education Classes

Study with our colleagues at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art! Learning to place fine art skills in an architectural context can open the door to a realm of opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Learn both foundational and advanced skills in a host of architectural, design, and fine arts areas.  Explore an engaging season of fall continuing education courses.
Students at work on drafting and design exercises.
Four classes start next week (click course titles for more information & to enroll):

Basic Architectural Literacy
Two evening sessions: September 30 & October 1, 6-8:30pm
Taught by historian Calder Loth

Designing with Color: Techniques & Inspiration

Four sessions: Wednesdays, October 2-16, 6:30-8:30pm; and Saturday, October 12, 10am-1pm & 2-5pm
Taught by interior designer Nina Roefaro Lomeo

The Sketchbook: A Record of Discovery
(Greenwich, CT)
Six evening sessions: Thursdays, October 3-November 14 (no class October 31),  5:30-7:30pm
Taught by architect Kahlil Hamady and interior designer Leslie-jon Vickory

The Experience of Typography & Lettering
One Saturday session: October 5, 10am-1pm & 2-5pm
Taught by architectural designer Seth Weine

To view the full calendar of fall classes, please visit the ICAA online. Financial assistance and student discounts are available for those who qualify.

Those interested may register online or by contacting the ICAA education office at (212) 730-9646 x108 or

A student exemplifies the importance of the sketchbook at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A student tries her hand at lettering.
Ink sketch by Abigail Tulis
Student desk at the Beaux-Arts Atelier, the ICAA's full-time program in classical architecture.
Students examine the facade of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

GCA Salon - Landscapes of the Hudson River Fellowship

landscape by Connor de Jong

The Grand Central Academy is pleased to announce the first Salon of the new school year. The Salon is a regular event, occurring throughout the year, focusing on various aspects of art and classical education. Next Friday's event will be focused on an exhibition of landscapes, including paintings, drawings and studies completed during the past summer by the Hudson River Fellows and core students at GCA. The event is open to the public and we welcome everyone to come mingle, view the works, and discuss the process of creation.

The event will take place on Friday, October 4th - from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the GCA studio on W 44th St in Manhattan. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served - see you there!

RSVP encouraged but not required.

Also in related news, the dates for the 2014 Hudson River Fellowship are here!
July 13 - August 2 

Application deadline: December 2
Notification: Early January
Landscape painting workshops in NY and NH to be announced soon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Work In Progress in the Figure Room

Here are a few work in progress figure paintings that I took shots of on my way out of the studio Friday evening -

Liz Beard
Rebecca Gray
Connor de Jong
Sally Cochrane
Zoe Dufour
Look out for some finished shots and more work at the end of the month!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art and Memory Training

In speaking with Michael Klein recently on the importance of memory drawing he described that his course is essentially trying to get people away from strictly copying the model. As shocking to the ears of the classical art student as this may sound, it's also exactly what we need. Michael went on to say that students run the risk of becoming too dependent upon the live model and simply don't take the time to figure out structure or anatomy. 

"With this type of drawing we are confronted with the difficult task of remembering the essence of the pose and then relying on our memory and understanding to reconstruct the figure.  I'm just as concerned with the block-in, form, structure and anatomy as I am memorization.  I believe all these elements combined and put into practice, is what makes it a useful exercise for the student," explained Michael.

Drawing by Leonardo da Vinci where memory drawing is used.
"Historically, memory drawing and painting was used to capture the essence of the pose or train your visual memory to become more astute.  We think of Renaissance drawings of horses in motion or men in action.  Anytime you see drawings of animals you can assume there was some sort of memory work incorporated in their process."

Drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
"As we get closer to the 19th century, you see artists like Whistler and Inness working entirely from memory to capture only the essence of the subject.  They felt that if the landscape was not edited by the artist it was a form of meaningless copying as opposed to picture-making.  Although I don't agree with this theory altogether,  it nonetheless shows another example of how memory was used in art history."

 Inness, Evening Landscape, 1863

Michael Klein's sketchbook
Understanding anatomy is emphasized in class.
On Monday evenings, students have the opportunity to learn memory drawing with Michael Klein at GCA.  Poses go in cycles of 5 minutes observation only and then 20 minutes drawing from memory. Students can work from the model during the last two poses. The class is 3 hours long. For advanced students interested in trying out the class for one night, join us on Mondays at 6:30 p.m from now through the end of October. (There is no class on Columbus Day,  October 14th) Students may either paint or draw. Drop-in classes costs $40 each, on a first come/space available basis. You can pay online using paypal in advance to guarantee your spot or with exact change or a credit card just before the class begins. Class starts promptly, so arrive early. View the full schedule here and sign up here.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On Cast Painting

In process cast painting by Niki Covington.

"Some of the thoughts that traverse my head in the process of painting this cast are: 
  1. Reconciling opposing ideas of line and form.
  2. Explaining the fluid forms of the cast using different brush strokes. 
  3. Maintaining juxtaposition of opacity in the lights and transparency in the shadows. 
  4. Compressing the light values to give greater luminosity.    
In all of these elements, the study of Peter Paul Rubens has been most rewarding."

~ Niki Covington
   GCA core student and recent winner of an ARC scholarship

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Drawing Sessions from the Milk Crate

In Colleen Barry's structure class last Tuesday, I was stuck without an easel to draw from. The room was packed, from easels to drawing horses. Colleen suggested I set up a little spot to draw in front of the horses, in a position of severe perspective - a situation that would be familiar to quite a few 19th century academic art students, where cramped figure drawing rooms were common.
Tuesday Structure Drawing - Connor de Jong
I walked around the school and found a little milk crate, which I placed on the ground, about a foot away from the model stand. I balanced my drawing board on my feet. A little unorthodox for contemporary times, but it was a good challenge and I ended up finding it enjoyable - with the rest of the students behind me, it felt almost like it was just the model and me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

GCA Core Students at MEHU Gallery this Thursday

GCA core students and Jr. Scholarship Members of the NY Salmagundi Club, Devin Cecil-Wishing, Leeanna Chipana, Joseph Loomis and Alexandro Berrios will have works on view at the MEHU Gallery this Thursday evening from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Leeanna and Alexandro will show several studies from our recent Hudson River Fellowship.

Exhibiting Artists:
Devin Cecil-Wishing, Eddie Rochat, Leeanna Chipana, Kevin McEvoy, Christina Mastrangelo, Alexandro Berrios, Joseph Loomis, Monica Baumann, Megan Cocho, James Keul, Amber Sherman, Ian Marion, Seth Ruggles Hiler, Johann Boteju, Annie Patt, Luis Colan, Jessica Dabari, Marshall Jones, James Aldelman, Liza G. Amir, Michael Lyons, Cindy Shaoul, and Mervyn Vowles. 

SCNY Jr & Scholarship Exhibit at Mehu Gallery
September 19, 2013 - October 13, 2013
Opening Reception: Thurs. Sept. 19, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Presented by
21 W 100TH ST, NY, NY 10025 

Tel: 212.222.3334

Tues. to Fri., 12 - 7 Sat. & Sun., 12 - 6

Saturday, September 14, 2013

GCA Core Back in Session

The GCA Core has resumed classes since last Tuesday - with a large new first year class, and the creation of a new structure drawing class every Tuesday afternoon, taught by Colleen Barry. Will St John has also joined the core program as a sculpture teacher, with the addition of Anthony Baus in the cast hall. We're all looking forward to getting into this year and making some great work, so be sure to keep an eye on the blog to check out student works, both finished and in-progress.

Jacob Collins and Emilie Lee at the easel - Monday Portrait Class
Will St John teaching Sculpture
Colleen Barry critiquing Rebecca Gray in Structure Drawing

Anthony Baus teaching Cast Hall
1st year class

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Art Renewal Center Student Scholarships

The Art Renewal Center Scholarships have been announced, with four GCA students placing to win a cumulative total of $6,000. We are proud to recognize our awarded students as following:

Anthony Baus - 1st place

Zoe Dufour - 2nd place
Niki Covington - 4th Place
Rebecca Gray - 4th Place
Anthony Baus was awarded $3,500
Zoe Dufour was awarded $1,500
Niki Covington was awarded $500
Rebecca Gray was awarded $500
You can view the rest of the winners and more information at the ARC website. Congratulations to the winners; we look forward to the work you will continue to produce in the future!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday Evening Class Report

Last night I had the opportunity to participate in Michael Klein's Training Your Memory from the Figure course and right now my brain is still recuperating. Michael’s thorough depiction of the anatomy from memory is overwhelming and thrilling all at the same time. The evening started promptly at 6:30 with an intriguing demo uncommon to these school walls. After the model took his pose Michael asked all of us to simply observe the model for a full five minutes. When the timer went off, the model left the stand and Michael proceeded to sketch the gesture and main masses of the figure. It felt very much like a class that bridges the gap between Renaissance and French academic drawing.

Michael's demo started with five minutes of observation. Like a conductor, he moved his hands in the air rehearsing the movement and the angles his hands will later make when drawing on paper. 

Drawing from memory by Michael Klein
After the demo we set up our boards at our easels and began the process. We worked in increments of five minutes of observation and then ten minutes of drawing for the remaining class time. During observation times, we weren’t allowed to make any notes on the paper. While we were drawing, Michael would critique our work and demo on individual’s pages. With his expert knowledge of anatomy he emphasized understanding the underlying structure beneath surface forms.  I felt a little bit like a mechanic, taking something apart and putting it back together again. Monday evenings with Michael offers students the opportunity to understand anatomy and how it works together with the figure in pose. It’s not just about having memorized the muscles of the figure or just the tilts and angles but knowing how to put it all together and be able to move those forms around in space. Next week students will enjoy a Painting the Figure from Memory demo. Members of the CGA community are invited to attend.

Student drawings from memory. Here you can see an emphasis is placed on structural thinking and 3-dimentional gesture lines.
Join us next Monday, September 16th, at 6:30 p.m. sharp for another thirty-minute demo, this time Michael Klein will focus on painting the figure from memory.  Demo Open to the GCA community.  Class that follows only for enrolled students. To attend the demo, please rsvp at

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Congratulations Portrait Competition Winners!

Cesar Santos - 1st Place Winner
Joseph Todorovitch - 2nd Place Winner 
Daniel Bilmes - 3rd Place Winner

Judges Colleen Barry and Michael Klein took the full two hours to decide on first, second and third place winners. The portraits were judged as a group and evaluated for form, light effect, variety of color, paint handling and solid facial structure. Cesar Santos won the First Place Prize of $1,000 and Joseph Todorovitch won the Second Place Prize of $500. While there was initially no award for third place, the judges created one. Daniel Bilmes was awarded Third Place and a bottle of wine!

Thank you to all the competitors for sharing your talent and inspiration for twenty-four hours over three days! Colleen Barry and Michael Klein volunteered their time to be our esteemed judges and we are so grateful. Also thank you to our competitions monitors and competition photographer Mariana Hernandez-Rivera!

Visit our Facebook page to see all the portraits and event photos!

Check out the coverage of the competition in The Epoch Times!

Joseph Todorovitch painting his last portrait of the competition.

The tension heightens as David Gray delivers a jaw-buster punch up Cesar Santos' chin

5-minute model break conversations

Cesar Santos working on his portrait

Danny Ferland and Kerry Dunn at work

Left to Right
Joseph Todorovitch (2nd place), Colleen Barry (judge), Michael Klein (judge)
Cesar Santos (1st place), Daniel Bilmes (3rd place)

Max Ginsburg and Joseph Todorovitch

Thank you to all who made it to the awards evening, and we look forward to continuing this competition in future years!