“‘to write a song that is remembered and taken to heart,’ Richards notes, ‘is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart.'”
Last week I took a 3-hour workshop with Zhenya Gershman at the Getty Center. I signed up for the class because I wanted to develop more facility with the drawing of drapery. My miniature illustrations, such as Media and Melancholy and Bipolar Depression and Family Support, contain figures wearing heavy robes. I plan to continue using historical costume in my paintings, so mastering the “ins and outs” of drapery is important to me.
I expected the class to be useful but not necessarily fabulous. I didn’t bother to review the instructor’s credentials, so I was delighted to find out that ZG is not only a master teacher, but a child prodigy, having received artistic acclaim in her native Russia from the age of 10!
Zhenya introduced herself individually to each student before the class started. More teachers should do this; it establishes trust early and builds student confidence. Z projects tremendous energy and enthusiasm. Her lecture with images was deceptively breezy; to present so much content so clearly requires much research and preparation. The handouts were first-rate, concise yet suitable for beginner or advanced student. A lot to take away for a 3-hour workshop!
I’m taking the “warts and all” approach and revealing my class drawings here. The first was from Z’s visual description and not from looking at the drapery:
I’m comfortable looking at things and sketching them, but not necessarily with drawing something from memory. So the result looks a little stereotypical, but I applied the idea of tension points that Z presented. Note the point where the folds start to cascade.
Being more comfortable with looking and drawing at the same time, I came up with Sketch 2, based on fabric pinned to a form:
While we were sketching, Zhenya presented the idea of the “eye” of the fold, which was new to me. This is where “the fold is formed when pressure pushes material out in the center to form a more prominent point. The ‘eye’ is the starting point of all the planes.”*
This sounds technical but it’s easy to see, especially in classical drawings and paintings. You just have to look for it.
Enough with my drawing lesson. Here is the final sketch from a Flemish painting in [the location and artist into to be added later]. We had 45 minutes to work, so I got absorbed and forgot to write down the source.
For upcoming Getty Center short courses for adult learners, go to http://www.getty.edu/visit/calendar/events/Courses.html
*from Zhenya Gershman’s August/October 2010 handout
I like to mix historical and contemporary themes in my own work, and admire Paneva’s designs for taking this approach. Her artful mix of 16th-century imagery and vintage graphics is clever and sophisticated.
Here’s the link to shops across the US and Canada that carry the RosyRenaissance line.
Looking for Medieval Art Lovers in LA:
Illuminated Manuscript Course
Getty Center, UCLA Extension Westwood
October 17-November 7, 2010 (six meetings)
Do you have a passion for any of the following:
Kelly Williams, a Getty Center Educator, teaches a six-week course called “Illuminated Manuscripts: Patronage and Process.” I took this course a month ago, and absolutely loved it, as did the other students. You don’t really need any training in art to take this course and enjoy yourself thoroughly, but being able to sketch or at least copy a design on paper is enough. You will get to use the same materials and techniques that were used to make priceless objects now in museums all over the world. The Getty Center has one of the world’s best collections of illuminated books, and Kelly Williams will take you on a guided tour (free parking) on the first day of class. Ms. Williams is a highly sought-after teacher, having recently traveled to the White House to teach drawing to the Obama family. So we’re talking excellence here.
The class is offered through UCLA extension. Go to uclaextension.edu and navigate to the art studio section. I’m sorry to say that this site needs better navigation. Don’t you want our money, UCLA? There’s no direct link to “how to register” or anything obvious, but there is a greyed-out tab that says “Quick Enroll” but you need the course number. You will still need to register with your email, etc. and if all else fails, call them at (310) 825-9971 or (818) 784-7006. Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.
The course number is ART X 440.68 and is listed in studio art although it’s really a combination of art history and studio. You can get two units of credits for your $375. And the class meets 10-1 on Sundays, so for the five days the class meets in Westwood parking will only cost you $4-5 (not the $13.50 I shelled out today!!!). And did I mention you get free parking at the Getty?
A note about supplies: You only need to budget $25 for supplies. The majority of the very costly items, genuine gold leaf and natural pigments, are included in the course price. These are of the finest quality, hand-selected by the Getty for their historical authenticity (any toxic materials like white lead are NOT used in this class). If you were to try to purchase these materials on your own, you would need to spend $250-300 or more. So enjoy the rare opportunity to try them out.