At the Art Students League once more

I’m back again at the Art Students League after a 2 yr break. This time instead of the usual evening class I’ve signed up for one in the morning with Mary Beth McKenzie and in the afternoon with Peter Homitzky.  Time is moving along swiftly. The morning class is in a small studio packed with easels forming two semi circles around the two models and poses are held for two weeks. The afternoon class is in a much larger studio also with two set ups, one for still life and one a model.

I now have lots of sketches, gesture drawings from both classes and today I did several on large newsprint. I found that having worked on smaller sizes these past two weeks, working big was very difficult!! I wish these skills could be like riding a bicycle, once learnt never forgotten!

mbm - 4 - wip 5

The piece above is where the painting is at after 5 days. You can see the progress pics below.   One of things that Mary Beth reminded me to do was to keep making corrections at every stage.   She was amused when I said that I found it difficult the longer I’d spent on the painting and said that it was common for an artist to be in denial but to overcome that and step in and make those corrections.   As that had been my first day with this painting I had no qualms enthusiastically jumping back in and making corrections.  Then I spent a few more days on it and up until yesterday I was in denial and kept pretending I wasn’t by making tiny adjustments.  I didn’t want to make the required drastic corrections.  Today with the teacher in class I decided I might as well make them before they get pointed out to me 😛  And there were many to make. For example the white patch just below the eye was where the previous eye was painted!!  This change allowed me to make the nose longer : )  I do actually like it like this, corrections and all, more than the over scumbled stage it was at before. I could keep going in this manner but we have one more day left in this two week long pose.

This is the 4th piece that I’ve worked on in the morning class.  For the first 3 paintings,  I spent 4 days and one of those will remain incomplete as it was based on a substitute model we ended up having for just a day.

Found out today that one more of Mary Beth’s monotypes has been acquired by the Met bringing her count with them to 19 monotypes, 3 paintings and a few prints.  Wow!!

mbm - 4 - wipmbm - 4 - wip 2mbm - 4 - wip 3mbm - 4 - wip 4

In Peter Homitzky’s class instead of working on still life compositions as I had planned I went for the model.   We have a really tall Russian model whose size just doesn’t seem to fit into any sized page I start her on.  You can see what I mean quite clearly in the second piece where she grew beyond the rectangle space I’d demarcated for the painting.  I liked the effect of her feet sticking out and decided to leave it as it is.  Used two values mostly for the areas in light and shadow as an experiment.

I can see that amongst other things I have to improve my painting planning and measurement skills.  Peter also said that I should plan the colours that I intend to use in a painting before I start and also about making thumbnail sketches for selecting a composition and improving those skills too.

homitzky - 4 - wip 2homitzky - 3 - wip 2

I had initially decided to use oils in the morning class and acrylics in the afternoon. I found that I was struggling with the Grumbacher acrylics that I had picked up mostly because of its liquid consistency. The first Homitzky piece here was made using acrylics. When Peter found me struggling he asked me to switch to oils and now I’m using oils in both the classes and brought the acrylics back home with me today. He related the story of how acrylic paints were developed for murals by the Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros and brought by him to America. A point it seems forgotten as some fine art paint company stepped in an applied for the patent in the US back around then in the 50’s. He is of the opinion that that’s where they were and still are best used.  I do enjoy the talking and interaction with the teacher in this class.

I’m updating a set on flickr with this months output, scribbles and all.


2 thoughts on “At the Art Students League once more

  1. Ujwala – you have improved by leaps and bounds since my last pass by (which has been far too long). Good luck in your class. I look forward to my next visit.

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