Blog Update

31, October 2008 § Leave a comment

The blog will now feature weekly posts from students that aim to detail certain aspects of their experiences here at the Aegean Center. Our first post, below, comes from Melissa Henry and offers a peek inside her painting studio.

We will also be posting pictures from our Friday hikes. This week, enjoy two posts, below, of our jaunt through the mountains of Lefkes and our journey to Archilochos’s cave.

Next week, check back for pictures from our celebrated boat trip, as well as another student post.

Aegean Center Student Posts: Melissa Henry

31, October 2008 § 2 Comments

I am originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and I am currently a student at Brown University studying art history and visual art, with a focus in oil painting. I heard about this program from friends at Brown who came here in previous years. After learning about the philosophy of the Aegean Center Program and the kinds of things students see, learn, and do, I knew it would be a good fit for me. I had not done significant traveling before this semester, and studying abroad has been something I have always wanted to do. As an art student, Italy and Greece are two of the most important foundations for my background of knowledge. Being able to travel throughout Italy and learn art history was a wonderful precursor to our session in Greece, where I am learning about oil painting technique. In addition to oil painting, I am also taking courses in Greek language, Greek dancing, Greek art history, camera history, basic drawing, and figure drawing.

In coming to the Aegean Center, I wanted to gain a firmer understanding about Renaissance and Classical art history, and improve my abilities in the processes of painting and drawing. But more than this, I wanted to experience living in another culture, away from home and my ‘comfort zone.’ Life has passed so quickly in my college years that I felt I needed time to pause and re-evaluate what I am studying and who I am. Coming here has allowed me this chance for exploration. I have taken a year off from Brown to live in Paros, and I hope this time will strengthen my understanding of who I am and what I may pursue in life and in art. I also hope to use what I learn here as a basis for my senior thesis project next fall.

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Thus far in painting class at the Aegean Center, we have learned how to take various approaches to painting. For our first painting, we set up a still life and began with and black and white, monochromatic underpainting. We practiced training our eye to see in tones and values instead of color. Once we had a general feel for the tonality, we painted on top of the black and white with color. We learned about the earth palette, which consists of four hues: yellow ochre, burnt sienna, titanium white, and ivory black. Using the earth palette and minimizing the color choices forces us to push these four hues as far as we can, using different techniques like rubbing out, scumbling, and glazing to achieve various effects. The importance of the earth palette also lies in understanding color relationships. We found that although we have no true red or green, we can control how colors look if we manipulate where we apply them in our composition. Mixing black and white produces a grayish color, but it can be used as blue especially when placed near a warm burnt sienna. I find using a limited palette very satisfying since it eliminates the overwhelming possibilities I am faced with when using a full color palette. It makes dealing with color at this point something more manageable. (Images 1, 2)

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We did another painting exploring the earth palette further, and we included ultramarine blue this time, which is a great color for glazing and shadow tones. We looked at works of painters who used reflections in their pieces, and studied how they might have captured those effects. Jun taught us about the differences between glazing, scumbling, and wet into wet painting to depict different qualities of light like transparency or opalescence. With this painting I feel as though I made a breakthrough in terms of my understanding of glazing. Applying glaze with black or ultramarine will really push entire planes back in space and can make shadows appear less sitting on the surface and more integrated into the surface. Glazing also allows a rich luminosity that opaque surface-painting cannot give. My onions are built up with layers of yellow ochre, ultramarine, and mostly burnt sienna glazes. Glazing with burnt sienna is great for giving tones a subtle warm temperature, as ultramarine can make cool areas. Using a black glaze over the surface of my pot and knife was particularly helpful. We did a lot of careful looking at our still lives to depict the reflective qualities of light. (Image 3)

Image 3 Detail

Image 4

For our current painting we began with an imprimatura: an initial stain of blackish-burnt sienna color applied to our canvas. For this assignment, many of us are copying a work of a master painter while others are doing self-portraits. On top of the color ground we first used a white scumble to achieve the tonal values for everything in the composition. By allowing the dark brown undercolor to show through in select areas, we can be economical with our paint, so this undertone is very important since we incorporate it into later stages of painting. On top of the monochromatic white and dark tones we add color using different techniques, namely glazing. Many master painters we looked at like Rembrandt or Vermeer used a very limited palette based on earth colors to do their work, often with careful, select moments of color throughout. I am painting Vermeer’s Woman Holding a Balance and this is definitely the case. I am looking carefully at his subtle painting of light and shadow and trying to emulate his brushwork. By copying a painting in this way, I have learned how to achieve certain effects of color using underlayers that I had not done very often in my previous work. The tricky part for me is having patience with the gradual buildup of layers. To achieve depth, a painting should be built up gradually, layer upon layer, and one must think a step ahead. This painting is still in the process of this continuous buildup. (Image 4)

The Friday Hike

31, October 2008 § Leave a comment

Samantha, Remonstrative; Carter, Bemused

Alice, exuberant: Samantha, remonstrative; Carter, bemused

Friday, 24 October, 2008. In the Mountains of Lefkes. Fotos by Alice Houston.

Olive Picking George

Olive Picking George

White goats, white clouds

White goats, white clouds

Adrian, contemplative, with satchel

The Friday Hike

31, October 2008 § Leave a comment

On the way to Archilochos's Cave

Friday, 17 October, 2008: The Hike to Archilochos’s Cave. Fotos by John Pack.

Dixon diving

In the lagoon: Dixon diving

Emily, last one out

In front of the cave: Emily, last one out

Nadya waving to Shirin

Nadya, waving to Shirin

Blending in

Blending in

From the Archives: Fall 2008 Boat Trip

28, October 2008 § Leave a comment

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air… Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Gabriel on-board the Aegean Center kaiki
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Peter Nicolaidis and John Pack, discussing the dive
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Students happy after their first dive
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Sam, photography student, with his 120 camera
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John documenting the trip
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At the entrance to the cave
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Swimming in
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Sea study
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Aegean Center underwater
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Stretching out
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On land
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The kaiki awaits
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Writing and sketching on the slow journey home

Thanks to Ting and Peter for the photos.

Italy 2008: Student Photos

14, October 2008 § Leave a comment

Click here to check out our new page of student photos from Italy.

Fall 2008 at the Aegean Center

8, October 2008 § Leave a comment

The Aegean Center is back on Paros and well into our first week of classes, having just returned from an exhilarating month in Italy. Curious about what we do there? Read Jeffrey Carson’s article in the September Paros Life. Pictured above is drawing and painting student Silina Pandelidou trying her hand at glass blowing at a workshop in Murano.

In other news, this semester’s digital photography students are the first to enjoy our brand new Piezography Lab. Set in a beautifully illuminated space just around the corner from our main building, the lab is equipped with state of the art systems for image processing and printing. Thanks to the generosity of Jon Cone, we are able to supply our students with the very best ink available for producing black and white images of the highest quality and permanence. For more information on Jon Cone and Piezography, click here.

Alicia Stallings will kick off our new season of visiting artists and lecturers with a poetry reading at the Aegean Center on Friday, October 10 at 7PM.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for October, 2008 at The Chronicle.