Student Post: Chris Wetmore

6, April 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m sitting at a cafe on the harbor in Naoussa. The keen east winds rustle the palm fronds and the gulls float above. The fishing boats sway lazily on the quay, nets and ropes lie in neat piles and coils on the decks, having been retired for the day. People sit and chat in greek over coffee and cigarettes in the sun. Nobody works here in the afternoon.

I have been on Paros nearly a month now, the time seems to slip so quickly by here. The days are full, there are always projects to work on, and so many beautiful places to explore. I’m still learning to navigate the maze of winding, narrow stone streets of Paroikia. The only way to become familiar with these streets is to get lost in them and see where they take you until you begin to recognize the eccentricities of each street.

I’ve been asked which of the classes I’m taking is my favorite, and I don’t have an answer for that. They are all exciting, challenging, and engaging to me, each has its own qualities. The world of painting in oils has opened its doors to me, through the skilled guidance of Jun and Jane. Pictured above is a nearly finished still life I’ve been working on.

Figure Drawing has brought me so much farther in the ability to accurately represent the human body on paper than I could have imagined in this short month. I will continue to use the exercises and techniques I’ve already learned as long as I draw.

Learning to develop film and make prints is also new to me. This process is a subtle and delicately balanced combination of science and magic. This holds true for digital photography as well, the science being in the incredible plethora of powerful digital tools at your fingertips, and the magic being in what you produce using them. There are also the enthusiastic and lon-linear rants John Pack embarks on, covering an enormous amount of ground in the process, from light and color theory, to camera and editing technique, to the shortcomings of the “bankrupt American educational system”, to discussing the importance of the glorious poetry that is in a good photograph.

Printmaking is also a whole new discipline to me, one that I have been thoroughly enjoying as well. The moment when you turn the press and then lift your print and see the result of your careful labor of lines is a thrilling one. Sometimes it looks better than you had hoped, sometimes it just looks like a big ink smudge, and you get to work fixing it and trying again.

I’m so glad to be here; this is exactly what I was looking for. Direct, hands-on training in the arts, taught by a group of impassioned and engaged teachers who want you to come out of this with as many invaluable skills as you can pack into your mental toolbox, and to have a rich, lively, and transformative time throughout.

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