30, June 2016 § 1 Comment
The Aegean Center summer workshop, Oil Painting Innovations, concluded this last Saturday with a successful exhibition at the Center. The five painters showed four paintings each, sharing the space with the watercolour and the photography students from the other workshops. The walls were crowded with excellent work all of which showed a high level of skill and aesthetic involvement.The painting class followed several historical methods chosen for their instructive value; Venetian heightening with white on a dark ground from the 15th century, Flemish floral painting from the 17th century and Impressionist still life from the 19th century. These methods were explained and then explored in order for the students to maximize their understanding of the principals of structured oil paintings. A fourth exercise, which dealt with the painting of an all white still life, was chosen to challenge color mixing choices and the necessary lowering of tone which oil paint dictates.
The process of hand refined linseed oil which we began using a year ago at the Center was demonstrated and became our medium. It’s unique properties allow us to forgo solvents. The oil is stronger and shinier than the store bought tube oils. The handling is fluid, each touch is recorded. It creates a tough film, maintains textural elements of brushwork and keeps its color integrity when painting wet into wet. We were in the studios every day for six hours six days a week. The new oil paint made it possible for us to continue working without the need for long drying times and so the layers went on quickly. Working on four canvases with different criteria kept us energized. Thank you to my students for their enthusiasm and their dedication.
8, June 2016 § Leave a comment
By Jane Pack
Annelise teaches theatre at the Aegean Center and I teach figure drawing. This last semester she was taking my class and I was taking hers. We often heard our words to students echoing each other, she commented that I sounded like a theatre teacher and I frequently wanted to break in on her classes and exclaim, “The same applies to drawing!” Of course the arts are grouped for a reason, as creative endeavours each challenges the practitioner to move out of their comfort zone, to search for meaning, to communicate feeling. But drawing and acting seem to have a particular resonance with each other, similar vocabulary can be useful in each: gesture, rhythm, movement, weight, form, vision. And each requires intense concentration, a challenge to refresh and renew our approach each time, a thoughtful and deep presence. It has been said that drawing, of all the visual arts, is closest to pure thought. And acting has that same intensity, the need to be in continual focus or risk losing it all.
I urge students to challenge themselves to use new approaches for each drawing, to keep themselves from being bored with their own accomplishments. I teach craft and expression side by side, but push technique so that the students can think emotionally and still be outside those feelings enough to communicate them. In theatre one loses oneself in a role only when the self steps aside and allows the dramatic impulse of the playwright to come through. I found I was thinking almost like a draughtsman when I was crafting my role: what shape, what form, what movement, what rhythm. And the actress, Annelise, considering how a drawn gesture communicates tension, where the human form expresses emotion, what the speed of the line or its weight can do to change the depiction.
Each discipline has its magical storytelling moments, each includes the element of audience although that is profoundly more weighted in a performance on stage. Still, the draughtsman is performing too, the moment the pencil encounters the page. Most importantly, with practice and discipline, each art brings us closer to our unique self and wakes us up to the present.
3, June 2016 § 1 Comment
The fiftieth anniversary of the Aegean Center prompted us to create an alumni residency program this spring. Seven students have returned to share some time with us over the past weeks, each bringing a new perspective to the current group of students, sharing their work and their stories since leaving the school and inspiring us with their adventures.
Holly Lynton, now a fine art photographer, shared her work with us three weeks ago. Holly was a student at the Aegean Center in 1992. Her work has been evolving along certain themes: ecology and sustainability, people working in concert with nature, and documenting disappearing ways of life. Her work, both black and white and color, reveals forgotten or lost aspects of the rural American worker. We will look forward to another visit in the future for an update on her work. For more images please see her website: http://www.hollylynton.com
Claire Huffman was a student just last fall and has been backpacking through the Far East since her departure. She spent her two weeks here painting, making books and attending classes. We were all impressed with what she accomplished in such a short time, including three paintings and more than a half dozen books. She will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
Jessie Parks gave an impressive lecture just a few days ago on her odyssey through Kurdistan photographing the refugee crisis and life in the migrant camps. She is still editing her work as she came directly to Paros after her sojourn there. We saw a wonderful selection of images and heard of the hardships as well as the joys of these people caught in the crossfire. Jessie was a student in the fall session of 2011, we remember her for the wonderful photos she did of the nuns at Thapsana. Her work can be seen at: http://www.jessieparks.com
We are also very happy to have Ashley Cudderford with us. She has been very supportive of the school and is here working in the digital lab and renewing her acquaintance with the island. The same can be said for Valerie Jorgensen who is also working with her photography again and plans to stay for another week.
We enjoyed a visit from Lis Carney and Lily Barberich several weeks back who both made innumerable monoprints, joined classes and felt they were home again. They attended different sessions at the Center in the past but became friends once they met in New York where they both live. This was their first time spending time together on the island. They made a presentation of their work to the book making class before their departure. Lis works as a freelance photographer in New York. Lily works as an interior designer and has her work on: http://cargocollective.com/lilybarberich/watercolors
All of our alumni are special, we love your loyalty to the school and your support. We hope to see many more of you over the next years in residencies.