8, March 2016 § Leave a comment
The first week of the spring semester is underway and students are attending their initial classes in order to make a decision about which areas to concentrate in. It’s exciting and everyone is hoping to do more than they can practically handle. All will settle in, as usual, by the end of next week.
We have students from China, India, Norway, Canada and the US as well as Greek students so we are truly an international community. The faculty are currently evaluating the level of each student and adapting their teaching to accommodate and facilitate the abilities of each. With a small group this is not only easy but also vital to our philosophy of individualized instruction. The Socratic method, first used and explored by the Greek philosopher of that name, is our modus operandi. We pose open ended questions, allow for personal interpretations and expect impassioned and imaginative answers. The digital photography class has several returning students who will bring their experience and expertise to elevate the level of the instruction. The same holds true for painting where three of the students are second or third term students who can share opinions and aesthetic ideas. This Friday our first hike will take place above the town of Lefkes in the valley behind the windmills. Afterward we will all share a taverna meal at Flora’s. After all, eating well is part of a life well lived.
11, March 2014 § Leave a comment
by Jane Morris Pack
The new Spring semester is just beginning at The Aegean Center. We have six returning students from last term who have rejoined us. Three of our students are from India and we have an Italian woman who lives in Norway. Other students are from the US and Canada. Some of the local Greeks also participate in classes. Our group is truly international.
We have had some rain this last month and the island is green and lush. We took our first walk into the hills on Friday up to Lefkes followed by a full taverna meal at Flora’s.
As always the nervous first meeting settles us all as we greet each other and begin to have a feeling for the group. Each session has its own personality and rhythm which emerges in the first weeks. We’re all looking forward to seeing the students grow technically and stretch their creative wings.
30, October 2013 § 1 Comment
I graduated three years ago from a well-known private university in New York City. Due to my interdisciplinary studies, I took a variety of classes in fine arts, business, economics, writing, Swahili and a slew of liberal arts courses. With each class I learned a great deal of knowledge about the topic and myself, but I was never inspired to act upon my education. In fact my life in New York City became rigid and stagnant; I no longer went with the flow of life, but tried to control each and every bit of life that I could.
Art had been a large part of my life growing up. In high school I even took two art classes a year, but in university, art began to slip away from me. After my second year of university, I no longer thought of myself as an artist, and I stopped creating art for four years. At that point, I lost a huge part of myself.
Late last February I woke up on a cold Sunday morning with the guidance to come to the Aegean Center. I had recently started drawing again and had a few brief stints painting and began to realize that creating art energized me. The program started in one week, but I knew as last minute as this decision was, that I was meant to be in Greece in the spring and to be a part of the program.
And I was meant to be here. It was here that I found painting and drawing classes with Jun and Jane that sparked my imagination and inspired me to learn in ways that I had not done since I was a child. As someone who has also worked abstractly, the classical foundation classes were challenging, but kept me motivated and interested. Jane Pack’s figure drawing course particularly inspired me. Jane’s innovative and straightforward teaching technique introduced me to the human form, the way it moves, the way it has density and even those obscure names for bones, like the iliac crest, or muscles, like abductors. I was a sponge, able to absorb information easily and often. I never got tired of my education, and in fact wished there was more time in the day to learn more.
I am grateful for my years at a traditional university; I have a strong business background and great memories. Had I come to the Aegean Center at the age of 18, I may not have been able to take from it what I am now taking from it at the age of 26. I know that I am at a point in my life where I am receptive to an art education and I am now able to accept my path as an artist and a creative because of the nourishing and exceptional two semesters that I have had at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts.
16, October 2013 § 1 Comment
As another Italy session continues on Paros, I am still surprised to find myself a part of it. After a year away from the Aegean Center, I am back in the darkroom and digital darkroom with John Pack, putting together a final portfolio and helping out in the digital lab. A new semester means a new group of eager classmates and more time to focus on the technical aspects of fine art photography.
When the opportunity to return this semester came about during a difficult moment of transition for me, I felt my return to the Center was a necessary step before moving on with my education. It is not only the wisdom and passion of the teachers here that make this school so unique, but their desire to share it and to inspire their students in all aspects of art and life. My decision to return to Paros was not based on my love of the gentle Parian hillsides, the striking Greek light, or the Aegean Sea that shimmers and transforms itself endlessly, but instead on the Aegean Center community and the possibility of once again benefiting from the insight of the teachers and students here. Paros is an inspiring place but it is John, Jane, and the school that create a profound experience that the environment only enriches.
3, October 2013 § 1 Comment
Learning the secrets of perspective drawing takes on special significance when we are concurrently learning about the art of the Renaissance. Leon Battista Alberti, the great Renaissance artist, architect and scholar detailed the methodology of mathematical perspective in 1435 when he published his book, ‘De Pintura’, in Florence. The knowledge soon spread to every part of Europe as artists adopted one point perspective to project their figures into space and create a window into an imagined world. This method assumes a single view point for the observer. The reduction of scale and overlapping of forms combine to work the magical transformation of a flat plane into a representation of three dimensions.
Students at the Aegean Center learn to use one and two point perspective using simple exercises and then apply this knowledge to direct observation. Once this is understood and absorbed then the drawing of rooms, buildings and furniture is a simple matter and more complex forms of designing space can be utilised.
5, September 2013 § 3 Comments
When one first sees the piazza of the Duomo of Florence it is too immense and textured to take in. Many tourists experience the city just this way, as a blur of color and moving masses of people. With our knowledgeable guide and teacher, Jeffrey Carson, we strive to go beyond the superficial and delve into the individual elements that make up this wondrous architectural monument. Students are invited to compare the three doors of the Baptistery, understand the Byzantine mosaic interior, feel the historical significance of the dome and understand the origin of the patterning on the exterior surfaces. Lunch at one of the many cafes gives us energy to continue and then sculpture and architecture are once again our concerns.
2, September 2013 § 3 Comments
The Aegean Center Fall 2013 Italy Session is just beginning as the summer winds down and the school children ready themselves for another year of study. Twenty four students will arrive in the next few days to join the five faculty in a three week stay in the Villa Rospigliosi in Pistoia, Italy. We are excited to view our favourite art works, to taste the creamy gelato and to wander the medieval streets of places like Siena and Pisa. Of course the food at the villa never fails to please us and the garden is enchanted once again as John connects the pump and the stone fountain flows musically into the pond. We have a special treat coming up as the Accademia in Venice is hosting an exhibition of Leonardo drawings. It has been thirty years since some of these drawings have been shown to the public. We look forward to welcoming the new group and having them share the experience.
24, July 2013 § Leave a comment
Today is the final day of the two week Figure Drawing Intensive at the Aegean Center. We are tired but exhilarated and all the participants have seen great improvement in their abilities to draw the figure. I see startling jumps in the comprehension of form and anatomy, exactness of position and character of the pose. In the last few days the ability to concentrate and focus has increased and a one hour drawing flies by without awareness of the time passing. We have worked in ink, finger paint, conte, charcoal and pencil. Yesterday we drew portraits. Now time is needed to allow the information to sink in and enter the subconscious.
It was a joyful experience to teach this group. Each student brought their unique skills and perspective and we all helped each other to achieve our best. Thank you to Eleni, Elena, Ellie, Maia, Cassie, Penny, Isabel, Anglelika, and Avril for your contributions.
19, July 2013 § 3 Comments
Nine students are attending the Figure Drawing Intensive now underway at the Aegean Center. Each morning we draw from the live model for two hours and every afternoon the class reconvenes to study some particular aspect of the figure, whether it be the form of the skull or the concept of negative space. We have worked in clay and cut figures from paper, learned names and parts of the skeleton, drawn cylinders and spheres. The ability to draw a geometrical form in any direction, from any angle, is a critical but often overlooked aspect to beginning figure drawing.
Our group is varied in age from 17 to 60 and although we are all women we represent five different countries. As a teacher my hope is that at the end of two weeks the students will be able to draw the human form from memory in varied stances. Drawing from the model then, with the level and degree of accuracy we hope to achieve, will enable the student to proceed on their own and improve with practice.
31, May 2013 § 1 Comment
There has been a flurry of paper flying in the digital lab as students mat their prints and make decisions on what will go into the flip files at the exhibition opening on Saturday. Painters are applying final touches and evaluating their best efforts. As the students clear out the studios there is sadness mingled with nostalgia as they will all go their separate ways in less than a week. Many will stay in touch over the next years as they have formed important bonds but the group energy disapates as they all begin to anticipate the next step. Some will return for the fall semester and play the role of the experienced returnees advising the newcomers. The rest go on to jobs and universities carrying a part of the Aegean Center with them. We wish them καλό ταξίδι. Good journeys!