Everything about “Continuing Drawing” at MPA this winter

Class begins this afternoon!

Trace Elements

van-kessels-sketch-book-page
Continuing Drawing
For both beginning and continuing students seeking to improve their skills. Hone your drawing and observational skills in this dynamic class as you draw from life and subjects of your choice. Gesture, line, proportion, mass, volume, value, tone, perspective, and shading will be covered. This class will provide a strong foundation for any level. Optional prerequisite: I’ve Never Held a Pencil: Drawing for Beginners.
Instructor: Aletha Kuschan
9 lessons @ 2 hrs, $260/235 MCC district residents
6607.317         Tu, 1/17-3/14              4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
General:  This course is progressively arranged with topics that fold into each other.  You’ll get the most from the class if you attend all sessions.  If unavoidable absence is necessary, just jump bravely into the next unit.  However and unfortunately I won’t be able to explain or summarize missed portions of the class.
Materials
  • One Graphite pencil standard #2 (Dixon Ticonderogas or other brand) the…

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Good news, Kitsune

A little trip down memory lane …

Aletha Kuschan's Weblog

I solved the riddle! (Whew.)  The solution occurred while I was drinking coffee this morning at a McDonald’s restaurant after having fiddled with numerous trials and erroneous attempts.  I guess insight played a role in my solving it since I had “found” the solution without realizing it the night before and had rejected it — by which I mean that I had discovered the correct shape (thinking of this as a drawing exercise) but had the scale wrong (a common problem in drawing)  Thus a slight attitude adjustment was needed to capture the solution, requiring several hours of sleep as well as relaxing distractions plus a fresh morning perspective.  (No doubt the coffee was helpful, too.)

The work of solving the riddle presented many intriguing corollary questions.  While solving it feels nifty, I wonder who created the puzzle and what questions lead someone to an invention like this.  Discovering a puzzle requires a higher and brighter…

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Song of the Cicada

red-eyed-cicada

Gabe Feathers McGee

Some creatures sing until they die,
the cicada being one

blase insect
indifferent to fate

singing is what matters
to the cicada

to live life crooning
among the strawberries
in spring
then chanting in the summer,
resonating through the heatwaves
buzzzz
clickkk
hummm

reverberating in the garden forest
like the wind on the sea in a shell

one is joined by many
and a choir of cicadas
roar their pleasure

feel their song
vibrate to the centre of your being

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The Architecture of Water – Book Release Day — gingatao

The Architecture Of Water, a collection of poetry written and compiled by the late and great Brisbane poet Paul Squires, is now available for purchase. Paul originally submitted this manuscript to the judges of the 2010 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript; the prize, had he been successful, $3000 […]

via The Architecture of Water – Book Release Day — gingatao

looking back, thinking ahead

Dark and light, night and day

— elemental themes appeal to me.  They beckon like dreams. I do a lot of traditional kinds of pictures — and I love the discipline of tightly focused imagery like a vase of flowers — very basic — takes you to the foundations of seeing — it is to pictorial art what the sonnet is to poetry.  But I also venture periodically into stream-of-consciousness kinds of imagery.

Sometimes I hear that call again. I am not sure what sort of thing I’ve a yen for just now, but winter’s long nights and cold clear days are great for firing up the imagination.

Not knowing what’s next, I’m watchful for ideas.  In just such moods I find that ideas arrive.  Someone told me once that I needed to pick a theme and create a consistent portfolio, and I am NEVER — DOING  — THAT.  I follow the river current of thought because I know from experience that it leads to good places.

You go off in some tangent, but later you find that the wild explorations allow you to bring back knowledge — knowledge of a sort that you can apply again even to the traditional things — to even the simple vase of flowers.

Everything you learn enriches everything that you know already. So be bold, be daring.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

other owl drawing

Today’s fortune cookie reads “Accept your independence and use it wisely.”

So, what is my independence? Hmmm ….

Can it be that I see art as a fiercely individual task?  You learn from tradition.  You can learn from everything — your private life, from the art others make, from the great art of the old masters, and last but not least from Nature.  But you must filter these experiences unabashedly through your own mind.

Have I not accepted my independence?  Hmmm ….

I don’t know. I rather thought that I had.  But perhaps there are further steps I must take in this direction.  Can the cookie be wrong?  The cookie is the random element tossed my way in the vast universe!  It is only correct if it speaks directly to you.  And this cookie message does seem rather apropos. I may need additional cookies to work out the details.  Goes along perfectly with my ever enduring and renewing ambition to eat more Chinese food.

I’m going to accept my independence!  I will!  And I’ll have to get back to you and let you know how it turns out!

I will use my independence wisely too!  I will!

Teaching drawing at MPA soon!

MPA refers to the McLean Project for the Arts in McLean, Virginia, and I’ll be teaching drawing there during the winter session.  Here’s some of the things that class participants can look forward to doing.

kuschan-drawing-doll-with-big-hair-pencil-2

Continuing Drawing
For both beginning and continuing students seeking to improve their skills. Hone your drawing and observational skills in this dynamic class as you draw from life and subjects of your choice. Gesture, line, proportion, mass, volume, value, tone, perspective, and shading will be covered. This class will provide a strong foundation for any level. Optional prerequisite: I’ve Never Held a Pencil: Drawing for Beginners.
Instructor: Aletha Kuschan
9 lessons @ 2 hrs, $260/235 MCC district residents
6607.317         Tu, 1/17-3/14              4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
The class features a systematic and fun introduction to many, varied ways of making drawings.  We’ll draw things from life.  We’ll draw things from memory and imagination.  We’ll make quick adventurous, exploratory sketches and we’ll do sustained and probing drawings of things.  We’ll create tableaus of objects to discover the theatrical side of art.  We’ll look for ways to reduce inhibitions about trying new things, and we’ll talk about how artists get new ideas for their art — both technically and narratively.  This class is the big buffet table of drawing, and I guarantee it will be a lot of fun.  Beginning artists will dive into a ton of interesting things to explore and experienced artists can find ways to advance their own goals by a careful reassessment of the foundational skills.
Some features of the class are outlined in more detail at this post, including what materials artists need to will need to have.
https://fantabulouskoi.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/everything-about-continuing-drawing-at-mpa-this-winter/
Here’s a link to MPA’s website.  Class registration opens on December 12!
https://mpaart.z2systems.com/np/clients/mpaart/event.jsp?event=279

exuberant moment

crepe-myrtles-brilliant-day

A certain kind of day you step out the door. The first thing you see is thrilling. Intense blue sky, brilliant light, a tree casting shadows across the ground richly green. Speckled lights and patches of shadow are equally strong and distinct shapes like positions on a chessboard. Balmy air envelopes you.

I remember I heard the sounds of birds and insects together. In the random distance someone’s far away percussive shout catches my momentary attention and disappears. I turn and look in that direction. A father yelling instructions to his kids, or a roofer shouting to his crew. The words inaudible are like the sounds of birds, too.

The entire tableau revives an insistent alert as you stand there: all this is real! You are alive — isn’t it thrilling!  This is the present. You have awakened a second time today.  This time it’s more urgent and sensory.

Sometimes you recover a sensation that you had as a child — that belief that everything is new — which I guess children feel because THEY are new.  My daughter at a certain age used to ask me, “Am I still brand new?”  And I said, “yes, of course you are.”

Whatever the causes, at virtually any age in life, one sometimes stumbles into the moment of glad awakening.  It’s then you stride into the present. You step inside it.  It was always there but you’d forgotten to notice.  Now you’ve found it again, the lost present, where had I left it?  Oh, here it is. Right in front of me! Silly me.

I vow not to lose it again.

When the light is brighter, when smells travel through the nose deep into the brain, becoming elements of a waking dream, movement seems quicker.  Do birds fly through the sky with such clean speed this way always? I’ll make a point to notice this again!

I’m suddenly aware of gravity. I notice the earth pulling me toward it. I can feel my feet inside my shoes.

I remember my father’s voice.  I know that my mother is inside the house.  And here is Everything Else. I felt this way just a few days ago when the weather was uncommonly balmy.

 

 

 

On asking why

red-eyed-cicadaFor me art seems second nature.  Not to draw or paint — to give up those things would be for me like asking if I should give up thinking.  No need for thinking anymore so I’ll just stop.

I have trained my brain to do art.  I think of visual stuff in an off hand way all day whether I’m painting or not.  I have a hard time understanding how people cannot draw.

And why doesn’t everyone have a still life table?  What’s up with that?  Even when you’re not drawing the stuff it’s so nice to see it just sitting there.  And the spaces between the things look so intriguing —  they sit there in space in relationship to each other and gravity has them screwed to the table as the Earth blasts through space.

Isn’t it wonderful seeing an object through the hard clear surface of a glass jar? To see a thing behind the jar being distorted by the glass? Or seeing the patterns on a cloth from an oblique angle as the cloth recedes in space. How DO other people manage their day without these charms?

I want to draw as a cicada sings, or as a spider spins a web.

You may be closer to a similar relationship regarding the elements of your work — whatever it is that you do — than you’re aware!

Comment to an artist friend

” I am playing with the idea of letting a painting dictate

little landscape from memory of photo

its own direction…,” said my artist friend Fritz at his blog Fruitful Dark.

Those words describe the way that I try to relate to perception. I am always striving to be more connected to the motif, to discover things about it, even in random ways. I want something that is opposite of technique (as usually understood) — instead to have a direct line of thought between what I’m seeing and what gesture I make on the painting or drawing. What if the most notable thing in a certain motif is, say, the reflection on a vase? The usual advice (and I’m not knocking it) is to start with the big shapes first and go toward details — for this approach is a way of organizing the picture to get at a kind of realism or even just the awareness of the whole. And I have worked on my drawing chops for years to learn about proportion and the big sense of the image, and so on. But sometimes now I go the opposite direction — I let my mind work with the first thing that really pulls me, no matter what it is or how illogical a process it might invoke. Because one interesting idea is not something that just sits in isolation — it leads to other ideas, places and feelings.

The odd detail will help you notice some other feature that maybe you hadn’t seen. I am not fastened to one picture even — though certain pictures become ones where the aim is completeness. Those I will wrestle with over whatever time span is necessary. But other works are passages of travel through various ideas. They don’t have to be finished. They can proceed willy nilly.

Of course none other than Corot said to continually attempt to get back to the first impression — that first sense of “ah!” — and you might not even know what provoked THAT feeling. It is somehow mixed in with everything all at once. And it’s hidden inside lots of separate items. It stands behind the details like a gravitational force.

But horses for courses. I don’t have to do the motif the same way every time. I can go totally illogical with it. I can fasten down a detail if it suits me, why not? And I can leave details hanging suspended in chaos for the sake of experiencing a passage of thoughts. The things learned will accumulate. They’ll go somewhere more connected in time.