At Studio Incamminati,
student work is always pinned up on the walls for other students and visitors
to see. It can be intimidating especially in the first months a student is
studying here. It doesn't matter if you are taking a day class once a week or
studying here full time. Your work is on display.
I have come to find looking
at the art on the walls a really valuable learning tool. The drawing, below, for example, was one I walked by, and then had to reverse my steps and visit
the drawing for a longer period of time in order to absorb the work as well
as the lessons it had to teach me. There was clearly something for me to think
about in it. It is in vine charcoal on Strathmore paper. The paper is toned
with layers of charcoal, until a nice middle tone was achieved. (After toning in this way, the artist can work going from
the darkest values to the lightest by adding charcoal, or pulling charcoal off,
respectively). Although charcoal has its
limits in the number of values that can be achieved, the artist here clearly
and sensitively used a broad range--both lights and darks--and managed to
create contrast in values between the plaster cast of a young girl and the
aging violin. Charcoal drawings also have their
limits when it comes to precision, but the artist Alex Soukas was able to
capture the intricacies of the braids of the young girl in the 18-24 hours he
worked on it.
|Six hours into the drawing.
|12 hours into the drawing.
The composition is intriguing.
I don't usually enjoy drawings or
paintings that might be characterized as "sweet," a characterization that might
pertain to this drawing. But I like
this drawing. As I later found out, the class instructor selected numerous
objects and arranged them on a table top about 4 feet off the ground, and
about 2 feet wide and 5 feet long. The
students were free to pick from the arrangements, putting in as much or as
little as they thought appropriate for their compositions. In this case, Alex was able to edit the objects on the table to capture a narrative, create a sense
of depth, create interesting diagonals and a sense of light and
If he'd had more time, I
expect Alex would have worked more in the middle value, perhaps lightening the
bottle towards the front left of the drawing, or worked more in the folds of
the cloth so that they really looked like form turning. But when a class is
over, a class is over, which is usually okay because you know you are going to
start another drawing very soon!
At the bottom of the drawing (not shown in the photo), the
artist has added the words "Labor is prayer." Perhaps he did a lot of both as
he worked towards the completion of this drawing!