Wednesday, September 05, 2007

PAFA Day 2

Well today was sort of a goal of sorts for me, or the completeion of one leg of my journey into art school, I've come to the fork or checkpoint and seen a very clear sign showing me a path to follow. I know now "Wisely I chose", as Yoda would say.
Today I had my first class with the painter Scott Noel, and so today was sort of a completion of an idea; to attend school and take classes from this artist. A few years back, when I started seriously planning to go back to school and finish my degree, get the education I was not afforded when I was younger, I started with a search via Google about art schools in Philly. Through searching I came across a motherload of Noel's work on the web at one of his gallerys and saw he taught at several schools in Philly and I tracked him down to PAFA. So when Echo was looking to go on to school after DCAD, I suggested PAFA and sort of used that as an excuse to go along and see it for myself too.

I had of course taken several CE classes at PAFA since the early 90's and it was on my 'short list" as they say. Most schools just don't have the emphasis on the classical cannon of art training in my opinion. PAFA does. I was a victim of the 'draw what you feel"" BS school of art eductation in the early 80's. Hey, we all feel, but without skill, ability, how can one manipulate your tools, use the vocabulary of the visual artist to properly articulate what it is you are saying? That kind of value system, or just Bullshit as I call it, kind of turned me off and out of college 20+ years ago. As a result I am a self-taught artist, and as Noel paraphrased this morning in class, some say "Art cannot be taught, but shared". So I wasn't getting a lot of sharing either back in art school at Washtenaw Community College where I went.

So today the sharing started. We discussed drawings as "Vessels of organization;the organizations of shapes on a flat drawing surface and how we use the visual language to articulate the organizing experience. We discussed perspective and sight measuring and drew three drawings employing the theories we discussed, two still lifes and a cast drawing. I am posting my drawing from today of David which is a life size cast (from the original) in the cast hall. This was about a 15-20 minute drawing utilizing the sight measuring technique which tends to slow me down. There was talk of how tone or value alone isn't enough to describe volume and surface alone, taht you can use cross conture lines on the, I was in heaven talking about drawing. I have to say, that while I reacted strongly to Noel's work when I discovered it on the web and then of course saw the other great artists and teachers at PAFA, and enjoyed everything so far, this class assure me "YES!" this is the place. Noel is passionate and articulate and friggin' super-talented.

Many have asked me, student, professional and friend, "Why are you going back to school? Why are you starting as a freshman? Don't you feel insulted?"

The answer is simple, no. Sure I understand perspective, sight measuring and lots of other things and I have spent years and lots of money buying books and culling from any source I can about drawing, painting, animation and cartooning and constantly practicing. But you know, when you teach yourself you still have basically only one perspective, yours. Inevitably there are holes, gaps, blind alleys as well as successes. So my feeling is this, maybe I do know something but maybe having it taught to me, or shared, it will reveal something I didn't, or give me a new perspective on it. When I was younger I was a lot more head strong and would just dismiss things outright as many young people do. I have to say this first week at PAFA has been just a pleasure, a pleasure to be taught , and taught well for once. I'll give you just one instance. I know about sight measuring, you know the patented holding your arm out with the pencil, brush etc., to use to make measurements of the figure/object when drawing from observation/life to make sure your drawing is in proportion. But even thought I knew you must keep the stick/pencil perpendicular to the object when measuring, I never thought of turning my hand like a clock face. I would just turn my hand in the way I needed. So just that was a new way of rethinking something better I already do.


shane said...

Mike, your comments on your new learning experience is exciting and humbling at the same time for the rest of us. I can SO understand the excitement you have being able to talk and share with other like-minded people the subject of art. Really, wouldn't it be correct to say that as an artist, you will never know enough?

I envy you! LOL. Keep these insightful looks into your class coming to us. By far, one of the best posts to your blog yet.

Shane M.

Terry Beatty said...

Sounds great! Wish I was there in class with you!


Mike M said...

Thanks Shane, I do want to continue on sharing the experience I have as I go through Pafa. I think that's one of the most awesome things about the web.

Mike M said...

I think you'd love it Terry, but you've got a lot of great stuff going on at your school too.

deletedblog said...

Mike, I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief here. I was doing a random google search on Noel and your page popped up. I'm enrolled at PAFA for my MFA in painting and I couldn't be more nervous (school starts next week.) It's nice to read that it might all be okay and I'm not totally insane for following my dream. Thank you :)