Sunday, May 4, 2008

EXPRESSIONS! Student work week 3

Here is a slide show of the work my students in the Advanced Watercolor Portrait class have done in the past several weeks. There are some large paintings worked up from a bozzetto changing the light pattern on the face and some starts on the lesson of expressions which we worked on Saturday. I am seeing some tremendous growth in several of my students. As a teacher, this is as exciting as seeing progress in my own work. I feel like a proud parent. It is the real joy of sharing through teaching.

I had the opportunity to photograph the assistant curator of the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, California during a talk on art he did for Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. His name is Preston Metcalf and he gave me permission to use the photos as I saw fit. What a brave man! He was the most enthusiastic speaker with the most amazing facial expressions and hand gestures. His passion for art was electric. I share these photos with my class because of the range of facial expressions by one individual. They are genuine and natural, unlike a book currently available on the subject that uses people "acting" out the expressions.

Expression is what I most wish to express in my paintings. It is endlessly fascinating to me how a subtle change in any of the features produces a different "mood". Years ago I took a class in college called "Non-verbal Communication". The knowledge I gained in this class has perhaps had the most impact on me over any other class I took, includng the art classes. Much of our 6th sense and intuition comes from the subconscious recognizing non-verbal facial expressions that flash so quickly your conscious mind doesn't register it. One researcher has taken film that when slowed down frame by frame shows that flash of true emotion and then the "social mask" returns.

So, the message for today is pay attention to your intuition!

Speaking of the mysteries of the mind, I came across an amazing artist in my continual wanderings on the internet. This Genius, Gregory Blackstock, is an Autistic, Artistic Savant. He is the "Rain Man" of art. He spent 25 years as a dishwasher but has spent his whole life drawing from memory (he never is looking at an object when he draws is all in his head!) He creates sheets of objects like a catalog with beautiful calligraphy neatly penned in perfect rows (no ruler used). I have included the website where you can check him out. There is a wonderful little video to watch as well. His works sells for significant dollars and there is a book available through his gallery. We all probably have this information stored in our brains but not the ability to access it. It is a gift that Gregory can show us what is possible. Gregory Blackstock autistic artistic savant

1 comment:

Nava said...

Ha - the expressive Preston... brings up memories! :-)

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