Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sketching with Live Models Outdoors

Sometimes you just have to take your art outdoors! 
Artists have worked on location for centuries and painting outdoors "plein air painting" is a time honored tradition.
Art is not just about creating art-it is about experiencing it. And nothing will do that better than for an artist to sit outside and sketch or paint a subject. In our line of work, Stephen Filarsky especially, works in oils at his easel. It is not unusual for minute particles of his surroundings to lodge in his wet oil painting yet often he leaves them in the painting. Why? They are part of the experience. Part of the red clay from Georgia or sand from the beach or grass from Kentucky. You won't see them, but nonetheless they are part of his experience, his day and that painting!  

So we took that a step further recently and drove to Grammercy Christian School in Newport, NC where we held two workshops for the students using live models! It is Also something we will be doing in our summer art camps with the kids!

Summer camps here:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sculpting with clay!

So who doesn't love clay? From play-doh to sculpey to the potters wheel there is something pretty timeless about clay! It appeals to ALL ages!
Clay helps develop fine motor skills!

We started back in February with clay reliefs and the results were adorable! Then we were walloped with snow days and finally, as the weather broke, we were able to devote the time we needed to building armatures, wrapping the wire and finally applying the sheets of thin clay over the armatures. 

This week we'll be finishing the sculpting, painting and firing the pieces.  Take a look at the few pieces and be impressed! Remember-These are their FIRST sculptures!

Collage of process!
The process

works in progress
We'll be doing more, but with animals, in our summer art camps this June and July! These will be held at our mini-farm north of Wake Forest and all details and information can be found here at the link at the bottom of the page!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Easy Drawing Tip: Use a Grid!

There are times I would like to shake whichever art teacher came up with the sentence "copying is cheating" decades ago because I hear it SO many times from ages 4 to 94. It is a terribly unfortunate statement that has stopped many a beginner from progressing because some well meaning but uninformed person (who uses the latest of updated technologies) repeats that demoralizing sentence!

Some artists, and I am one, can look at anything and redraw it on paper. But I still need a reference :-) And those that "pull from their minds" also need a reference. I love to ask people if they know what an elephant looks like. And everyone says "yes." Good. So then I ask them to draw an elephant and this is where the fun begins. The subject quite honestly can be anything. The point is, in order for it to look like what we want it to, we need to have seen and handled (regularly) the subject or look at references. Only then can an artist "pull from" his imagination whether realistic, cartoonish or a monster!

So with all that in mind, a blog, the Frugal Crafter, whom I follow, posted a great little tutorial on "graphing"-the ability to take a smaller (or larger) photo, drawing or sketch and enlarge it onto a surface  the artist wishes to paint on.  The usage of a grid goes back centuries! There are woodcuts by the artist Albrecht Duhrer (1471-1528) depicting an arrtist using a grid to learn to draw and see properly. I like to encourage the students of all ages to draw on scratch paper THEN transfer their image to the canvas or paper. Having the ability to enlarge drawing makes the possibilities endless!

I am going to try to post in verbatim here and try to go back and add the links as I have permission to share! The title link will also take you right to the blog! Enjoy!

Easy Drawing Tip: Use a Grid!

 I had an “Ask a Crafter” question from a lady who wanted some ideas on how to re-size drawings, she had thought about a projector but she wanted to know if I had any ideas. I thought this questions would be better explained in it’s own video so here it is:

The best thing about this technique is anybody can do it, even if you say you can’t draw a strait line you can do this and it will look very close to the original because you are just copying lines in a small box.  I got a great tip from a YouTube viewer who suggested that I cover the squares I was not working on to trick my brain into not looking ahead, great idea, you could cut a square the same size as the grid and lay it on top and shift as needed. I also heard from a math teacher who cuts up coloring pages and has the kids draw the contents of the square on a larger paper and they the class put the “puzzle” together. Ain’t learnin’ fun!?! This is a good exercise for me because I have drawn for so long that I start with the basic shapes then start refining but if I’m not careful I just make it up and stop looking at my reference so this makes me really look.
Before I forget, here is the link for the printable graph paper. I used a 1/2″ grid in black for my transparent sheet. I drew my picture on a 1″ grid therefore doubling the size. You can make the drawing grid as big as you like, and make it however large you want. It’s really like designing a vector…hmmm, maybe that is why it is good for math teachers, and art teachers, let’s cross curriculum this technique!
I hope you found this useful, teach it to yourself and your kids! thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What our Children's ART classes are up to! Clay, design and painting!

We have a talented group of kids in our "after school" programs and they have explored sculpture, clay, design and more recently-abstract design!
Our clay work, so far, has been working in relief and from the few examples below you can see how creative their work is!

 We are not finished in clay! We will be using hand tools to build our own armatures to make 3 dimensional sculptures. It's a great way to learn about hand tools such as pliers and wire cutters and how to balance their piece, add clay and then paint. A super cool project!

Snowy weather didn't slow us down this past week! Enjoy the collage below (I have more coming) of the "Abstract Tree". It's a fabulous painting exercise in going right to the canvas with no pencils, no erasers...just pure imagination. There are pretty much no rules in this one so it's also an excellent exercise for them to show other family members :-)
We'll continue painting the week of Feb 10-15!
One group
another group of paintings!
Stay tuned for examples of the adult class taught by Stephen Filarsky Feb 1-Drawing Trees from life. Amazing!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Toothpicks and Marshmallows and Tinker Toys sculpture

What imaginations my students had this week!

The after school kids in Art Student Academy had to put on their thinking caps because sculpture is not just clay! It's the basic building block of everything from practical buildings to works of art.
Many an engineer started their careers with Tinker Toys and Erector Sets!
Building from the basics
Sculpture is one of the few art forms that combines so many elements! The kids (ages 5-15) did just that in combining Math, geometry, structure, design, history and plain common sense to create some amazing 3D sculptures and they did it all in just an hour. Think what they could create on a rainy afternoon at home with these inexpensive items!

What we did:
After a discussion and demonstration about which was stronger-a pyramid or a square (50% got the right answer-a pyramid!) we went over the take home sheet of basic geometric shapes of square, triangles, etc. to more complex forms such as octahedron, pentagram and tesseract. Students learned that every building, stairway, bridge, in fact every man-made structure they see going down the road or in their house started with a simple basic shape. And the basic shape could grow and grow but not unless it was structurally sound! Learning about reinforcement for instance is important knowledge to keep walls from falling over when they get into  slab clay structures next week.
The very cool thing about using the miniature marshmallows instead of self hardening clay is that the marshmallows, in less than 24 hours, harden to a rock hard consistency.  These same, very cool structures can then be spray painted with a glossy or matte spray paint and hung from ceilings or set on tables. The possibilities and the results are infinitesimal!

We started with the basic shapes and went from there!

The students all started with the basic building blocks of cube, pyramid and (tada) octahedron (diamond). From there they were allowed free rein to go in any direction they wished. It did not take long for them to see the importance of reinforcement and practical design :-)

Exercises such as these are part of the hands on knowledge that all children excel in. They learn best by doing. They retain that by practice. Give them a bag of miniatures marshmallows and round toothpicks, step back and watch what happens!

Expanding a basic pyramid

Marshmallows are flexible, eventually rock hard and yummy!

An even more complex creation

Even the youngest were intrigued!

She just got totally involved and would have kept going!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

January is Sculpture Month at Art Student Academy!

2014 art classes!
Our After School ART classes at Art Student Academy start back January 8 and 9 for ages 5-17 and we can't wait! We have dedicated January as Sculpture month where our students will learn about relief sculpture, armature building with wire, pottery glazing and a little art history about famous sculptors!
To sign your child up for the winter sessions, pop over to our sign up page and scroll to the bottom:
Simply find the day and time for your child's age group. Any possible conflicts, give us a call!
Theresa 919-880-7431
Rolling clay

Relief sculptures

Making armatures

Some of the sculptures before firing!

Plaster casts!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Watercolor Wednesdays! The Art Zone!

Feeling stressed? Well, we know of a beautiful solution! There is NOTHING like being lost in the "Art Zone" before, during and after the Holidays to reduce stress! Join watercolor expert, Stephen Filarsky as he takes you through a relaxing 2 week course in painting in watercolors. Follow the links to sign up today. Take a look at what first time students did below!


Wednesday December 4 and December 11,  6:00 - 8:00 Instructor Steve
Wake Forest Art and Frame Shop, 139 S. White St, Wake Forest NC 27567

student watercolor

First, I'd like you to take a look at the watercolors of barns in a snowy landscape. They were painted by first time watercolor students. Just to let you know that watercolor is not "difficult" nor is "harder than oils or acrylics." In fact all you need is a cup of water, a brush, a few watercolor paints and a piece of paper. That's it. Well, a pencil might come in handy, but none of the fumes or smells that you get from acrylics and oil paints. You can paint on your kitchen table without worrying. Simple.
Our first class will look at the types of watercolor paints, brushes and papers. (The water is pretty much standard, what you get from your faucet will work fine.)
We will experiment with the materials and try different techniques. And of course, we will create a painting, after all, leaving a class with a finished painting sort of makes it worth while.
I will provide you with paint and materials for this first class. I will also discuss and give you a list of recommend paints and brushes. If you have any paints and brushes at home, please bring them along. We will take a look at what you have and how you can use it.

Our second class we will continue by student watercolorcreating another painting the easy way, playing with our new toys.
Now a side note, a few years ago Theresa and I took some swing dance lessons. What I learned from those lessons was that when you go to the second class, you probably could use some review of the previous lesson before jumping into some new steps because I had completely forgotten them. And the practice we did at home, well it probably could have been better. (The instructors didn't seem to have any trouble, but boy was I lost in that second class when they began telling us to do steps that they assumed we not only remembered but were able to do.)  So our second painting will also consist of some time reviewing what we learned, and we will do that the easy way. by painting another watercolor.
Continuing Classes  We will be continuing these classes, sometimes working on a single theme and other times going in individual directions. There might be homework.
Please take a look at the bottom of this page, there as some examples of my watercolors for you to look at. After all, you do want to know what your instructor can do, don't you.
Only $50. for both classes in December.
 You can register on line with Paypal or Credit Card. Please select the option, then click the "Add to Cart" button. You can select the number of students you wish to register at the next step.

Watercolors by your instructor, Stephen Filarsky
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