Thursday, April 30, 2009

News from the newsletter

Just received the new letter. We now have 115 students taking art classes! There's a wrap up of the member survey. It's intersting. Joyce Pyka's posters are avaoilable on She's global. Sarah Rhemer will be hosting a half-day Photo Encaustic workshop at the Dick Blick store in Wheaton on Sunday, May 24th from 10am to 2pm. Cost is $65. We'll be having a Student Art show this coming month starting on May 9th and ending with a reception on the 16th from 2-4pm. We're also supposed to pick up our work on that day.

I'm in the process of interviewing all our teachers for the blog. Alla will be next. I should have it written in the next day or so.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gary Wick

Gary Wick tells me that he had two ambitions he wanted to accomplish in his life. He wanted to be accepted into the Old Town Art Fair...he was accepted in 2001. And he wanted to be published. The April 2009 issue of AMERICAN ARTIST had a six page spread on him, plus six images of his paintings and a 7 step demonstration of his painting Deep Woods. Wow! He says that if he dies now, it's okay with him because he has met most of his goals...however he has every intention of staying alive. His collectors and his students are grateful.

In the AMERICAN ARTIST article he describes what materials he uses, how he uses them and why, going step by step with a demonstration of the process...that's generous and pretty impressive. I think this why Gary is considered such a fine teacher. He shares all his techniques (or secrets), techniques that he has spent years developing. But he wants his students to be the best they can be, not copiers of his style. Intensely proud of his pupils, he showed me some of their work, explaining how far they had come and how well they were doing and developing their own style.

So how did he get there? Primarily self taught, Gary has known he was basically an artist since at least fourth grade when he replicated a covered wagon scene from a book the teacher showed him. Crayons and pencils were his favorite toys. He had no art in high school because his interest was in architecture, so he took technical drawing classes instead. Then, he attended the University of Illinois at Navy Pier for a short while, worked as an architectural draftsman from 1960-66, spent fourteen and a half months in Vietnam, and then returned to being a draftsman... until 1996 when he decided that despite his young age, it was time to retire.

In 1970, in his spare time, he had taken evening clases at the Art Institute for a year or so and studied oil painting portraiture with Mohamed Drisi. He's an accomplished award winning photographer and seriously considered that as his major field. Then, he picked up some old pastels and that was that. Gary started teaching at our League in 1998. He started doing art shows in 1999. He had a one person show at the Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in 2000. He belongs to various local art leagues and does the fine art outdoor shows in the area. He also exhibits in Wisconsin and Michigan art galleries.

He is a firm believer in making mistakes because it's the best way to learn how to use materials you are working with. You have to learn the surfaces to use, what pastels work best and when. He tells me that if you have never made a mistake, you haven't begun to learn. He feels that for him to be a successful teacher, he has to make his students pull themselves out of his influence into their own style, a difficult thing to accomplish.

Gary has been with us for over ten years, he has repeat students who know that they can continue to learn under him. He often says "You learn from me and I learn from you." It's a two way street. He's an asset to our teaching staff. His paintings are on our walls, his influence is felt.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Carmelo Schifano

Carmelo Schifano is bringing WATERCOLOR THE TERYY MADDEN WAY to our league. Every Friday evening for 8 weeks he's bringing watercolor to those who have wanted to paint but didn't know how or where to begin. Accomplished artists are also benefitting from his class.

Carmelo is new to the art league but certainly is not new to the art world. He taught all forms of art in the Chicago Public School system for 30 years. He now folunteers at a Chicago parochial school in the inner city. He knows that introducing the magic of art to disadvantaged children is a way of opening up the world for them. He has also been teaching the Terry Madden method for years now and has had the satisfaction of seeing students find their talent.

He's been drawing almost as long as he can remember. Wehn he was about six years old his father showed him how to draw a bird. He could do it too. It was magic! After that, art in all its aspects dominated his life. He was born in Sicily and spoke only Italian at home. Going to school is hard when you can't speak the language. His ability to draw made the difference. He helped both students and teachers in all kinds of art projects. In hight school he majored in wood working and architectural drawing and realized that he had an innate ability to understand perspective and scale.

He joined the marines after graduation, thinking that would go to Vietnam. But he ended up as an illustrator in a graphics arts studio, doing everything from free style drawing, drafting designs, charts, andor anything else the officers asked for. He even created a dozen 4 by 8 oil paintings for the walls of a mess hall. He couldnt find a job in the art world after leaving the marines. so he ended up hanging dry wall inside Chicago sk;yscrapers for 5 years. Eventually he went to Chicago State University on the GI bil and became a teacher.

He hadn't wanted to teach but found tremendous satisfaction doint it. Interacting with kids, letting them find their way within the disciplines of art, encouraging them to experiment came naturally to him. He was born to teac. All along he continued to develop his own talents. He carved wid birds and entered word class competitions, studied, under various teachers and experimented with many forms of water color.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Critiques, elections and coming demonstration

Last Wednesday was the general meeting which included the election for the executive board as well as a critique afterwards. There was a large turnout. There were short speeches by the nominees and then Judy, the president of the executive comittee spoke also. The ballots were turned in and then the crtique started. Nancy Hart did an outstanding job. She was perceptive, tactful, and gave excellent suggestions. The paintings were analyzed in terms of composition, use of color, value, all within their two minute time allowance.

The critiques were interrupted by the announcement of the new board members. Jacque France and Sarah Rehmer and Arlene Salamendra are now on the executive board.

Sunday there will be an acrylics demonstrationb by Gerardo Valerion from 2-4Pm. I'm going to try to be there. It sounds really interesting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The League has expanded its classes and plans to add even more classes in the near future. I find this is pretty exciting. Since retiring I've tried a few of the area resources for classes. Those at the League were by far the most rewarding. The teachers have been excellent. Not only do
they teach the basics, they also encourage the students to challenge themselves, to leave their areas of comfort and explore new ways of approaching their work. It's been a truly enriching experience. I've met most of the teachers. I've taken classes with quite a few. For someone who had left the world of drawing and painting for a long long time, this was the perfect venue for a return. In the next postings, I want to speak about each teacher, give a bit of their background and their relationship toward their art and their teaching.

The voting for the executive board is tomorrow evening at the League.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Board meeting

Board meeting last night....We're going to have elections for the corporate board next Wednesday at 7:30. Members will be allowed to use an absentee ballot at the League starting Monday. I understand there will be some information introducing the nominees by the ballots.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This week at the League

Last Friday the League participated in a La Grange Ladies' night out program. We had raffles every half hour, champagne, delectable sweets, Jacque France doing an oil painting, Sarah Rehmer taking pictures of friends, another raffle for a free class of the winner's choice. The walls were covered with paintings and the glass counters filled with original jewelry. The turnout was gratifying. groups popped in and after finding a glass and tasting the sweets, found themselves enjoying the works on the walls and examining the jewelry. I overheard a few heated discussions among friends as they discussed their likes and dislikes.

We sold some paintings (a few were by Ratindra Das) and quite a lot of jewelry. We also introduced the League to people who had never before entered the studio. We answered questions regarding our classes and were found by people wanting to expand their art experience.

Upstairs, Carmelo Schifano was giving the first in his series of classes on Watercolor the Terry Madden Way. I wandered up to watch and found a few of the guests peeking in to see what was going on. It was a great way to introduce new people to our actvities.