Learning from the masters

The Academy of Realist Art based in Toronto, Canada, recently partnered with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands to do two one-week workshops on classical drawing from the nude, a press release from the gallery said.

Cayman artists learned the techniques of the masters in both of the one week workshops, from instructor Fernando Freitas.

They learned how to realistically render the figure from a live model, how to get correct proportions and the dramatic effect of three-dimensional life in figure work, how to select proper tools and materials, how to position and light the model, how to measure proportions on the figure accurately, how to capture the expression of the pose, and how to judge the light and dark shadow to render the figure realistically.

Week one was for beginners and week two for advanced students, and amateur or professional artists were welcome.

Dora Williams, resident artist who helped the National Gallery liaise with the ARA, said: “The course gave me a huge step forward in my development as an artist. As a self-taught artist, I found it uplifting as well as educational to learn formal drawing techniques and disciplines in a structured approach which brought to life the old academic method of drawing from life. We were taught how to creatively use age-old tools like graphite and charcoal pencils to achieve amazing results.”

Many Caymanians have attended ARA in Toronto including C.E. Whitney and Gabrielle Wheaton.

The National Gallery’s director Nancy Barnard was happy with the attendance of approximately 17 artists, and the fact that upon the recommendation of the Sunrise Training Centre, two Caymanian artists Tina Ebanks and Darene Ebanks were able to attend the course on scholarship, kindness of ARA.

Ms Barnard added: ‘I am always grateful for the kindness of our local patrons, such as Cobalt Coast’s Arie Barendrecht, who provided free rooms, and Coconut Car Rentals, who provided free transport, for the visiting instructor, administrator and model. Without these patrons, the National Gallery would simply not be able to finance such programming.’

The National Gallery hopes to bring down the ARA for a course in the future, on life painting. For more information on the work of either of these organizations please visit their websites www.nationalgallery.org.ky or www.academyofrealistart.com

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