Friday, March 21, 2014

Alex Kanevsky master class

PAINTING BY ALEX KANEVSKY
Last weekend I was one of 16 lucky painters enrolled in Alex Kanevsky's master class at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia.  I was there with the help of an "artist opportunity grant" from the Calgary Arts Development Authority.  CADA defines opportunity as a "unique experience that clearly contributes to meaningful professional growth and development", and I can say with certainty that this qualified.

Like many of the artists there, I wasn't sure about what to expect from the structure of the weekend.  I wondered what we could learn in 2 days from a man whose works are famous for the number of layers and months that go into producing them.  I needn't have worried: it wasn't about technique; the weekend was all about how to be an artist.  Never once mentioning market forces or galleries, Alex talked eloquently and at length about the practises and thought processes that will lead to the creation of meaningful, honest works.

We divided our time between painting one of two model set ups in the large studio, and going to a separate classroom to look at slides and hear Alex's thoughts on making art. Referencing such diverse examples as Diebenkorn's "notes to himself" and Liz Taylor's multiple and passionate marriages, he made us laugh and made enough light bulbs go off in my head to light a room.

This is all vague and tantalizing, I know.  It can't be summed up in a blog post and will be something that I can chew on for the rest of my painting life.  But, for me, the examples and philosophy that Alex presented made me realize that honest communication and expression, and absolute commitment to the execution of every single brushstroke and passage of paint are what I need to focus on.  Just that.  It's plenty, I think.


4 comments:

Donna MacDonald said...

What a great opportunity to have gone to one of his workshops! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.....

Erik van Elven said...

Sounds like you had a great time Ingrid. He is a great painter.

Ingrid Christensen said...

It was amazing, Donna, and the Academy made me wish I'd gone to art school: so full of creative energy.

Ingrid Christensen said...

I did have an amazing time, Erik. The real benefit is the enthusiasm that I have to get back to my own studio and put these thoughts into practise.