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Portrait Workshop Adventure

Not too long ago, I wrote about the Montclair Art Museum and, this past weekend, I finally took a portrait workshop at the Yard School of Art.

The last time I took a bonafide art course was almost 10 years ago when I took a few teen classes at the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. At the time, I was planning to go to art school and spent many hours between my high school art classes, nighttime drawing sessions, and workshops at Moore drawing, painting, sketching, and dreaming about being an artist. After eventually deciding that art school wasn’t for me, not having admissions as a goal really allowed me to drop my art practice. 

Portrait Sketch

But one of my goals this year is to change that. Before picking up my morning habit of writing a poem every day, I started off sketching a portrait every day. While art can be very self-directed, it’s hard to look at your work each day and pinpoint what specifically needs to change in order to improve. That’s why I find workshops and classes so helpful, even though I tend to check out afterwards when I’d really love to see myself take the workshop as a jumping off point for my home practice.

The "final" product. There's still a few details and tweaks missing.
The “final” product. There’s still a few details and tweaks missing.

On Sunday, we had five hours to sketch out a portrait and focus on using highlights and shading to bring it to life. The teacher was amazingly helpful in pointing out where my measurements were off, and shifting the features a bit. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially considering how long it’s been since I took a class.

For fall, I’d really like to check another dream off my list and take a class at the Art Students League in New York. I remember when I first became interested in abstract expressionism, my mother told me about the Art Students League and I was intrigued ever since. I don’t have a set goal for what I’d like to accomplish with these workshops and this newfound emphasis I’m feeling for visual creativity, but I like it.

At the very least, all I can strive for is to one day become as mind-blowingly talented as one of my favorite artists, Shizu Saldamando. I mean seriously, ball point pen portraits? Come on!

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