By Faith Gruver
In fifth grade my art teacher suggested that I enroll in a class at the Memorial Art Gallery. It wasn’t until the summer before my freshman year of high school that I finally signed up for my first class in the Creative Workshop. At my high school you are only allowed to take one art/music elective and because I was part of our orchestra, I was unable to take an art class. As a result I turned to the Creative Workshop to further my education in the fine arts. I based my class selection on how much I enjoyed the museum and signed up for Drawing in the Galleries. It didn’t seem possible, but somehow I fell even more in love with the museum while taking this class. Learning how much detail and thought went into the compositions of each work gave me a new understanding of how to craft works of art. From the direction of brushstrokes to subtle nuances of color, my instructor explained how artists guide the viewer’s eye through a painting.
The next two classes that I took were selected with an impending portfolio for my college application in mind. In a drawing class and a portfolio workshop, Gina Zanolli imparted in me classical techniques used by the masters. I learned the importance of proportion in establishing realism, as well as a new way to draw portraits by layering shadows before adding lines. Gina also used the gallery as a resource for learning and inspiration. This allowed us to see the techniques that we had learned in class at play in work done by artists that we admired.
Most recently I attended a Drawing With Value class taught by Brian O’Neill. Once again a new technique was learned that improved my artwork greatly. Through focusing on small portions of a photograph at a time, we were able to render a highly realistic piece in black and white charcoal. Brian also taught us the importance of the weight of our lines and how to create seamless transitions from dark to light. Everyone in the class was able to create at least one solid piece of work that we could be proud of. I was so happy with the results that I was able to apply the technique on my own at home in another drawing.
I can hardly begin to explain the level of gratitude that I have for the Creative Workshop. The classes there have allowed me to continue to pursue my dreams when there seemed to be obstacles in the way. Knowledgeable and supportive teachers push their students to achieve their full potential. With the skills that I gained from these classes, I was able to apply and gain acceptance into my dream college. This would not have been possible without the guidance of the Creative Workshop instructors, and I highly recommend others to attend as many classes as they can.
NOTE: Faith’s work is currently on view in the Lucy Burne Gallery in the Creative Workshop at MAG
Creative Workshop Adult Student Show
The Burne Gallery is open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.