What lovely weather we are having these days but I suppose it should be expected- it's May. I have not written anything on this blog in a while and am not ready to discuss my projects as they are still in flux.
I was cleaning my office- it really needed it and I came across a paper I wrote about my art teacher who was really an inspirational and at times maddening teacher- I will recap some of it here and try to find one of her paintings to show you.
( Here is an example of one of her florals.)
My Introduction to Ann Schuler came in the fall of 1967 after I graduated from High School. We were a small enclave of full time students - 5 or 6 of us- the rest of her students were older who came once or twice a week.
I was thrilled with the atmosphere of Teach's studio where one learned how to mix paints and make one's pastels. Teach ( so named since there were 5 Annes and I had just tread "Up the down staircase"). Teach always had several commissions going as well as works she was restoring so it was great to see the progression of these projects. Hans, her husband, a sculptor was working on his 7 foot minute man in the middle of the studio. It was commissioned for one of the armed forces building in Washington DC
I found Teach's way of teaching and demonstrating of immense value and greater inspiration. It was amazing what she could do with a large brush. One of my friends, April who was a dancer was posing one time and teach was able to do a lovely portrait of her with a large brush- a quick flick and there was an eye, a dash and a flourish there and there was her mouth. She made it look so easy!
She was also a great experimenter- I remember all the different ways she tried preparing copper on which to paint. She was trying to find the manner the Dutch used- even baking it in the oven trying to get the right finish. Nevertheless, most of the experimenting went into cooking the black oil, messing with the the temperature changes as well as cooking times .
(One of her lovely paintings of the nude)
On one occasion it was my turn to cook the oil. Now mind you this was a time consuming process- at least 4 hours!. You had to put litharge(pure lead) into raw linseed oil and cook it over heat counting it between 210 and 220 fahrenheit, using a candy thermometer. During this time I left it to do something else- a very big no no since it was so flammable. Anyway it went above 220 and basically burnt-.Teach was really furious because she thought I had ruined it. However a week later she tried painting with it and loved it which means I had to go into detail exactly all the steps I took. The one thing about black oil is you had to wait a week for it to form a sediment at the bottom. if it did not then it was undercooked.
Teach, for me, was a very inspiring teacher encouraging and often pushing us to strive for the perfection of the masters. Her insistence that we always study and learn , her kindness and encouragement have colored the way I approach not only my artwork but the way I teach.
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