Art Students Spend Spring Break Training in Classical Painting Techniques
Italiano (left) poses with the figure model who is depicted in the color study example she painted for the class.
While some students spent spring break on the beach, others admired a slightly different scene on the 11th floor of the One Main Building, which houses UHD's art studio and this week's temporary home to a famed Studio Incamminati's "In Your Town" workshop.
Four UHD students and eight local artists gathered for studies in gesture, grisaille, limited palette "duo-tone" and color study, led by Natalie Italiano, a founding member and graduate of the Philadelphia-based atelier. Italiano is an acclaimed artist who recently earned signature status from the Portrait Society of America, denoting a consistent demonstration of aesthetic skill and sophistication.
During the four-day study, students practiced fundamental exercises with shorter model poses, leading up to an extended painting in full color.
"We focus on a more classical, academic approach to art that really gives students a fundamental foundation on which to build their works," said Italiano. "Like musicians learn scales and notes before composing music, artists learn how to recognize values, understand lights and shadows, and build colors to create a comprehensive painting."
The program's goal is for students to "leave the workshop with fundamental skills and exercises they can use in their ongoing growth and development as an artist."
Students Baltazar Rivera, Yanina Taboada, Daral Moore Washington, and Monica Hernandez had their course fees covered by the Trask Scholarship and the Siegler Scholarship, which are endowed funds that support students pursuing careers in fine arts.
Rivera, an art minor, said scholarship support made this opportunity more manageable for him.
"I have never used this kind of classical technique before," Rivera said. "In class, we typically draw figures with colored pencils, then take it to the canvas," Rivera said. "Using the amount of oil paints required to build a piece layer by layer can get pretty expensive for a college student."
There were many first-time experiences for each of the UHD students in the course. Hernandez said it was her first time working with oil paints as a medium, and Taboada commented on the complexity of colors that Italiano helped her develop.
"I'm mostly self-taught, and I'm used to just looking at a person or object, building one color for it, and getting to work on the canvas," said Taboada, a graduating senior in the BAFA program. "Natalie has helped me understand how to build layers of color, recognizing the lines of separation between color and light. This is really going to help me improve my future work."
Studio Incamminati is a contemporary art school that teaches students the principles of realism and the techniques espoused by Nelson Shanks, the school's founder and world-renowned artist who has painted portraits for the likes of Princess Diana and Pope John Paul II. The "In Your Town" workshop series sets the school's esteemed faculty on the road, bringing their time, talent and fundamental aesthetic knowledge to museums, art schools, colleges and universities across the country for two- to five-day series.