A Little More Information if you are Thinking of Studying with me at the School of Visual Arts
by John Parks
Firstly, I have made this short video describing the courses and showing some of the student work.
Beginners and experienced painters are equally welcome in this course - I keep the classes fairly small so that I can get to spend a great deal of individual time with those who take it. If you are a beginner you can expect that by the end of the course you will be doing paintings which are full colored, three dimensional renderings of the human head. I can't guarantee you'll be painting Rembrandts but you will certainly have made a lot of progress. If you are already an experienced portrait painter you can expect to make considerable strides in the handling of color, flesh and likeness. Whatever your level of expertise you will also learn a great deal about a number of famous portraits and portrait painters. I'm a strong believer that good studio practice involves the close study of the work of the masters.
My approach to teaching portrait painting differs radically from the classical approach. In the old academy schools the teaching proceeded along a logical, but rather dry and tedious path. Months or years were spent on drawing, first in line and then in tones. Allowed to paint at last, students generally built carefully rendered underpaintings in browns. Color was restricted and added right at the end. Although this method works, it tends to make for rather stiff and somewhat dull and claustrophobic paintings. I have discovered that the learning process is much faster if we begin with the color. I believe that it is much more important to get a sense of how to create light and three dimensional form through color than to labor endlessly over the accuracy of the drawing. My experience over twenty years of teaching this way is that students make much faster progress and have a lot more fun doing so. Miraculously I've discovered that the drawing gets better anyway. The finished results are much livelier, more open and generally more adventurous. They seem to allow for considerably more creativity. And after all if making paintings isn't creative, fun and inspiring then what's the point of doing it anyway?
Cadmium Red Light
If you have any questions or comments about the courses please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org