Continuing Education Blog

PNCA offers evening and weekend classes for adults and young people. For adults we offer courses in art, craft, and design, as well as professional development classes. For children we have Saturday classes during the school year and week-long camps during the summer. In addition to our regular teen classes, we also offer immersive summer Pre-College Studios. Our blog below gives you an idea of some of the goings on, and you can see our full course catalogue online here.


Drawing a Foundation

Drawing is foundational to a fine arts education in our program, and our instructors excel in practicing and teaching drawing as a means of apprehending and representing scenes from observation as well as from imagination. Hayley Barker, Anna Fidler, Harriet Fishman, Nathan Goldstein, Jef Gunn, Kurt Hollomon, Lynn Kitagawa, Paul Missal and Jerry Sumpter make up what sure is one of the finest group of artists and teachers of drawing and painting in the country. Their convictions and expertise have affirmed drawing as a critical perceptual and procedural skill, especially in the age of digital reproduction of art, and informed the launch of our Endorsement program in Drawing earlier this year.

During our ongoing discussions about the place and value of drawing in our program, Nathan Goldstein declared emphatically: “Every work of art is, in a way, an essay. We simply cannot say everything about a subject. What we choose to include and exclude tells the viewer how we understand our world. And how we draw tells the viewer how well we see and understand our world. Rudolf Arnheim, the great psychologist, was correct when he pointed out that ‘an inability to draw is to some extent an inability to see.’ Our ability as teachers of Art should be based on our ability to teach the student how to see, and a large part of seeing has to do with drawing.”

I know our teachers are doing just that. Our participants’ responses and evaluations are overwhelmingly positive. When recently visiting one of our drawing classrooms, a class participant discretely shared with me: “This class was transformative for me. I have studied art for many years, but the instruction here was different than anything I had experienced elsewhere.”

And just to be sure that I am not simply referring to the important skill of naturalistic representation, but to individual perception and creative expression, I quote again Nathan Goldstein: “Drawing also plays a vital role in abstract, and even non-objective imagery. It is no accident that two of the twentieth century’s most gifted artists, Matisse and Picasso, drew so well. They were well trained in drawing and it shows. A knowledge of drawing informs and influences the judgments in even the most abstract works. A well-trained artist can visit an exhibition of abstract and non-objective art and point out those artists who can draw and those who cannot. The works by artists who understand drawing are invariably better.”

When you are considering your personal and artistic growth, accord drawing its appropriate place and remember that you find an outstanding and committed group of artists and educators at PNCA to enrich and deepen your creative path and practice.

References:
Arnheim, Rudolf. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. 50th ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004. (ISBN 0520243838)
Goldstein, Nathan. The Art of Responsive Drawing. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006. (ISBN 0131945610)
—. Figure Drawing: The Structure, Anatomy, and Expressive Design of Human Form. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010. (ISBN 0136031919)

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