Date: Thursdays, November 30 & December 7, 2023
Time: 10:30 AM-12:30 PM Pacific Time, 1:30-3:30 PM Eastern Time, 6:30-8:30 PM London Time
Level: Intermediate to advanced
Paul Cézanne once declared, “I will astonish Paris with an apple.” He did so with radical still life paintings that have been revered for generations. What can we learn from how Cézanne depicted still life objects? Do his works really provide a key for understanding modern art? Most importantly, how can the structures of his compositions, his figure/ground relationships, and his color and brushwork inspire our own strategies in painting or drawing still lifes? How can we understand his shifting horizon lines and shape edges? And what do we make of what he chooses to leave unfinished or unpainted? Finally, how have artists like Georges Braques, Henri Matisse, and Richard Diebenkorn emulated Cézanne in their own still life paintings?
In this 2-week class, we will be looking closely at Cézanne’s still lifes for strategies we can try in our own paintings and drawings. “If you want to learn to paint, look at Cézanne,” Camille Pissarro once said. We’ll consider how Cézanne’s still life paintings evolved as his ambitions deepened; and we’ll explore the paintings of renowned artists who were inspired by him.
Week 1: A two-hour presentation and discussion of Cézanne and his still life paintings. From this, you will be given a “Painting Challenge” with several options to choose from in creating works on your own time inspired by what you’ve learned.
Week 2: Starts with a one-hour presentation and discussion of still life paintings by renowned artists influenced by Cézanne. The last hour of class will conclude with a one-hour community share of the images you created over the week based on the “Painting Challenge.”
This class is ideal for experienced art students and suitable for working in any 2-D medium. It is also appropriate for professional artists and art teachers interested in learning more art history and deepening their repertoire of creative strategies through close looking at art historical precedents.
Leigh Culver is an art historian, teacher and painter. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and taught American Art for the University of Notre Dame’s Washington Program for over a decade. Prior to teaching, she worked in the curatorial departments at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and in education at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. As a painter, she has won multiple watercolor awards in the Mid-Atlantic region and recently served as President of the Potomac Valley Watercolorists. She taught advanced watercolor at The Art League School in Alexandria, VA, before turning to teaching “Painting through Art History” with online Zoom classes. www.leighculverart.com
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