Brushing up on classic methods
What makes art good?
Eli Cedrone is hoping her classes will help people understand.
Her plan is to pair students with a master painter to encourage skill-based training, a method of teaching visual art.
“There’s a quote by landscape painter John E. Carlson, which is a great summation of my view of art today,” said Ms Cedrone, Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art’s artist in residence. “He said: ‘There is but one kind of good art. It is either fine or it is not art.’
“When I went to art school it was difficult to find instruction in representational painting.
“At the time the art world embraced the contemporary art movement and everything was subjective — galleries were hanging toilets on the wall and calling it art.
“In my classes, we sit down and deconstruct paintings so students really understand the fundamentals. It’s a return to academic training where students build a solid foundation in painting using classical methods. It’s something that’s been lacking in schools teaching the visual arts. What I think is happening in the US and all over the world is that young people are really yearning for this classical approach to painting.
“Whether they want to paint realistically or abstractly you still need a foundation which is based in the correct way of seeing how to develop a painting.”
Observation is key to the Boston-based artist’s teaching. For the past three months she’s been here, she’s worked on her own paintings and taught classes on everything from the fundamentals to landscape art.
“Several of the Bermudians who have taken my classes have said that this has opened doors for them because before they were wandering in the dark without the tools to express themselves,” she said. “Once you provide these tools there’s no end to what they can do. They learn to paint verbs instead of nouns.”
This week she’s part of the Bermuda Plein Air Festival, an event open to residents and visiting artists. An exhibit of the work created will be held at Bermuda Society of the Arts on Saturday.
Ms Cedrone will return to Masterworks later this year to expand on her classes and develop programmes specifically aimed at children and young adults.
“Residencies give me the opportunity to work abroad in another environment away from what’s familiar and I get to interact with the community,” she said.
“I’d especially like to focus on people who are thinking about a career in the arts and providing the information necessary to understand their options and how to apply to art schools and what it takes to make a living as an artist. I’m a professional artist and an instructor so I straddle both worlds.”
The level of talent on the island has been inspiring, she added.
“I see Bermuda being able to establish itself as a global arts destination. It’s positioned in such a way geographically and the rich artistic heritage evident in the Masterworks collection supports this vision. Rhona Emmerson’s effort in bringing artists to the island with the Bermuda Plein Air Festival is all part of what’s happening in the rest of the world in terms of landscape painting. This movement, which is fuelled by the major art publications is creating an enthusiasm for the traditional methods of painting from nature, it’s a real revivalist thing.”
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