Classes at SAIC

Archive of Notes from Art School

Sketch of cells | Colored pencil | 6" x 6" | © c. 2004-5 Marilyn Fenn --

I started this art blog* to put all of my notes from art school online in one place -- mostly for my own convenience, but if anyone else benefits from my clumsily compiled notes (often with no real date), that's good, too.

The Essence Lies in the Visual Meaning

Copy After Leonora Carrington's "Juan Soriano de Lacandón," 1964 | at the Art Institute of Chicago | Pencil | 7" x 5" | © 1991 Marilyn Fenn --

Class notes from SAIC, 1991

Abstract concepts help to provide visual meaning (aside from subject matter).

Creating Movement Through Color

Painting: Song of the Nightingale by Hans Hoffman 1964, Oil on canvas 84 x 72 inches

Class notes on Color, SAIC, 1992

Strive for awareness of movement from:

  • warm to cool
  • bright to dull
  • repetition to change
  • quiet to noisy

Look at Botticelli and Raphael

The Birth of Venus Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482–1486 tempera on canvas 172.5 cm × 278.5 cm (67.9 in × 109.6 in) Uffizi, Florence

Class notes from Drawing the Figure in Space with Elizabeth Rupprecht, SAIC, 1991

Look at feet & hands like Raphael or Botticelli:

Artists to Look at for Paint and Pictorial Methods

Francis Bacon - Study after Velazquezs Portrait of Pope Innocent X
Class notes, SAIC, 1991
Look at these artists:

Florine Stettheimer

Jim Lutes

Artists to Look at for Atmosphere

Painting by Ferdinand Hodler Lake Geneva as seen from Chexbres, oil on canvas 1905
Class notes, from Advanced Drawing Studio with Barbara Rossi, SAIC, 1991
For help with my current work, look at: Ferdinand Hodler for narrative.

Find the Static and Dynamic Areas

Painting by Cezanne Mount Saint-Victoire 1902-1904

Class notes from Painting the Figure in space with Elizabeth Rupprecht, SAIC, 1991

Look at Cezanne's Mt. St. Victoire - picture is divided in to 3 horizontal bands: dark and warm on bottom, medium, warm & hot in center, light & blue at top.

Draw from Center Out

Class notes from Painting the Figure in space with Elizabeth Rupprecht, SAIC, 1991

Draw from center out. Work from bottom up, never top down.

Like riding a bike uphill.

Crunching up the space, like using your muscles. All this space to work with. Swooping down.

Your Work Must Grow

Painting by Arshile Gorky The Artist's Mother, 1926 or 1936 Charcoal on ivory laid paper 630 x 485 mm

Class notes from Advanced drawing studio with Barbara Rossi, SAIC, 1991

Look at Gorky's portrait of his mother in our collection.

80 Ways to Paint…

Class notes from Advanced drawing studio with Barbara Rossi, SAIC, 1991

Poem - Wallace Stevens: 13 ways of looking at a blackbird.

There are at least 80 ways of painting an ice cream cone.

Bring examples of artist who have used masks as part of their imagery.

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…go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

— Kurt Vonnegut

Find Previous Posts:

Gallery of Recent Paintings

Color-Mini 2015-030 Oil on canvas 6 x 6 © 2015 Marilyn Fenn Untitled 2015-017 -  Oil on Canvas - 12 x 12 - © 2015 Marilyn Fenn Throwing Off Her Robes - Oil on Canvas -12 x 12 - © 2015 Marilyn Fenn Composition Number 8, 2013 - Acrylic on panel - 12 x 9 - © 2013 Marilyn Fenn