Prof. Jason Ward’s Drawing Workshops building a community of creatives
Monday, March 1st, 2021
Art students itching for out-of-classroom guidance or a practical demonstration to expand their learning won’t always find what they’re looking for sitting solo in the studio.
The Learning Commons is working to remove some of those hurdles with biweekly Drawing Workshops held during Saturday Study Tables. Led by Fine Art faculty Jason Ward, the workshops offer personalized guidance, specialized instruction, and skill advancement, as well as something a little more intangible — community.
For three hours every other Saturday, student artists can work alongside others in person — physically distanced to comply with Covid-19 guidelines — or link in via Google Meet if they’re more comfortable with distance learning. Both scenarios offer the same interplay of ideas and feedback.
Professor Ward shares how the workshops can impact students’ art and how he works to overcome creative barriers:
Drawing Workshop in Progress, Prof. Jason Ward
Tell us about your Drawing Workshops and what you hope that the students will take away from the experience?
JW: The workshops will serve to expand on what students have already been taught, general tips for getting started, material handling, dealing with perspective, capturing gesture and proportion, representing light and shadow, compositional design, and more. The goal is that students will broaden their skill base and see new possibilities for how to approach their artwork.
When you were learning how to draw and paint, what were some of your biggest challenges and how did you persevere through those challenges?
JW: When I was in undergrad the biggest challenges for me were:
- Patience. I wanted to be good from the beginning, and I wasn’t. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on every assignment, but I did.
- Time management. I never knew how long any one project would take, and I often worked on each project for days.
- Consistency. I found it difficult to work at a consistent level, and often no matter how hard I fought, a project just didn’t turn out well. The solution was to practice, practice, practice.
When students come to you with questions what are your favorite issues or problems to solve? And what advice do you give students for problem-solving?
JW: I enjoy working with students on a range of issues. I talk about making art as a balance between three equal parts.
- There is the pictorial: What is the visual statement of the work?
- The emotional: What is the feeling that we share with the work?
- And the technical: What is hidden in the physical construction of the work?
Trying to bring these three points into harmony is a good place to begin addressing each student’s individual struggle.
What are some of your favorite works of art?
JW: My favorite works of art are the ones that I’ve stood in front of and discovered the potential for new ways of working.
What is your favorite aspect of teaching?
JW: Teaching keeps me more actively engaged. It makes art a total lifestyle that involves creating, reviewing, reading, research, and community. When I was in college I didn’t want to leave because I loved the lifestyle of being completely immersed in art.
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