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Drawing Stars

Charcoal on paper by Nikki

Charcoal on paper by Nikki

As our classes are beginning to get rolling this fall, I have been thinking a lot about the important role and great experience that we provide to the Savannah Community, such as our Youth Drawing Portfolio Builder class, which will start on October 6th. This class gives young artists an opportunity to develop advanced skills in our awesomely inspirational environment. I am genuinely excited about witnessing the progress our students are about to make.

Included in our staff exhibit on display now at the museum is a beautiful drawing in charcoal and chalk on torn sketch pad paper. The work stands out. It is an expressive, powerful portrait created by one of our interns in the Education Department. I was discussing this work with Harry DeLorme and he informed me that Nikki, the artist, had taken classes in our Youth Drawing Portfolio class.

In my many, I am sad to admit, hourly treks for coffee, I have passed by the work and found myself momentarily transfixed. Critic Clive Bell, in an effort to define what made great art great, referred to “significant form.” He never clearly defined significant form, but explained that it was the result when all the elements of an art work are put together in such a way that a “something else” is present.

Nikki’s drawing has significant form. It has a strong composition, nice line quality, wide rage of values, good shape and proportion. Each of these elements are impressive on their own, but she has put them together in way that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. In this case, the significant form comes in a kind of familiarity; there is something that I recognize in the work.. a kind of personal, historical connection.

Thought is individual to the artist and reveals itself in a personality of mark-making Today, while getting my first cup of the day, it occurred to me that the comfortable acquaintance I felt with this drawing was a kind of place in my artistic development, a particular point in time. I realized I had not experienced that stage until my sophomore or junior year of college, and Nikki, our staff intern, was not yet out of high school.

Perhaps significant form comes from the range of experience we bring to the various formal elements developed in a work of art. Nikki, is perhaps ahead of the curve, having had long familiarity with the arts. She began formally developing a portfolio while a middle school student at Charles Ellis, and also participated the Telfair’s youth drawing portfolio classes prior to being admitted to Savannah Arts Academy. She’s had early intensive training, and the results are self-evident.

I’ve concluded that whatever “significant form” my life is to take, I should clearly start earlier, and do more of it. With enough coffee, I am sure I can manage.

Portfolio Builder: Youth Drawing I: 6 week Session

Instructor: Marisa Lilje
Ages 10 – 14
Thursdays, October, 6 – November 5; 4:30 – 6:00
Member: $100, Non-Member: $125

This class is designed to help upper-elementary & middle school students improve their drawing skills and begin the process of developing a portfolio. In Drawing II, students will focus on the figure, practicing portraiture and sketching from clothed models. Youth Drawing is a great class for students to develop their art portfolios. New students welcome! All materials provided.