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Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 12:00 am

Art Association class cuts straight to the reason you make art

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Registration begins today for a unique class at the Springfield Art Association.

"Most classes in small art communities focus on media and techniques," explains Robert Mazrim, co-instructor of Studies in Observation and Representation along with Erin Svendsen. "You expect to be taught, within a certain medium, a series of techniques - how to hold a brush, how to mix color and all that. Our class is about different ways of seeing, building lenses to help the students find their own personal, idiosyncratic vision. Observation comes first, and then you can choose an appropriate medium or technique to express whatever it is you see."

Svendsen (University of Illinois, 2008) has a background is in painting and drawing while Mazrim (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1989) comes from a more abstract, more conceptual place. The two perspectives combine for a truly unusual, exciting learning opportunity for beginning and novice artists."We're really encouraging people to look at things differently, beginning with early 20th century issues of impressionism and cubism, when people first awoke to the idea that you can represent something that you can't literally see."

The class integrates art history and abstract traditions as well as introducing students to basic techniques about design and color. "We're cutting to the reason you make art," Mazrim continues. "What has been really interesting, particularly with the beginners, is that in a matter of weeks we could start to recognize their personality and their style. That's what we were trying to coax out of them, and get them there quicker than when you're just being exposed to a color wheel or line and shape techniques. Normally you don't get this kind of approach until your third semester of art school - before that it's 'shut up and draw.' We don't want you to shut up and draw - from the first night it's all about that other stuff."

Registration for Studies in Observation and Representation is open through September 30th. Classes will meet on Thursdays from October 3rd through November 14th from 6-9 PM.

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