The Conservatory for Classical Art (CCA) is rebranding and I want to give you a little background on why we are making this change.
I am very happy and proud to say that this year we are celebrating our 8th anniversary! Over the years we've had so many amazing people walk through our doors to study with us. Some of those artists continue to study and teach, while others have gone on to bigger and better places. Many of our past and current students travel from all across Oklahoma to attend weekly classes and workshops. That’s incredible!
Because of this tremendous community, growth has been steady, but little has changed as to what we do and why we do it. For a few years I’ve had a strong feeling to change the name of the school but I’d read that rebranding is risky and often makes existing customers nervous and hesitant. The whole idea and all that’s involved caused me some fear, but I’ve since realized that fear is simply a negative expectation of a future event and I choose to assume the best for the future of our school.
Sometimes, change is good. It can revitalize a person, a family, a business and a community. That’s one reason for our choice to rebrand. Another is the desire to include Oklahoma in the name. I am proud to have built a successful business in Oklahoma and if it weren’t for the people here who support it, it wouldn’t exist. Finally, the word “academy” describes our school better than the word “conservatory”.
We came up with the new name through an informal studio focus group. Everyone who participated voted on the best name for our school and the overwhelming response was for Oklahoma Academy of Classical Art.
Our school name is changing, our brand colors are changing and our website may change a little too, but our studio community is the same. We will continue to aim for excellence, serve artists with the best possible training through classes and workshops, and, of course, all the love and encouragement we can give. That will not change.
Founder | Principal Instructor
Emily Taylor began her studies with me four or five years ago and it's been a gift for me to watch her grow and expand her artistic horizons. Emily works diligently at her craft and she is a naturally gifted draftsman and painter. She exhibited her work at Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts Youth Show for years and has exhibited her work for three years in art exhibitions at the CCA. She is homeschooled and this year has begun her final year of high school. Emily serves as an officer on the CCA Teen Artist Guild. I interviewed Emily for this profile and I am excited to share her work and responses with you!
~ Leslie Lienau
LL: When did you discover that you wanted to be an artist?
ET: Ever since I was little I have always loved to draw. I remember one day I was probably 5, I drew a bird and everyone I showed loved it and said It was amazing. Of course I was five and everyone just happened to be my parents, but they gave me hope that maybe someday I would be an artist.
LL: Who and what inspires you in your creative process?
ET: Events in my life. Whether it is going to a festival and people watching, a simple bike ride, or a cherished memory. One of my most recent inspirations was at a swing dance club. Occasionally the vision is clear but I have learned sometimes one has to look for ideas to see them, and once you train your mind to see life through a transparent canvas you will have more revelation than you want. I sometime carry with me my "ideas book" and when I see a potential painting or a possiblesculpture I make a quick sketch.
LL: Have you studied different styles of painting and drawing? Do you have a preferred style for yourself?
ET: I have mostly learned the technique of drawing and painting though realism. But it is an ambition of mine to expand my artistic horizons and to practice other styles and mediums. I once took a gestural figure drawing class and I learned how to draw the human figure and to capture the gesture in a short amount of time. I have used that method mixed with realism to capture moments of a persons life and turn it into a two dimensional memory.
LL: Do you wish to continue your art studies after high school?
ET: Yes. I will always paint, draw and hopefully learn how to make a living doing it. But I do not plan to attend an art school immediately after I graduate from High School.
LL: If yes, what would you like to study?
ET: I am not sure yet.
LL: What are you currently working on?
ET: I am currently working on a master copy. Edgar Degas the Star. It is a painting of a ballerina on stage striking a graceful pose. This has been a fairly difficult project. The original was painted with pastel and some of the strokes are very prominent, so it has been a challenge to try to duplicate that with a paint brush. But it has also been a great learning experience.
This blog post is long overdue. I have been remiss in writing regular blog posts about our Conservatory's events, classes and other important news. This post is dedicated to our teen board , The Teen Artist Guild, which was launched in October of 2013. The brainchild of forming the board was presented to me by Karen Prior, who is the mother of our third year Youth Atelier student, Katie. Karen spearheaded the organization of the teen board which has been nothing but successful and entirely fun since! The Teen Artist Guild offers students of CCA and community youth the opportunity to learn leadership skills, get involved in the community by volunteering their time and energy and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow students with similar interests and the pursuit of art education. We have monthly meetings that include art projects, presentations by local artists, field trips and more!
I will present to you a gallery of photos that represent the events and fun times the youth have enjoyed thus far. If your child is interested in the CCA Teen Artist Guild, please contact me @ email@example.com. You may follow us on Instagram @ccateenartistguild. Here we go! Please enjoy. We want to know what you think, so please send us your comments!
All the best,
Teen art guild very first meeting
Teen Art Guild curates annual youth art exhibition
December 15, 2014. The Teen Artist Guild curated the First Annual Youth Art Exhibition. They did everything from collecting the work to hanging the work and even framing several pieces. They organized and hosted the opening reception for the community and their families. It was so much fun! We had great food and live music by Kyle Reid too!
Teen art guild day long retreat
This day long retreat was lead by Karen and Dave Prior. The board members learned about various aspects of being on a board from conduction meetings to organizing events. They learned all about The Robert's Rules of Order. It was a lot of fun! Here are some pictures of some of the art projects they got to do during the retreat, which included making tattoos on bananas!
I am pleased to present a second guest post from my student Kiana Daneshmand. Kiana has been studying with me for several years and her talent is exceptional. She was another willing and eager beta tester for Miira, the mobile application I developed for iOS. I believe that Kiana’s story will be inspiring and motivating.
~ Leslie Lienau
Using the Miira app to get a likeness
By Kiana Daneshmand
When I first started drawing Audrey Hepburn, I used the Miira app on my iPhone to achieve an envelope fast and accurately. But getting the envelope down was only the first step. There were still all of the features and shadow shapes to think about. Plus, since Audrey Hepburn is a well known actress, I knew it was important to make sure there was a likeness. In order to accomplish this, I used the line tool to help find the placement of things such as her eyes, nose, and mouth. After getting those down, I was able to block in the shadows and start to see a good similarity. I was able to check my work as I went along and make minor adjustments when needed using the overlay tool. When I was pleased with the foundation I had built, I was ready to start adding details. Using the Miira app made it easier to get a really good likeness and a satisfying finished product.
Born in California, Kiana Daneshmand is a beginner artist who enjoys working in the medium of painting. Prior to taking art classes about a year and a half ago, she worked mainly with graphite and some charcoal. Although she has only just begun painting she hopes to develops her artistic abilities in years to come. A couple of Kiana’s favorite artists include Thomas Kinkade, and Kelvin Okafor. They inspire her to work hard and one day be as good as them.
Share your MIIRA app story and images with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A couple of years ago I founded Miira Artist Tools out of a need to invent tools to help me be a better instructor. One of our products, Miira for iOS, is a powerful mobile app that I believe changes the way the artist sees the natural world. I've had the privilege to work with a remarkable young artist, Katie Prior, who has studied drawing and painting with me for several years at the CCA. When we began to develop our mobile app Katie was eager to be a beta tester. Her input was instrumental in making the Miira app work even better. Katie's story about her experience using the Miira app will be eye-opening and I believe will influence your perspective and approach to your work. I trust you will enjoy this story and I invite you to download the app, try it and share your story with us too!
To link to Miira's website, click here
Using the Miira app to create an envelope
by Katie Prior
Standing in front of a blank piece of paper, with the expectation of drawing my very first drapery study, I really didn't know where to start. I know about drawing shapes and the light and dark, but it was still overwhelming. I decided to use the Miira app on my iPhone. I started with the outline; sliding the guides on the app to create an envelope, a simplified outline, around the study. I then transferred the envelope to my paper, making sure that all the angles were correct.
I used Miira’s overlay feature to check that the envelope on my paper matched the actual piece of drapery. Having the envelope correct to begin with saves tons of time later, so that in the middle of blocking in shadows you don't realize that one fold should be another inch to the left. From this point, I was able to draw in the shapes of light and dark.
I've spent many hours on this study and it's almost finished. The Miira app has helped me many times along the way to confirm the shapes and angles in my drawing.
Katie Prior is a second year Youth Atelier student at the Conservatory for Classical Art in Edmond, Oklahoma. Her preferred means of expression are computer pixels, vine charcoal, and the written word. www.katieprior.com
We are proud to announce our First Annual Youth Art Exhibition and Sale. Artists who will be featured are studying in my Youth Atelier or attend youth classes with CCA youth instructors, Ella Moore and Emily Bruce. This year, the exhibition has been curated by our newly formed Teen Art Guild. Under the guidance and tutelage of Karen Prior, our junior high and high school students are learning leadership skills and the many aspects of participating on a teen board.
A special thanks must go to the youth who have helped to curate the exhibition: Kiana Daneshmand, Julian Houston, Katie Prior and Emily Taylor. Thanks to Karen Prior too! This endeavor would not have happened if it weren't for her enthusiasm and diligent efforts!
A Brief History of Perspective
By Leslie Lienau
The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines perspective as “the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance; or the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and position.
For the artist, seeing, understanding and expressing perspective is an age old problem. Very early artistic drawings and paintings did not show perspective or foreshortening (an aspect of linear perspective which occurs when the size of a form or space is distorted when viewed from a distance or at an unusual angle). Long ago, paintings and drawings made by artists showed the spiritual or thematic importance of figures by size and placement on the picture plane which made space and depth appear distorted.
The Greeks and Romans understood perspective, but over time, their knowledge was lost. Plato wrote, "Thus (through perspective) every sort of confusion is revealed within us; and this is that weakness of the human mind on which the art of conjuring and of deceiving by light and shadow and other ingenious devices imposes, having an effect upon us like magic... And the arts of measuring and numbering and weighing come to the rescue of the human understanding – there is the beauty of them – and the apparent greater or less, or more or heavier, no longer have the mastery over us, but give way before calculation and measure and weight?"
It was 15th Century Italian architect and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi who rediscovered the laws of perspective. He demonstrated a mathematical approach that proved how forms and space shrink in size according to their location and distance from the eye. In 1435 Leon Battista Alberti discovered the first theory of linear perspective and published his treatise Della Pictura (On Painting) in which he too relied on mathematics as the common ground of art and science. Alberti’s discovery had an enormous impact on European artists and is still used by artists, designers and architects today.
Artists throughout history have devised mechanisms to aid in the recording the reality of the three dimensional world. Leonardo Da Vinci, who was influenced by Alberti and who wanted his paintings to reveal the world as it actually appeared, invented a machine called a Perspectograph. The Perspectograph was comprised of a pane of glass that fit into a frame and which also held a small viewing slot. The framed glass could be placed in front of the scene to be painted. The artist could look through the viewing slot with one eye and then sketch the outline of the scene directly onto the pane of glass. The outline served as a rough sketch for the final, well defined painting.
The 1525 German artist, Albrecht Dürer published The Artist’s Manual which included illustrations of perspective machines similar to Leonardo’s Perspectograph, that were designed to enable the artist to make precise measurements of a subject or scene by tracing what was seen through a frame placed directly in front of the artists line of sight.
While studying in The Hague, Vincent Van Gogh used simple perspective frame with grid lines and adjustable legs which he used to quickly and easily translate what he saw onto his paper or canvas. In an excerpt from a letter written to his brother Theo, an excited Vincent Van Gogh states, “I think you can imagine how delightful it is to turn this spy-hole frame on the sea, on the green meadows, or on the snowy fields in winter, or on the fantastic network of thin and thick branches and trunks in autumn or on stormy day. Long and continuous practice with it enables one to draw quick as lightning - and, once the drawing is done firmly, to paint quick as lightning too.”
Translating the reality of the visual world to the flat picture plane is, indeed, a challenging task for the artist and the attempt to discover new and innovative ways to make the process easier and faster will most likely never cease. Conversely, the simple understanding of concepts and theories is an essential aspect of the practice of drawing and painting from direct observation. The use of machines to aid in the discovery of the natural world is a method of enlightening and educating oneself and seems to be a sensible endeavor.
Brittany Foley, a high school senior at Edmond Memorial High School is a CCA Youth Atelier student and will be the first student to be featured in a series of profile stories I'll be writing on the students and instructors at The Conservatory. I am very excited to begin this series and look forward to sharing with you!
Brittany has been studying with me for about 3 years. Since she began her studies at the CCA she has studied drawing, color theory, and painting with oils. Brittany has had the opportunity to study portrait painting with Scott Waddell at two of the workshops he taught at CCA and she studied with Alicia Ponzio who taught Sculpting The Portrait last summer. Brittany works hard and diligently at her craft and possesses a natural gift. Her studies are not limited to CCA classes - at Edmond Memorial High School she has been an AP Studio Art student for several years.
Below is a sampling of some of Brittany's work. Learn about the Youth Atelier Program here.
All the best,
For information on William-Adolfe Bouguereau visit this link:
"Les Bretonnes au Pardon" ("Breton Women at a Pardon"), 1887. Oil on Canvas. Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon.
Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret was a nineteenth century French painter. He was a gifted and favorite student of Jean Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Art, the preeminent art academy in Paris, where those who entered were selected to have an official career as a painter. He began his studies in April of 1869. In his youth, he and his brothers lived with his grandparents in Mulen, France, after his mother's death in 1858. Only a year before her death, Louise Bouveret moved her sons, Pascal-Adolphe-Jean and Emile Gabriel to Rio de Janeiro, joining their father, Bernard Dagnan, where he owned a prosperous clothing company. After his mother died, his father sent his children (including a third son, Victor), back to France to live with his father-in-law, Gabriel Bouveret. The young artist and his brothers grew up in a comfortable middle-class environment and it was there where he began to develop his artistic sense. He took art lessons as a child in Mulen and made many drawings of his family.
It was a turbulent time in France when Dagnan-Bouveret was a student at the École. The Franco Prussian War of 1870 had taken a devastating toll on the country and because of the fighting in the Paris Commune, large areas of Paris were destroyed. As a result, the supremacy of the arts in France began to falter. But by the end of the decade France began to see a return of the artistic spirit and young artists from all around Europe and the United States came to Paris to study at the Ecole. These students believed that they could receive the best education from the traditional academies in Paris and that academic training would position them for exposure through exhibiting in the Salons.
Dagnan-Bouveret enjoyed success as a young artist in Paris, winning numerous prizes at the Salon. He began to see the need to shift to the more modern and contemporary painting styles becoming fashionable during the late nineteenth century and he was capable of transforming his classical academic training into new methods so that his work was available to the public. In fact, Dagnan-Bouveret, like many other artists began to explore the use of photography and was interested in how the new medium could aide the artist in an academic naturalistic approach. His teacher, Jean Léon Gérôme used photography as well. “His insistence on using photography under the initial stimulus of Gérôme, reveals that he was among the most forward-looking members of the academic tradition; he recongnized that the “old" classical system of planning a composition had to respond to the new technologies that were already being applied and assimilated by painters of the avant-garde."(1)
The images above represent a sampling of photos and sketches Dagnan-Bouveret made in preparation for “Les Bretonnes au Pardon" (“Breton Women at a Pardon") - shown above. He began to make this painting in the summer of 1887 while in Ormoy, France. He'd taken a photograph of a church in the distance and pictured in the foreground of the photo is a male figure with a handkerchief on his head - the same location where one of the Breton women sits in the final painting. Dagnan-Bouveret worked in an outdoor tent where he compiled numerous preliminary drawings on tracing paper, pastel drawings and oil sketches. He made drawings on tracing paper in order that they might be modified and enlarged for the final composition.
The Breton people come from Brittany, one of the most staunchly Roman Catholic regions of France. The Breton's are, along with the Welch and Cornish, one of the last vestiges of the ancient British. Dagnan-Bouveret's painting was completed in late 1888 or 1889, the same year it was exhibited at the Salon. It received the Medal of Honor at the Salon and the Grand Prize at the Exposition Universalle. The public reception of the painting was overwhelming. A very influential critic at the time, Albert Wolff, hailed the Breton Women as “a work of beauty, contemplation and peacefulness. It is great, honest art."(2)
During the early twentieth century, most traditionalist painters became obscure and outdated. Although he continued to paint actively into the second and third decades of the twentieth century, Dagnan-Bouveret's traditional work was considered passé and insignificant as compared to the new artists who were painting under the auspices of surrealism, dadaism, fauvism and the School of Paris. One year after the artist's death, in 1930, a retrospective of his work was held at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts. By then avant-garde modernism had progressed and dominated the art scene in Paris and abroad and the French academic style of painting was effectively over - mainly due to the unilateral control of the academic professors of the Ecole who were resistent to change and modern approaches to painting.
From 1930 - 1980 little attention was paid to Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret. His work, along with other French academic painters, like Jean Léon Gérôme, William Bouguereau and Jules Breton were forgotten after their deaths. Dagnan-Bouveret worked as an advocate for the preservation of tradition and while he came against the avant-garde, he understood and even embraced modernism.
(1) Gabriel P.Weisberg. Against the Modern: Dagnan-Bouveret and the Transformation of the Academic Tradition. New York: Dahesh Museum of Art, 2002. ISBN 0-8135-3156-X
(2)Gabriel P.Weisberg. Against the Modern: Dagnan-Bouveret and the Transformation of the Academic Tradition. New York: Dahesh Museum of Art, 2002. ISBN 0-8135-3156-X
Leslie Lienau is the founder and principal instructor at the Oklahoma Academy of Classical Art, formerly The Conservatory for Classical. Thanks for reading - hope you enjoy!
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