A month at The Art Students League of New York

Decided that I would take an art class this summer while visiting my sisters in NY. I had read in art instruction books about famous artists and great teachers like Robert Henri, John Sloan, Kimon Nicolaides and many others teaching at The Art Students League. I took a look at their site and discovered that they continue to have internationally recognized, professional artists taking classes. And the most exciting part is that you can take a class for just a month!

I have signed up for one month of 5 evenings a week of Painting from Life, Portraiture, Composition, Color with Mary Beth McKenzie. The school follows the atelier system and the instructor is available on 2 days a week for criticisms and discussions and the rest of the time the class is managed by two monitors.

One week of this class is up and I’m putting below what I’ve done so far. I spent the first day making sketches as I was waiting for my supplies to arrive from Dick Blick but that’s another story. The second day was a holiday and the next three I spent working on 2 canvases.

Claudia on stretched canvas 2Claudia on stretched canvas 3
Claudia portrait on canvas 1Claudia portrait on canvas

In my ignorance I put more color and almost no turpentine on my first borrowed canvas to cover the painting that was already on it. Discovered to my horror that it was too wet for me to paint on the next day and so I started a portrait on a smaller piece of canvas. Ms McKenzie said that I’d made a good start and her advice was to do several such starts till I got familiar with the medium. She also added that i should use lots of paint as this would help me to learn more about the medium.

On Friday, I wiped clean the second one and tried again but with little success. The model will hold the pose for 2 weeks and so i have another week to make several more attempts to get it right.

I look forward to feedback so do leave me your comments.


8 thoughts on “A month at The Art Students League of New York

  1. MBK as an instructor and her students can be great support. You are on the right track. If I lived in NY again I would hang out at the ASL, it has a good funking feeling about it. In painting #3 it looks like you caught something special that was going on with the model. Enjoy NY and the ASL.

  2. The atmosphere is great at ASL. Many in class are very comfortable with painting and have been studying with MBK for a while. I’m really looking forward to learning. And thank you for your comment on painting 3. I guess you mean the blue one right? as of now it has vanished – poof! wiped off with tissue paper 😛 And thanks for writing back 😀

  3. I was speaking about the first painting to the right of the page that seems to have the most color. Consider not getting rid of any of your starts until you have had a chance to look at them with fresh eyes. You will see your progress in each painting.

  4. that’s the one i’ve put in most work on so far :P. had set it aside to dry and now dont know what else to do with it 😦 plan to attack it tonight and do a few more with just 2 colors to get a better understanding of values. and you’re right I need to leave those starts alone.

  5. Hi Ujwala,

    This looks like an awesome session! It’s great to see your enthusiasm, and I hope to see you on the Anatomy Forum soon ~ where you’re welcome to use both digital and traditional media at your discretion. 🙂



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