Finding the Magic in Portraiture

Interpretation: Anthony van Dyck's Self-Portrait
Instructor Kathryn Klauber

Instructor Kathryn Klauber

We are very excited to offer a Portraiture Workshop this fall with the popular and talented Kathryn Klauber. According to one of her past students, “It is so easy to learn from someone that has such a huge interest and love for what they teach.” This upcoming course will lead students through great examples of portraiture and the course will culminate in the students creating portraits themselves.

We asked Ms. Klauber to tell us more about the class and what students can expect to learn from this artistic genre.

How is portraiture different from other kinds of genres?
​Artists of every medium and genre work with specialized subject matter and materials due to the demands of culture, time and place​. However, the demands ​placed on portraiture​ can include​ pride, possessions, and ​sometimes even​ faultless or propagandized​ features​. Always memorializing, sometimes in ways unexpected by sitters, the portrait can be quietly reflective or positively rambunctious in its visual display of expression, ​mood, ​desire, ​idiosyncrasy and vanity.

Chuck Close at work.

Chuck Close at work.

Who do you consider to be a great portraitist and why?
I am always engaged by contextual references and my appreciation for the portraiture genre is vast. But, if forced to choose, I would say that I’m especially enthralled by a meandering trail of portraits from the period of the French Enlightenment on into our contemporary world. I think Chuck Close‘s works inhabit the realm of visual context quite well. He was born with Prosopagnosia (a cognitive disorder manifested in a lack of facial recognition) and beginning his work during the height of the Photorealism movement, Close has looked to solve a very personal issue by exquisitely gridding out the human face in order to remember it.

What do you expect students to take away from the class?
By introducing and discussing a gallery of historical portrait subjects, gaining an understanding of the uses of resemblance, ​proportion, idealization and ​distortion, and experimenting with dry medium​ portraits ourselves, we will take ​the study of portraiture to its natural conclusion – the creation of a portrait illustrating the idiosyncratic majesty of the individual. Students will hone their artistic skills and accrue a greater understanding of the desires of artist and sitter alike. ​

What kind of experience should a student have in order to take the class?
Although some of my students come with studio experience, there are others who are self-taught lifelong learners who adapt quickly and well to the classroom/studio setting. Thus, the prerequisite for this course is a love of art, its history and materials, and a desire to find the magic in portraiture. ​

Be sure to join us for this Portraiture Workshop starting September 16. Ms. Klauber will also be teaching Creating Art with Prismacolor Pencils beginning September 18.

Top image credit: “Interpretation: Anthony van Dyck’s Self-Portrait” by artist Kathryn Klauber​, Prismacolor on rag.

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