I graduated from West Springfield High School eons ago. I don't know much about their current art curriculm but I fear it may have gone the way of the SOLS here in Virginia. At the time, I honestly believe it was one of the strongest fine arts programs in a public high school in the country. I know there were at least three of my classmates accepted to Pratt University on full scholarships and several more getting additional financial assistance from other universities where they were going to study art. I still remember my art teacher's name: Mrs. Roberts. I know she has since died but I do wish she knew how much she really meant to me over the years. I remember she scared me half to death because she demanded such high standards.
I was surrounded by tough competition and never quite felt I could live up to the standard. But I was deeply encouraged and fortunate to have been one of about 12 area high school students to participate in a program sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute.
One day a week for one term, I got on a Metro bus and traveled downtown into D.C. and got off at the National Gallery of Fine Arts and spent the day with a resident artist there working on printmaking projects. It was the one and only time in my life I had the opportunity to work on lithography and etchings using real stones and real acid. I still have prints from those adventures.
Another term in my senior year, I was selected to participate in a similar program at the National Portrait Gallery where we were taught portraiture drawing. I was not able to participate in the painting class even though I really wanted to. Unfortunately, I no longer have these drawings.
I have retained however, the skills I learned in that class. I've also lost some. But I'm hoping it is more a matter of practise than actual loss of knowledge.
Here is a drawing I completed recently of my father. The whole head is too short and for some reason it is easy to see that with the scan but was not so easy to spot while I was drawing. It may have to do with being too close while drawing.
This is just a study. A practise piece for this is just a tiny piece of a photograph I took of him sitting on my mother's floral print sofa with his large feet predominant in the picture. It needs to be done in colored pencil. The whole thing. Big.
When I will have the courage to tackle that project, I don't know. But I will.