LIFE ART - Adelaide Central School of Art
It's back to primary colours at the old Norwood Primary School as these first year students come to grips with one of the arts most difficult subjects - the human face.
"It's quite a strong shadow that goes around the eyes and across the bridge of her nose, you see that shape? It's almost like you squint".
For a group of people intent on capturing on canvas, all that you see, these students at the Adelaide Central School of Art, could be said to be a little one-eyed in their approach. But under the expert instruction of well-known artist Anna Platten, this first year Life Art Class is learning about tonal realism and as a result these students' perception of reality will change forever. Zoe Freney's image is no longer a combination of eyes, nose, chin and all the rest that makes up the human face - but is something more subtle.
"We don't want to concentrate the face on little details, we want to see the general pattern. So when you're looking at her you're squinting. You're looking so that where is that light and where is that shade?"
The privately-funded Adelaide Central School of Art was established nearly 20 years ago by Anna's partner Rod Taylor, and the emphasis here is on practice, rather than theory. Many of the State's best-known artists have either studied or taught under and while the novice may not become another Rembrandt the fundamentals can be mastered.
"Everybody can learn to draw"
"It's really like any skill like learning to read or write. We can all be taught how to do it. But not all of us are going to make poetry when we learn to write, do you know what I mean?"
For Mick Massingham, the struggle to become a professional artist represents a major turn around. He was once a nightclub bouncer.
"You can teach yourself so much, but when you come here you're dealing with people who've done this for years and years. They just teach you a different way of looking at things and it really works".
"I don't look at people the way I used to. I tend to look at them in terms of shapes and whether I like the shapes of their faces and uhmm colour, is far more interesting to me now than it was. So you don't realise until you start really looking at people, the different tones, the different colours that you see in their face".
"It's really looking very good"
With class over, the work doesn't stop for Anna Platten. Here she continues on with her latest piece to add to a body of work that now hangs in the Art Gallery in the halls of Academe. But her work strives for more than just realism. In this work, she tries to convey that sense of helplessness felt by a new mother, hemmed in by expectations of the young and the old.
"My paintings are fairly autobiographical and this painting, even though it's not me, is about what it felt like when my child was very small and I was a little too big to play with my child and fit in with his world. But also felt far too small for the grownup world like a waste of space at a dinner party, and nappies and stuff like that - fascinating".
"I've set it in my mine a bit like a dolls house, something like that, so that you can see the top of the room and the bottom of the room at the same time".
Anna Platten is just one of the artists providing tuition at the Adelaide Central School of Art at 45 Ormond Terrace, Norwood. Courses are available to all. To book contact 8364-5075. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org