Karen LeGault ~Fine Art Blog

September 30, 2011

My Students are exhibiting at the Rockridge Library Oct. 1 to 29

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Karen LeGault @ 15:53

Instructor’s Statement

Traces of the Brush ~
an Exhibit of Paintings by Students of Karen LeGault

The Adults
This exhibition is a group of paintings done by some of my Painting students over the last four years. The groups of students that I teach tend to be quite dynamic. I am pleased to say that many of my students express delight in the caliber and experience of souls that they find themselves interacting with in the classes. As groups, they have given each other tremendous inspiration and spurred each other onward. I have been Teaching Drawing and Painting since 1993. Over the last 12 years, my ability to look into where a student is with their work and where they would like to go with it, has become more focused. While you can teach a group of people the same techniques or ideas, how they will interpret those ideas, how they will make the techniques their own, what their personal expression will convey, how their images evolve, what their unique interest are, are usually entirely different from one another. It is always an adventure to introduce material and watch what emerges, even after giving very specific instruction. Sometimes material needs to be repeated in many different ways, from many angles, before it is actually understood, received, and bears fruit in their work.

We have covered an amazing breadth of subjects: color theory, perspective, composition, drawing skills, hundreds of exercises in handling the brush in both Asian style and Western, all sorts of plants and flowers – traditional and non-traditional, trees, forests, animals, rocks, water, mountains, abstracts, and materials: water color, ink, pen and ink, colored pencil, pastels. In my classes we typically work on either cotton paper or “rice” papers. (Rice papers can be made out of a variety of materials – mulberry, bamboo, straw to name a few.)

Since these groups have been fairly consistent since 2007, the first few years were devoted to focusing on didactic instruction and getting control of the mediums. In the last year, especially, the students have been following their individual interests, often working on entirely different projects from one another. Periodically, someone comes in with an idea of something to try, and everyone else in the group wants to try that too. Then I create a series of lessons to help break down the material into manageable learning experiences so they can eventually combine all the elements into their paintings. These projects have sometimes gone on for several months.

Over time, their ability to analyze what they need to successfully enter into and complete a project, have gotten to the point that they can more easily and more readily take on the projects that most interest them, with increasing degrees of success.

The Kids
I have taught after-school classes at Chabot elementary School since 2000. In 2009 I had three kids in a kindergarden group, who kept taking my class over and over, for two years, who I have invited to show with my adult students. These kids’ classes also have had some interesting explorations. My aim is to give them the tools to become self-directing in their art making, to have some choices and to be confident that they can create what they like, to know and experience that making art is fun and an imaginative pursuit. Their results are much more varied than what you see here in this exhibit and often quite surprising at the level of skill they achieve.

Early on in my teaching career, I realized that many adults have never had a chance to learn art, or if they had, had learned in a restrictive environment that had dis-empowered them from feeling capable enough to pursue it later.
After creating a program for teaching art to kids in 1993, I began using some of the same ideas and methods to teach adults. I found a huge welcome for this approach and have been gratified to see many students learn the basics that they needed to begin to flourish in their art making experience. Drawing and painting are skills that can be learned by anyone. Whether it becomes “ART” or not, is another matter, but there seems to be a great sense of accomplishment in simply being able to interpret the seen world in a two dimensional image.

Creating Drawing and Paintings requires thought processes on many levels to be integrated into a single experience. By recognizing and breaking down those experiences into manageable bites, a student can gain some confidence. The courage to try something new, to absorb and learn, and then be willing to take a next step, is a critical ingredient.
An Open Mind and a willingness to look and see “what is” are also most important.
I am starting a new group on October 19 on Wed. mornings from 9:30 to 12:30. Please contact me if you are interested in possibly joining.

Karen LeGault, who has always drawn and painted, began her formal training while in High School with two amazing teachers, Ralph Goings and John Kaneko. Starting out as a photo realist, winning several awards, after several years of personal exploration, she began studying Chinese Brush Painting with Lam Po Leong in 1985 and in 1993, began integrating Eastern and Western sensibilities while studying with Bob Bechtle, a photorealist contemporary of Ralph Goings, while studying at San Francisco State University. Along the way she also practiced photography, signmaking, fabric design, graphic design and worked as a draftsperson for 13 years. She taught drawing and painting at UC Berkeley Botanical Garden for 8 years and numerous community art centers in the North Bay and East Bay before taking on private teaching in her studio in Oakland. She also taught Tai Chi for 20 years. She has taught thousands of students. Her work is found in hundreds of collections including some local institutions, the County Clerks Office, Highland Hospital and Summit Hospital. http://www.karenlegault.com


1 Comment »

  1. My Painting students are setting up a fantastic group exhibit tomorrow at the Rockridge Library mezzanine.
    The artists are:
    Cheri Bryant
    Harry (Huck) Uliasz
    Susan Troy
    Sandi Megan
    Louise Todd
    Barbara Papini
    Harriet Sage
    Sherry Crandon
    Choi-Sing Louie
    Eva Wells
    Ryle Faurot
    Maya Mehta

    Comment by Karen LeGault — September 30, 2011 @ 16:46 |Reply

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