wayne art center

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Observing Yourself Observing The Landscape with Stuart Shils

June 8 – June 11, 2023 · 9:30am-4:30pm
$780 members, $830 non-members

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Observing Yourself Observing the Landscape
& Subverting the Algorithm of Habit
w/Stuart Shils
Friday, June 9 - Sunday June 11
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
3 days in landscape paying closer attention to the particularity of the visual moment: how you carry yourself within observation and as important, how it carries you.
Tuition includes Thursday evening lecture & slide presentation.
When painting, many of us are so committed to remaining in control with carefully scripted, protected habits that we miss the unexpected gift like possibilities that reveal themselves with RISK and PLAY while being (within what conventional wisdom calls) totally LOST. Lost in front of our work is a lushly rewarding place to live and yet, and yet, our insecurity and need to be liked and right, fights against it with rules and recipes. But being lost is not lost at all, to the contrary, and out of control is hardly wrong, but instead I’d argue, quite right, and just where we need to be if we are going to avoid conventional, branded notions of finish. But if finish is only how we feel then why are we observing and paying attention in the first place?
These three intense and full days for mid-range to advanced painters are an invitation to open a conversation with really paying attention, aimed at disrupting expectations, questioning conditioning and for getting well outside your comfort zone. Focusing on the perception of structure and the structure of perception, we’ll challenge notions of good/bad and invest in courting beginners mind as opposed to expertise in our visual encounter with the landscape.
We will not be taking home conventional trophies or pretty pictures for galleries but rather, an enhanced confidence with the mind, eyes and hand to move with the brush into and through the saturation of the visual moment with pigment.
And there will be serious emphasis on drawing as the companion to seeing, the fundamental thought engine behind everything.
This class is not intended to teach anyone how to be me or how to make paintings like I made or make because I have never had any idea how to make a painting other than to be fiercely present. Our focus will be you and the development of your ability to move with joy in uncertainty with a playful imagination outside your comfort zone.
The evening before the first day of work there will be a 90-minute slide talk at the art center that will open the class in a foundational way.
As Degas reminded us:
“I must impress upon myself that I know nothing at all, for that is the only way to make progress.”
1) enhanced visual confidence with an immediate summation of how you see what you see
2) more intimate access to drawing as a primary visual thought engine
3) a more finally tuned graphic intuition in which risk and an improvisational imagination are part of your tool kit for decision making.
4) a more intimate and empathic connection to the working surface
5) a consideration of color as the foundation of feeling
We’ll explore large themes like:
- the dynamics of the visual playing field
-the nature of mass
-the meaning of simplification
-how time impacts decision making
-the reshaping of expectations
-the impact of conditioning
-where to begin and why
-and the overall palpability and malleability of the working surface as a choreography of form.

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