Not required reading!

Talented Emerson student filmmaker and writer, Anthony Farenwald, stopped by for an interview a while back – and here is the results, on a terrific site developed by Emerson faculty.


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More assignments from 13 Problems

The weeks fly by and the assignments pile up. As I work on the final assignment, I’m trying to understand what I’ve gotten out of this workshop. For me, with an illustrator background and spending more recent years enjoying the rush of plein air – I see how too readily I make compromises to meet a deadline or beat the sun. This workshop and the studio time slows me down to a pace where close enough is not good enough.  Each of these assignments has a specific problem – and we are searching for impossible solutions. The process encourages a necessary critical eye.


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Another week, another assignment 

Drapery, knife only, minimum size 16×20,  using no more than 6 color tones and simplify! (and the 2 darkest areas aren’t quite so black in reality.) I’m thinking about pursuing an intentionally wrong color.

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13 Problems

nick-6_assignmentsI jumped at the chance to take a 13 week painting workshop with Boston’s one and only George Nick this winter and am now halfway through the program.

Nick, who turns 90 next year, spent many years teaching painting at Mass Art and taught my painting teachers. He studied with Edwin Dickinson. It was time to spend some time with the legend and curmudgeon. The title of the course is 13 Problems for Realist Painting and we’re mid-way through the classes.

George is very clear; we are doing assignments  (not paintings) with criteria that he describes as impossible.  He specifies format, colors, genre, etc and all work is painted from direct observation. One goal of each assignment is to make a convincingly solid object out of paint on a 2 dimensional plane – when using 2 or 4 colors – no more than 6 values – and no brushes, only a knife. It’s squint, simplify and find the right color-tone even when it’s the “wrong” color.

A humbling, challenging experience . . . but I like the boots.

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