Welcome to class #1 of Abstract Representation

Dear all, I am really excited to have you all in this class!

 At bottom of this email please find the proposed syllabus, supply list and as attachments, there are two documents on YB office hours, make up classes and weather events at the Park. 

 For this class we will be in classroom 1 of the Yellow Barn building (the one that has a bathroom), class starts at 1 pm. I will be there a bit earlier to set up easels for everyone can utilize maximum of class time for painting and learning.  Feel free to arrive earlier than 1pm if your schedule allows, You can thus set yourself up a bit early and be comfortable for class. John Merrill, my assistant, will be helping me to set up still lives and models during this session, I am very grateful to him! 

Some of you have taken this class before (welcome back!) and know the drill.  And for those of you who are new to the class, welcome!! I want you all to know that I try to vary the class presentation, content and discussions every semester to encourage artists to CONTINUE painting and building upon their prior learning.  We will vary lectures, techniques, and demos, as well as figure set ups to facilitate continuous learning for all class participants.

If you find it useful, you are very welcome to take this class again over time, as it builds upon itself as you gain confidence and skill. I did so for about nine years  with my friend and mentor, the wonderful artist Jordan Bruns, and never stopped learning and enjoying!   Above all I want our class to be a fun, instructive and interactive one. Please feel free to make suggestions and comments to me along the way on how you learn best, i am grateful for your input along the way. We all benefit in the process.

Kindly take a look at the syllabus and supply list attached (I also post it and the weekly emails on www.kastrinakisart.com for both my Friday classes, in case you are coming to a makeup class, so you can look up what we are doing) and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me by just replying to this email or stopping by my studio if more convenient. (the password for accessing my online class notes/emails is “spring2019”, no capitals and do not type the quote marks)

 For class #1, we’ll start the class off with a lecture on composition (that continues in class 2 with more slides and discussion) and there will be a class exercise as an instructive warm up, students found this helpful in the past. For the rest of your time painting, please bring your favorite medium (oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastel or combinations of all) and do bring a sketchbook to take notes or make sketches, some vine charcoal and a viewfinder.  A color wheel can also be helpful. 

And for the class exercise, it would be helpful if you bring a reference photo (that you took) or a copy or photo of a master work or art work that you admire (you can print it or bring it on your phone or e-device) since we will be using it in a fun way.

I look forward to greeting familiar and new faces next Friday. It is a pleasure and an honor to teach you! 

Please don't hesitate to write me if you have questions or comments. Looking forward to seeing all of you on Friday! Mariana 

Attached docs, keeping the YB in good shape, MK Makeup classes and office hours

  Syllabus, Abstract Representation, Spring 2019:

(Please note this is a proposed syllabus, I will adjust it to the pace of class and interests of the participants)

Class 1- -Composition in art.  What is Notan and how do we use it?

a. Lecture: parts of a painting (form vs content) principles of good composition, Notan 

b. Demo: using photos or reference materials to make good basic compositional sketches prior to painting  

c.  Assignment: select one or more artists that inspire you, bring one of their compositions to use as reference (photos or sketches or digital materials that you might consider inspirational) to imitate their composition or notan—we will do this next class 

d. (Or Continue individual work if you prefer) 

  Class 2: Composition (continued): 

Lecture continued: dynamics of a picture plane and formal analysis 

class exercise: use the inspirational reference you brought to make a new painting but make it yours….so content is YOURS, even if their “composition” or form is similar or the same 

optional but recommended: make several thumbnail sketches before starting a painting 

(Or Continue individual work if you prefer) 

Class 3- Abstraction-  

Lecture: “Abstract shapes: Abstracting still life, landscape or the Figure” 

Demo: collage and building a theme with inspirational reference 

(Or Continue individual work if you prefer)  

Class4:: Color:

Lecture: “ Color Strings, Color Gamuts”  

Exercise: continue your painting or start new with still life, MK will demonstrate her approach to colors/composition when designing a new painting/collage (optional) 

(Or continue individual work if you prefer) 

Class 5  Color continued, Psychology of color 

Handout: psychological meaning of color  

Exercise: Review your painting for a color gamut that contains your desired message—are revisions needed? Or start new painting in a color gamut selected by what you want the painting to communicate, Demo: MK will demonstrate her approach to colors/composition when designing a new painting/collage (optional) 

(Or Continue individual work if you prefer) 

Class 6: Putting color together:

Selecting color gamuts considering psychology of color and your expressive goals 

Class exercise: paint a still life or continue painting with your own references 

(Or Continue individual work if you prefer 

Class 7: Figure Painting Day (Day 1 of 2) 

-think about abstract shapes and composition 

(Or  Continue individual work if you prefer 

Class 8: Figure Painting Day (Day 2 of 2)  

-think about abstract shapes and composition 

(Or  Continue individual work) 

Class 9:: Double day & Group Critique: all participants are  invited to draw in the morning (if class not overcrowded) 

MORNING SESSION Figure Drawing, “360 figure drawing” (starts in the morning, 9:30am-12) 

vine charcoal, white charcoal or drawing paper, compressed charcoal, kneaded erasers 

12:00 – 3:30pm- lunch/critique (all participants bring food!) – Bring up to 5 paintings/drawings to be critiqued by the group (open both morning and afternoon Friday classes)  Critique begins at 1:00pm 

  Supply list:  

·        -Bring your desired medium (oil, pastel, acrylic, watercolors) and the corresponding supplies 

·        -medium size or large Sketchbook to take notes and to use for making thumbnail sketches/other planning of paintings 

·        -any kind of viewfinder (can make your own, as cardboard 3x5, paint middle gray and cut hole see video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lLKiH6J_co  or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGge7bEBza4 or make one like image below indicates) 

Please note that there is a class model fee of $15 per person for the class please make the check payable (or you can pay cash or by paypal)  to Mariana Kastrinakis.  Thank you!  

Welcome to Class #2 ab rep

Hello all, Next week we will also have a little presentation on composition in the more "modern" sense, looking at the importance of the shape of our support, the way we set up "movement" for the eye across the painting and how we use shapes and details to finalize our compositions.  This will be a continuation of the discussion on composition we started. 

For painting, please bring your projects if you have them or if you would like to start something new, then you may want to bring some ideas of notan sketches (say from a painter you admire or want to emulate or from master works) that you find pleasing and you can build a composition based on that.  Or simply plan to start a new painting that might explore concepts that you want to explore further based on something or someone that inspires you. For reference, please bring your preferred materials, like photos or sketches, your drawings or color ideas, etc to develop the composition in class.  I can help you with that as well.

This class is an intermediate to advanced level, as such it does not require you to paint something specific, but instead, aims to help you find your own way as an artist based on exploring your own ideas.  At times, we will set up a still life or something that you can use for inspiration and there is of course always the park and its buildings, landscape and colors as an additional resource if you are searching for ideas.  

I look forward to seeing you all again and to learn more about your thoughts about your work and where you would like to go with it.  In the meantime, have a wonderful week and stay cool/warm? (whatever you like!)

Best regards to all, Mariana 


Welcome to class #3 of ab rep

Dear all, I hope you had a nice weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Next week we will continue with a presentation on Abstract Art, beginning a long conversation, as this is a huge but fascinating topic.

We will then continue with our individual art making work thereafter. I can also set up a still life if some of you would like to try your hand at “distorting” or “being inspired by” some representational objects to begin a new abstract (or semiabstract, or representational) composition. Kindly let me know if this would be helpful. Otherwise, you are welcome to continue pursuing your own ideas and exploring your individual goals through your image choices as many of you have been doing and we can discuss your ideas and how to get to where you want to go. 

Next class, if it would be useful, I will plan to do a demonstration of how I approach my semi-abstract work for those of you who might be interested. Looking forward to seeing all of you on Friday,

Best wishes, Mariana


Welcome to class #4 of Ab rep spring 2019

Dear everyone, I hope you are all well and enjoying the Spring weather.

Really nice work last week! Again I am impressed by the variety and inspiration there is in all your work. Good going!

This coming Friday, there will be no lecture so everyone can spend more time painting and asking any questions you might have.  We may also have a still life for inspiration, completely optional to use it or not.

You may want to begin thinking about (and even do a little research online or by looking at artists you may admire) how to abstract the figure and/or possible background shapes for the following class (class #7), as we will be using a model and a pose that will repeat for two consecutive weeks (thru class #8). 

For inspiration or reference, I found a nice 9 min video produced by PBS at https://www.pbs.org/video/art-assignment-abstraction/  is worth seeing. For inspiration, you may want to look at some of the works by any of the following: Matisse, Diebenkorn, Picasso, de Kooning, Georgia O’Keefe, Fairfield Porter, along with many others, to see how they approached the figure (nude or otherwise) .  Some more contemporary approaches (not all necessarily masterful, see what you like among them) can be seen in the popular website Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/joyfulart11/abstract-figurative-painting/?lp=true

This is optional of course, and if you prefer, you can continue painting what inspires you regardless of the presence of the model. I do request that everyone contribute to the modest model fee, as it would otherwise be prohibitive for me to offer this option to each class (I have to invite model before knowing who will register for class, and who might prefer to use the pose so I have to make an educated guess).  I hope that makes sense to you.  I thank you in advance.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Friday.  Let me know if you have questions/comments so far for the class. I always welcome your thoughts, warm regards, Mariana


Welcome to class #5 of Ab rep spring 2019

Hello all, I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather!

For next Friday’s class, we will continue painting, no lecture. We will have the figure in classes #7,8.  And if you will be painting the model and set up, in preparation you may want to watch the video I recommended last week (unless you have already) and look up some of the sources of inspiration I mentioned in my last note. 

I was thinking that I could also do a brief demonstration of my collage technique, and how I prepare my papers for those collages. But only if enough people are interested, as I do not want to take your time to do that if you are in your own “zone” and working nicely!!Let me know if you are interested in this and I can plan it for either this or next week. For now, have a great week and see you all on Friday! Warm regards, enjoy Spring weather, Mariana


Welcome to Spring 2019 Ab Rep class # 6

I hope this past week all of you enjoyed mothers’ day, either directly or thru celebrating the mothers in your lives!

Thanks for paying attention to my demo last week, now my challenge is to continue working on it to a “happy” resolution (easier said than done, sometimes)

For next class, I will go over some slides on color including color psychology and color gamuts.  And in anticipation, I am sending along a couple of images that may be helpful, including my favorite color wheel and its reference from the site “handprint”.  See below. 

We will then continue with our own painting projects and I may also continue working on my abstraction from the demo last week, time permitting me. You are welcome to contribute your thoughts and questions.

I would recommend that you print in a full sheet the pdf version of the handprint color wheel and keep it in a plastic sleeve, it is a very useful reference! Even James Gurney, author of the wonderful book “color and light” (which can be found at https://smile.amazon.com/Color-Light-Realist-Painter-Gurney/dp/0740797719/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=gurney+color&qid=1557772839&s=gateway&sr=8-1 ) uses it in his book!,

The next two weeks after class #6 we will have a model and a special pose (repeated both weeks) for inspiration.  If you have not already, kindly do contribute  10$ for both sessions, I appreciate it. In the meantime, have a great week and see you all Friday!

Best, Mariana

attachments, munsell color wheel and handprint color wheel from 2009 (see below class #7)

munsell system color wheel.jpg
Handprint artists color wheel with pigment names-numbers 2009.gif