Sunday, August 29, 2010

Studio Interior
44 x 54 Oil on Linen

Artistic experiences: part 5, the League
Five days before my 21st birthday I left my old life behind and started my new life. With all my possessions in two large suitcases I boarded a train for New York and checked into the 63rd Street YMCA. I knew I had to find a job and an apartment but the first thing I did was register for a class at the Art Students League. I purchased a big newsprint pad and some vine charcoal, headed up to the second floor, found an empty chair and started to draw. I never felt more alive. As the weeks passed by I found a place to live and got a job working at a concession stand in Carnegie Hall, half a block from the League. I would visit galleries and museums in the morning, draw at the League in the afternoon and listen to the concerts while I worked in the evening. My cultural life was definitely improving. The instructor in my first class was nice enough but more encouraging than instructive. I was hungry to learn and switched to Hale’s anatomy class. Robert Beverly Hale was a legendary anatomy teacher and I drank in as much as I could. I couldn't learn fast enough. I practiced drawing boxes of all sizes and lighting them from different directions. I worked hard on shading forms from light to dark and drawing lines that went around those forms. Soon I found myself reading and copying out of anatomy books at midnight when I got home from work. During the breaks in my drawing class I would wander around the League poking my head into the painting classes. I knew I had to improve my drawing skills but I was eager to paint…..

2 comments:

Walter L. Mosley said...

you made the right decision to leave your old life behind, now you're blessing the world with your gift.

PS I lived at that YMCA too for about half a year when I first came to NYC so I share your misery in that!!

Rick said...

I stopped dead in my tracks when I came across this image, Tom. There is such a "there there" - to borrow from GS. I couldn't agree more with Walter.