Thursday, September 29, 2011

Central Tech, My School Art

Only a small collection of my student art work has survived the years and most of the pieces I kept are what I would have considered to be my best efforts; work done in our final year.  An early assignment was to set up right across the street from the school and draw a building.  I chose this boarded up house.  A pretty basic drawing but please remember I had only just turned 14!

Pen and ink 22"x15"   First year, 1962

Central Technical School is a public high school with the Toronto Board of Education; tax dollars well spent.  If you recall the television program FAME, that's what I liken it to.  There had to be some advantages to being an inner city kid!  Life drawing was a constant throughout the four years, here is an early exercise:

Life drawing exercise, pencil 22"x15"   Second year, 1963

You can't help but improve when life drawing classes were either all morning or all afternoon long and happened almost every day.  Compare the sophistication of the drawing below to the one above. 

Life drawing, pencil 26"x17.25"   Fourth year, 1966

The first time we 14 year old kids had a live, nude model we were scared half to death when a barefoot, bare-legged, male model sauntered into the studio wearing a bathrobe. Eyes downcast, unable to look at one another we all held our breath, but when he took off the robe there was an almost audible, collective sigh of relief. Back then inequality was alive and well; the women were completely nude (those who wanted to be that is) but the men wore g-strings. In forth year painting the figure was introduced ...

Figure painting, acrylic 28"x15"   Fourth year, 1966

We were being prepared for any path in an artistic life; many courses had commercial art in mind. Some of the girls dreamed of being fashion designers and some of the boys hoped to go into advertising fast cars. Most of us did go on to pursue a wide variety of careers in the arts. 

Learning was exciting with the broad range of subjects which, in addition to all that life drawing, included: History of Art, Research, Design, Illustration, Lettering - much was done by hand, although we did have Letraset there were NO computers! Anatomy - we had to learn all the bones and muscles in the human body. We had a class called Museum when we would got to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) and there, from life, paint things like coats of armour, African masks or the enormous Chinese mural.

Some design projects ...  

Book sleeve, watercolour and ink, 8"x20"   Fourth year, 1966

Five page, three fold brochure, each page 8.5"x11", gouache   Fourth year, 1966

Album cover, acrylic, 6"x6"   Fourth year, 1966

And for those of you who may have been waiting for it, done from an arrangement Doris McCarthy set up in her studio classroom ... my first oil painting:

Still life, oil 20"x24"   Fourth year, 1966