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Drawing Classes at Crocker

On Sunday, July 14, the first of a series of 10 classes in classical drawing techniques was held at Crocker Art Museum in Art Studio 4. Sarma Karsiere encouraged more than one dozen students and provided personal attention to those requiring it as she led the group through the basics of how to sight-size. 

Karsiere clearly enjoys teaching, and students clearly enjoy her approach. Several of Sunday’s attendees had taken other classes with Karsiere, who has been teaching workshops at Crocker Art Museum since 2008 and recently taught a plein-air class there. When not teaching workshops at the museum, she teaches design and drawing classes for the Los Rios Community College District.

The registration fee included a well-lit room and the necessary supplies. Each student had his or her own easel, a drawing board, pencils, erasers and large sheets of Bristol drawing paper to use. Students will also receive a special tour of the new exhibit, The Epic and the Intimate: French Drawings from the John D. Reilly Collection, as part of the series. The exhibit opened June 30 and closes September 29, 2013.

Karsiere offered suggestions like standing rather than sitting. Standing, she explained, offered more freedom to move the body, thereby allowing the student the opportunity to work more fluidly.

“For a long time, I’ve wanted to have this class happen here,” Karsiere said about the series. The trouble students may have is that the drawing begins to take over, but this classical approach can provide, she explained, a dependable outcome, through steps that help students acquire the skills to draw what is in front of them and to do so successfully.

During the three-hour class, Karsiere demonstrated the technique, explained what she was doing and why, assisted students and kept the overall energy high.

Born in Riga, Latvia, Karsiere has lived in the United States since 1997. Her art education began much earlier, however, she writes.

“My informal education in art started early at atelier style private drawing studios. My professional education however was first at the Riga School of Art and Design (4 years), and then Art Academy of Latvia (6 years). Both schools and the professors I encountered throughout my studies have given me a strong foundation anchored in the best artistic achievements of European and Russian academic realism tradition.

“The School of Art and Design is rooted in Latvian and Scandinavian design esthetic and has strong influences from Bauhaus tradition.

“The Academy of Fine Art (established in 1919), on the other hand, was formed based on the traditions of European and Russian schools of academic realism. Professors who taught at the early years of the Academy had degrees and/or had studied abroad (Russia, France, Italy).”

About drawing from observation, Karsiere said the following:

“It is not easy to learn how to draw well from observation. This method has proven itself over time and offers the student a dependable path towards development and improvement of their drawing skills, allowing the practitioner to eventually be in complete command of their drawing from start to finish no matter how complex the subject. It also takes commitment, discipline and years of practice. Talent is a great gift but it is not necessary to have talent in order to learn how to draw from observation, especially employing the approach I am teaching.”

Karsiere looks forward to teaching additional workshops at the museum, including drawing and painting with both traditional and digital methods. 

While this class is full, there is a waiting list, and there are additional adult classes that might be of interest, including portrait drawing and using Tombow markers.

Studio art classes are not just for adults, however. In August, teens can learn about putting together a portfolio, and children ages 5 to 8 can create abstract sculptures.

Please visit the Crocker Art Museum website for a complete listing of studio art classes, art history classes, art camps and lectures.

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