The Artist as A New Beginning
A New Beginnning in New York...
Richard Ozanne Excerpts from Journals 1983-96/09
Late Summer/Fall 1983 after the return from Chautauqua. It was the fall of 1983. During the course of my studies I was attending graduate school in art at the University of Arizona. This time was attempting to be well spent preparing for the MFA Program, or rather "a" MFA Program that was suitable for what I needed to study to advance my career.
I was living in Tucson, studying privately with an Artist named Art Hutchinson, a graphic designer, illustrator and a "extreme" catch to detail artist from the "old school" of long ago. He had made his life as an artist, first as an illustrator of books, then in publishing and as a medical illustrator.
Mr. Hutchinson had been disabled by a unfortuante incident but kept surely to his path as an artist in retirement.
His scratchboard work abounded. There were tens and dozens framed on his studio walls and around his house of all themes. Hutchinsons detailed mind was like a laser. His training for my purposes was some of the finest I had received. His gift was teaching drawing. Over the course of two years I had been working with him for lack of a better teacher in Tucson. I think I had tried them all and knew any artist worth their salt teaching the craft. I was refered to Hutchinson, a quiet elderly man who was bound to a wheelchair but still maintained his post as a person of purpose.
His training was hard. He had come up the long path of studies from back east and was a student of Arthur Guptill, the Artist (Illustrator).
One of his first lessons was being able to draw.
I thought I had facility when I came to him, the third year of my BFA. Truely someone had not given me the precise techniques needed, and those classes were not enough. I knew that and persued study with him and several others on the course of work in my trade.
His first drawing lesson he had me draw a box in absolute perspective. I thought this a rather childish exercise...anyone can draw a box...right? Noooooo.... I mean a box in perfect perspective, each exercise progressive, with the leaves of the box lifted and a sense of depth, light and shade/shade and shadow. Of course I was with a professional and he knew my weakness for interpretation. The courses had begun and twice a week I would go to his house for an hour and work.
He locked me in a chair, my subject in front of me. I had to draw precisely in perspective as an architect or scientist. There were no soft spots in his observations, and he was not always nice...but made me work hard learning this craft. At the end of his course I could have been an engraver or architect/designer. His work with me was a precision effort, and his methods throughly tuned to the 'old school'. of artists. He would make me copy etching plates and precision drawings that were of a style that was...good...from the perspective of 19th century technique...Guptill, Gibson, Durer and many others. If I was to train with him there was an obvious deal...I would have to spend three hours training each day at least...aside from creative work.
I will forever be thankful for his help and training as it prepared me for New York.
Late in the 1970's I had a similar instructor come to me. His name was John Ferris Connah, a friend of my fathers from his residence in New York in the 1940's and 50's. Another gifted individual. Connah visited our house and purposely gave me a few lessons in the craft. I remember spilling forth my work at that time across our living room floor so Connah could look at it an make criticisms.
Connah was correct. I needed to know "how to see" and with this notion...a very old notion, to develop a precision eye as an artist as well as a deft hand. Mr. Connah said...Go to the League, if it still existed, or the Philadelphia Academy. "Those are the teachers you need...shaking his finger and mentioning, Phillips who was ironicly a contemporary, and John Singer Sargent who he had studied with.
Make no bones about it, Connah was a JS Sargent student and one of the best. Connah was 99 years old when I met him and was no longer painting..but produced a pastel of my mother as a young girl whom he painted that he said was one of his finest works. (and truely there was excellence here...as that painting was permeable as well as sensitive and of a deft technique)
When I saw John Ferris Connahs bio in some old book referencing the National Gallery of Art I was so happy to have had some short but totally complete critiques with him in his last years.
The Fall of 1983 in Tucson was my beginning step forward and to say goodby to the town and the university where I received my degree and my father lived, I traveled to New York City..on an arrangement that was made within a week of entering Graduate School at the University of Arizona. I was given graduate credits for my study in New York City at the Art Students League with arrangement of my inspired teacher at the U of A Jerold Bishop.