During the 27th and 28th of June all elective Visual Arts students in years 9, 10 and 11 went to spend two full school days at the National Art School (NAS) in Darlinghurst. Each year group was assigned a different medium and art instructor to accompany them and they spent the next two days strongly focused on that particular discipline. These three instructors demonstrated the fundamentals of the three art styles, by teaching both practical skills and theoretical concepts. The Year 9 students attended contemporary artist and printmaker, Mini Graff’s class on innovative silkscreen printmaking methodologies. Year 10 students brought along clothes to ruin, as they learnt the foundations of wheel thrown pot making, with renowned ceramicist, Bronwyn Kemp. The year 10’s were also joined by a few NAS graduates. The elders of the bunch, Year 11’s, practiced realistic oil paint portraits under the instruction of painter VR Morrison.
The days themselves were long and tiring, though every student became immersed in the art making experience. It was an unusual and beautiful experience having the whole day dedicated to focus on art making, I found the process almost meditative. Even the lunch break was enjoyable as, thanks to the ice-cold winds outside, everyone congregated in the university café. I attempted to play the only song I know on piano, (the chorus of crazy frog), but left the real music to Lexee as she accompanied our hunger with notes.
At the end of the two rigorous days, we left holding an artwork to be proud of. It was the first intensive art course I had undertaken and was a perfect entry point for the intensive course both Pnina Hagege and I were about to undertake a few weeks later.
Between the 12th and 15th of July, last school holidays, both Pnina and I returned to NAS for a selective HSC Intensive Art course. Both having chosen mediums, Pnina arrived for life drawing and me for printmaking. First, everyone went into a hall for a short introduction – after which we couldn’t wait to start, we were so ready to make art! Everybody but me seemed dressed for art school with dyed hair and clothes that should be questioned. The next few days were intense; Pnina’s life drawing lessons included different nude models everyday and a focused study of the human body. My lessons were very different, studying the outlines and designs of objects including texture and colour. This led to practicing many forms of the printmaking medium; including mono-prints, plexiglass dry-points and acid etching. By the end of the week, both Pnina and I had not only made a number of friends, but learnt heaps. After the immense amount of practice we are excited and exhilarated to return next holidays as we spend another week on final works.
Ronan Collins - Art Madrich