Winter Quarter for my portraiture/life drawing class starts January 12 at the La Grange Art League Gallery & Studio, and is open to teens (8th grade+) and adults of all experience levels with an interest in naturalistic (i.e., non-cartoon) human depiction and characterization.


(& Bulk, & Tension, & Shading)
Level I & II

Class Details..... )

Winter Quarter for my portraiture/life drawing class starts January 12 at the La Grange Art League Gallery & Studio, and is open to teens (8th grade+) and adults of all experience levels with an interest in naturalistic (i.e., non-cartoon) human depiction and characterization.


(& Bulk, & Tension, & Shading)
Level I & II

Class details and links... )

Just one week left to register......


How to Draw Real Live People - Fall Session starts September 15, Tuesday evenings 6:30-9:00 pm )

Of course, this will be thoroughly crossposted everywhere online that I have IRL contacts or audience....and yes, I'm working on the logistics of online instruction too -- just keep nudging me there.

Well, it looks as if my Saturdays are going to be free for the summer (and I'm going to have to find some creative ways to fill them, but I'm looking forward to it...). 

My signature art class, "How to Draw Real Live People," is moving up both in age level and lateness of hour -- the new timeslot is Monday nights from 6:30 to 9:00, at least for the Summer quarter (June 15 - August 3), and it's no longer listed as a children's class, either.  This is going to be just teens through adults, as well as being down in the gallery where we have more visibility to draw people's attention to the Gallery on those balmy-to-steamy summer evenings.

So...the brochure's going out to the printer's soon, and I just sent in my miniscule editing requests and comments (okay, not so miniscule on that front).  And I'm going to get my promos out and online as soon as possible, so that ther's plenty of time for people to sign up....and this time I won't have to worry quite so much about the chronic overscheduling of suburban schoolchildren.

So....further bulletins soon. 

*And also....yes, I am still interested in teaching art classes online -- actually, I've been thinking a lot about exactly how to make it work, and I think that it'd probably be easiest to do at this point (for the realtime part) in an IM chat/conference format, with a private online group to hold notes, links, resources and shared work that aren't realtime-dependant.  Tell me what you think of that, and maybe I can figure out the rest of the logistics before June and start structuring the enterprise.
[Scene: Aureantes is laying out a series of printed-out photographs on the tables in the art studio, with 1 adult and 6 children (ages 7-9) in the general vicinity, paying more or less attention.]

"Who's that?"

Me: "That's a good question." (continuing to lay out photos)

"Who's /that/?"

Me: "Hmm, good question." (blithely -- devilishly, even -- laying out more pictures)

"Who's /that/?"

Me: "Well, this one goes with that one.... (matching a couple same-character shots)

"Who's /that/?"

Me: "Good question -- come and see."

And then they (the kids) gathered around and finally started to get it....ah yes, 'twas my nefarious plan, perfectly timed (as it happened) to coincide with a mini-flood of PotC-tie-in valentines and chocolates. Oh, the humanity. And oh, the running around hyped up on sugar...Mark and Danielle were at each other's throats, my kneaded-rubber erasers were being snatched at every turn from those I'd lent them to, and Mark proposed to put a lollipop in the electric pencil sharpener.

"Are you daft???" I exploded in full Scottish mode -- "Are you bloody daft?? -- don't put that thing in there!!"

Note: Scottish accents are funny enough to defuse tension, but aggressive enough not tae foockin' mess aroond with.....i.e., excellent for classroom use. >:)

Anyhow, I had all my best sketches and action drawings and proportion-diagrams pinned up on a folding screen to set a good example, in lieu of doing a demonstration drawing for them (only works if they're looking, you know...) -- and actually, I do credit some very dramatic and well-shaded shots for the kids' improved attention to shadow and modeling, plus Sharon's excellent work on her previous chosen task of rendering light/medium tones and not over-aging her middle-aged male photo model. Charlotte did some excellent work on her drawing, and is far better at observing and rendering than she thinks she is -- plus, she gets the idea of coming back to a subject later to chart one's improvement. That is worth a million hard-outline drawings posted on the refrigerator, folks -- let all aspiring parents and teachers take note.

(The lead in pencils is not lead (anymore), but I still must maintain a hard line against poking each other with pencils, as graphite-poisoning is still/also a liability. I told Mark there were to be no makeshift (let alone involuntary!) tattoos given in class..."Don't get me started there," I said. :-|)

*Is considering hanging the radio from the ceiling to avoid student tampering during class*

They had to be threatened, some of them, for running around the room and roughhousing and snatching things (and pictures -- you think I want any of my photo morgue's contents ripped?). "Do you want to be here next week?" I demanded. "Drawing is not supposed to be a chore! -- if you want to do it, then do it, focus on it!"

And similarly to Kevin's reiteration of "Modern art" (yes, the boy is home-schooled.....) to explain why his people's eyes and central features are so close together in a giant head. "Even modern artists learned how to draw people right before they went off on their own styles," I said -- "you can't just copy the way that that looks on the surface and bypass the whole thought process underneath it."

(Of course, I know that some 'modern artists' did absolutely nothing of the sort...but cut me some slack on the accuracy -- I'm tryin' to teach here. :P)

To summarize, though, I saw a lot of improvement in everyone that was trying. A lot more visible thought, visible decisions, good questions and clearly attempting to render what's there -- and they have absorbed (well enough to remind each other of it) the Very Important Concept that good drawing from a model (live or photo) involves looking at the model AND NOT THE PAGE the vast majority of the time.

It was a bit of Helen-Kellerage (the "w-a-t-e-r" gestalt-moment), gradually spread out over the activity portion of the class, as they gathered that all the pictures were of the same person -- and a real person, even though they were different roles and situations, different times and hairstyles and....well, especially the hairstyles. Thank you, People magazine, for that timely concert photo. I give Charlotte major bonus points for all the questions and concerns she posed, and her way of addressing what was really (though she doesn't yet know it) a very advanced photo-subject for her age. I'm giving them all major challenges -- but I'm trying to give them major incentives and play on their natural interests too.

Hence my own motto/quote for the day: "You gotta find a hook."

....Oh, and I gathered up one lone valentine from the tables afterwards....yep, folks, that's my title for this little slice of life's constructive mayhem.../:)
This recent bit of commentary was about last week's art class (I teach portraiture and figure drawing for kids & adults 8 years and up through the La Grange Art League):

Class was rambunctious today....after going on about how many heads tall we are (I was told I was 16 heads tall :P), I told them part of their assignment was to draw a portrait (from life or photo) any way but right-side up. And in detail. And with care and not rushing. Mark kept saying he was finished when we were doing the first run of quick poses..."What do you mean by 'finished'?" I asked from my pose as I kept on counting. I told them to make use of every second, to look at me and not their paper to see if it 'looked right' -- I told Charlotte to scribble....she was frustrated and saying that she didn't know how to draw, and asking "Why am I even here if I don't know how to draw?" know, the good thing and the bad thing at that age (which I largely missed out on due to being homeschooled, though some of these kids are too) is that this is when kids start giving both help and criticism to each other very openly -- the whole fabric of socialization and peer-moderation is being woven. The other kids had the answer for Charlotte just like I's not that you can't draw; this is all just to teach you to draw better. And I am making it pretty transparent to them that drawing well is not about what you think or say it ought to look like on the page, but what it looks like from the inside, the way you see it when you really look at what's in front of you. I'm trying to get them out of their assumptions....unlearning, unteaching, and then teaching the stuff that goes at the inside of every picture, not just the surface. It's a test, it's an experiment, it's me giving them a hard time so that they'll have no choice but to loosen up and sketch and scribble and capture what's there as directly as possible. Perfectionism at the surface level is a hard habit to break.

*sigh* Okay, that was my day teaching...I may post it onto my next entry, along with a bit of conversation from when I went to Trader Joe's after. Hint: it involves a bed.

[Nevermind the bed right was just something I said offhand to Laura about a certain vomitous shock element not in a short story of mine that made a fellow store associate perk up his ears in sudden bemusement. Man, do I feel old now.....*shakes head ruefully*]

And.....*snerks*....this next is me and Litha talking about yesterday's class -- and no, I do not keep a switch behind my desk -- and yes, this is going to veer off into some interesting territory, and if you can follow my train(s) of get a cookie too. :P So let's see about those breadcrumbs, shall we....?

[*wanders off innocently to catch his REM sleep and stave off further least, for the briefest of moments....>:)*]

I've been asked to teach my life drawing and portraiture class again through the La Grange Art League -- it's now got three weeks left to this term, and the new term of it starts June 21 and will run for six weeks on Wednesday afternoons. The class designation is now "Grades 3 and up" to fully accommodate the expressed adult interest as well, and I'll be setting up a new pick-your-own-assignment range of homework activities, as well as doing more posing and interactive/partner work in-class.

Here's the URL for the class schedule, which will be updated soon and has all general info links as well:

--and the class description is as follows:


Grades 3 and up
Instructor: K. Aurencz Zethmayr
Dates: June 21 through July 26
Time: Wednesday afternoons (will add exact time; class is 2 hrs long)

Learn how to draw friends, family and/or anyone you like, using
foundational knowledge you wouldn't get otherwise until high school.
We'll cover basic anatomy & proportions, take turns doing poses for
the rest of the class (volunteer basis) and explore how to draw
recognizable people both from live sittings and from photographs.

Instructor bio:

K. AURENCZ (AUREY) ZETHMAYR is a freelance artist/designer with
strong interest in character portrayal and the dramatic nature of
scenes (with or without people in them). Holds a BA Degree from
Columbia College Chicago, with especial emphasis on theatrical
design. Has been doing portraiture, illustration and graphic design
for many years, ever since first acquiring the reputation of being "a
really good drawer."


If you're interested and in the Chicago area, check it out (class conversation roams all over the place, so it's a rather interdisciplinary experience, not just limited to typical art classroom topics).

I'm also planning to do a series of Wednesday morning sessions (from about 10am-noonish) of general nature/"outside" drawing in the backyard garden at my home, though that's apart from the Art League and will be arranged/advertised on my own account.....further details as firmer planning warrants.

It's kinda my mother's idea, but it's not a bad one, and if there's enough interest but not the weekday time I can always do it for Saturdays to accommodate (except of course for the weekends that I go to Indy...Indiana...when my baby smiles at me I go to--okay, okay, I'm stopping, I'm stopping...well, except for that bit about being a tiger...>:)...)

Okay. That's not all of what I'm doing IRL (I'm also teaching piano and music theory and may have another formal voice student soon), but it's something. Something that isn't actually directly connected with saving the world, but then again it might be. Go figure.


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