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Student Perspective: Gregg Rosen on the Drawing Marathon: Portraiture and Presence with Linda Darling & Guests

Taking on the challenge of being a student again after 30 years started with an innocent comment from my colleague and NYSS Instructor Clintel Steed who said, “I would like to see you continue your education, but at this point, are you open and willing to learn?”

It was with that question and challenge that I decided to join the Drawing Marathon – IN-PERSON: Portraiture and Presence with Linda Darling & Guests. The Marathon itself was a grueling test to commute and draw in person for eight hours each day for ten days. I was used to rendering with hatching lines in a sketchbook. Now I was faced with extended poses on large paper that I couldn’t cover with hatch marks alone. Accepting this challenge and learning to hold the chalk differently, like using its side, helped me to find new ways of mark making.  

The Marathon opened my mind to new ways of seeing and conceiving of space and the different relationships that make up a composition. Rather than focusing on the figure alone, I began to see also the fixed objects that surround it like a chair, table, or still life, and in turn understand a different approach to space and composition. This and other discoveries pushed me to shake up harden habits in my studio practice by focusing more on spatial relationships, pushing the figure into the middle or background, and constructing new compositions.

Towards the end of the course, I began to see a new process develop. And hearing from both Linda Darling and Stuart Elster who said to me, “by the way, indeed Gregg, you are very willing to learn!” was both gratifying and inspiring! 

In the final critique we had Joseph Santore. I said to the class “I have a Joseph Santore story.” 30 years ago I had a teacher say, “Gregg, your painting reminds me of Joseph Santore, you ought to look him up.” and 30 years later he was critiquing my drawings.

Gregg Rosen, Structural Landscape #58, oil on paper, 30 x 24 inches



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