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Student Perspective – Virtual Marathons: Patty Hudak
January 5, 2021 · Marathons
I was delighted to be able to attend “Abstracting the Landscape” Virtual Drawing Marathon, with Fran O’Neill from my home in northern Vermont. The pandemic lifestyle has enforced my intimacy with the forest surrounding me, so the ability to focus and process my drawing research, in the community of other artists, with direction from O’Neill, was an extraordinary experience.
The intensity of the Marathon, coupled with the mesmerizing language of critique used by both O’Neill and TA Madeleine Matson, created an online environment which encouraged both experimentation and risk taking within the work. They focused on the ethics of hard work, coupled with the urge to expand the dynamics of the page, and to break out of our own mechanized habits, to source the limits of our practice.
O’Neill used language, such as “finding pathways through the space”, “creating seductive marks”, and “breaking the edge forms” to expand our boundaries of what our assumptions of landscape and drawing are. She encouraged us to create a “dialog of shapes”, “vary our marks”, and “to draw and trace our drawings” to find “new potentialities”.
The online tools of Padlet and Zoom combined to encourage our class community, so that we had other influences besides our own. We sourced our influences from whatever landscape environments we had access to, then processed that vision through extensive drawing and mark making. O’Neill and Matson were available to offer support during the entire duration of the Marathon.
I would encourage artists of all levels to participate in the New York Studio School Drawing Marathons. The artists who participated in “Abstracting the Landscape” were all working at a very high level, so the group experience was expansive as well as intimate. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work with O’Neill and Matson, during this uncertain time of anxiety due to the pandemic.