Vernissage Follow Up

My, the local papers were good to us! Thank you, Cedric, for getting the word out to the photographers and journalists at all stages of the vernissage process.

In the photo at top, student photographers, sculptors, and a couple of painters (Ann Haley, second from left) and Julie Miller (second from right) are seen in Studio 2 in front of Sami Woolhiser’s final piece from her sculpture installation course.

In the lower right photo, Ana Gardiner (in red jacket) is seen with peers, near to a table in Olivier 3 that includes her sustained en plein air painting of the Maison Basse courtyard, a work that found a home during the vernissage.


Virtual Vernissage: A Walk-through of the Final Exhibition

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Vernissage 101: Professional Practice

Jordan Acosta, left, sold two paintings. Vernissage Assistant, Sami Woolhiser (in red dress) assists in preparing the works for the patrons to take with them.

By Ana Gardiner, B.F.A painting student, SCAD-Atlanta

For many students, the Vernissage was their first exhibition and also their first international show. The Exposition des Étudiants de SCAD Lacoste 2012 had a lot to offer. The student coordinators gained a wealth of knowledge in hanging and curating a show.

Personally, this exhibition has made me realize that I need to work harder at being a better artist. Interactions between the public and the artist are very important and it shows how professionalism can make or break a sale. Having business cards and being able to talk about your artwork shows how invested you are in your work and also why others should also be invested in you.

Moreover, the artist’s attire and posture make a difference. I noticed that people were more talkative toward me when I had good posture than when I showed that I was tired and cold. I found out that there is a tricky balance between being attentive and giving the viewer their space rather than “hovering”.

“I really enjoyed watching the patrons and seeing how they reacted to each work and which ones they were drawn to the most.” ~Julie Miller

Sujay Shah, right, sold two paintings. Both he and Ruth Ribeaucourt, his patron, are very happy!

For several, the most challenging aspect of this exhibit was that it was international. Although most of the guests spoke English, communication was strained. There was an overall hesitation when it came to any conversation. Although the students had a friendly attitude and even knew a few phrases in French, answering specific questions such as clarifying if there was just one artist in the room or more became confusing at times.

Holistically, the show went very smoothly—even the staff commented on how successful the show was.

“‎3145 euros of sale in one day! This is the best we ever had for a Fall quarter! Congratulations!” ~Cédric Maros

Photos by Sandra Reed

Mission Complete: Operation Vernissage

By Charles “Chuck” Parham, M.F.A painting student, SCAD Atlanta

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November, has been busy for students, faculty and especially staff members at SCAD Lacoste. This week’s mission was our student Exposition/Vernissage. The exposition, is our end of the quarter exhibition, where students are given the opportunity to showcase their artworks done throughout the quarter. The exhibition would not have been possible without the hard and dedicated service from our staff members. To make you aware of one of their tedious tasks, student’s artists statements and titles for their works were translated into the French. This effort was a joint project, credited primarily to Cedric Maros, coordinator of exhibitions and special events, and Hélène Soalhat, our administrative manager.

From today’s turnout, the hours of work from our staff members really paid off. Despite the chilly and grey afternoon, natives of Lacoste as well as visitors from across the globe and Provence came out to support the rich history of the Student Exposition/Vernissage. 

The Exposition/Vernissage was a treat for the students. It was a time of relaxation and fun from all of the hard and tedious work throughout the fall quarter. As a graduate student, Lacoste has been a grand time. Farewell Lacoste!

Photos credited by Charles “Chuck” Parham

Lacoste School of the Arts – the Vernissage is here!

The Vernissage is from 2 – 7 pm on Saturday, November 17 with the reception from 5 – 7 pm. The students are in their final hours of preparation. Sami Woolhiser and Caroline Hepler-Smith are the Vernissage assistants for painting. They have coordinated the work flow and a mountain of information with timeliness and clarity, and the painting students have answered the call for assistance reliably showing up for their shifts.

The painting students will exhibit work from their painting courses and from other courses, such as Travel Portfolio and Installation, in a variety of the spaces at Lacoste. There are over 600 works that will be on view (there are 44 photographers here along with the 20 painters and a goodly number of sculptors and other majors). For anyone who has taught or studied here, you will recognized that additional space was needed to accommodate this profusion. Of note the back cave of the printmaking space has been outfitted with wires on the two main walls and one side wall, and it has become a show-case space, with a vaulted ceiling of more than 20 feet. Also, one wall of the boutique has been turned over for the display of small works, such as panoramic sky paintings, and Studio 3 is full. Here is 10% of the work that will be exhibited.

And of course, in classic Lacoste fashion, Rue St. Trophime and Rue du Four become outdoor walking galleries. Works by Sean Muldrow and other painters are strategically positioned to pull the viewers from one venue to another, and the students will be out in force for their one-day showing to greet guests and help them to discover every square inch of art that is to be seen.

We all wish that you were all here.

All photo documentation created by Kayla Cloonan, BFA Painting, SCAD Savannah

Vernissage How-To

Seven painting students applied for two Vernissage Assistant roles in painting. Sami Woolhiser, from Landscape Painting, and Carolyn Hepler-Smith, from Advanced Painting, were selected. Throughout the week preceding the exhibition (in addition to preparing their own work), they attended to a variety of responsibilities, prepared information, communicated needs, delegated duties, and problem-solved a variety of logistical factors. Their organizational abilities, good eye for placement, people skills, and skills with hand tools ensured that the painting students knew what they needed to do when.

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In the early part of the week, Sami and Hepler masterminded the submission of label information and photographs of work to be exhibited, created a schedule of volunteers, and measured all exhibition spaces that were designated for the exhibition of paintings. Throughout the process, the guiding rule was, “Everyone helps” and the spirit of camraderie spurred many painting students to help in ways that they didn’t know would be necessary or even, that they had the requisite skills. Aaron Edwards learned to bend and crimp metal when he needed to fabricate hanging supports for his “Wolf” from flat metal rods. Tyler Giordano’s experience as a preparator resulted in professional results wherever he had a hand – precise and thoughtful installation. Emily Nelms, Mizuki Katakura, and Kate Phillips took charge of production and placement of labels, which was a very important task: if the labels are crooked, messy, or poorly placed, it would be like smeared lipstick on an otherwise well-put-together woman.

In preparing to install the work, one of the main considerations regarding which works would go where was determined by if the work needed to be on a white wall or if it would be shown to best advantage on one of the stone walls (or ‘antique’ walls, as Cedric says). He provided floor plans of each space and Hepler calculated that of approximately 180 linear meters, 120 were in spaces with white walls, and 60 were in spaces with antique walls. She made a sample layout on paper to make sure that key works by every painter could find an attractive space. As the plan developed, Cedric proposed solutions based on his experience with seven prior Vernissages. Paintings were to be exhibited in nine distinctly different exhibition spaces, some small and intimate such as Olivier 3, and others grand and imposing, such as the vaulted back gallery of the printmaking studios. Additionally, paintings were hung on existing nails in the antique walls of the village streets. (It turned out that these were prime places because guests could view the work passively. In more than one instance, a painting in the street helped a student to sell a painting that was on exhibit in one of the caves.) Ten paintings were exhibited on easels around the village to visually pull guests from one exhibition area to another. Throughout the entire process, Cedric Maros made suggestions and provided the means to help realize the very best possible Vernissage. For instance, this year he rented 20 metal grids to provide additional places to display artwork. Every one of the grids was utilized.

Placing work for best effect of the overall exhibition took patience, flexibility, innovation, coordination, and in the end, physical labor. Sami and Hepler worked hand-in-hand to see the exhibition through, including de-installation on the following day, when everyone learned to give, barter, or trade their works as well as how to safely remove paintings from stretcher bars. With such a big group of painters this quarter, Cave 2 has become a well-stocked ‘stretcher bar’ cave: it’s possible that future painters in Lacoste won’t need to buy a single stretcher bar.

Thank you, Sami and Hepler, for the time and care that you put into the success of the exhibition for everyone.

The Turner Experience at the Tate Britain

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Several students traveled from Lacoste to London over a weekend in hopes to view Turner paintings.  The Tate Britain devoted an entire wing of the museum to the master artist. When walking down the corridor to the Turner collection, my eye meets his self-portrait that is on display at the end of the hallway. When I was standing in one of the ten galleries that housed his paintings, I knew that moment became sentimental because I was standing in a room filled with the masterworks of an artist who greatly influences my work. Continue reading

Dan Adel’s Studio

By Jordan Acosta, B.F.A. Painting, SCAD Savannah

This past Saturday, November 10, the Intermediate Painting students received the opportunity to visit Dan Adel’s studio in Lacoste. Dan is a classical painter who creates very dynamic paintings of drapery cast over sculpture. He creates natural depth that goes beyond the surface of the paintings. He shared with the students his experiences of being a professional artist and the journey that led up to the artist he is today. His journey began as a portrait artist as well as a character illustrator. His illustrations have been featured in and on the cover of many US magazines. For instance, in 2004, Dan’s portrait of the Man of the Year was featured on the cover of Times magazine. He has been represented by Arcadia Fine Art in SoHo, New York, NY since 2001.

Dan encourages us as young artists to practice classical rendering but at the same time not to get stuck in technique. We discussed how Dali is a great example for young artists to admire, for Dali achieved the balance between classical rendering and creativity. It is easy for artists to go to one extreme, either lost in the realm of creativity or be stuck in technique of the classical era.

We were able to see how Dan set up his studio to paint and observe how to clean brushes. Overall, Dan was very encouraging and it was helpful to listen to his tips on how to become a successful artist.

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Photo credit: Sandra Reed

Wrapping Up the Quarter

By Julie Ferris. B.F.A. Painting, SCAD Savannah

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My time here in Lacoste has been incredible to say the least! I have learned so much over the past seven weeks, and as this is the last week of my college career I find myself encountering bittersweet emotions as things come to an end. When classes first began I was excitedly anticipating what the weeks ahead would bring and as I look back, those weeks far outweighed my expectations. Thankfully, I could focus more intently because I was enrolled in only two classes this quarter. The Landscape Painting and Treasures of Provence courses really worked hand in hand as I travelled around the area for Treasures of Provence, which in turn helped me to learn more about the land Iwas painting and studying in my landscape class. My heart truly gravitated towards the Landscape class though, as my love is for painting, and I was surprised to see how I developed in the way I perceived the land around me. At first, I was overwhelmed because I felt the need to paint everything around me exactly how I saw it. I became frustrated by this, as it was an impossible task to take on, and there was no way I could do it. So I began to take smaller steps and focused on the things that can really make or break a Landscape painting like the palette choice, mark making decisions, color placement, and composition. I discovered that even a seemingly boring and uninteresting view could be made beautiful by making the right compositional decisions and creating a certain feel or mood within the piece. It was hard for me to step out of my box of limitations that I subconsciously make for myself, but as I purposely made decisions and tried new things, I continued to learn from my mistakes and successes.

In my Landscape painting class I focused on trying to paint in a range of different styles as well as painting to evoke certain moods and feelings about a place. Since my main focus as an artist is to paint works related to the equine, I explored different possibilities to incorporate my focus into some of my landscape pieces.  In one sense, it was not very difficult because horses are usually found outside in some sort of landscape, but in another sense, very difficult because I strive to paint horses in a different perspective than what is typical. My goal is not to justpaint a horse into a landscape because I like them and think they are beautiful, but to really dissect other options and ways to portray the horse in its natural landscape that is different than the commonly found kitschy paintings of horses. One of the ways I do this is by incorporating an element of humor in the piece, which I decided to use in some of the horse paintings I worked on here in Lacoste. To find my models, I searched out a local barn that I ended up riding at a few times located in Bonnieux. It is called Ecurie de Meille and operated by Aurélien and Audrey Silvestre. If possible, I make a conscious effort to paint horses that I have connections with somehow. I was pleased that I had the opportunity to spend some time and make personal connections with these horses before I painted them. As an artist, I am always more connected to my paintings when I truly know the subjects that inspire me.


Photo credits: Julie Ferris

Cézanne’s Atelier and Mt. Ste. Victoire

Our trip to Cézanne’s studio in Aix-enProvence was short and sweet. The painters started their journey up the mountain walking the much-celebrated footpath Paul Cézanne used to hike up to paint Mt. Ste. Victoire en plein air. Student Kate Marie Phillips said she “really enjoyed walking up there as a group of student artists. It was really exciting to look through another Artists eyes with a group of people all interested in getting more in touch with Cézanne’s inspiration and seeing it first hand rather than through his paintings.” Cézanne produced 44 oil paintings and about 43 watercolors of Mt. Ste. Victoire.

As soon as we reached the top, the students had to quickly run back down to make in time to tour the studio. We hustled down in the rain and Professor Reed encouraged us with a little prize for whoever got down first… which I believe went to Aaron Edwards. Continue reading