The Visitation – More Work of Students in the Style of the School of St Albans

Here’s some more work from the summer painting course I taught in Kansas City, Kansas at the Savior Pastoral Center Kansas. It was sponsored by the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas which runs the center. I thought I would show some of the work done by students. This is unusual in that we focussed on 13th century gothic illuminated manuscripts from the School of St Albans. The original is shown top left and the work of the class below. Apologies to those whose work isn’t featured –  I really haven’t deliberately cut anyone out. For some reason I didn’t arrive home with photographs of everybody’s work.

We have already booked up to do two more courses next summer, so those who are interested might even contact the center now. This year the places went quickly and we could have filled the class more than twice over. The center website is here.

At group of about a dozen adults attended the course and the level of experience varied. Some were themselves teachers of icon painting classes (who were interested in learning about the gothic style); and some were complete beginners. What was exciting for me was that all took to this western form of sacred art very naturally and were enthusiastic to keep doing it and develop this as a tradition for today. As with the work I showed recently (of St Christopher) what strikes me is how naturally the students took to this Western style. Withing a carefully controlled palette, I allowed some range of freedom in the use of colour, and encouraged them to use different borders around the painting. The ornate border is a characteristic feature of Western styles of sacred art.

I do my best to teach people so that they understand the underlying principles of what they are doing, and then they can work out things for themselves. I do stress the need for critiques of work from teachers in order to keep making progress, but at the same time, I want students to have the confidence to be able to do something on their own afterwards. So, I always try to explain why they copy precisely in some instances, and change things in others, for example. I also tell them how to examined the original painting and worked out how the artist did the original. 

David Clayton

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David is an Englishman living in New Hampshire, USA. He is an artist, teacher, published writer and broadcaster who holds a permanent post as Artist-in-Residence and Lecturer in Liberal Arts at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. The Way of Beauty program, which is offered at TMC, focuses on the link between Catholic culture, with a special emphasis on art, and the liturgy. David was received into the Church in London in 1993. Visit the Way of Beauty blog at thewayofbeauty.org.

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