Ever since March of 2010, when Steve Huston was last in Los Angeles to teach his annual workshop, I was eagerly anticipating his return to Southern California. The time finally came last April when Steve returned to Pasadena for a one night drawing workshop hosted by 3 Kicks Studio.
This was a short but intense workshop. Steve packed in a lot of information in 3 hours. Here are my thoughts on the evening.
Part 1 – Lecture
Steve began the lecture by stating his fundamental principles to drawing and art making. The essence of Art is the “Idea”, he noted to the class. He then broke down that concept into 2 fundamental parts:
Gesture and Structure,
or Parts and their Relationships. Parts representing structure or form, gesture is synonymous to the relationship between forms.
The idea of structure and gesture, parts and relationships is so fundmental to Steve’s work, it appears over and over again in his drawing. From the 2 minute gestures, to the head drawings to the fully rendered, titanic and kinetic boxers and workmen he is known for.
A sample from Steve Huston’s sketchbook. Wow! www.stevehustonart.com
Parts, Steve noted are what most artists are comfortable and competent with. Relationships are what takes a lifetime to master.
Steve then began to demonstrate specific techniques such as using gesture to create dynamic stretch in a figure. He also demonstrated how gesutre can also create movement down and along form. Movement along form is what he calls structure. Any observer of his work can clearly see his mastery of structure.
Steve Huston lecturing at 3 Kicks Studio.
Steve also simplified the figure using abstractions and geometric forms, and most importantly how to get the simple abstract forms to relate to another in the most effective and elegant manner.
The lecture was very condensed. This could have easily been a 10 or 20 week course alone. Despite the short time frame, Steve managed to touch on the key essentials of his drawing philosophy.
Part 2 – Drawing Time
After the lecture, the class finally got their chance to apply all the knowledge from the lecture and draw from the model. Steve began the first 20 minute set with a demonstratoin of 5 minute poses. Obviously his lecture was informative by itself, but watching him draw is truly invaluable. This is what I had waited the entire year for, the chance to watch Steve draw and work his magic. Watching him put all the principles together, one always comes away feeling, “Ok, I can do that”.
The remainder of the workshop was drawing time for the students, with Steve giving as much one-on-one feedback he could in the short amount of time.
A snap from Steve Huston’s sketchbook. www.stevehustonart.com
Steve closed the workshop by giving us some final thoughts on drawing and art. He gave us some ideas for self study and a daily practice routine, stressing that art is a cumulative, marathon-like journey. After his parting thoughts, Steve was very generous with his time and stayed behind to talk to students who wanted some final nuggets of wisdom.
Watching Steve at the end of class, I couldn’t help but feel admiration. It was already well past 11 pm on a Saturday night. Just hours earlier, he had taught a full day painting workshop, and had to prepare for the next morning’s class. Despite the long day, here he is, a nationally renowned, gold-medal winning artist working overtime for his students. Wow. That’s class, and that is someone any young artist could feel proud to emulate.
In conclusion, the short but action-packed drawing workshop was a great experience and a great value. Steve did an honorable job teaching such a daunting amount of material in such a short period of time. For the beginner student or someone new to his work, it served as a great introductory, or ‘teaser’ course. Personally I would want to spend a whole week on this topic, but that will have to wait.
I would also like to thank Charels Hu and 3 kicks Studio for hosting the workshop. Charles did a great job with the event and made the students feel very welcome and at home. I recommend 3 Kicks to any serious art student in southern California and I am definitely looking forward to more classes and workshops there. Of course, I’m already anticipating next years’ Huston workshop.