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Learning to make art come alive

First art workshop at Forest Lawn Museum teaches the art of creating the human figure using oil-based paints.

June 18, 2007|By Ani Amirkhanian

As artist Sang Young Bang gently dipped his brush into an oil palette, art enthusiasts sat watching his every move as he carefully brushed strokes of paint on his canvas.

Bang demonstrated basic life drawing techniques during a workshop titled "The Art of Figure Painting" at the Forest Lawn Museum, on Sunday.

"We are having this class because of our new exhibit," Matt Aaronson, the museum's educational program coordinator, said. "We make our workshops complement what we do in the museum."

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Aaronson was referring to the museum's "Herbert Ryman and His Legacy" exhibit, which is on display through July 22.

Ryman's work features landscapes, sketching and some figure painting pieces.

About 20 people showed up to the free workshop on Sunday, Aaronson said.

Model Dick Holmes sat on a step ladder facing Bang as he painted his portrait using oil-based paints.

"What's fun about painting is mixing the colors," Bang said. "When you mix paints, it becomes alive."

Workshop participants learned to mix colors to create skin tones necessary for figure painting.

David Eiteman, of Pacific Palisades, experimented with oil paints to make different shades of skin color.

"I've learned about the complexity of shades," Eiteman said.

Eiteman also observed how the artist determined how to draw the model's features in proportion, he said.

"I've never had any art instruction," he said. "So I'm impressed by the systematic way that it's done."

Glendale resident Dorothy Stevens took part in the workshop to learn more about figure drawing.

Stevens, who paints animals as a hobby, also wanted to try using a different medium.

"I've never done oils," she said. "I do watercolors. But I will try my hand at oils now."

The figure painting workshop was the first one at the Forest Lawn Museum, Aaronson said.

Other workshop-goers came to show their appreciation for art.

Alexis Chavez, of Venice, brought his 6-year-old daughter Ashla to the museum.

Ashla sat in her father's lap and tried her hand at mixing colors with a paintbrush.

"Sometimes I sketch my cat," Ashla said. "One time my godmother had a horse so I painted a picture of it for her."

Chavez was impressed with the artist's use of colors to create skin tone.

"It's amazing to see what he's conjured on the canvas," Chavez said. "It's also interesting the colors he's used. It's colors that one would not equate with skin."

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