Final Weeks and Final Crits

By Ian Factor (MFA 2014)

It's the final week for many students, the 2nd year's final crits are this coming weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and many of us are working around the clock getting our work together for the end of the year presentations, first and second years alike. Though some classes will be held after this weekend, most of the work needs to be done in the next 10 days or so.

Students working on large paintings in room 201.

Before I get into the photos, here's a brief quote from Robert Henri, the great American painter and teacher, one of the founders of the Ashcan School and the author of The Art Spirit, one of the most important books about art and living the life of an artist ever written. He's always a good source of insight and perspective, especially at times when the artist's emotional mind is at battle with the rational mind ... which is so often.

This is for all the students at the Academy and specifically the second year students getting ready for your FINAL CRITS this weekend. Kick ass!

"If you want to know how to do a thing you must first have a complete desire to do that thing. Then go to kindred spirits—others who have wanted to do that thing—and study their ways and means, learn from their successes and failures and add your quota. Thus you may acquire from the experience of the race. And with this technical knowledge you may go forward, expressing through the play of forms the music that is in you and which is very personal to you."


My studio during the MFA open studios.

Sleep and exercise are taking the back seat as I see the impossible task ahead of getting all my pieces done in this limited time. It's strangely like the final push before a solo show, but also much different in so many ways. Different pressure and different expectations. Trying to let go of any expectations at all, it's still difficult, and every day is an emotional roller coaster. I'll just do the best I can, knowing that most of my pieces will have to be "finished" this summer.

More progress on my history painting, "Seppuku", 80" x 96."
In Progress detail of main figure, "Seppuku."

People's nerves are running thin, and the intensity is as dense as the morning fog over the lake in Maine that I'm longing to be relaxing at right now. But even with the stress, there is still a smile and a friendly, helpful and enlightening conversation to share with a fellow student going through similar experiences. The community here at the Academy is beyond special and unique.   
Tatiana Ortiz Rubio with her newest painting.

It's interesting that in the midst of all this stress, anxiety and self doubt, I had a bit of a breakthrough in my drawing, which has been an ongoing challenge this year. Once the semester is over, I'll be posting more explicit details on some of the learning and realizations I've had this semester...I'll need some time away from school to digest and process it all before I try to put it to words. In the meantime, here are a few more pics of new work and scenes at the school ... hope to see you soon!

Graphite sketch for my drawing class with Harvey Citron.
Anatomy homework
More anatomy homework

Underpainting for a new piece on the movement topic.

Charcoal sketch for the new movement series.

Maria Teicher on the other side of the camera!

Maria at work

Sam Detch self portrait

Sam Detch head study
Roberto Osti teaching anatomical drawing with his great in-class demo work.

Wade Schuman with his color charts...
and my samurai sword...
No pressure!

Jessica Benjamin in front of her history painting.

Chris Law with his history painting.
Martin Saar with his horse Ecorche.

Ian Factor (MFA 2014) has been blogging here throughout the academic year about his first year at the Academy and moving to New York City. Check the label "First Year Experience" or "Ian Factor" for more posts about his first year at the Academy.


  1. Everyone works from photos???

  2. No, everyone works from life, and some students also work from photos.