Gabriela Handal (MFA 2015)

When I was looking to further my studies, one of the things that was extremely important was the study of the human body, anatomy classes, drawing and studying from life. I serendipitously found the Academy and ended up in Dan Thompson’s class in my first semester.I think he is probably one of the best teachers the Academy has.

In class drawing by Gabriela
Everything about Figure Drawing Intensive in my first semester and Anatomical Drawing in the second semester has been incredibly enriching.  As a teacher, there is no end to Dan’s generosity.  I’d never experienced such attentiveness from a teacher and I don’t think any other teacher has ever inspired me as  much.   His enthusiasm, hunger for learning, and love for what he teaches are contagious.
Anatomical study of Maya by Gabriela
Generally, class starts with a lecture or a demonstration or both and then we set up our easels and do some drawing and analysis of our own work.  During this time, Dan invests time with each student, giving feedback and assisting us with our drawings. His teaching is really what I expected from the Academy.  

The study of the human body is enriched with a great instructor.
As for models, having a fellow human lend him/herself for our study is a real privilege. We take our bodies for granted and are in denial of them.  Seeing the nude model standing proudly in front of the class like an elegant statue for us to observe and learn, is an incredible practice. In observation, simple things like the model's breath or shifting their position becomes amplified and very beautiful.

Drawing by Dan Thompson
Specifically with Anatomical Drawing, we are meant to do studies of what we see in the model, next to a more finished drawing. We conceptualize what we see, to better understand what is happening in the pose that the model has taken. Transverse plane, cubes, cylinders, rotation, inclination, turning away from you, turning towards you, medial, lateral, muscles, bones, perspective, light, shadow, volume, depth, convex, concave, bony landmarks, muscles, and the model stand. Everything affects what you see and how you see it.

In this class, there is a special kind of awareness and study, not just of the body, but of its surroundings.  I am fascinated and more aware of the vessel that carries me and everything that I am. I find myself further amazed by the machine that is the human body.  It is an exquisite organic form and we know so little about it. I am extremely lucky to be able to study it the way that I am doing right now at the Academy.

Closer by Gabriela

To learn more about Gabriela Handal (MFA 2015) and her work please visit her website: gabrielahandal.com

For more details about the Dan Thomson and the Academy's anatomy track please visit the Academy's website: nyaa.edu/nyaa/gradprogram/anatomy.html

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