I decide to write a blog about all the illustrative painting teachers I've take class with at OCAD U. I basically arrange my courses according to the teacher I want for painting classes. It works wonderfully. During my years at OCAD, painting classes are the class I look forward to every week! I listed them in chronological order!
Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Team Macho
I had Stephen for Year 1 and second semester of Year 2. He is a very eccentric and charismatic teacher. He made painting really fun! I remember someone saying he is the painting guru whom you travel to in a cave for advice. He encourages you to paint in anyway you want and have fun with it, as long you paint! He told me about this guy (whose name I forgot because I suck at remembering names) who paint with an 8 feet brush! Stephen demonstrated how the 8 feet brush painter paint, but with an imaginary brush. He look like he is fencing and battling with an imaginary enemy on the canvas. Fun!
I had Stephen as a teacher at a time where I don't really know much about painting, everything I painted prior to this was mostly intuitive. I dont know how I achieved certain result and why I am doing what I am doing. Stephen was quick to help, he introduced me to the concepts of warm and cool colour. How black is not really black. I had trouble with muddying my colour and pushing paints around, Stephen told me to paint smaller and use bigger brushes. Thus I gradually work my way from 12 by 18 to 5 by 7. And now I usually paint 5 by 7 haha. Sadly he is no longer teaching at OCAD.
OCAD U, MSVA
I had Kevin in first semester of Year 2. His class is the first painting class that really explained the painting process to me. He covers the transition between value painting to colour. He introduces us to the importance of value and chroma. He introduces us to the Zorn palette and other classical painting methods. He also introduces us to water-soluble oil (I dislike the medium but he works magic in it) We painted several colour mixing exercises to creating gradient and chroma chart. We paint value chart, double primaries colour chart, Zorn palette colour chart. Those homework are a pain in the butt because we have to mix so many colour blocks... but they are worth it since those charts are still hanging on my wall!
It is in his class I begin to understand how colours work together. His critiques are great, more about the overall of the painting rather than a specific part. He almost always do a live demo before class and that really helps a lot. I think it was one of the best thing about his class. You get to watch him paint!
Narwhal Contemporary Gallery, Team Macho
I had Lauchie during my first semester of Year 3. Another Team Macho member! OCAD managed to collected 3 out of 4 Team Macho members. Nick Aoki also teaches painting at OCAD but I never had him. One of the thing I really enjoy about Lauchie's class is his feedback and how he constantly talk in the background about different painting method and his experiences. (I never really absorb much of it because I block everything out once I start painting) He talks bout warm and cool, composition, values etc. Like Stephen, he doesn't do any painting demos.
Lauchie's feedbacks are very precise and he express them in a very sarcastic but fun way during critiques. They are harsh but very real, it is like those trick medicine I had as a child that taste sweet and bitter at the same time but extremely helpful! He is not afraid to teach the real deal! You will not get any of those cushioned critiques, if it is bad he will tell you it is bad and why is it bad and what you can do about it. So straight forward! This is one of the main reason I decided to take him for my thesis in fourth year. If you requires a more neutering and greenhouse atmosphere, maybe he is not the best prof for you.
I had Bob (Robert) during my second semester of Year 3. I cannot find any info about him on the internet. He is a tenured professor so he has been teaching at OCAD for a good while. He is like a jolly grandfather who loves to talk about his passion, which is art and design. He graduated from ArtCenter in the state. So his teaching style is very traditional with a very big focus on design!
We spent half of the semester on drawings and other half on paintings. He gives really informative hand out every week at the beginning of the class, with instruction and notes on design and drawing/painting process. They are very useful! What I really love is that he talks a lot about not just about different painter or painting techniques, but also about different illustrators and designers. I personally feel like design is a very big part of the painting process, and he is one of the few professor who explores the subject in depth. He also brings book on different artists and designers to class. His class have a heavier workload though, I heard he changed it but when I was there, there is homework every week, as oppose to every 3 weeks of standard painting classes. His critiques are very soft, almost polar opposite of Lauchie. He mostly focus on what you are doing right and push you in that direction instead of focusing on the flaws.
I currently have Sara as my painting professor right now. I also had her last semester. It is her first year teaching at OCAD and she is really open to student's opinion about what they want to learn from the class. She takes classes herself from master painters, such as Jeremy Lipking. I actually met her at Benjamin Bjorklund's workshop before she started teaching at OCAD. You can read about her experiences on Sara's blog.
Sara's teaching style is similar to Kevin Bae's, which is very constructive. She shows us how to mix the Jeremy Lipking signature purple and his painting method. She do painting demos occasionally. She covers the importance of underpainting and value. Make smaller studies before going on to the big pieces. Her critiques, both in class and group critique is very informative and specific. She would points out areas that needs improvements and explains in details on how to improve it. She also really pushes you on a personal level, she can tell if you slack off on your homework or not painting to your best ability. She is very supportive on a personal level but also very objective as a teacher!