A Lion's Eye Favorite: Visiting artist helps students find "the extraordinary in the ordinary"
May 3, 2006
Lion's note: This column was first published in May 2006.
Recently, Sean Beavers – a local artist who has exhibited in New England, Florida, New York and London – spent more than 16 hours in Exeter classrooms, working with students on photography, art history, painting and drawing.
"Having a real artist in class added an element of professionalism to our critiquing process," says Lydia, a lower taking photography. "We spent a day talking with Mr. Beavers about his art and painting style. He helped us understand what makes an interesting still life image, whether it's a photo, painting, drawing, or any other form of art." Lydia's experience led to personal breakthroughs. "The most important thing I learned from Mr. Beavers was how to match colors within a picture," she says. "He explained it so well that I was able to apply it that night. I felt like these were the best still life photos I'd ever taken, and they were some of my best photos overall."
For Ahmad, an upper studying photography, the lessons learned from Mr. Beavers went beyond techniques and tools. "I learned that I should be able to express a story through my photographs – a story that is beyond the picture."
"What I loved most about having Mr. Beavers attend our class was learning that patience is indeed a virtue," says Rachel, a senior and an advanced painting student who works in a photorealist style. "He taught us that it's important to remember that a well planned and carefully painted work is probably going to be better than an overworked mess. He really put that into perspective for me. He also helped me to realize that you have to be in absolute love with painting to continue it any farther than high school." Rachel and her classmates worked on two painting projects during Beavers' visit – a study representing transparent objects and an exercise working with bright, candy colors.
Exeter's Lamont Gallery has a long history of inviting art practitioners to campus, explains Karen Burgess Smith, Director of the Lamont Gallery and an instructor in the Art department. "Visiting artists let us take our gallery exhibitions beyond the purely visual to a critical discussion opportunity for art students, other students, and faculty. We all appreciate what the visiting artists bring to the 'table' -- or, in our case, the easel, the drafting table, the camera, the potter's wheel....."
Beavers' work is currently on exhibit at the Lamont Gallery. "Inside/Out": Paintings and Drawings by Sean Beavers remains on view until May 20th, 2006.
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