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Kathi Coyle (DeAngelis)

My discovery of The Grand Central Academy came from seeing an ad in an artist's magazine. I was so struck by the drawing of the girl by Michael Grimaldi. I studied art back in the 1970's in New York in a very painful, haphazzard way. I went to several schools and had many teachers all of whom were unable to teach me what I needed to learn, and quite often the information was contradictory. The climate in the '70's was incredibly hostile toward realism. The kindest remark was that my desire to paint realistically was described as an adoloscent stage that I would go through as an artist and come out an abstract expressionist in the end. People would freely say, "Why don't you just take a photograph." "That's already been done." It's not a creative expression, it's just copying. I have a long list of insults that I won't go into, but the attitude was also reflected in architecture when classicly styled buildings were torn down, blown up and '70's modern infested the cities. I remember walking down the street in New York and seeing rubble from a renovated building. The rubble had a beautifully carved wooden mantle, stained glass windows and mosaic tile work. I found this all quietly painful for I didn't dare speak of it. I found one representationalist, as he called himself, at the Art Student's League, that believed that art could be taught, that there were actual steps that could be followed, that he knew and could impart. I learned everything I could from him, but even he was defensive about associating himself with Classical Realism and wanted to put a 70's spin on his work to distinguish it from classical realism. He was opposed to copying classical paintings, or separating values from color, and wanted the work to look painterly. Drawing from casts, being an apprentice, doing an underpainting then glazing was frowned upon. I didn't realize until I saw Michael Grimaldi's drawing that I had sold out on my deepest love and had been trying to avoid a style that I always loved and wanted in my work, but "wasn't allowed" to do. Recently when preparing for a museum exhibition and preparing an artist's statement, I asked myself the question, "Who am I as an artist?" The question went in very deeply and I felt confused and blocked for weeks trying to write a statement. The ad brought me back to the young woman who's passion for drawing the figure in a classical style was never fulfilled, along with a lot of tears. Interestingly, my family and friends thinks I'm crazy to go back to art school at my age and level of accomplishment, that people admire my work so much that they think I'm just being overly critical and perfectionistic. When I walked into The Grand Central Academy of Art, I thought I died and went to heaven. The lighting is perfect, the color of the walls absorbs light so there isn't so much reflected light in the shadows. The models are fabulous and actually get back into the same position and pose longer than I've ever experienced. I've learned so far that I rush the steps and am trying to slow myself down. I need to spend more time observing carefully and less time making marks. I don't know if I can change my ingrained habits as an artist but I'm going to try. I have to drive 5 hours a night to get to the class but its worth it. There is much more to this story, but I tried to give you the condensed version. I want you to know how deeply grateful I am for this school and the possibility of finally achieving artistic fulfillment. I've already had a profound emotional healing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Kathi

Paul Grass

I would like more info on what this is.

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