Thursday, August 28, 2014

John Clark

The Night (Yellow Moon) 1988

In the 70s as a young art student I was very fortunate to have a wonderful teacher, artist and writer John Clark. I had lost track of where he was over the years, and so I was very sorry and shocked to learn of his death. I was moved to hear about the tribute to him, his life and his work at  Contemporary Calgary.

 I distinctly remember my first painting classes with John Clark. I remember him as a rather serious, introspective, intelligent, gentle, soft spoken, and quiet man. Later, I came to know a wonderful, humble and gifted teacher with a shy smile, and a dry wit. He taught me the foundational, essential and important basics about applying paint and, how to construct and bring this application of paint together in a painting.

He wasn't teaching us about conceptual art, which at the time was the overall, approach and interest in the 70s at NSCAD. Our paintings were always based on rendering the life drawing model in the traditional manner. We had the same model until the painting was completed. Prior to this, he gave us practical painting exercises that were most helpful and interesting.

What I learned from John Clark about painting, has stayed with me to this day. I am so grateful he was once my teacher, and I am saddened that he has left this earthly coil. I will not forget him.

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