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DailyTidings.com
  • ARTISTS IN ASHLAND

    Building a body of work

    Art students get professional tips on perfecting their portfolios
  • Ashland High School senior Rosemarie Caruso displayed a skillfully done figure drawing to adult artists visiting campus to help students develop art portfolios.
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  • Ashland High School senior Rosemarie Caruso displayed a skillfully done figure drawing to adult artists visiting campus to help students develop art portfolios.
    "I did that in driver's education class," Caruso said of the small sketch.
    After admiring her pencil drawings of figures and faces during the high school's first Portfolio Day earlier this week, the adults began pushing her to stretch even further as an artist.
    Hilltop Gallery co-owner and former art professor Richard Newman encouraged her to experiment with composition, since most beginning artists tend to center their work in the middle of the paper.
    Scott Malbaurn, an instructor with Southern Oregon University and the prestigious Pratt Institute in New York, recommended she experiment with large pieces of paper, watercolor and ink.
    At Caruso's request, the adults gave her several assignments — including completing a life-size self portrait of herself in charcoal, doing quick sketches with her left hand and making 100 drawings of the same object in a week.
    The adults and students were brought together after the Ashland Gallery Association learned that students didn't know how build art portfolios for the college and art school application process, said AGA Administrator Kim Olson.
    Portfolio Day was made possible through the help of AHS art teachers, local artist volunteers and a Jackson County Cultural Coalition grant, she said.
    The students who attended Portfolio Day each received a black, high-quality artist's portfolio for storing and displaying their work and photographs of their art.
    In addition to hearing assessments and advice about their art, students learned about the importance of good grades in high school, building a portfolio, applying for college or art school and what they could expect in their first years.
    "If you're an F student, you probably will not be accepted, even if you have the best portfolio in the world," Malbaurn said. "So keep your grades up."
    Several of the adult artists impressed upon the students the importance of documenting their work through photographs.
    Professional photographer Lewis Anderson gave tips on photographing art work, noting that all artists either have to learn to take photos of their pieces or pay someone else to do it.
    Anderson said the process of creating a portfolio never ends for people who go into artistic careers. Artists need strong portfolios, whether they are applying for college or trying to get into an exhibit.
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