Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mark Gottsegen: Art Teacher

     Mark Gottsegen retired from teaching a couple of years ago, after 3 decades at UNC-Greensboro. He retired to further devote himself to "materials and standards" work, something he has been engaged in for many years. He is the author of "The Painter's Handbook," available on and also, I believe, available for download at his website. I posed for his classes at UNC-G from 1996 until his retirement from the faculty there.

     Mark is a very interesting guy, and students either love him or hate him - sometimes both. He claims that he can teach "anyone" to draw, if they will follow his direction. I often thought about taking him up on that, since I am one of those who believes that he simply can't draw. I do know that students who took him seriously, and really tried to apply his principles, truly learned something and became better artists. 
     Mark was a lover of what many would consider "gimmicks" in teaching. One of the photos below shows him wearing a red clown nose, just one of many props he used from time to time. Other props included a buggy whip and a pitchfork, plus Jerry Lewis style false teeth. The first photo below features his "No Whining" button.  Other photos here show a painting class "crit" and a pose I think of as "skin and bones," since my posing companion is a skeleton. Even though I have not posed for Mark's classes for over three years now, I can still hear his voice echoing in my memory: "Measure! Erase! Change the drawing!" 

     Mark has a connection to a celebrity. His first cousin, Attorney Lisa Gottsegen, is also Mrs Dustin Hoffman. It was Mark who pointed out to us one day that when Hoffman's character in the movie "Rainman" is asked whether he memorized the entire phonebook, he replies "No, I stopped in the G's; I stopped when I got to Gottsegen" the actor was deliberately alluding to his wife's last name. 

     Two of the drawings posted here are from "double-pose" sessions, something Mark liked to have me do from time to time. I would do two different poses, alternating them 20 minutes at a time, and the students would draw the interaction. The first posted drawing was inspired by a scene in the movie "The Ten Commandments," when Moses is brought before Pharaoh just before his banishment to the desert. The final drawing, "Front & Back," is from another "two poses" session.

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