Category Archives: The Drawing Club

Drawing from the Biennial

By Julia Einstein
Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs

During the month of May, The Drawing Club at the Portland Museum of Art spent Wednesdays with contemporary art. We were inspired by working together as a group and eager to learn about the ideas behind the art in 2009 Biennial as well as in the Museum’s collection of contemporary art.

Each Wednesday morning, our group of 12 adults began in the Museum’s Community Studio by sharing the pages of our drawing books which held our responses to the art we viewed. We enjoyed talking about what we noticed as a result of drawing and how these drawings became our interpretations as well as a way for us to figure out what it is all about. After our creative discussions, we headed into the galleries to draw.

We spent a morning drawing the inspirations of Sean Foley in the paintings by Fernand Léger. We also looked for connections in Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke 6 with the work of Claude Monet. On another morning we explored the Biennial themes such as architecture, the environment, and scale in our side by side sketches of Ethan Hayes-Chute’s grand scale Hermit House and Dozier Bell’s tiny painted views. When we took a walk up to the third floor and looked at the contemporary perspective in Yvonne Jacquette’s Maine landscape, it was with new eyes!

The final two Wednesdays were devoted to drawing the spaces that hold the art. The elements and gestures repeated in the Steven Perkins’s painted oak trees and Andy Rosen and Melissa Calderón’s sculptures made for dynamic looking. We noticed corners that were transformed by light and shadow and Susan Prince Thompson’s floating drawings. We drew to discover a flow to the layering within Wade Kavanaugh’s extra-large sculpture which takes up the entire first gallery! We ended on the third floor, in front of the Anselm Kiefer as we looked through his painted layers to see structure and make meaning.

As a result, we have many drawings and answers, lots of wonderings, and more questions which lead us back into the 2009 Biennial for another look. And, we’re all looking forward to the next session of The Drawing Club with the Call of the Coast exhibition.