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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Teachers Of Mine: Jeff Markowsky

Did you know that there were once two art schools in Savannah, Georgia? Between 1994 and 1998 School of Visual Arts, a New York art school, had a little satellite campus in Savannah. I couldn't have asked for a more nurturing art school environment for a young figurative painter, especially at a time before the resurgence of classical training schools. It was largely unorganized with a student body of 45-75 students who had access to the building 24/7. Our painting classes met for 6 hours, and I believe our drawing classes met for 3 hours. There was a very substantial amount of time in front of the model, which I am grateful for. I attended there three years before my transfer to New York my senior year, and Jeff Markowsky was my first painting teacher there.

Jeff is originally from Saskatchewan Canada, and a genuinely nice guy. Beginning his studies at the Alberta college of Art and Design in Calgary, he went on to further pursue his graduate studies in painting at School of Visual Arts in New York City. There he studied with Gregory Crane and Frank Mason. He currently teaches at Savannah College of Art and Design.

Markowsky is a confident draftsman with a flair for composition. He loves hockey, he's in touch with his Russian heritage, and he's a Descendents fan too! One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten from a teacher was a quote from Milo. "Intensity is the key!" he told Jeff once, and he has always taken this to heart. "Squint!" and "Mass!" were memorable mantras. His focus on the basics of light and shadow, proportions, and observational color provided a rock solid foundation for everything else I would learn thereafter.

Jeff was my painting instructor, and also one of my best figure drawinginstructors. Our first painting classes consisted of drawing from the ball and the cone, the cast in grisaille, and tonal still life painting, working up eventually to color study and long sessions with the model.

Jeff is a true colorist, and has everything to do with the way I see. This alley painting is similar to much of the work he was doing when I studied with him.

I have recently enjoyed the allegorical direction Jeff's work is taking, and he continues to inspire my work. This is a full-scale charcoal study for an oil painting in progress.

If you'd like to see more of Jeff's work, visit his website and his blog.

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