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PAINTING THE HUMAN FIGURE: VOLUME & SPACE with Kurt Kauper
PAINTING THE HUMAN FIGURE: VOLUME & SPACE with Kurt Kauper

Sun, Jun 08

|

Marsala, Sicily

PAINTING THE HUMAN FIGURE: VOLUME & SPACE with Kurt Kauper

Package: $3,500

Time & Location

Jun 08, 2025, 7:00 PM – Jun 14, 2025, 7:00 PM

Marsala, Sicily

About the event

This workshop will be an opportunity to learn and/or refine the basic elements of painting the human figure from life. Students of all skill levels are welcome to enroll.

All aspects of painting from life will be addressed, including drawing, accurate proportion, geometric conceptualization of the human form, effective use of light and shadow, color perception and interpretation (including the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional and the CMYK color wheels), paint application, as well as introductory anatomy. Time permitting, we will experiment with direct and indirect painting techniques.

But I will be emphasizing most strongly the awareness of and ability to palpably represent the human figure as a believable volume existing in a clearly defined illusionistic space. Before the invention of photography, artists were tasked with the challenge of making the two-dimensional surface of their support appear to be a convincing three dimensional space opening up before the viewer. The rhetorical persuasion, expressive power, and visual achievements of artists such as Masaccio, Antonello da Messina, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, and Caravaggio—just to name a few—are inconceivable without that sensibility. The human figure in those artists’ work was understood as a fully articulated three-dimensional volume occupying and moving through space. After the invention of photography and the widespread familiarity of the machine-produced two-dimensional image, artists largely lost that ability (although there were exceptions), and the two-dimensional influence of the photograph has dominated representation ever since. The French semiotician Roland Barthes once said “no more figurative painting, unless henceforth by fascinated (and fascinating) submission to the photographic model.” This workshop will aim to prove Roland Barthes wrong, and approach the painting of the human figure with the traditional, pre-photographic, volume and space sensibility of the European Old Masters.

  • Image presentations, demonstrations, and trips to relevant sites in the region will be included as part of the course.
  • Advanced students are welcome to work in their painting language of choice, and I will provide critical feedback within the parameters of their approach.

ARTIST BIO

Kurt Kauper was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1966, and raised in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. He received his BFA from Boston University in 1988, and his MFA from UCLA in 1995. He has lived in New York City since 1999.

His figure paintings of historical and imagined people leave expectations unfulfilled and resist simple categorization. In contrast to his clear and precise articulations of form, Kauper's content is characterized by indeterminacy, unintentionality, ambiguity, fluidity, destabilization, strangeness, amorality, uselessness, and neutrality. He considers himself to be a formalist. Kauper has had solo shows at ACME Gallery in Los Angeles, Deitch Projects in New York City, Almine Rech Gallery, New York, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles. He has been included in numerous group exhibitions both in the United States and Europe, including venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, The Pompidou Center in Paris, the Kunsthalle Vienna, and the Stedelijk Museum in Gent. He has received numerous awards, including grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. His work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Hammer Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Weatherspoon Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

He has taught at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Yale University, Princeton University, and the New York Academy of Art. He is currently a Professor of Art at Queens College in New York City.

He is represented by Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles and Ortuzar Projects in New York. He will have a one-person show with Ortuzar Projects in January, 2025.

MATERIALS LIST

Oil Paint:

  • White (Zinc, Titanium, Flake, Cremnitz, it doesn’t matter)
  • Ivory Black
  • Viridian
  • Cobalt Teal (Gamblinbrand, more expensive) or Turquoise (Gamblin 1981 brand, less expensive)
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Lemon (Gamblin)
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Raw Sienna
  • Cadmium Red Deep
  • Quinacridone Magenta (Gamblin)
  • Transparent Red Oxide (Sometimes called Transparent Red Earth)
  • Venetian Red
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • · All colors listed above are highly recommended, and some are necessary to certain lessons. You are welcome to add any other colors to this list. If anybody has financial impediments that make the purchase of these colors difficult, please contact me privately.
  • · Except where otherwise indicated, most brands will work. “Gamblin” or “Gamblin 1981” are good options for affordable and decent quality paint. The only strong recommendation I have is that you avoid “Artists Loft” brand oil paint. They are often very poor quality.
  • · If possible, avoid any color that contains the word “hue” in it. For example, try to purchase “Viridian,” not “Viridian Hue.” When it says “hue” in the name, it means it’s a fake version of the pigment, and you often do not get the desired properties of the color.

Brushes:

Palette:

I recommend a glass palette made by backing a ¼” thick, 16 X 20” sheet of glass with cardboard or foam board and grey paper.

· This is a good youtube tutorial on how to make such a palette. The relevant part starts at 1:25:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShpJ-kXbNYU

One thing I would do differently is that it appears to me that the person doing the demonstration is using 1/8” thick glass. For optimum durability I would very strongly recommend ¼” thick plate glass.

· However, because many of you will be travelling, it may not be possible to transport a glass palette. If that is the case, you are welcome to use a wood palette or a grey disposable palette. I recommend the following brand:

New Wave Grey Disposable Palettes

https://www.dickblick.com/products/new-wave-grey-pad-disposable-palettes/?fromSearch=%2Fsearch%2F%3Fsearchword%3Ddisposable%20grey%20palette%20pad

Painting Surface:

A primed wood panel or stretched canvas somewhere in the range of 16 X 20 to 24 X 30’, depending on the size painting you want to make. If you are a beginner, or have never painted the figure before, I would strongly recommend not using anything larger than 24 X 30”.

A variety of other primed surfaces to do studies or if you want to work on more than one painting during the course of the week. You might choose to bring several smaller canvas panels, or even a pad of canvas paper.

· We will have one long pose for the duration of the week. Students will have the choice of working on one painting or doing several paintings of the same pose from different easel positions in the studio. So, you could conceivably bring just one surface if you are certain you only want to do one painting, or you could bring several surfaces.

Palette Knife:

Medium size, trowel shaped, something like the following:

https://www.dickblick.com/items/blick-painting-knife-78-x-2-34-painting-style-30-/

Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits

500 ml should be enough, 1 liter certainly will be

https://www.dickblick.com/products/gamblin-gamsol-odorless-mineral-spirits/

Container for Mineral Spirits, with lid

Can be purchased at an art supply store, something like this:

https://www.dickblick.com/items/anderson-sons-stainless-steel-airtight-brush-washer-20-oz/

· BUT, the brush washer linked above is ridiculously overpriced. You can find similar things much more cheaply if you shop around.

· You can also use a 16 oz. mason jar with a lid, something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Ball-Mason-Regular-Mouth-Count/dp/B07F3MX4DY/ref=sr_1_8?crid=1YBEEBVH68OPM&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.lSwdtwE9j5ZDk7sRqFAZcAws3NbMePqGF_glsXwo4-tsObMyrQhUygJcja3VBUvrOFl3s52a6ZwW04h398XjsdjP6MNVAcfwn9S2HkEEQgOuqML3QYcV5wBpImjdlYEIJoIOEcJi7Dv89dPT7qCPgLcBwSQO_qgdGvjodmu9XmlS6Fz1t7kimOSPESb0PDuChnImmLLzeBf4CNp5Qu_kGUEjGh8QrhJL8CsXJmS0IQZ5jQcL-oOFfcgAP7QU6g8My8wtVk8eH-XzRb2wcDxnpmtlt9vjJBSccDtbELgW_tE.hf3IAnhN7uzmy0V9HOsb9bPuPXLoishkxMWPEp2sVxE&dib_tag=se&keywords=16+oz+mason+jar&qid=1720103266&sprefix=16+oz+mason+jar+,aps,80&sr=8-8&th=1

Rags

Old cotton t-shirts cut into sections will work well. You can also purchase bags of rags inexpensively at hardware or art supply stores. Paper towels will work, especially blue shop towels.

· Bag of Rags:

https://www.dickblick.com/items/bag-of-rags-1-lb/?clicktracking=true&wmcp=pla&wmcid=items&wmckw=62978-1001&country=us&currency=usd&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwkJm0BhBxEiwAwT1AXMv9ujYgUhdKTzeRnKk73Mt44bz4yM31I69nou326mpAJVv38pVA5xoCM1sQAvD_BwE

· Blue Shop Towels:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085X4BHSC/ref=sspa_dk_detail_3?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B085X4BHSC&pd_rd_w=K8vOB&content-id=amzn1.sym.8c2f9165-8e93-42a1-8313-73d3809141a2&pf_rd_p=8c2f9165-8e93-42a1-8313-73d3809141a2&pf_rd_r=636MKBNZFCT38NT5HNZB&pd_rd_wg=e6eOe&pd_rd_r=a7706f17-d3dc-47f2-a046-cf953c2d121b&s=kitchen&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9kZXRhaWw&smid=A1KR89NQOCOASV

Oil Painting Medium (optional but recommended):

We will mix an oil painting medium, the properties and uses of which I will explain in detail. The necessary components are:

· Linseed Oil, any brand, 4oz or larger

https://www.dickblick.com/items/gamblin-refined-linseed-oil-4-oz-bottle/

· Gamblin Galkyd Medium, 4 oz or larger

https://www.dickblick.com/items/gamblin-galkyd-medium-42-oz-bottle/

· A 16oz mason or another jar with lid to hold the medium

Drawing Materials

Since we will be concentrating on painting, I will not insist of people bringing drawing materials. The paintings we do can be started with oil paint and your brushes. But if anybody prefers to draw first, you are welcome to bring whatever drawing materials you think you will need.

The links I provided above are intended to provide clear examples of the materials I am requiring. I am not necessarily advocating for anybody to use those vendors. You may be able to do smart shopping and reduce the cost of supplies.

If anybody has financial impediments that make purchase of these materials difficult, please contact me privately and we can talk about alternatives.

If anybody needs clarification on any materials, you are also welcome to contact me.

ACCOMMODATION

You will be staying at Baglio Custera, a boutique hotel in the heart of Marsala’s countryside. Known for its gardens and luxurious swimming pool, this modern resort stands on the Rakalia hill, the site of an ancient shrine to Hercules, surrounded by olive and orange groves. Baglio Custera is a brand new hotel built on ancient lines, those of the "baglio," or farmhouse.

From start to finish you will enjoy the extraordinary cuisine of the region influenced by the unique flavors of the Mediterranean including garden-fresh vegetables, ancient grains, and seafood. All meals, accommodation, and daily ground transport are Included in your package, including a celebratory welcome dinner with Mario.

Package

  • Regular Priced Tickets

    Sale ends: Jun 01, 2025, 7:00 PM

    Package $3,500

    From $1,250.00 to $3,500.00
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