PORTRAIT DRAWING—Learning From the Old Masters will be an aesthetic exploration into the Elements and Principles of drawing the portrait as they relate to the study of Light and Structure. This class will alternate weekly between working from life and doing copies of Old Master portraits. The best Old Master portraits are character driven and strike a subtle balance between an ideal global roundness of a form and the faithful introduction of surface sub-forms. If you neglect the sub-forms that articulate the surface structure/topography and build upon the ideal, it looks more like an artistic style rather than visual reality. Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Rubens are three giants who struck a highly nuanced balance.
Every human being is a unique and recognizable individual. The aim of the portraitist is to seize the distinct character of the subject. The basic principles of human structure are the bedrock with which we will begin our examination of the nature of the portrait revealed by a kind and quality of light within the visual field. The portrait is primarily a study of Essential Form—this is an aesthetic universal. Every structure on the human face has a specific and identifiable shape—from the two longest axes defining the overall character of the big shape of the head to the smallest substructures that comprise the individual features. Light reveals form. A convincing portrait is as much a portrait of the Light as it is of the forms and structures that define the subject at hand. In fact, they are dual aspects of a singular reality as perceived by the human eye—dictated by the laws of visual perception, specifically the physics of Light.
My approach to teaching encompasses a hierarchy of perceptual, conceptual and physical exercises. It introduces unmistaken principles from a unique, unbroken, master-apprentice tradition, and cultivates them in the student through daily studio practice and critiques. The aim of this class is to help students to understand the portrait visually, and as a living design—the structure, nature, character and the play of light upon it. Students will receive real-time coaching and critique at their workstations, weekly lecture-demonstrations, and adequate time to study and practice the teachings on their own, in the life class.
- GRAPHITE PENCILS: HB, 2B, 3B, 4B(any kind or brand¾extra 2Bs as they will be used most often)
- CHARCOAL PENCILS: HB, 2B, 3B, 4B (General Mills or equivalent¾ extra 2Bs as they will be used most often)
- White charcoal pencils
- Vine charcoal, medium (thin sticks)
- Kneaded rubber eraser
- Hard eraser
- Chamois, for erasing/spreading charcoal
- 6 bulldog clamps, or similar
- 20”X26” art board or 2-ply foam core (white or black)
- Drawing pad (18”x 24”) (Bond or sketch¾NO NEWSPRINT PLEASE)
- Drawing pad (18”X 24”) (High-quality white or off-white drawing paper like bristol)
- Variety of neutrally toned Canson brand fine papers or equivalent (18”X 24”) (Optional)
- A personal sketchbook/notebook
- Pencil sharpener (manual or sandpaper) or a general purpose razor blade or X-Acto knife, to sharpen drawing instruments
Ryan Wurmser is a full-time studio-artist, writer, and teacher. He attended Art Center College of Design, and studied extensively at many other academies including California Art Institute, Associates in Art , Steve Huston Studio, LAAFA, Andreeva Academy, Studio Escalier, and L’Ecole de Albert Defois.
His work has been exhibited in numerous venues including Forbes Gallery/NY, Colorado History Museum, Denver Museum of Art, Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University, Pasadena Museum of Art, USC Fisher Museum of Art, and Carnegie Art Museum. Wurmser was honored with the Gold Medal for Best Painting at the CAC’s 95th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition. He also received the Grand Prize at the “Artists for the New Century” Exhibit, and was awarded the Portrait Commission of Lord Martin CECIL.
Wurmser worked as a conceptual and visual development artist, a brief list of clients includes Landmark Entertainment Group, Disney Imagineering, Spectra Entertainment, Renaissance Entertainment, Universal Studios and Paramount Studios.
Registration and Payment Plans
Students must be paid in full prior to the first day of class when enrolled in an Extension Course or Workshop, except those with a payment plan agreement. Please visit the Main Office at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the class, to complete any pending registration issues.
Payment Plans: A 3% Payment Plan Fee will be assessed, with a maximum charge of $35. The Payment Plan Fee, $20 Registration Fee, plus 50% of the total tuition owing must be paid on or before the first day of class. The remaining 50% of the tuition can be paid with a post-dated check (dated 1 month later) or with a signed Credit Card Authorization Form.
There is a $35.00 fee for all checks returned as N.S.F. (Non-Sufficient Funds).
Course Changes or Cancellations
LAAFA reserves the right to cancel any class, limit class size, change class times or substitute instructors for those listed in the schedule.
If a class is cancelled, students will be issued a full refund or may transfer with no fee to another class.
If an instructor must leave after a term has begun, and no suitable substitute is available, the student will be refunded a pro-rated amount.
Refunds and Transfers
All classes, uninstructed workshops, Visiting Artist Workshops and artist demonstrations are non-refundable. You may request to drop for credit (see next paragraph) or transfer into another class.
You have two weeks to evaluate each class and decide whether you want to drop for credit (a dollar amount calculated based on the receipt of request) or transfer into a new class. Requests must be submitted before the start of the third session, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A $25 Drop/Transfer Fee is assessed. Credit will be valid for a full year and is non-refundable. It can be applied toward any Extension Course, Workshop or Visiting Artist Event at LAAFA.
All Visiting Artist Workshops and artist demonstrations are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Absences and Make-Ups
One free make-up session is allowed per quarter, per class. Please email us at email@example.com, at least 3 days in advance, with the course and date you wish to attend as a make-up. Make-up sessions aren’t transferable to future quarters.
- If you arrive late, please enter quietly. If you have equipment to set up, please wait for a break to set up so that you do not disrupt the class.
- The front row of benches is reserved for sitting individuals.
- Economize your workspace to accommodate fellow artists.
- Please refrain from talking to the models while they are posing. Photography is not allowed without the express permission of the model. The model may require a photography fee.
- Please refrain from personal discussions while class is in session. Be sure to switch cell phone ringers OFF.
- Don’t comment on others’ work unless it is solicited.
- Animals are not permitted, with the exception of assistance dogs for the disabled.
- Please clean up your work area and properly dispose of your waste after class. Use the Brush Cleaning Closet, not the bathroom sinks, to clean your hands, paintbrushes and other art tools.
- No Turpentine or smelly solvents and mediums are allowed. Odorless Mineral Spirits is preferred.
Uninstructed Workshop Policy
- There will only be 16 spots allowed in the workshops. Entry in the workshop is on a first come, first served basis. Students paying on a per-day basis will be admitted at the start time of the workshop if space is available.
- Please note that all students must pay prior to the start of each workshop or class when paying on a per-day basis, and prior to entering the workshop to set up.
- A monitor appointed by LAAFA will set up all uninstructed workshops. Once the pose is set, there will be no changes.
- Any suggestions or comments, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAAFA Payment Plan
For those students needing extra time during the quarter to pay for their classes, LAAFA offers a payment plan. Pay for half of your tuition cost prior to your class start date and then half-way through pay your remaining balance. Only for a 3% fee!
Student will be unable to continue in the program if all of the payment requirements are not met.
PayPal – Bill Me Later
Students have the option to purchase classes by PayPal. One of the features of PayPal is a “Bill Me Later” promotion that includes: No Payment + No Interest if paid for within 6 months! Subject to credit approval.
Receive 15% off the total price of $1500 or more for on-campus instructed classes. Promo Code: multi15
New Student Discount
Students who are new to LAAFA receive up to a $50 off toward each instructed class purchased that quarter. Please call (818) 708-9232 to receive your coupon for the class in order to take advantage of this offer. (Workshops are excluded.)
For those 65 years and older, receive up to $50 off toward each instructed class per quarter. Please call (818) 708-9232 to receive your coupon for the class in order to take advantage of this offer. (Workshops are excluded.)
Refer a new student and once they have completed an instructed class at LAAFA, you are entitled to receive $50 off toward one instructed class in the following quarter, of equal or greater value. Please call (818) 708-9232 to receive your coupon for the class in order to take advantage of this offer. (Workshops are excluded.)
CSATTF Tuition Reimbursement Program
Through this program, members of Art Directors Guild (Local 800), Animation Guild (Local 839), Costume Designers Guild (Local 892), Motion Picture Costumers (Local 705), Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (Local 706) are able to apply for:
Reimbursement of two-thirds the tuition cost for CSATTF approved classes and workshops.
PLEASE NOTE: Your reimbursement is based on the approved amount from CSATTF. If tuition is lower, you will be reimbursed only up to two-thirds of the actual amount paid. If tuition is higher, you will be responsible to pay the difference and only be reimbursed up to two-thirds of the approved amount from CSATTF.
Discounts cannot be combined. Certain classes may be excluded. Other restrictions may apply.
16926 Saticoy Street
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Phone Hours: Mon-Fri, 10AM-5PM
Main Office: Mon-Fri, 9:30AM-5:30PM