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Straddling his art bench, Gus Bundy, 10, consults a reference book as he works to get the proportions of the dog he’s drawing just right.
When he gets to the dog’s face, teacher Ronny Beeman steps in. Using a piece of tracing paper, Beeman shows him how to lay out the face so he can create the type of expression he wants.
It’s these kinds of techniques that bring students to Beeman’s Art School Santa Fe. Beeman trained under the Larry Gluck Method at Mission: Renaissance in Los Angeles, which focuses on techniques used by such master artists as Vincent van Gogh. She also studied at the American Animation Institute in California.
“(Gluck) has developed a philosophy and a curriculum that is based on very classical fine art masters’ techniques, and these sorts of techniques are slowly kind of disappearing out of art education,” Beeman said.
No one shows up to a piano lesson and is expected to just start playing without being taught technique, she said, and it shouldn’t be this way for art, either. She said she doesn’t want these techniques to disappear, so it’s crucial young artists learn them.
Gus came to the school to learn these techniques and to help him draw Pokémon, he said. He said he’s great at drawing from real life, but Beeman is helping him learn to use his imagination more in his art.
The art school opened in August; go to the school’s website at www.artschoolsantafe.com to enquire about classes. The classes are individualized, so people can start at any time, Beeman said. She will also be giving free art lessons to kids at the upcoming Oktoberfiesta at Santa Fe Brewing Company’s headquarters’ location Oct. 9, where people can also enquire about the art school.
The school is located at The Lofts, 3600 Cerillos Road Suite 724E, and both kids and adults can sign up for classes. When she isn’t teaching at her new school, Beeman teaches art at the Santa Fe School for Arts & Sciences, where she’s been since 2017.
Standing next to student Corin Williams, 11, Beeman asks him to draw a figure from a reference book of people moving in different ways. One is a figure of a person weightlifting in a squat, another is of a person running.
Corin said he started drawing when he was in third grade and signed up for the class to learn art fundamentals. He said he really enjoys drawing and likes to draw characters from Star Wars.
As Corin begins to draw a figure running mid-stride, Beeman teaches him how to convey movement in the drawing by centering the movement on the figure’s spine. She said that, when a person is drawing, it’s important to use your whole arm to create the art piece, as she shows Corin with broad, sweeping motions over the sketchbook’s paper.
Opening an art school has been Beeman’s longtime dream. She has wanted to start an art school since she was 19 and has been an art educator for the past 30 years. Growing up, Beeman said she had a difficult childhood and art was her escape.
“If I didn’t have art, it might have been drugs – I don’t know – it might have been bad boyfriends, but it was something that gave me self-worth and confidence,” she said. “It was a way to escape into my own world, which was fun. It was my fun, fantasy world.” She said this is something she wants to provide for kids.
For Emilia Martin, 9, part of the journey is learning how to draw still life. She came to the school to learn how to make her drawings look more realistic, and has learned such techniques as adding shadows to her drawings.
Wearing her dog-ear headband, Emilia said she enjoys drawing people and animals – her favorite animal is the koala.