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Professor visits Portrait Group

November 05, 2007

On Oct. 24, the Portrait Group, which has been meeting at the Hagerstown YMCA since 1962, presented a workshop conducted by Abby Sangiamo, professor of drawing and general fine arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

Sangiamo, who has been at MICA for 45 years, is still creating innovative classes which encompass his unique approach to the art of portraiture.

In the workshop, he stressed that "it is important to know everything you can about the head and facial features as only then is the artist freed to move beyond the rendering to a new level of interpretation." He examined the anatomical structure of each feature with the artists to give them a deeper understanding of how each stands alone and interacts with the other.

"What I've learned from Abby's lecture has already enriched my work," artist Donna Mason said as she completed the first exercise - overlaying the skeletal structure of the head on a copy of a master drawing.

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Mike Flicek, executive director of the YMCA, joined the group for Sangiamo's final critique. Flicek was introduced by group leader Janet Siegmann Salter, who thanked him for his organization's continuing support of the arts.

"The Portrait Group is a unique gathering of artists," Salter said. "They come from Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia to share the cost of space and model. The 'Y' makes it all possible, and we are grateful to them each day we meet."

"I'm delighted to see such interest in portraiture," Salter said. "This year, it was our goal to expand our membership to 25 to enable us to employ two models weekly, giving our artists more options and to better accommodate everyone. I'm proud to say we reached both goals quickly."

Anyone interested in additional information about the sessions or in modeling for the group should call Salter at 301-766-7165 or Donna Mason at 301-791-6719.

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