Andrea Hart, Prelude to 3, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 (2020 Graduate)

With over 800 affordable and supportive care housing units, Project HOME has provided housing, medical care, and educational and employment opportunities to Philadelphia’s homeless for more than thirty years. In 2016, Richard and Bonnie Rossello initiated a collaboration between Studio Incamminati and Project HOME.
The project, to teach the formerly homeless Project HOME students to master drawing from life, followed the rigorous Incamminati curriculum of increasing complex tasks and techniques that contribute to close observation.

In mid-March, when the city of Philadelphia issued stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the faculty collaborating with Project HOME were forced to rethink the virtual delivery of our program’s curriculum. Social distancing and PPE are not the usual tools essential for an art education built on the master apprentice system of learning. The program’s instructors, Linda Connelly Dennin and Michela Mansuino relied on modern technology and the use of Master Copies to revive historical practices in order to advance our drawing instruction through the pandemic.
Student Anthony Gulley works on Bargue assignment
“We really developed personal as well as professional relationships. Considering the COVID-19 shutdown and protests against racial inequities and injustices, we had a lot to address,” says Dennin of the program this spring. “I was so very impressed with the students’ industry, resilience, and improvement. It was an honor to teach them.”

Teaching changed in ways that were beneficial to the students. The audio and video calls were on a one to one basis. This allowed for a time in which the student felt safe, with no peer pressure, to have quality time with the instructor.

Mansuino says, “We were on the phone with each student 30 minutes, five per day, twice a week. We started our lessons with warm greetings, a lot of emotions got mixed into the greet because of the isolation. It was lovely to be able to focus on a Charles Bargue drawing each student had copied, because it transported us to another era and frame of mind. We were able to focus on the process, which led us to communicate in clear terminology."
Student Yolanda Porter, Linda Dennin and student Darlene Allen
Anthony Gulley and Linda Dennin
Michela Mansuino, Kim Jackson, and Linda Dennin

We are less than a month away from the opening of our new facilities in south Philadelphia's hub of creativity, Bok Building. In the last few months we have worked closely with architects, designers, and contractors in designing the natural and artificial lighting systems, including movable lighting and skylights. We will have large studios created by the removal of some walls for our drawing and painting classes, smaller studios for our fellows and for thesis students – all with extraordinary unobstructed north-facing light. We’ve created a larger space for charcoal drawing with a superior air filtration system. In mid to late October we will open a space for still life and cast drawing as well as sculpture that has a state-of-the-art skylight system that will capture an abundance of natural light. 
With all of the planning and consulting that has been gone into designing the lighting and space for the studios, choosing the appropriate colors for the ceiling and walls was crucial. For this important decision, we solicited the informed and valuable insight of our senior faculty members. The color palate in these studios includes three different but related colors: the ceiling is the darkest shade in order to reduce light reflecting downward over models and easels; the south wall is the second darkest value as it directly opposite from the north facing windows and will therefore prevent unwanted reflection of light; finally, the remaining three walls are slightly lighter than the south wall - the value is dark enough to prevent unwanted reflection of light but warm enough in tone to provide the right temperature of light on subjects/models. 

The creation of our new Studio Incamminati classrooms is proving to be an exact science - of designing the play of light within - and setting the ideal environment afoot for the school's emphasis on studying the formal elements of figurative art – line, shape, color, light and shadow, mass, volume texture, and perspective.

Henry Hensche: The Painters’ Painter
by Stephen Perkins

Henry Hensche (1899-1992) was one of the truly great color painters of the 20th Century. While not widely known to the public his name and his work is known to many artists. Hensche was a “painters’ painter” and many of us, including our lineage at Studio Incamminati, owe his legacy and that of his predecessors a debt for his insights and clarity on the teaching of color.

Born at the turn of the 20 th Century, Hensche came of age and was trained at the
height of what was called The American Renaissance in Architecture and Art. He studied with many great artists and eventually followed the color teaching of Charles Hawthorne at the Cape Cod School of Art, a school Hensche eventually re-launched as the Cape School of Art following Hawthorne’s death. Hensche’s most significant contribution to the School was rearticulating the system of teaching Impressionism by systematizing it into a format known as the “color study method.” It was learned as an out-of-doors technique that “keyed” color to specific light conditions. Hensche also took the advances of the Impressionist movement to new heights of color orchestration with both indoor and outdoor subjects by creating scenarios that demanded more nuanced color and light handling in oil.
He was a masterful draughtsman by the time he immersed himself in color study, and, having studied sculpture, was knowledgeable about the human figure. His work included portraits, figures, still life both outdoors and indoors and, of course, landscape. He combined the highly refined outdoor color key work with refined modeling. It was my privilege to study with him for roughly the decade of the 1970’s during the peak years of his artistic ability. His school reflected the dedication to aesthetic excellence embodied by Studio Incamminati.
The original Hensche memorial lost in 2002
This memorial to Hensche has a long history actually as it is the second one of its kind, the first one having been completed perhaps 20 years ago. It was somehow lost when Hensche’s second wife, Dorothy, passed away. It is just as well perhaps as I believe the new one to be a good bit better both in design and execution.

“Henry the Second” is a relief sculpture, an ancient art that traces its history from our ancestors who carved designs on their spears, weapons and tools. This medium is somewhere between the flat abstraction of drawing and the full three-dimensional rendering of sculpture. In essence, it is the compression or flattening of form so that it sits on a flattish surface. That compression, to be harmonious must all be done to the same degree. Low relief sculpture can be a maddening art form; one difficult to master. The great American coins that we carry serve as examples of relief work - many of them were created in the American Renaissance, their artistic merit heralding the recognition of this country’s arrival on the world stage, just as other coins announced and commemorated ancient civilizations.

With the first relief that was done a profile was used and the relief was deeper. The second work, done 20 years later was more of a three-quarter view.

I then dedicated myself to a design that would build around Hensche, or, as I knew him, “Henry” in a light-hearted moment. Often he quipped about wanting to get into “painters heaven” where he imagined spending time and drinking beer with his favorite artists. I designed a kind of halo around him receding in time from his teacher Hawthorne to the Ancient Greek painter Apelles. That had significant meaning and the design worked. It also allowed me to indulge my love of lettering as design. The photo that I used captured his alert intellect in a way that the previous relief had not.
Perkins' Hensche memorial

Most sculpture starts with clay because it is malleable. In the beginning, you can do anything, later it is more difficult to make major changes. Each stage in sculpture, as Walker Hancock used to say, becomes more “firm” or set.
For relief work on a medallion, you create your canvas, so to speak, by putting clay on a board and making it flat. Then you start to model the form either adding or taking away from that clay field or both. That is where most of the artistic work is done. After that, a mold is made and plaster poured into that and you get a plaster version of the clay piece. At this time, refinements and more highly detailed modeling are done with steel tools. Then, another mold is made and wax is poured into that. That wax is taken to the foundry where it is dipped in a ceramic material capable of withstanding intense heat. When that is complete, the mold is heated to over 2,000 degrees F, the wax melts out and molten bronze is poured in, thus the term “lost wax process” that you may have heard of. Finally, the raw bronze is given a patina.

In the end a portrait should capture the spirit of a person as opposed to just the mask of the face. Henry Hensche was highly intelligent, artistically gifted, dedicated beyond belief and like us all, flawed. His work speaks for itself and my hope is that this memorial to him is in some way worthy of the man that I knew him to be.
Alexander Shanks, Right-Brained, oil on canvas, 24 x 18, 2020 (2020 Graduate)
APRIL 18, 2021

Building Bok, 7th Floor
12 - 6pm
As part of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists annual Open Studio Tours, come enjoy the spectacular work of our 2020 Advanced Fine Art Program graduates, as well as a tour of our newly opened facilities in Bok Building.

The exhibition will also include the work of Florence Academy students who finished their education at SI following the closing of the New Jersey campus.

Ruth Feldman, Harvest Medley, oil on canvas, 25 x 21 inches, 2018 (2020 Graduate)
Graduating Student Features
Get to know our 2020 graduating class, experience their visual thesis work, and learn of their future plans as artists and educators!

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