Making A Masterpiece
The Beauty and Benefit of Artistic Training
by Darlene Stern
“Squint down!” That’s a gentle reminder visiting artists often hear during the weeklong workshop at Dan Gerhartz’s studio as he grants them the opportunity to hone the talents the Lord has placed inside each of them. Fledgling artists who appreciate fine art and aspire to greater abilities come to study under someone they consider a master; and they are not disappointed.
Observing an artist’s creative process from beginning to near completion at the end of four hours is a wondrous excursion into the world of art. Models are garbed and positioned to capture the greatest impact of lighting and color. Students are stretched beyond their current aptitude toward a future they have aspired to. Each one departs at the end of five days of grueling refinement, fully satisfied that the investment of time, energy, and finances has been completely justified. In the process, they have gotten acquainted with other gifted individuals from all over the world.
Not only are these artists’ workshops a great opportunity for aspiring artists to polish their gifts and talents, they are another way to funnel resources into the local economy. Visiting artists require housing and food, fuel for transportation, and entertainment outlets in their down time. In addition, local ‘everyman’ models have the opportunity to have their countenances splashed across the globe in art galleries and private collections. Without having to commit a crime or leave the locale, they become instantly recognizable worldwide.
In his workshops, Dan takes his students through the process of beginning a work by ‘squinting down’ to find the simplest shapes and values of the vision they are attempting to bring to canvas. From that foundation, the artists develop their personal masterpieces. Throughout their time with Dan, students not only observe how he develops a piece from its inception but also are given the opportunity to translate what they have observed onto canvas for themselves. He is not interested in creating clones of his own style, but rather developing the ability of each student to convert what he or she sees into works of art.
Through these sessions, Dan has had numerous opportunities to sow his God-given talents to the world from his hometown. Some of these opportunities include commissioned pieces for Dayspring, local landscapes and models on canvas for sale in art galleries across the nation, a commanding portrait of a guardian angel watching over several children to support the work of Andre Aggassi’s foundation, one-man shows in major American cities, and his own website. Dan views these venues as just one more opportunity to humbly ‘squint down’ to find the simple value of translating ‘who the Lord Jesus Christ wants to be in every precious individual’s life’ into a work of art on canvas.
Darlene Stern, a stay-at-home mom, has shared with her husband of 31 years in raising nine children ages 30 to 7 (five girls and four boys), a herd of dairy goats, and all the homegrown food they could eat. Darlene continues to seek and serve the Lord in whatever fashion He ordains and is looking forward to bigger things ahead.