Parents, grandparents and children came together recently at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas to learn the art of creating charcoal drawings of faces during a Drawing Workshop with nationally renowned artist, David Bailin.
Held in the gallery with Bailin’s exhibition, “Dreams and Disaster,” which is on display through August, the workshop provided participants the opportunity to learn “the five most important doodles.”
Courtney Taylor, curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the ASC, said the event was a huge success.
“We had nearly 50 participants from 1 to 4 p.m.,” Taylor said. “Because we had such an enthusiastic response, Bailin did three sections of the workshop allowing families to “tinker” in the Tinkering Studio until spaces opened in the gallery for the drawing workshop.”
“It turned out to be a wonderful model that we hope we can repeat in the future with upcoming artists featured in the galleries,” she said.
The event was free to the public and the ASC provided charcoal, paper and erasers. Taylor said each participant was allowed to take their artwork home after it was sprayed with fixative.
Bailin, an artist working in Little Rock, received artist fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arkansas Arts Council and the Mid-America/NEA Fellowship Program. His works can be seen in public and private collections throughout the country and have received critical reviews in Artnews, the Los Angeles Times, the Oxford American Magazine, the Arkansas Times, art Ltd and other prestigious periodicals. Bailin is currently a part-time art faculty member at the University of Central Arkansas. From 1986 to 1996, he was the director of the Museum School at the Arkansas Arts Center.
Bailin’s new series “Dreams and Disaster” combines charcoal, oil, and coffee representing a rare foray into color for Bailin, who typically uses only charcoal in his drawings. Bailin’s previous series explored his time working as a bookkeeper in New York City; this series, however, delves in the dreams that crept into the monotony of days passed in the cubicle. Bailin’s evocative large-scale drawings with their uncertain marks and numerous revisions suggest a sense of ephemerality and anxiety. The size of the drawings, up to 7 x 8 feet, allows the viewer to enter the atmosphere created by Bailin and identify with the lone figure suspended in these disordered environments.
Bailin takes the familiar, scenes from a Little Rock neighborhood, and makes these unfamiliar through an atmosphere of looming tension. Ordered suburban streets are dwarfed by swirling clouds, falling blocks, or streams that appear in the middle of roadways. The drawings mimic dreams in which details — exact faces and locations – are omitted, but atmosphere remains pervasive and stirring.
The exhibition and art education is generously sponsored by Pine Bluff National Bank.
The center, located at 701 Main St., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday and is closed on Sunday. Support for the center is provided in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Hands-on science exhibits are offered through the Center’s partnership with Arkansas Discovery Network, a consortium of seven museums in Arkansas funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.