A new face for a classic course

Elizabeth Chisholm takes on new position as Studio Drawing and Painting teacher


By Charlotte Price, Reporter

In a sunny classroom on the fourth floor, where the walls are plastered with art, Elizabeth Chisholm leads her studio drawing and painting students through drawing exercises practicing sighting and proportions. Chisholm has replaced Rick Ceh, the former Studio Drawing and Painting teacher, while continuing to teach Art 1 and Creative Arts Studio. This year, Chisholm broadens the scope of the class from classical drawing to both drawing and painting. 

In her own words, Chisholm focuses on the tips and tricks of drawing — she described her main goal as teaching techniques and strategies to help students approach new opportunities for creativity with confidence. Ceh’s class goals were slightly more specific, Chisholm said.

“Mr. Ceh very much believed in, or followed, a very classical curriculum and classical mode of making drawings; he wanted students to have that particular skill set, and that was his main focus,” Chisholm said. 

Lilia Calka, a junior and a former student of Ceh, described her learning in the class as focused on realistic drawing.

“I think I improved but only for realistic art. I don’t think it’s a very creative class in the sense of you’re getting to draw what you want to draw – you’re trying to copy and paste something onto a different page,” Calka said.  

Students had a few large projects over the course of the year, accompanied by drawing homework to help them practice specific realistic techniques. 

Chisholm hopes to take the course in a different direction.

“I’m much more of a frenetic, fast-paced, intuitive drawer myself, so even though I can see the benefit of learning all those classical things, I would rather students make more work, and have more explorations and starts,” Chisholm said.

Chisholm also plans to include painting in the course, which had been absent from the class recently in favor of more time spent refining students’ drawing skills. 

“We are going to do a whole last quarter of painting,” she said. “We’re going to try acrylic and we’re going to try oil paint with water.”

The strict parameters of Ceh’s class gave it a bit of a reputation at Lane. 

Current studio drawing and painting student Kieran Bailey explained what they expected the experience to entail:

“I’ve heard a lot of things, like when you’re specifically copying off the picture and it needs to be millimeter for millimeter,” Bailey said. 

Despite the reputation, Bailey judged the class as appropriate for a beginner artist. 

“It isn’t necessarily a specific advanced standard of how your art should look for this class as long as it meets the criteria that it gives you,” Bailey said.

Despite the reputation Ceh had as a strict teacher with high standards for his students, he left an inspiring impact. 

“He really believed that I could do it, which I appreciated,” Calka said. “So even though he is a little bit stricter, he does want everybody to succeed.” 

Chisholm described the environment she hopes to create.

“I want this space to feel more relaxed for students — I want it to feel rigorous, but not stressful,” Chisholm said. 

She also makes it her goal to impress upon her new students a confidence in their creative abilities that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives, a philosophy reflected by a quote featured in her room: “The most important tool the artist fashions through constant practice is faith in his or her ability to create miracles when they are needed.”