Fast, Fun & Effective Ways, To Paint & Draw!
Then and now!
About 1948 we got a Television. It was a 17″- black and white “GE”, housed in a blond wood cabinet and filled with tubes that blew out every once in awhile… and we were ‘absolutely’ thrilled, because TV was state of the art and amazing in that era. Earlier TVs had smaller, often ‘ROUND’ screens and many owners placed ‘big’ a magnifying glass on a stand, right in front of the screen, because many of those screens were 12″ or 14″. In 1946 Jon Nagy debuted on “NBC”. His audience was loyal and eager to learn, everywhere TV was available (the signal did not reach everywhere and broadcasting was not transmitted 24hours aday). Devotees learned week by week that they too, could draw simple geometric shapes and “Learn To Draw”, in black, white and gray, as demonstrated on “The Jon Nagy Show”.
Jon Gnagy (January 13, 1907 – March 7, 1981) was a self-taught artist most remembered for being America’s original television art instructor.
He billed himself as “Television’s Original Art Teacher,” and no one ever, disputed that claim. Jon Gnagy remained a TV fixture throughtout the 50s and 60s and millions bought his “Learn to Draw” kits in an attempt to bring out their artistic ability.
Gnagy grew up in Kansas, where he took up drawing and began winning art competitions when he was in his teens. After attending art school, he moved to New York in the Depression to try his hand as a freelance artist. He gained success surprisingly quickly, getting a major commercial art contract two days after he got there. He went on to be a successful freelancer and teacher, developing his system to make people ‘comfortable’ drawing.
All that put him in a good position when on May 16, 1946 the first television broadcast from the “Empire State Building” antenna aired. Gnagy’s charm and ability enabled him to occupy a leadoff spot on TV for about twenty years.
Gnagy’s system made it easy for beginners to learn to draw. He broke everything down into four geometric shapes: a ball, a cone, a cube, and a cylinder, and promised that if you could draw those simple shapes – you could draw ANYTHING. And he would proceed to show you how.
Gnagy was a fixture of off-hours TV. Part was because his shows were interesting, but I suspect that they were also cheap for the stations to run, because production costs were minimal — there was just Gnagy and one camera. In addition, Gnagy also sold a “Learn to Draw” Kit, which had all the pencils, erasers and other equipment needed to follow along with the show. The kit and others by him are still in production and kids continue to use his methods to learn how to draw. http://tinyurl.com/h4uo2o2
But sales of the kit clearly helped support the show, and probably allowed Gnagy to offer it at a low price.
It’s hard to get a handle on the show’s history. It was syndicated, and appeared in odd time slots like Sunday mornings. By the late 60s, it were gone.
Gnagy had the ability to make things look easy enough that any beginning artist could feel he could follow along. Thousands of kids — including many who went on to be professional artists got their start from this show. I too learned to draw watching his TV show and working with his wonderful kit that included charcoal and blenders. I also got his soft cover “How To Draw” book. Not too long ago I gave this book to an up and coming ‘senior’ artist.
NOW in the 21st Century.
This is a fine establishment with ‘MANY’ U.S. locations that will deliver step by step art instruction that will enable you to create a ‘frameable’ original painting, on their premises, within ‘2-3’ hours in a ‘PARTY’ atmosphere.
“Paint Along NYC” 129 E 27th St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY, 10016 • 1-917-474-5587 •
“YELP” Many similar establishments have been reviewed by “Yelp”, as they all host parties and most also sell refreshments.
Paint & Sip Studio New York
New York, NY
Muse Paintbar – Tribeca
New York, NY
Painting Lounge – Chelsea Studio
40 West 38th Street
New York, NY
Maybe your first grade art teacher failed to recognize your ‘Picasso potential’, but you can still unleash your creative spirit at “Paint Along”, where you are provided with all the materials, plus simple instructions to create a display worthy 16 x 20” canvas, in one 2-3 hour session.
Capable, friendly instructors will be there to guide you on your creative voyage.
You’ll leave with a feeling of accomplishment, a painting and a fun experience you won’t soon forget.
What an amazing class! I pat myself on shoulder for discovering this place and brought three people to explore the inner artist of ourselves, with bottles of wine that is.
The instructor was very helpful and let us do “free style” if you want. She checked on everyone, refilled colors, answered questions. Even though the class was supposed to be 3 hours, it went by fast and we were all proud of our paintings in the end. Will definitely do it again!
♣ Events for artists of all ages, next to New York, in nearby Columbus, OH. www.partystudiocolumbus.com