Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Michelangelo once said, "He who does not master the nude cannot understand the principles of architecture." It's just one of many quotes by which Carol Clark Hammond lives. As a freelance artist, she specializes in portrait drawing and courtroom sketching. Her work these days comes sporadically, however, because her specialties seem to be going out of style.
"I always thought I would grow up to be a portrait artist," Hammond says. "I didn't realize that it would be less emphasized as I got older and that photography would push it out. I don't think the judges realized that when they let cameras in that they were virtually killing an entire art form."
Hammond, 53, lives in Belhaven with her husband, Lee Hammond. They have lived there since 1984.
The neighborhood, she says, is very artistic: Other artists such as Cleta Ellington and Elizabeth Johnson also make Belhaven their home. Recently, Hammond and some of the other neighborhood artists held the first Belhaven Street Artists festival where they sold their art at affordable prices. They hope to make it a biannual event.
The artist has two sons, Peter and Andrew, both of whom attend Mississippi State University. Her oldest son, Peter, is also an artist and will graduate this year with a degree in sculpture. Hammond comes from a family of artists: her mother, aunt, grandfather and sister were all artists. They also always told her that she'd be an artist.
"A lot of people paint what people want to see, like still lives of flow. ... I don't do that," she says. "If I'm going to paint something, it's going to be something that speaks to me. It's going to be something that comes from my heart. It's not going to be a bowl with some sunflowers in it."
After attending Ole Miss for two years, Hammond went to Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida and graduated in 1981, concentrating on figure drawing.
Now, Hammond meets at Millsaps College with others each Saturday for figure drawing sessions. There, Hammond does what she calls "quick figure studies" which she sometimes sells for $40 each or less. They are complete drawings and paintings done in less than 20 to 40 minutes.
"I like to challenge myself," she says about the class. "You don't have anything to lose."
The Figure Drawing Class is held each Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Millsaps College in the Academic Complex drawing studio. It is free for students from any school and $10 for others. The class is always looking for new models, paid at $20 per hour. Contact Hammond at 601-624-6447 or [e-mail missing] for more information or if you are interested in modeling.