By Murray Schneider
Nature lovers. Dog walkers. Rec and Park gardeners. Rock climbers. Tennis players. Children on swings. You’d expect to see any of them on any morning in Glen Canyon.
But artists in aggregate?
Such was the scene on June 22nd as 21 students enrolled in City College of San Francisco took a field trip to Glen Canyon’s 60-acre natural wildernes, only minutes from their Phelan Street community college campus.
The artists, carrying sketch books, pens, pencils and bushes are enrolled in “Sketching and Painting Outdoors with a Brush,” a three-unit course taught by Fred Kling, a veteran art department instructor with over 37 years experience wandering Glen Canyon’s floor and slopes.
Kling held up a watercolor of eucalyptus leaves he had drawn, his students huddled around him only feet from Islais Creek, warding off the morning chill.
“This is the assignment,” he said, stepping over hundreds of brittle real-life examples of the rendition he held up for their appraisal.
“Fred’s a famous teacher,” said Ethel Hays, who has taken seven classes with Kling in the past.
“More like infamous,” King countered, smiling at his class. “These students are learning classic water coloring techniques.”
“Don’t forget figure drawing,” said Hays, who, along with her classmates will range farther afield, taking in the scenes around Stow Lake, Lands End and the Ferry Building before their academic summer is completed on July 21st.
Hays laid down her interpretation of the Mid-Century modern homes along the canyon ridge she had sketched earlier. Her drawings captured the straight lines of Joseph Eichler’s designs.
Surrounding her, other students began to peel off, wandering away, looking for advantageous locales to put their easels. They carried their paints and brushes farther along the trail that eventually would lead to Silver Tree summer camp.
Kling’s class, which began on June 14th, allows students an opportunity to practice and refine their craft.
“Many are at the novice stage now,” said Kling. “They’ll get better.”
“CCSF enables some students to take advantage of their talents through Pell Grants,” said Hays.
As she spoke, Fred Kling strode over, beginning to look over shoulders, commenting on student work.