Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff

Passion lies in working with hands

Bill Prince has been coming to Red Deer to get his hands dirty every summer for the past five years.

Bill Prince has been coming to Red Deer to get his hands dirty every summer for the past five years.

The 60-year-old psychologist from Fairview in Northern Alberta looks forward to the annual Series Summer Arts School at Red Deer College where for one week he can choose any medium to further hone his skills as an artist.

Prince’s passion lies in sculpture.

“It allows me to work with my hands. It’s almost a meditative process for me. I enjoy the finished product. In my day to day work, I don’t get a chance to create a visible finished product,” he said. “Oddly enough I spend all day looking at people’s faces, reading emotions and I’m still fascinated by faces.”

For the second summer in a row, sculptor and videographer Jackie Bagley from Calgary is teaching the Expressive Portrait in Clay course.

“She’s very experienced and helpful. She can walk up to a piece and immediately see where it needs to be adjusted,” said Prince.

Bagley, who has a background in the film industry and currently teaches at the Alberta College of Art and Design, said she’s impressed with the eight students in her workshop, who come from all across the province.

“They have two live models throughout the week so they make two complete sculptural busts, which is an awful lot and most of them have never done this before,” Bagley said. “We have a nurse, a commercial airline pilot, a radiologist. They come from all walks of life.”

They discuss bone structure and facial muscle placement, starting out with the roundness of a brain, face and neck, she said.

“We want the pieces to look and feel real. The goal is to create something they can take home and be proud of.”

Jodi Clarke of Edmonton took the sculpture course for the first time last summer and returned this year to take her work to another level.

“It’s something I’d really like to pursue and eventually wean myself away from teaching art and become more of an artist,” sad Clarke, 46, who teaches high school art.

Clarke received a scholarship from RDC this year to help her attend the summer course. She said she wouldn’t be able to spend a week in Red Deer otherwise.

“You can completely immerse yourself in it when you’re away from home.”

The summer art courses have been running for almost 40 years at the college. New this year are one-day workshops on July 19, each about $150. These include beadmaking, abstract painting, still life casting in concrete, photography and painted pages sculpted into a book.

The series runs until Aug. 1. A showcase featuring student work is held every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Room 2901 on the college’s main campus. They are free and open to the public.

For more information or to register, check out

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