San Francisco Studio School of Drawing, Painting, Photography & Mixed Media


Lon Clark is a San Francisco artist who has been working in painting, drawing, photography and mixed media for over forty years. Originally from New York City, Clark attended at the Silvermine School of Art, Pratt Institute and the Art Students League, studying painting with Edwin Dickinson, Mercedes Matter, Charles Cajori and Philip Pearlstein. During that period he approached Mercedes Matter about founding an art school representing the ideals of depth of study over the fragmented curricula at degree-granting art schools. Subsequently he worked closely with Matter on the creation of the New York Studio School.

To immerse himself further in painting Clark moved to Woodstock, NY where he exhibited at the Polari Gallery, was selected for the new talent show at the Woodstock Artists Association, received attention from Philip Guston, who took an interest in his work, won awards at the Albany Institute as well as a purchase prize at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. Clark moved to Southern California where he completed a series of large paintings under the auspices of the actor Lee Marvin. He then settled in San Francisco where his paintings were represented by the ADI Gallery.

Clark worked closely with the photographer Ruth Bernhard, helping her publish the first portfolio of her work. Clark was a founding member of SF Camerawork and served on its board of directors. He also founded North Beach Press, which was noted for the quality of its publications and their dedication to fine art. His own photography publication, "Itinerary" won top awards across the country. His latest work explores the use of diptychs as a means to juxtapose time and place.

Clark has taught at colleges in the Bay Area for many years, becoming Director of Graduate Photography at the Academy of Art University, where he developed a strong program in fine art. His current emphasis is his own studio practice, teaching drawing and painting, and his ongoing work with Drawing Itself, an association of San Francisco painters devoted to drawing as a medium of expression at the same level as painting.

According to the needs of any given semester and the particular involvements of students, artists, critics and/or guest lecturers participate in talks or presentations at the school.

Past Visiting Faculty & Guest Speakers

  • David Cohen - Art Critic, New York Sun &

  • Judith Foosaner - Painter

  • Karl Kasten - Painter and Printmaker

  • Robert Koch - Director, Robert Koch Gallery

  • Francis Mill - Hackett Mill Gallery

  • Hearne Pardee - Painter, Art Critic and
    Prof. of Art, UC Davis

  • Leo Rubinfien - Photographer

  • Peter Selz - Curator, Author and Prof. Emeritus of the History of Art at UC Berkeley

  • Louise Siddons - Asst. Curator,
    Achenbach Foundation

  • Josine Smits, Ph.D - Art Historian

  • Terry St. John - Painter

  • Sandy Walker - Painter and Printmaker

  • Gina Werfel - Painter, Prof. of Art, UC Davis

  • Connie Wirtz - Co-director, Wirtz Gallery

  • John Zurier - Painter

Laura Harden’s work has a strong basis in color as the dominant force in structuring abstract imagery in her painting. Noted by San Francisco art critic Kenneth Baker, Harden's work creates an archetypal sense of subject matter through a particular tension between the forces of form and color. Harden represents a new generation’s revitalization of the concept of the visual artist as a substantial force in the expanded field of art today. Harden has also placed importance on relevant education in visual art.

Over recent years her paintings have been included in numerous exhibitions including "Values: Drawing and Photography," "Surface and Substance, Works on Paper," and "The Nature of Landscape" at the SFSS Gallery, San Francisco. She was a panelist with curator Peter Selz discussing, "The Commoditization of Art and Its Significance to the Authentic Artist Today."

Harden's photographic work resonates with her painting, engaging narrative and poetic imagery often drawing on the documentary framework. For her work, "Images From Arkansas" she was a Semi-Finalist at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and a finalist in Photographer's Forum Magazine "Best of Photography 2004." Photographs from the Arkansas project have been included in many juried exhibitions, jurors for which included: Sue Brisk of Magnum Photos, Robert Fitzpatrick, Director of Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Karen Haas, Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Harden also won the "Arthur Griffin Legacy Award" 2003. She is currently a member of the SFMOMA's Photography Accessions Committee from 2007-2013.

Harden received her Bachelor of Arts from the American University in Washington DC, and her MFA from the Academy of Art University, where she subsequently held the position of full time faculty. Her current work includes a photography book in production titled, “In the Light of Shadows,” and the completion of a comprehensive series of canvases engaging the colorist tradition in painting.