Sunday, August 20, 2017

Fall Workshops

Some exciting news, my Fall 2017 classes have been posted! I'll be teaching in both in Ware, MA, with Workshop 13, and in Wethersfield CT with the Wethersfield Academy for the Arts. I'm very excited to have so many courses to offer, so read on to learn more about my classes!

Draw a Portrait in a Day

Learn how to create a convincing portrait from the live model. Broken down into an easy step-by-step process, this course will take you from a simple, accurate block-in, to a finished and refined portrait. Additional techniques for learning facial anatomy and capturing likeness will also be explored.   
(Suggested drawing for beginners, but oil painting also available in private lessons.)

1- Day workshop at Workshop 13 in Ware, MA: Saturdays, 9:00-4:00, Sept 23rd or Oct 21
Private: $35 an hour (includes model fee) In Springfield MA. Schedule: to be decided through inquiry

Basics of Drawing: Still Life in Charcoal

 Learn the basics of still life in this drawing course, suitable for beginners and any level of artistic training.  Beginner students will leave this course with a solid understanding of the basics of drawing, while advanced students will learn how to push the boundaries of their skills.  Over the course students will learn how to take their drawing from a simple block-in, to a finished drawing with a full value-scheme and realistic sense of form. The beginning of the course will focus on line drawing and accurate proportions, the middle will explore tone and it’s relation to mimicking the effects of light, and students will finish by perfecting their rendering technique to make their drawing look convincingly 3-D.  Each day will begin with a short exercise, designed to introduce students to all the essential drawing concepts in a memorable way. 
Group classes at Wethersfield Academy , in CT: Thursdays, 1:30 - 4:30, Sept. 7-Oct 12 
Group classes at Workshop 13 in Ware, MA: Tuesdays, 9-11 AM, Sept 12-Oct 3
Private: $25 an hour. In Springfield MA. Schedule: to be decided through inquiry

Drapery Drawing 

Learn how to draw one of the most beautiful and challenging subjects in the history of art, Drapery. Beginners will work from charcoal and chalk on toned paper, while advanced students have the option to paint. Each student will work with a complex arrangement of cloth, and learn how to simplify then develop their work to mimic folds of drapery.
Offered only at Wethersfield Academy, 6 week course, Thurs 9:30 - 12:30 Sept 7 - Oct 12 

Ecorche Drawing: Learning Artistic Anatomy 
The aim of this course is to learn artistic anatomy, for the purpose of enhancing the students' ability to draw people. Working from master drawings, students will draft the human figure, beginning with the skeleton and constructing the muscles on top in order of depth. The course is designed to increase students’ knowledge of the construction of the human form in an in-depth and memorable way. By the end of this course, students will have an understanding of standard human proportions, the construction of the skeleton, origins and insertions of individual muscles, and be able to recognize anatomical information on the live human form. The knowledge obtained through this course is useful both to artists who work from imagination and from life.

Available only through Wethersfield Academy, Thursdays, 9:30-12:30, Nov 9 - Dec 21
*Note, due to limited space on their website Wethersfield has not yet posted this class, but you can still send them an e-mail to reserve your spot!

Anatomy of the Portrait

This course will teach the construction of the human face in a method both thorough and memorable. Students will begin drafting an anatomically correct skull, onto which they will add facial muscles. Later we will explore how to apply this information to portraiture, especially with capturing facial expressions.  By the end of this course, students will have a thorough understanding of the proportions, planes, muscles, and overall construction of the human face.

Available only through Wethersfield Academy, Thursdays, 1:30-4:30, Nov 9 - Dec 21
*Note, due to limited space on their website Wethersfield has not yet posted this class, but you can still send them an e-mail to reserve your spot!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Works on Display

Hello all, just wanted to quickly give you an update, long overdue, about some news I've just received. Five of my paintings will be on display in Vernon, CT, at Art Center East for their exhibit, People and Places. The show features over 70 works of various artists, and will run from July 27th til August 19th. Opening reception Sunday, July 23rd, 2pm-4pm. $5 suggested donation. More information on their website: here

Among my pieces will be my final school project, "Dawn". For the final project, students were instructed to paint a portrait involving hands. After discussion between me and my studio-mate, with whom I collaborated on the project, we decided to create a painting around the theme of dawn. 

Not at all an unknown theme in art history, we looked to great painters of the past whom we admire for inspiration on the subject. Among them were William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Herbert James Draper, pictured below:

These are some examples of academic painting at its best. But, to take a slightly more original view on the theme, we also explored Pictorialist photography, where we got some ideas for costumes and props. I also liked the slightly quieter poses, contrasted with a more dramatic tonal composition:

After digging through the treasures at the antique markets around Florence, we settled on a golden-yellow headband, after the sun, and a gold plate, which reflects light back into the shadows around the face. Our model for Dawn is slowly lifting and offering this plate, standing against a dark background reminiscent of the sky at twilight, just before the sunrise.

And that's the story behind "Dawn", hope you enjoyed. Here is the final painting, as it was on display at my last solo show:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2016 and Graduation

This June I officially graduated from the Florence Academy of Art. Although I still have one more term to complete my education there, I had the pleasure of walking with the 2016 graduating class. 

Even more exciting, I am pleased to say that at the graduation ceremony I had the honor of receiving an award. My final still-life was granted Best Still Life of the Year. This particular painting was a long and challenging project, so to have my work recognized in this way was an amazing and unreal experience.

It's been a quick year and a half, but I am amazed by how much I have learned in so short a time. I started off the winter term with another still-life painting. Originally, my idea was to make a still life based on the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi. Wabi Sabi is an aesthetic which focuses on the beauty of things that are imperfect or transient. For compositional reasons I had to sacrifice the theme a bit, but I tried to include a bit of the original idea in the focal point of the painting, an otherwise perfect white cup with a crack, which rests on top of a fallen leaf. The first still-life painting at school is supposed to be of light objects against a dark background, so I took the opportunity to set the objects against a backdrop of mysterious shadows. 

After a few still-lifes, I did my first portrait oil painting while studying at FAA (my previous ones being charcoal drawings).
What I especially hoped to capture about this pose was the sense of light illuminating the model's face. To achieve this involved a great deal of simplification of values within the lights and especially in the shadows, the sense of form largely being achieved in the transition between the two. 
For my second portrait I took progress photos to capture the step-by-step process:

Alongside working on portraits and still life, I also studied figure painting. My final longpose of the year was a five-week-long seated pose:

 Personally my favorite project was a bit of an experiment, a simple still-life of a boot. Since coming to Florence I've adjusted to traveling around the city almost entirely on foot, which sometimes takes a toll on my footwear. After wearing out from months of treading over the cobble-stone streets, one such unlucky shoe made it's way into my still-life. I like to think of it as a bit of a tribute to Van Gogh's painting of the same subject, to which I looked for some inspiration.

This project was slightly different because I had a short amount of time to work on it, only about three days. This meant adjusting my method a little and adopting a much bolder and more direct way of painting than usual, which, though challenging at first, became very liberating.  
At the end of the year my class's studio held an open house. It was very fulfilling to see the work everyone's put so much time and energy into on display. 

As exciting as graduation is, I am certainly going to miss painting alongside this group of diligent and artistic people. I know this fall I am going to hold onto every moment of my last term.  Even a year and a half later, I cannot express enough my gratitude for being able to study at this amazing place that is Florence Academy. To all those who made this possible, I am forever thankful.
Thank you,
Eliza Moser

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fall Term 2015

This October I returned to lovely Florence to continue my studies at the Florence Academy of Art. I apologize for a very late update, but I am slowly rediscovering just how rigorous and time-consuming the schedule is. But as the fall term is winding down, I’ve managed to find a few precious moments to catalog my experiences. So here at last is an extensive update, one long overdue:

My first two major projects were my final figure drawing in charcoal and my second cast painting. 
On the cast I tried my hand at limited palette, which consisted of the colors Ivory Black, Lead White, Yellow Ochre, and English Red. 

This is a step more complex than my previous cast painting, a Grisaille painting created using only white, black, and Raw Umber.  While a grisaille palette is designed to help students focus only on value-changes and slight temperature shifts, adding a red and yellow to my palette is a good way to transition into the complications of working with color.

I used this same palette for my figure painting. For my final cast, I used the full palette, making good use of the addition of Cobalt Blue on my background.

I also experimented with color for my final portrait in charcoal. My last two were drawn on Arches paper, toned grey. This time, I tinted the ink with a bit of raw sienna and red to get a warmer shade more reminiscent of skin tones.
"Portrait of Marco" (unfinished)

Portraits remain by far my favorite subject to work with. For me, they encompass a greater level of depth and psychological drama than a figure or still life can offer. This summer I had the pleasure of drawing a portrait of my grandfather Reverend R. Leroy Moser:


I look forward to next year when my studies will  have more of a focus on portraiture. Next time, I will be using paint!

"Portrait of Marco" (detail)

Twice a week I also attend the school’s evening drawing sessions, where I practice smaller figure drawings in pencil. This term there were also two themed evenings where the students experimented in new mediums, charcoal wipe-out drawings, and even pen!


Two additional classes I am taking this year are Ecorche and a Construction and Composition class. In the Ecorche class I tried my hand at sculpting for the first time, and over the course of the year will sculpt a skeleton, onto which I will build muscles. In the Construction and Composition class, we are learning how to compose a painting, and exploring the concepts of perspective, proportions, and light, with the aim of learning how to construct a figure from imagination. Although I prefer the experience of working from life, this course has taught me some of the most indispensable artistic lessons I have ever learned. One class was an all-day demo, in which the instructor completed an entire oil painting of a torso, completely from his imagination:


 Both of these classes have been entirely new experiences for me, and have helped greatly in better solidifying my understanding of drawing the human figure.

Beautiful Italian olive grove

Outside of class, I’ve been feeding my artistic inspiration with the beauty of Italy. One day I tried my hand at olive picking, and another I went to the local Teatro Verdi to hear a performance of Beethoven and Brahms.

Also, Palazzo Strozzi held an exhibition which featured the works of artists such as Bouguereau, Ciseri, and Van Gogh, to name a few.

In awe before the presence of this perfect painting by Bouguereau.


And with one last charcoal sketch, the fall term is over.

As the term comes to a close, the city is preparing for Christmas. I celebrate winter break by visiting one of the local traditions, the Christmas Market, just in the square in front of Santa Croce.

Buon Natale! (Merry Christmas!)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Spring Term 2015

Spring Term 2015
Goodbye Dear Florence, until September!

With the arrival of summer, my second term at Florence Academy has come to an end, and I am now back home again in the United States.
I apologize for not posting an update sooner, this term was so busy I didn’t have time to update my blog on a regular basis. To make up for it I shall be posting updates about what I have learned in school periodically over the summer break.
Here are some of my works from this trimester (Please pardon the quality of images, most of these were taken from a phone, so I am including several images of some of the same pieces to show the full spectrum.)

Portrait of Alessio (unfinished)
My first cast painting, grisaille.
For my last two projects this term I began dabbling with paints. To transition smoothly from charcoal drawing to oil paints, they were done in grisaille, that is, using only three colors: white, black, and raw umber. The limitation to this monochromatic palette allows for focus on value-relationships and temperature without having to contend with the challenges of color.

My third long pose figure drawing, charcoal and white chalk.

My final cast drawing, done in charcoal and white chalk, Torso of Venus.
The sheer size of the drawing made this a lengthy project.

.Charcoal sketch, wipe-out method.
The idea behind the wipe-out method is to capture the large masses of the subject by laying down a layer of charcoal for the general dark masses and removing dust or "wiping out" for the light areas.

First long-pose figure painting, grisaille.

Over the summer I will go into detail about the making of each of these individual projects and what I have learned from them, as well as personal projects I am working on over the summer. 

Italian phrase of the day: "Buon Lavoro", "Good work". Italians use this phrase to wish someone the best while they work, just as they say "Buon Appetito" to wish someone a good meal.