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!)