Happy New Year! This is quite a good time to start blogging again, being that we are starting a new year and I will be starting a new term at the Neoteric. Also, my friend and dear co-student successfully encouraged me to go for it again. Thank you Joel – this one is for you!
I have not been posting because technically I have not gone to class for the last two terms. As I might have mentioned I have a chronic health condition that keeps me from being able to make it to class as much as I would like.
I say “technically” not going to class because while I have not been at the school, the school has come to me. I have been working very hard on projects that my teachers Lisa and Matthew are involved in. They come to my house/studio for critique periodically so that I can continue to grow and stay connected to the tradition and community. They constantly believe in me and encourage me to continue the work. I could not be more grateful.
The last two quarters of last year I spent applying the things I learned in my first year studying on site at the school part time. I work on block ins from art model books and life, am still working on my Master’s copies, I began painting a self-portrait and have three still life paintings in process that were started blocked in and the under-painting and first players done from life and the finishing is being done from memory and photo reference. It is too bad my work space is so small that I cannot leave a still life set up for very long but we do what we must – and I accept that for now, photo reference is necessary.
Matthew has pointed out some of the bugaboos with photo reference that I keep in mind when translating things into paint, such as edges that are unrealistically sharp and a broader area of focus. Photos are more clear and crisp over the entirety of the image, whereas in life, there is smaller clear focal area and the rest sort of softens in our field of vision. So, I attempt to compensate for those things as best I can.
It seems that I have so much work in progress and nothing finished from the end of last year. I could find that discouraging, and be frustrated with myself for taking so long to finish a thing. But considering that I am drinking up every lesson and every mark from each work – I allow myself to take it slowly and be very thoughtful of my marks and efforts. I let myself play some, creating work that I don’t care to take to completion – quick drawings from life, pastels that take a couple of evenings to do. I recently played with Pan Pastels for the first time using the black and whites to create some value studies. These are works that I either do not save or that never see the light of day. You must allow yourself space to play, to reach out, to gesture, to confidently make marks without the fear of screwing stuff up. I think in the study of classical realism this is really important, at least for me – because the “work” of learning and training the eye can become so contracting and slavish in the domain of the critical mind. You have to let the kids out every now and then or they start to sabotage your efforts, at least for me it’s that way. It took me a while and some tears to figure that out.
Next week I begin classes again at my school, the Neoteric Renaissance School of Art. On site, not remote. I am feeling a little better so I am committing to the classroom again, and also am just trying to really develop more grit so that my life does not pass me by. So, I am back to blogging here and I will leave you with my group of works in progress and a few of my figure block ins. You will see them again, hopefully complete. The Holbein and the Angel Masters copies are taking FOR-E-VER but I work on them a little at a time, only when I feel my eyes and mind are very clear… which is not as often as I would like – thus the slow going on those. I am almost done, so close.
Well, until next time…
<Paintings Studies in Progress>
<“Relatively” Quick Block Ins>
<Masters Copies In Progress… still…>