Thirty-one students gathered from all parts of the globe (Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Pakistan, England, Holland, Russia, Ireland, Brazil, Spain) to learn to paint using the "Grisaille underpainting and glazed overpainting method", by copying from a master painting by either Bouguereau or Leighton.
|On the left, the art shop, and straight ahead|
in the sunlight, a peep of The Duomo...
|Not sweeties, but yummy pigments|
I chose a portrait by Bouguereau, because I was interested in studying skin tones and form modeling of the face. The course was a technical one, designed to teach us a system of working, to show the steps involved to create a long lasting painting. There are many ways to work in Oils, but it is vital not to mix the systems.
"Grisaille" is a classical method, which means painting in grays, using the 9 value gray scale to firstly block in the subject, then establish a 'map' for the overall form and eventually more carefully render an accurate, subtle form painting. Once the grisaille is complete, the colour is laid on top. It sounds so simple when written down..
Mr Angel is an amazing teacher. He is incredibly generous with his knowledge, approachable, open and keen to assist everyone, no matter what their level of experience. And, thank goodness, patient too. During the two weeks he gave us a succession of lectures and demonstrations, with follow-up emails, directly relating to our task, as well as giving us a broader context to the work.
|The Maestro, M John Angel, giving the first demonstration|
After getting our drawings onto canvas, it was great to have a demonstration, showing us to be general, not specific. To quote, Maestro said "don't expect a result straight away. Relax and don't mind it being roughly painted!"
Of course, it is vital that the grisaille underpainting is, eventually, as good as you can possibly make it. This is where mistakes should be ironed out and adjustments made, so as to form a solid foundation for the colour. So there was no pressure to rush, only an expectation of commitment and 'slowly slowly wins the race". So, with that encouragement, I took a deep breath and started the scary process of whitening up my drawing... She didn't look too well to begin with, poor thing, but once started, there's nothing for it but to carry on!
|end of day 4. Still on the rough side|
|If you look closely, you might detect a few mosquito bites on my neck. This was to be a recurring theme of the trip...|
|End of day 5|
|End of day 6, and the final pass before colour|
|Back of canvas neatly pinned|
|end day 7|
|End day 8|
|Not quite finished yet...|