Friday, 2 June 2017

Portrait Painting in Florence with Cesar Santos

My painting, end of day 5. 

Attending masterclasses given by great painters is a valuable experience which can shift understanding or expand on existing knowledge. For those of us who teach much of the time, it also provides the opportunity to paint without the distraction of other commitments. 
I spent a few days in Florence last week, on a workshop given by Cesar Santos, hosted in the very lovely surroundings of The Florence Studio, owned by Laura Thompson and Frank Rekrut. A spacious, bright and clean environment, I have never felt so welcomed and well cared for in any other studio. The fridge was stocked with bottled water for the students, and nibbles on the table. 
Cesar Santos giving a demonstration in The Florence Studio
Cesar is incredibly knowledgable, polite and keen to share his skills.  I was delighted, of course, that his main message was about the importance of drawing. Over the course of five days he took us through all the stages of producing a portrait in oils, from simplifying the head to getting it onto canvas, the under painting, the 1st and 2nd painting. 
My first morning's work, simplifying the form and getting to 'know' the model. 
Later the first afternoon, the drawing completed directly on the canvas.
Outside, Alex spraying fixative on our canvases to seal the pencil work. 

The under painting, very pale, looking at tonal values. 

Creeping along, day 3, '1st painting' stage. 
Cesar's palette 
more on day 3. 
Day 4, a bit more 1st stage, with some 2nd painting too. 
End of day 5. 
I met lots of lovely people, and one evening we enjoyed a tour round The Pettit Palace with Cesar as our guide. 

Class tour round The Pitti Palace 
At the end of the week, time to put Cesar in the frame! 
Most of the students at the end of the workshop. 
Here are some quotes from Cesar, taken from my notes:
‘Drawing is our attempt to understand.’

‘Painting is meaningless without drawing’.
‘Drawing has nothing to do with the materials: it is the eye. Students must strive to make the drawing excellent, try to achieve perfection, in every drawing. Keep perfecting. 100 bad drawings won’t give you a good one! Just as a poet needs to learn grammar in order to express bigger things, in art, excel in drawing first.’

For info on my workshops, email 
Next up: Oils workshop, portrait drawing workshop, children's workshop, drawing and water colour workshops. 

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