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  • Simone Richter

Day 2 - questions, communication, color mixing

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Good morning everyone.

While I am writing this in the middle of the night it is still the next day, and I guess most of you will be reading this in the morning. So good morning.

I love you. (Read why I write this in yesterday's post.)

What an exhausting day this second day was. Just now I cannot sleep because my feet hurt. My body is not used to standing 2 days in a row in front of an easel. My innocent self was believing that we would have theory parts and practice parts. I was so wrong :-) And now, I do remember this pain from days working at fairs and serving. Now I serve the art goddess. Or don't I?

I feel a bit funny about how the day went. As I said before our teacher (Jared) is neurodiverse or autistic (I guess), which makes it sometimes difficult for me/us to follow what he is saying. Even with asking him questions. And because of his monotone and rhythmical way of speaking it is hard listening to all the information coming out of him while he is moving from one side to the other. So I ask most of my questions 2 or 3 times. Joking about someone's misunderstanding does not help (it actually is shaming which makes the others not ask questions at all, feeling dumb, too.) There is also no pause in his speech so it is difficult to squeeze one's questions in before he runs out of the room again. No, he is not with us the whole time. The teacher visits the students every hour. He walks through the room and gives feedback (which is great and on the point! as well as friendly and considering the stage of learning of every student individually) on what is happening. Because Jared is Jared these talks are very short and quick. So are the instructions on what or how we should do. Unfortunately, the WHY is most of the time missing, which again leads to a lot of misunderstandings.

In addition, it seems like the academy was not really clear on what is going to happen in this class. As you might have read, I decided on this class in 2019 and I received information on the material back then. I received an updated version of a material one week before class and now it is still something different they want in material (different colors, canvas sizes, etc) and there is no information on what this course will be. I understood half of what Jared said today after I asked him about the follow-up of their course. I do understand and totally believe that he is a master of his trade. And: A teacher needs to be a teacher, first. A colleague at the studio I was talking to who did the portrait class in January said that if one already knows 75% of what is about to happen in class that would be good preparation for Jared's class. The remaining 25% one can then ask him. Hm, ... that is not what I expected. I thought I was also learning theory in person in Florence. And it makes me feel I don't know enough and I should have prepared better.

And to keep my negative mood going, I have to say I am quite disappointed that there is no life drawing in the evenings. Maybe this is still due to Covid. I have to ask them more detailed about that. And also ask different people. Because the truth is a difficult thing :-)

I also cannot believe that in the city of renaissance painting there are nearly no life drawing sessions going on. Some of the art schools do sessions, but they are not for the public. And short poses are something exotic. So is someone using markers (or any other colors) for life drawing. According to my research, there are just 2 public sessions in town. Social life Drawing with Tom Byrne and Santa Croce Arte. I guess they all mainly draw from pictures or month-long poses at the academy. This is insane. I feel I should move her to help them out :-) And Alexandra, can you come to please? We need some exciting sessions with burlesque dancers as well.

So let's see, what did we do today? Today we started using colors on our little planes-head. But before we started using colors (tubes arranged on the easel the same way arranged as on the pallet, clever!) The first task was to put in the background in the actual values of the background of our object using burnt umber which we also used for the sketch. The blocked in background then helped us cleaning up our drawing even more. Most actions in this process are aiming for getting closer to what is in front of us. Every rendering step is supposed to bring you closer to looking better and with more insight at your object. Unfortunately, my perspective has my classmate and his easel as background. So I decided (and was allowed to) to put in a black background to contrast with the light sight of the head.

Then we started mixing colors. Every part of our friendly plane-head (I call him Hans, others called him Francis) should get their own color. That means: one color for the background, one color for the table, one color for the grey base of the head, one color for the head (the fleshy toned part), which Jared called "the mask". And because it was so much information presented in the beginning of the day in a very quick manner, we messed up quite a bit. So we mixed along and after some clarification, we finally found out that the "mask" should be just in 2 colors for now. To be honest I believe that the teacher from the second group was listening to our confusion and he went out and told Jared. All our shading and making in three dimensional was not asked for in the first place. So with a broken heart, we painted over all our nice shapes and helpful lines. I guess we will learn about soft and hard shadows and putting them in today.

Because of all the misunderstandings, the whole group stayed longer at the atelier. What a motivated bunch of people. The result for me was that my feet hurt even more and I did not get enough daylight time to do an urban sketch. Which I find quite sad. It feels like with this intense class I will miss out on sights and drawing sights in Florence. Let's see, maybe I skip some days (don't tell anyone!) :-)

See you tomorrow, folks. And keep your fingers crossed on thumbs pressed that I survive this workshop without becoming a lot more insane.

Love, Siri

Learnings in short:

- putting in (shaded,) background helps to render the shape even more

- arrange your colors on the easel in the same way you arrange them on the pallet (from right to left; today's colors: white, yellow ochre, raw umber, burnt umber, red umber, cadmium red, ivory black - I am in love with ivory black now, such a saturation)

- I need a proper pallet! Did you know there are pallets for left-handed and right-handed people?

- put the last color of the pallet to 10'o clock (to avoid staining your clothes, again: clever)

- Ivory black and titanium white dry slower, therefore we used Cobalt Drier (have you heard about that before) which speeds up their drying time. Just tiny amounts (less than a drop) are enough.

- AND stunning: Red umber with white gives a perfect flesh tone (for the pinky northern European types) and burnt umber with white makes a perfect shadow tone for that. Ha, that's knowledge. I did - like a learned some time ago always alizarin crimson, yellow ochre, burnt umber, and white). Such an easy way of doing it. Nice!

- it's a plumbline, not a plum line. A bit sad :-)

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