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  • Simone Richter

Day 6 - A new week, lots of names and eggs

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Good morning wonderful humans,

You find me sitting on my kitchen table in Florence. A freshly brewed Mocca next to me. The window is a little bit open to let some fresh air in after the night. Even though my neighbors are just 3.5 meters away also opened the curtains. Yesterday this resulted in a very nice lady saying "Buon Giorno" to me. I love this talkative town.

So how is it going in arts? Yesterday we started the week with a 3-hour-long talk by the "Maestro" (and yes, people still call him that. His name is Michael, though :-). I wonder why humanity is so happy about gurus, leaders, masters, and maestros. Is it because it fits into the feeling of insignificance EVERYONE feels every now and then? This is a normal feeling. The world is huge. Nature is great. And yes, also what humans can do together is great.

The lecture of 3 hours had no relation to my portrait class. And it was also not meant for it. All 50 students were watching, while "Maestro" was reading out 30-40 artists and showing even more pictures. Why? I have no clue. Jared, my teacher in schools said: "So I hope you have heard some new names, you now can look up." I mean seriously? The can also send around a list of artists. And yes, there were here and there also interesting anecdotes. Who has sex with who and who died on overdosing. But to be honest, that is not what I intended to learn. And this is the so hyped only class with Michael, the founder of the academy, we will have. I am underwhelmed.

Lateron in class I asked my teacher about whether we would learn something about color theory and brush technique. He said we will learn one or two more pigments (we never learned any pigment so far. He just told us, what colors to put together. There was no explanation, why.) Oh and with the brush technique (which he already promised to talk about last week) he said that he does not want to micromanage our work. If the result is there, fine. We are supposed to paint without medium. I cheated and used mineral spirits (Question googled: What is the difference between turpentine and mineral spirits? Answer: Turpentine is distilled from pine trees while mineral spirits (or white spirits) are made from petroleum. (and mineral spirits smell less and are less poisonous). Ja, he did not like this and said, that it could have been achieved otherwise. But he did not tell how.

What we actually did after the 3-hour talk: Our second head was last week prepared to the point that we had blocked in the medium light tone in the light areas and the medium dark tone in the shadow areas as well as the background. So now we were asked to give the 2-dimensional thing some body. First, he explained this in words, and because he probably looked into 6 pairs of not understanding eyes (we are wearing masks again) he moved us for a quick look to another room where he showed us some prints of different stages of work.

What he wanted us to do is a different form of abstraction. First we abstract lines. Then we abstract shades. And now it was time to abstract forms. So when we have a head we should be thinking of "forming" it with our four skin tone lights as an egg and the neck as a cylinder.

He did not say any word about WHY we should do that. So it was misunderstood by most people. While correcting in the first round he said things like "eggs have no noses", but he did not explain what he meant by that. They still shaded in cheekbones, foreheads, etc.

I made up my own wisdom (why) and "decided" that we should experience that on a head, which is light by a light coming from the front and from above, the light at the ear for example will be a dark light tone. So "choose your colors like you would on a perfect egg" would be a better description of the job "to see that the light on the ear is darker than the light you see anywhere on the cheek, even though it appears to your brain to be the same light". A clever technique, I would say. And one needs a proper explanation. The class came one by one to me and looked and asked. So I told them what I figured. Not sure though whether that is the case, reason for doing what we did. The teacher from the other class taught in the same room was listening again. So maybe that results in better explanations from Jared.

I have to say, that I still would appreciate a teacher who actually likes teaching. Last week I asked him whether he can recommend a book on color theory (I was explicitly asking about his remark on "which of the umbers is from the yellow family). He said, he is the book.

I learn a lot here. I learn what I really want to know. And I will find sources for that. For color theory I might have found an online course. I will let you know if that is something good. And I learn that I feel very happy taking art seriously. I am very happy to spend my day painting. And that I need a working environment where people are open and nice and doo not follow just a plan but listen to the needs of the ones around them. Just gives a better atmosphere. And yes, I teach that in my other job. And I love that.

In the evening we went to Social Life Drawing again with the incredible Tom as organizer and the wonderful Isabella as model. She is a photographer. It was wonderful.

Tonight I will go to a life drawing class at the academy (which I have to pay for, which I find very strange). It will be a long pose (and there are 3 more sessions coming up with the same pose). I tried to prepare my pencil for this. You know, cutting it so it get's extra pointy and shows a long lead. Haha, the pencil just got shorter. Let's see whether I fix that tonight. Maybe I find a helpful colleague.

I run out now. Hope you all are well.

Keep painting, being creative and loving,


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