Up-to-date report from one of our students!
Course: Painting and Drawing
Program: One Year Course
Period: Jan. 14, 2019 - Jul. 26, 2019
I never dreamt I could pursue my passion professionally, but after being given this opportunity at Accademia Riaci in beautiful Italy, it seems more than possible. With the help of a few well-known professionals in Florence, I can continue to learn and blossom as an artist.
After the last few months, I’ve gotten used to my professors’ outlooks and teaching techniques. I’m excited to have started a new painting class with professor Rinaldi to gain yet another new artistic perspective. I’ve noticed that I’m becoming very reflective in my work –relating my lessons of artistry to lessons of life. Studying abroad has opened my eyes in countless ways; I thought I was coming to study art, but in reality I’m learning moreso about the world and myself. I’m making strong Bob Ross connections.
Rinaldi and I began our first class with a still-life painting exercise. I was under the pressure of a timer once again, but I was comforted by Rinaldi’s understanding of the “Don’t-Watch-An-Artist-Work” concept, because “it just makes them nervous.” She insisted it’s only to study my hand. After the first 20 minutes passed, we paused, and she made suggestive changes to my proportions in red. Finally, I thought, maybe I can tackle my struggles with proportion with the help of another teacher.
Rinaldi and I also came to the consensus that bottles are an artists’ enemy. While their shape is symmetrical, they can vary drastically in contrast to their proportions. It’s a combo challenge, which is exactly the kind of practice I need. With more time, the small adjustments were making a much bigger difference.
After the final proportional adjustments, she had me focus on exemplifying the shape of the objects. She talked me through using light and dark shades to achieve the look of a 3-dimensional object. Disregarding color and details was a challenge. On my list of things to work on now is seeing things with a simpler eye, without the delicacies. I believe it’s an important technical skill, perhaps universally.
I’ve finally begun to catch up on my work in Alessandro’s class this week. I brought this piece back to my apartment and worked another 2 hours to finish it. Usually my favorite part about painting is in the details, which brings me back to the difficulty previously discussed in Rinaldi’s class. I adore the little lamps and the tiny street number in this painting. However, I still see some proportional issues throughout the painting that can’t be fixed once the details have been added.
Jioh (pictured above) sat next to me during the basic lesson on Renaissance art this week. She is studying furniture at Accademia Riaci, and she also does some painting. She helped me take some notes during this class because Barbara was lecturing in Italian. (I tried to keep up but my Italian is still at a beginner level). Jioh was kind enough to email me her notes to help.
Amongst my other paintings I’ve been working to complete are some animal studies. After visiting the quaint town of San Giorgio, I was inspired by the cats in the streets. There was one in particular that had gorgeous eyes that looked to tell a story. In hopes of mixing up my subject matter, I started this piece with Alessandro and then finished on my own at home. It’s one of my favorite paintings I’ve completed thus far, and I believe I’ll have trouble selling it if the opportunity arises in June.
I enjoyed the subject so much, in fact, that I decided to indulge in another similar piece on a larger scale. Honestly, it’s been a great way to focus on the details that I enjoy recreating so much. I’ve found relief in the fact that I don’t have to be exact, even in the little things, to convey my message; the colors and individual brush strokes are variable and beautiful either way the hand places them. I’m happier to say that I completed this piece entirely on my own with the skills I’ve learned from my teachers as a whole.
Even if my weeks of study are met with stress, every Friday Barbara lightens the load on Accademia Riaci’s students with her Art Visits throughout Florence. This Friday, we visited Palazzo Vecchio. We climbed the tower, with amazing views of the city, and discussed the history of Florence and the the significance of the palace.
Colin (of shoe making), Pamela (of jewelry making) and I were able to ask questions freely and expand our curiosities of this beautiful city. The knowledge Barbara has in Italian and art history always leaves us in awe. Art Visits make the stress of academy totally worth it.
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The Reporters who have submitted excellent reports will have his or her profile posted on our school website for the next 5 years as an alumnae and will be able to connect with their business chancesafter their graduation.