Wow. here it is already the summer solstice and a new moon. I celebrated by opening my lovely house and terrace to a dance party for all the local art students. We had the hoola hoops going, music, of course dancing, good food, drink and company. I felt it was a good warming of my beautiful dance floor and although the temperature was a bit brisk, it was a clear night and lots of stars appeared as we are near to the dark moon.
I do love this time of year with the long days and sandal weather.
Here you see the grand willow tree some of you will be sure to recognize down by the river, a good place for quiet contemplation, lots of irridescent dragonflies, water lilies and a stone wall.
Already three months of the course with Ted Seth Jacobs have passed. We have one more week before the break. My Still Life of the pulcinella mask is for all practical purpose finished! I am working hard on understanding the concepts of light on form in the drawing portion of the day in the morning, working more with sepia and white chalk and find it very rewarding.Of course our model is very inspiring and unbelievably good as she must maintain the same pose for four weeks!
I thought it might be fun to make some observations about the day in the studio.
We arrive at ten a.m, the model is very punctual and is ready to start a twenty five minute set. Once we start, all that is heard is the scratch of the pencils on the paper, a pencil sharpener or graphite being sharpened on sandpaper (which sometimes sounds like a scalpal being sharpened) and an occasional sigh of frustration or a. Hmm... When one's stomach growls or the body makes some other decidedly embarrassing noises, everyone is aware of it, and a giggle or 'pardon me' may occur. After the first set there is a five minute pause where we usually say our good mornings because by then we are all settled in at our easels. Two more sets of 25 minutes of work, a five minute pause, then again concentration, intense quiet and the scratch, scratch of drawing tools on paper.We then have tea break of 20 minutes for a relaxing time of conversation, jokes, biscuits, a breath of fresh air or personal space, what ever one needs in any given day.
..Then three more sets before our lunch break.
At lunch break we all go our separate ways to eat, chill, sleep, exercise, what ever it takes to get back to the studio for the afternoon of painting. In this afternoon session, I worked on my Still Life and earlier in the course this was the time I was doing poster studies. It is a really exciting time for me because I am learning to paint and understand oils, each day something new. Some students who are more advanced are painting the live model but some are also just doing exercises with the understanding they are the foundation to a good painting just like a dancer does a barre and class every day. Poster studies, rounding studies and sketches are all preliminaries to mastering the art.
We get critiques daily, two days in the mornings and two days in the afternoons, but much of the time one is working on whatever bits and pieces Ted gives us to chew on as he passes from one to the other. Often I will stop and listen or observe the critiques that he gives to the other students where one can learn so much more. I try and remember that it is not about making a pretty drawing as much as it is a workshop and a learning space. I remember once being in class with Jurgen Schneider of ABT, he stopped the dancers and scolded us for trying to be beautiful. "Class is a work space", he said, "You are here to make mistakes. If you don't make mistakes how can you learn?" And so it goes.
Well I have been very wordy this time, so I will stop now and add some photos of the garden, my herb harvest and the yellow pansies for my mother, who has her yellow pansies in Reno Nv!
Happy Solstice and love from Argenton les Vallées FR