One of the most difficult aspects of being way from home studying was the impression my absence left with others. Some of those who do not know me, or only know me superficially, seemed to think my choice to study abroad, without Lea, was a selfish thing to do. I do not deny that taking this time, and leaving the affairs of the house to Lea, could be easily construed as selfish. I know it is a privilege to do what I am doing in 2017. I fully acknowledge that I am honored to have a wife that supports me—even though my choice was bewildering and left her with heavy burdens. It was not an easy decision for me—despite the outward appearances to the contrary. As I disengaged from the company I founded, I floundered. I had been a work-alholic from an early age. I have always channeled my energies into a cause or passion.
Leaving Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. was scary. What would I do? I feared that if I sat on my ass and just read, became “social” or just lazed around I would die an early death. I could not be half-in or half-out. It was either all or nothing. That much I know about myself. I knew I was capable of being self-taught as an artist but I also am not naive. I would never learn enough on my own to feel like I was accomplished—or have the fundamental knowledge of painting and drawing. I worried that my smattering of self-acquired knowledge would doom me to dabbling. So I struck the classic faustian bargain.
The risks were high:
- Failure: not being able to be as good as my mind imagined
- Alienation: leaving behind my wife and friends
- Isolation: being alone without any social support or having Lea in my life each day
- Misunderstanding; people making up stories about my motives for studying
- Departure: saying goodbye to the friends and colleagues at M S R Design
But there were rewards:
- Focus: being able to channel all my creative energies into a new direction
- New Circle: If I successfully navigate the rigors of instruction, I will join a new group of friends dedicated to art.
- Dimension: While no longer practicing architecture, I will always be an architect. I can now add artist to my repertoire. This will expand my dimensional presence in the creative world.
2017.07.15 + 16
Saturday was my first day back in the studio. It was surprising on two counts: familiarity and comfort. After spending nearly six months in an academic setting, I was worried about the lack of instruction and “peer” review. One of the important aspects of being in an academic setting is the constant scrutiny of one’s work by the instructor, your peers and, interestingly, yourself. Self awareness is heightened in an academic setting. We were all warned that when we were alone in our own studios, it is easy to self-deceive that you are doing good work. Knowing this, I began my reentry into the studio hyperaware of these pitfalls. We shall see what transpires.
I finished (at least for now) my “Selfie with iPhone.” I had started this last year. It was great fun, based on the new things I learned about shadow shapes, turning the form, etc. I was also happy to utilize what I learned from Giulia and The Florence Studio about color pallets. I am sure, after some time to dry, I will return to this. But for now I need to move on.
Moving on means getting to work on my granddaughter’s portrait. This is such a great experience. I am, of course, hampered because I do not start my oil pasting and portrait classes until the fall. However, I think (and hope) I have gleaned enough from the wonderful friends, teachers and reading materials to at least make fewer mistakes than I would have in 2016. One thing is certain: I feel much more at ease with making the image based on what I see and not slavishly “copying” a photograph. The sight-sizing exercises I did with the Florence Studio helped me tremendously. Here are the first 2 days:
After the powerful thunder storms on late Sunday afternoon, Monday including cleaning up and getting some housekeeping repairs done—including drilling in Lea’s studio to place poison for termites. Being diligent against termites is a super high priority here and especially in Lea’s studio with it’s delicate wood looms and apparatus. Most of the rest of the day was doing chores and waiting for our solar panel repairs to be completed (the storm blew out a few electrical boxes.)
The rest of the week was primarily spent in the studio. I was able to complete six painting sessions on Olive’s portrait. The process is revealing what I have learned—and naturally all that I am clueless about. I especially need to work on detail in the shadows, how to accurate depict the value ranges in the shadows and the expressions in the eyes. Here are the last four sessions (two are above).