2017.02.18 Day 1 Week 8
Having finally discovered what is wrong with my shoulder and have a solution. I now have limited movement of my arm and can work on things that do not require the lifting of the arm. That restriction should last about two weeks or so. In the meantime, I can work on my Bargue #2 and hopefully be assigned #3 soon. I would love to finish the series and move onto the charcoal work before the end of the trimester. The lesson learned: while the mind and spirit want to work at a feverish pace, the body (especially a 68 year old one) has other ideas. Getting these in sync will my next big challenge. It was surprisingly depressing not being able to read, draw or write for 5 days. I was able to us Apple Dictation built into their iOS system. It worked like a charm and enabled me to at communicate with loved ones. I must say that when I am not focused on work, I start to be very homesick. It is wonderful that Lea and I can FaceTime on Sunday but it is just not the same. I continue to look at this as a platform of learning how to do work at home—knowing that it is a finite amount of time. Still, there are days when I would rather be at home.
So today I spent 5 hours working on the bargue 2—working in intervals of 10-15 minutes with a 5-10 minute rest. I was kindly invited to dinner by dear friends who are here for a 6 week intensive course at the Florence Academy of Art. It was my first “social” interaction all week and was a very welcomed change from pain and isolation.
2017.02.19 Day 2 Week 8
Pleasant day–just 7 days after the onslaught of my shoulder problems. Slept in; when for a long walk; visited, attended Mass and lit candles for my 3 deceased dogs at the Church of the Annunciation; got my 5 miles of walking in (first time since last Sunday); and had a pleasant FaceTime talk with Lea (we were also finalizing our 2016 tax returns). In the evening I worked on my anatomy lessons and started the book “Florence: The Biography of a City” by Christopher Hibbert.
2017.02.20 Day 3 Week 8 Class 36
My first full day back in class after a week. It felt great to be working again. I am hoping my Bargue #2 will be completed soon. The went well despite not being able to lift the arm above the horizontal. I was able to work on my Bargue 2 and finish the big-form modeling stage and the shadow shape stage. All that is left is the rendering stage which, fingers crossed, will be done this week. In the afternoon, much to my surprise, I was able to participate in the class by sitting on the “donkey” bench. This enabled me to partake in the portrait exercise. This was my very first portrait from a live model. Even though it was a humbling experience, I managed to get a reasonable likeness of the model in the three hour session. By sitting I did not have to work from the ease. The disadvantage was that the face was foreshortened. This meant I could not use the normal rules of 1) eyes at mid-point along the vertical axis of the nose and 2) one-third for chin-bottom of nose-eyebrow. Once I realized that the triangulation of the major landmarks of the face could be aligned, I was able to get closer to a semblance of the model.
2017.02.21 Day 4 Week 8 Class 37
“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” C. S. Lewis
In the morning I nearly finished my Bargue 2 Torso drawing. All that is left is the final nuances of rendering and double checking the spacing of the light and dark shapes. In the afternoon, we began a 3 day pose. I like the pace of the longer sittings. Of course, it allows more time for me to heck and double check. More importantly, I can continue to reprogram myself from the fast paced business life I led for 45+ years. It feels terrific. My shoulder is improving every day.
2017.02.22 Day 5 Week 8 Class 38
I am getting very close to finishing my Bargue #2. Today I hd to adjust the shoulder width, drop the neck line a tiny bit, change the angle of the shoulder blade and complete the rendering of the form modeling of the shoulder. I should be dine in a day or so.
In the afternoon we continued with day 2 of 3 day of the standing nude pose. It was a great day. I am feeling better and my ability to coordinate what I see with the kinesthetic actions of my hand/arm is much improved. I worked the 2 -1/2 hours refining the shape of the figure and adding the shadow shapes. Tomorrow we will begin “big form modeling” which will add shading to the big forms (cylinders, cones, rectangles) of the body shape based on the where the light falls on the figure. We are not adding detail anatomy. We are learning about form and realtiships plus how light falls vertically on the human figure. I am cautiously optimistic that I am finally starting to be able to transfer a point seen in 3-D to the 2-D with some degree of accuracy that is not just copying but actually related to the underlying anatomy. However,, I am in Kindergarten and have 1,000s of hours to go before I get to a good point. It will be a great journey. Here is the progress so far:
2017.02.23 Day 6 Week 8 Class 39
Just about finished with Bargue #2 Torso. The last week has been spent working on very delicate transitions from dark to light. I am optimistic I can finish this in a day or so. i will post the final. In the afternoon we finished the three day nude standing pose. The main lesson in this last session was how to do “big form modeling.” This requires one to think about the human body as a series of interconnected pure shapes like cylinders, cones, rectangles and columns. After the shadow shapes are correctly drawn and shaded (value 7 for the lighter shades) and the dark value (value 8 1/2 for the hair in shadow) the rendering involves using a stubby stiff brush to brush in the transition shades from dark to the crest of light. The bias of the shading is always towards the larger shadow shape. The opposite side must be rendered lightly and the contour line reduced in value to match the light value of this opposite shadow. One thing I got completely wrong the first go around: T=the shadows are worked across the shadow shapes no mater the direction of the shadow shapes. In other words, one treats the big form independent of the directions of the shadow shape bug line. Also, no rendering of any articulation (boney parts, muscles, etc.) is allowed. That all comes later. Since this was my first pose longer than a few hours, I was humbled by the experience and grateful to be here in Florence learning the true fundamentals. I only wish I had started about 30 years ago.
2017.02.24 Day 7 Week 8 Class 40
Today I spent the morning completing the final nuances of the Bargue #2 Torso. I think it will be approved on Monday and I can move onto my final Bargue #3 (subject not yet selected.) When I say nuance, I mean nuance. As you can see in the detail photos, I spent the day picking tiny specks out of transition shadow areas with the kneaded eraser and then reworking that area with a series of short circular movements to blend into the area that are correct.
In the afternoon we had our final anatomy lecture. The topic was the back muscles. Now, within 3 weeks, I have to do 50 drawings of what we learned for my homework. I will be busy.
My shoulder is doing much better. Monday I meet with the orthopedic surgeon for my final cortisone shot and check-up. So week 8 is a wrap. We have four weeks left in this trimester.