Today was a big day for me.
I formally applied to become a full time student again. If accepted (not a given) I will be attending the Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. I will live in Florence for 30 weeks the first year and will study classical painting using the classical European (Ecole des Beaux Arts) method from the 19th century. I will be studying anatomy, drawing, and painting. I will be working with live models and learn how to sight-draw as accurately as possible. This work and study will be focused on technique and realism.
The schedule will be in three trimesters each year for a total of three years. I am not sure at this point if I will need to finish all three years—nor whether I can be away from Lea for that long. My rationale is simple. In my application I stated:
I began drawing and painting when I was 10 years old. As an architect, I sketch to discover spatial relationships and develop design. I also sketch when I travel. In the last 5 years I have been exploring drawing and painting using the human form as the starting point. However, I need to further develop fundamental skills to strengthen the expression of my inner voice. Now that I am retiring from my 40-year architecture practice, I am ready to enter this phase of learning with all my energy. Selling a dozen of my paintings and drawings in the past two years tells me that my work resonates with others. It is now time for the classical training provided by the Angel Academy of Art to further my transition from architect to artist.
This was a hard decision and one I did not take lightly. Lea, my wife, was consulted and fully endorses the idea. She is rightly concerned about a three year commitment so we are jointly taking “one year at a time.” Her considerations were seriously taken to heart. My age was considered (I will be 68 in September). My life in Mexico was carefully thought about–since I love it here and have a wonderful home and studio. However, I know that I need these fundamental skills before I can unlock the nature of my own work. I have also been encouraged by the warm and positive reception my work has received from friends and even strangers who have discovered my work through facebook. It has been an honored to accept commissions and sell my work.
So, we will wait patiently for the decision. Even if I am not accepted, I will have discovered the courage to seek more training and learn. That in itself is a useful outcome of this process.