2017.04.29-.30 Week 18
Saturday was spent monitoring the Art Exhibition at the Angel Academy of Art. Afterwards I continued reading Martin Gayford’s Michelangelo, His Epic Life. I also, after more than a month, was able to Skype video call with Lea—who has been in Guatemala for a month. The separation was hard since I knew she would be in remote places and surrounded by new adventures. Her ability to connect with me electronically was intermittent—thus my anxieties. She reports that she experienced severe poverty, wonderful textile art and sickness for nearly half of her time. Sadly, this sickness (even though she was extremely careful) obviously robbed her of the full experience. I am glad she is back and we can resume our weekly chats—I missed them and her.
Sunday I completed all the reservations and itinerary for the trip two of my daughters (Hannah and Nora) and my son-in-law (Brian) will be taking to visit me in June. In the afternoon I helped take down the student art exhibition. Sunday was also a funny day emotionally. I was not quite centered. Lots of things whirling in my mind and heart. Not sure where up is today. Trying to work and read leads nowhere. I seem disconnected from life. Maybe it is just fatigue; or missing Lea; or not knowing if this decision to be gone a year was really the right thing to do. I suspect it is a bit of all of these.
What do I have really? I have my sanity, talent, wife, family—and history. Yet my history is being rewritten every day I wake up. Is the story being rewritten faster than I can absorb it emotionally? I never have suffered from what is diagnosed as “depression.” I have always been able to see something good in even the worse circumstances. Future possibilities have also propelled me and given me energy. I think maybe that I am so unsure of whether I have the real talent to do the paintings I imagine in my head is causing a disconnect. This disconnect is compounded by the fact that I am unsure of each thing I do in this new uncharted art-territory.
My guess is that I will keep working through this discomfort and, someday, things will realign and come into focus. I do know that it is my nature not to “quit.” I may find that I spent a year pursuing a dream that leads to nowhere. But at least I tried, discovered and framed my own limits.
2017.05.01 Week 18
Monday was a National Holiday. I decided to spend the morning visiting the Iris Garden near the Piazza Michelangelo (just behind my apartment). The garden gathers together hundreds of different varieties of irises, coming from all over the world – and is only open during the month of May, when the flowers are blooming.
Notes from the site Guided Tours of Florence:
Many people in Italy and even some Florentines think that the city’s emblem, a red flower on a white background, is a lily. It is not. The famous flower is actually an iris.
Florence was built at the narrowest point of the Arno river, exactly where it is easier both to cross and to control. It was built as all other Roman cities: two main streets (cardo and decumanus) with the Forum at their intersection, the temples of Jupiter and Juno nearby and all other streets arranged in perpendicular so to form a checkerboard.
The ceremony for the founding of the city coincided with the Roman celebrations for the arrival of spring. These festivities, in honor of the goddess Flora, which took place from April 28th to May 3rd, were called Ludi Florales and from these public competitions was named the city: Florentia.
The Florentine area during the spring was (and still is) characterized with the presence of a particular type of flower: the white Florentine iris (erroneously called a lily). It has been therefore quite natural to associate this flower to this city and to take it as its symbol. At first the coat of Florence had a white flower on a red field, but, after the final defeat of the Ghibellines in 1251, it was transformed by changing the colors: red flower on white field. This is the lily that we can recognize on the many monuments of Florence including the most famous ones, like Palazzo Vecchio and… the Duomo which, not by coincidence, is called Santa Maria del Fiore (S. Mary of the Flower).
I spent the rest of the day completing the charcoal background and shadow shapes on the cast foot, reading and relaxing. It was a rainy afternoon. I am in a bit of a melancholy mood. Neither here, there or anywhere. Perfect day for Madrigals, Michelangelo and Musing about my life.
2017.05.02 thru .05.05 Week 18 Term 2 Week 4
This week I completed the 3 week pose and finished week 2 of the charcoal drawing of the paster foot cast. The 12 day (3 hours each day) pose was the first time I was able to move beyond working on the shapes within the darks to the shapes in the light (rendering stage). At one point I jumped too far ahead and began on details (one of my bad tendencies). I had to totally erase the torso and start over. However, I learned some great lessons:
Building up shapes very slowly within the lights is crucial
The nuances of muscles moves as the model shifts
The connecting lines of major muscles groups and skeletal turning points are must absolutely be in the right spot. At one point I thought I had the model’s left shoulder correct—but alas it was too low. I had look at this shoulder point for days but as soon as I started to triangulate these landmarks across the body is was clear the shoulder was too low.
Later stages have to rendered in 2H pencil with a very soft touch.
Things I need to work on: a) muscle tone, b) pose should be less static and c) hands, feet and length of torso.