I spent 2 weeks at the end of summer by taking a Portrait workshop at the Russian Academy of Art in Florence. This school has nothing to do with the renowned Repin Academy in St Petersburg, but most of the instructors there were trained there. The works are are impressionistic, yet the forms are solid like a rock. And we work only using natural light. Of course, one cannot be a master after just workshopping for 2 weeks. But what it did was to give me insight to how the Russians think and why they do what they do with regards to Art. Here are some highlights from the workshop.
Portraiture in an academic setting begins with a thumbnail sketch on the top right hand corner, followed by a silhouette drawing of the sitter. Once all the basic shapes are put in, perspective lines are added to keep everything in place.
And the colours from left are: Ultramarine Blue, Emerald Green, Alizarin Crimson, English Red (Light Red), Burnt Siena, Raw Siena, Yellow Ochre Light and white. Additional colours can include Transparent Red Oxide (mixed with Emerald green) for the drawing stage, Burnt Umber, Periwinkle and Royal Blue.
This is as far as I go with this piece.
Under natural lighting indoors, the lights are cool and the shadows warm.
Alongside with the painting in the mornings, we work on a cast drawing in the afternoon.
Everyday, form and anatomy is drilled into my system.
A quick sketch of my classmates while the instructor Svetlana does a demo.
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