I just wrapped up my 4 week oil portrait painting course for the Charles Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy. It was a great group and everyone made a lot of progress. Above is a not so good photo of one of the two studios in action. Basically the course is a condensed experience of the normal full-time 2 year course. The students start out with a bit of cast drawing before working directly from models in charcoal and oil. The sight-size method ,as it was originally intended, is used create life-size portraits under natural light with a historical limited palette. The class size is limited to 10 students.
The great challenge is the ‘reprogramming’ of the student’s expectations of the portrait painting course. The goal is not to walk away with several pretty oil sketches. Ultimately, the emphasis is developing observation skills and the student’s ‘eye.’ The fundamentals of charcoal and oil technique are covered and explored. In this visual approach to image making the shapes are evolved directly on the canvas. The resulting work often lacks polish but honestly reveals a diligent study from nature. Hopefully the student leaves with a basic knowledge of important principles that will guide them in their future work.
Below is a progress shot of one of the paintings that I worked on during the course. It is a detail of the 50cm x 60cm. I hope to finish it this September.