Art, Life, oil painting, Painters, Painting, Plein Air, Study, watercolor

a month in Italy

 

I’ve just returned from a month of painting as part of the Jerusalem Studio School Summer Program in Civita Castellana, Italy. It was very stimulating to spend so much time with people dedicated to painting, including modern masters, Israel Hershberg, Vincent Desiderio and Yael Scalia. They were very generous with their time and knowledge. Living and working among so many artists is a wonderful experience. I miss the daily immersion in painting and the camaraderie.

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The month was packed with opportunities for artistic experiences. Every Thursday was a bus trip to another city with maps and lists of art treasures to visit. Sunday nights the guest artists showed slides and talked about their work. Two critiques a week led by Vince, Israel or Yael and on regular painting days, the instructors would wander the town and visit painters at work. Communal meals were served in the hotel or various other restaurants in the town and you could usually find some of our community at the Club Cafe either having a cappuccino or drinks late into the night.

 

Apertivos at Israel and Yael's apartment
Apertivos at Israel and Yael’s apartment

Although I went there with the intention of painting in oil, I started out wandering the town with my sketchbook and watercolors and really loved soaking in the experience that way so continued to work largely in watercolor. I did rent a studio for the last two weeks and did some oil painting there and plein air but the watercolors were the bulk of the work I produced.

 

Fountain in the Main Piazza from the Club Cafe
Fountain in the Main Piazza from the Club Cafe

 

 

Monte Sarrote watercolor
Monte Sarrote watercolor

 

Civita-Old-town-from-Fort-m

 

Although I spent a lot of time painting, the largest impact on me, I think, will be from the time spent in conversation with the other painters and instructors. I came home with a lot to think about.

Me in the studio
Me in the studio
Art, Life, Portraiture, Self portrait, Sketching, Study

Completion of Birthday Self Portrait project

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Self Portrait at age 23
Self Portrait at age 23 – 1976

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I’ve explained this a couple of times before on the blog. When I was in college I was given an assignment to do a self portrait and was then given information on the aging process and told to do another self portrait projecting what I thought I would look like at the age of 60. I was 23 when I did the first two drawings. I forgot about them for several years but some time in my 30’s I decided it would be interesting to do a similar self portrait every year near my birthday to see how close my vision was. I had planned on doing it every year and to use the same pose and media, etc so that the drawings could be easily compared. Discipline is not my strongest characteristic and I missed some years and got bored and did other compositions some years but I did produce an interesting collection of images over the 37 years since the original drawings.

This being the year I turned 60 is the logical completion of the project and, although I may still do self portraits on my birthday, the original project ends now. My wife’s health began to collapse this  year, not long after my birthday and it’s taken me this much time to get back to thinking about it. Frankly, it’s been difficult to produce any artwork, since her death and this seemed like a fun and simple thing to do to keep my hand in and, of course, to feed the blog.

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Self-at-60-comparison

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So it appears that, at the age of 23, I had an exaggerated view of how old 60 is. Perhaps in 1976, 60 year old people did look older than they do today. They say 60 is the new 40, right?

You can find other entries in this progression in the archives of the blog. I posted them as I did them.

I apologize for the quality of the photos. The original two drawings were reproduced from old slides.

Art, Figure Painting, oil painting, Painting, Study

Head

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11" x 14" oil on linen
11″ x 14″ oil on linen

I try to do a self portrait every year around my birthday (My birthday is in March and you can look back through the archives to see other entries in the series). The project started around an assignment I was given in college to do a self portrait as I was then (20-ish years old) and then another predicting how I thought I’d look at age 60. I turned 60 this year so it’s sort of the completion of the project but I’ve been having a hard time producing the painting.

This painting was not intended to be the official yearly selfie but I offer it now until I get serious about completing the project.

The actual intention of this painting was to paint it over again pushing it as far as I could before I got bored with it. I repainted over the same canvas over the course of 6 days and this is where it ended up. Below are photos of the canvas at the end of each session

self-5-4-13   self-5-4-13-2   self-5-4-13-3   self-5-4-13-4  self-5-4-13-5 …  Click on each thumbnail for a larger view

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Art, Landscape, Painting, Study, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Monkey Ward on a rainy night

Alex, if you’re reading, I tried to answer your email but my reply was returned. You may have mistyped your email address.

Montgomery Park in the rain - 6" x 8" watercolor and ink
Montgomery Park in the rain – 6″ x 8″ watercolor and ink

This old Montgomery Ward store was converted, years ago, into Montgomery Park and is now used as office space and convention center. When it was built, in 1920, it was the largest building in Portland.

Art, gouache, Landscape, Painting, Portland, Study, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Mixed Media

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“One Dolphin” 14″ x 10″ watercolor, gouache, ink and water soluble crayon

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I’ve been doing studies for some larger oil paintings. I always seem to work more freely with watercolor and I’d like to learn ways to incorporate some of that into the oils.