In December I attended the Christmas School at the London Atelier of Representational Art. Two full weeks of oil painting: exhilarating, but also hard work. I was pleased with the paintings I produced (I did have visions of turning up and realising how completely incompetent I really am), but being surrounded by so many truly talented and dedicated artists also made me realise how much I still have to learn.
For three hours every morning, each student worked on their own cast drawing or painting. I chose to paint Beethoven’s death mask which, in hindsight, was probably biting off more than I could chew in the 30 hours I had to complete the work. There were times when I stared blankly at the canvas, feeling devoid of any technical ability. However, the great thing about attending the course was that it forced me to push my boundaries and continue with the painting even when I would really rather have gone off in a sulk like a small child who isn’t allowed any pudding until she finishes her vegetables. If I’d had longer to work on this painting, I would have liked to have refined it further, but I feel that the exercise of cast painting has really helped to solidify the techniques of oil painting. This series of photos shows the progression of my painting over the fortnight. The cast itself is on the far left:
During the afternoons, the students worked on a drawing or oil painting of a life model. Before attending LARA, I had only drawn poses lasting a few hours, so to work from one sustained for the full fortnight was very rewarding, allowing me to work with more attention to detail and to attain a more realistic representation of the subject. Luckily for the model, he was allowed frequent breaks and was not locked in the studio overnight. Here is how my oil painting progressed: