"One painter ought never to imitate the manner of any other; because in that case he cannot be called a child of Nature, but the grandchild. It is always best to have recourse to Nature, which is replete with such abundance of objects, than to production of other masters, who learnt everything from her."
Leonardo da Vinci
I've been madly busy in the last few days, but I wanted to just drop a quick note about class. Thanks to the amazing help of you all, most especially the anonymous donor of $2500, I am able at last to study as close to full time at the studio as my work commitments will allow. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this help. I know I go on and on about it, but it really is making all the difference in the world.
As of Monday, I have started a rather hectic schedule of shooting off to class in the City in the mornings, followed by work in the afternoons, with Mondays being a whole day of studio time, which I make up by working Saturdays. This will go on until the beginning of June, when the studio goes on a short break. I am hoping to be able to continue in July, and then everything in Italy shuts down for August. That's more or less a whole semester, and I'm very excited about the progress.
I'm down for the cast drawing programme that goes until April 20, then portrait drawing followed by still life. In amongst these are the continuing Bargue exercises on Monday afternoons. It is unlikely that I will be able to move on to painting in this session, but at least now that day is finally looking like it will actually come. It's a great feeling, after so much delay and uncertainty about the future.
It has been made possible not only by the generosity of the readers but by the astonishing feeling of having been given a renewed life. When I was diagnosed in March last year, I was told that the cancer had been present for at least 3 to 5 years without me knowing. I have just recently started to feel better than I have in years. I don't know if this is because of simply being more confident that I'm not going to die (soon) and it's just relief, or if I had been for years unknowingly run down and physically diminished by the cancer. In the last few days, I've slept better, eaten better and bounced out of bed in the morning more excited about being alive than I have been since leaving Vancouver to see the world 15 years ago.
But this week, I have felt more energetic, more hopeful and more eager to get on with things than I remember having felt in a decade. Probably fulfilling the dream of (almost) full time classes has a lot to do with it. It was a big part of what kept me going through All That last year.
So, I'm going to bore you all again by thanking you for your help and prayers. I know that there are probably hundreds of people out there around the world who were praying for me, as well as many who donated cash, sent books to amuse and distract me, who sent me funny videos when I was in hospital and recovering and were generally there for me in a way that I had not expected.
I hate to sound too pollyana about it, but the whole experience has turned out to have been a positive one in the end. I wouldn't recommend it as a method of overcoming depression and a lifetime of cynicism, but I do admit that I'm not feeling my old cranky self. I apologise to those who look forward to that when they come here.
It was a good thing I kept up the drawing practice at home in the meantime, because now that I'm doing the much more difficult 3-D drawings, it is much easier than I had anticipated. The first class, Cast Drawing, is only two weeks, five days a week, so I have only a total of 30 hours to get the thing finished, and I think I can make it, given the progress so far.
And yes, I'm preparing another step-by-step of the projects I'm working on in class. As usual, as you can see above, in the early stages there isn't much to look at, but the fun is seeing it develop from a few rather abstract and herky-jerky marks to a fully realised drawing.