Portrait in oils, a workshop with Cesar Santos, Florence

Attending masterclasses is a valuable experience which can shift understanding or expand on existing knowledge. For those of us who teach much of the time, it also provides the opportunity to paint without the distraction of other commitments.

 My painting by the end of the workshop. 

My painting by the end of the workshop. 

I spent a few days in Florence last week, on a workshop given by Cesar Santos, hosted in the very lovely surroundings of The Florence Studio, owned by Laura Thompson and Frank Rekrut. A spacious, bright and clean environment, I have never felt so welcomed and well cared for in any other studio. The fridge was stocked with bottled water for the students, and nibbles on the table.

 Most of the students, with Cesar, at the end of the week. 

Most of the students, with Cesar, at the end of the week. 

Cesar is incredibly knowledgable, polite and keen to share his skills.  I was delighted, of course, that his main message was about drawing, and he took us through all the stages, from simplifying the head, to getting it onto canvas, under painting, 1st and 2nd painting.

 First morning, my drawing, simplifying the form and getting to 'know' the model. 

First morning, my drawing, simplifying the form and getting to 'know' the model. 

 Later day 1, the drawing completed directly on the canvas. 

Later day 1, the drawing completed directly on the canvas. 

 Day 2, the under painting - this layer is to establich tones, not colours. 

Day 2, the under painting - this layer is to establich tones, not colours. 

 Cesar's palette

Cesar's palette

 The '1st painting, day 3, to opaquely apply colour using broad strokes and the biggest brush we could bear... 

The '1st painting, day 3, to opaquely apply colour using broad strokes and the biggest brush we could bear... 

 One of Cesar's demonstrations. 

One of Cesar's demonstrations. 

 More of the 1st Stage. 

More of the 1st Stage. 

I met lots of lovely people, and one evening we enjoyed a tour round The Pettit Palace with Cesar as our guide.

 Cesar guiding us through the Pitti Palce examining old master paintings. 

Cesar guiding us through the Pitti Palce examining old master paintings. 

 Day 4, more of the 1st Painting, with some 2nd Painting (a thinly applied layer) as well. 

Day 4, more of the 1st Painting, with some 2nd Painting (a thinly applied layer) as well. 

Here are some quotes from Cesar, taken from my notes:

‘Drawing is our attempt to understand.’

‘Painting is meaningless without drawing’.

‘Drawing has nothing to do with the materials: it is the eye. Students must strive to make the drawing excellent, try to achieve perfection, in every drawing. Keep perfecting. 100 bad drawings won’t give you a good one! Just as a poet needs to learn grammar in order to express bigger things, in art, excel in drawing first.’

 Frank and Maurice in the studio. 

Frank and Maurice in the studio. 

 A bit of fun at the end of the week - Cesar Santos, framed!

A bit of fun at the end of the week - Cesar Santos, framed!

 Cheers! 

Cheers! 

For information on my workshops in Belfast, email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk

next up: Workshops in Oils, portrait, water colour and a drawing and painting session for children.