Sunday, May 30, 2010

This past weekend I went to Rome with Dony and stayed with an old friend of mine. It was a great opportunity to study the baroque art, and did many drawings of Bernini and other sculptures. I also had the great privilege to go to the huge Caravaggio exhibit, and also to see his three Saint Matthew paintings in San Luigi in Francese. He happens to be one of my favorite painters and one whom I aspire to.

The day I arrived was amazing. Dony showed me around, and went for quick visits to various churches and basilicas. Again, everything is huge. Incredible art everywhere. We also checked out the Von Hildebrand conference at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Afterwards we were invited to go to a private tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel with some of the people from the conference. It was absolutely stunning. I saw the Sistine Chapel! It was incredible. And after that, we went to the after party, which happened to be on top a really nice hotel with 360 degree view of Rome. What a way to spend your first day in Rome!
The next few days I spent with a friend of mine.

I spent my time drawing statues and visiting churches. I did many Bernini studies, among others. I also got to see the Caravaggio exhibit, which I had been looking forward to for a long time. I also got other treats because the people I stayed with were friends with some of the Swiss guards. I got to check out the guard's chapel for Sunday Mass, as well as the armory (see pictures).

The peak of the trip, to me, was going in to see the Saint Matthew paintings of Caravaggio. Such great presence, beauty and color. The figures are so intense and dramatic. Sheer emotion. Unfortunately I could not do studies of him, due to the crowds packed around me. But other then that, it was a fantastic trip.

Speaking of drawing, I promise I'll get my works up very soon...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First three weeks in Florence

Well, I have been here three weeks, and only now have I started my blog!

When I arrived in Florence, I was blown away by the size of everything. The buildings and houses are all so large and beautiful, and the narrow winding streets beneath them. Also what blew my away was the way the Italians drive...crazy! The city is perfect for an artist: masterpieces everywhere, public and private; beautiful churches stuffed with sculptures and paintings, not to mention the churches themselves! The Duomo is breathtaking. incredibly inspiring. Im not sure anybody can appreciate Florence like an artist can. Everywhere you go, there is renaissance art calling out to you. There is no better place to study and copy the masters, especially Michelangelo. I have done two studies of David, a Verocchio sculpture, a Caravaggio and many others. It has been difficult, however, to spend time in museums and outside for studies of the masters, as I am also busy apprenticing under Dony Mac Manus.

I have been working very hard helping him with his commission for a Church in Rome. It is a large bronze relief alter piece depicting the pentecost scene. We have been working in clay which will be later cast in wax and then finally in bronze. At this point we have been blocking in the figures and rendering the structure of various hands and faces. Earlier, after setting up the backboards which hold the clay, we had the pleasure of throwing the clay on like base balls.

Dony's studio is located in Convento di San Marco, in the exact same studio Beato Angelico used. Every morning before we go to work we attend Mass there and then spend time in prayer. This is, perhaps, the most peaceful part of the day. Afterwards, we eat and get to work. At the end of the day, Dony teaches me anatomy, or, like tonight, we go figure drawing and he critiques my works. He also critiques and helps me with my studies of the masters. He's not only teaching me the language of art, but the thought that gave birth to that language, namely the Catholic faith. Next weekend I am going to Rome, and look forward to studying Bernini, Caravaggio and Michelangelo, and all the other big Rome guys.

Ill put up pics of my art soon!