Figure Drawing


With my first trimester at the Florence Academy of Art behind me and the New Year already rolling, it is finally time for a long overdue update.

First of all, let me just confirm my first impression of the school and say that studying at the FAA is well worth it! In the past few months, I have learned so many valuable lessons and, consequently, made noticeable progress in my work. From what I can tell, so has each and every one of my fellow students. It is both wonderful and rewarding to observe this learning curve emerge and I feel very lucky and grateful to be studying with the team of people who know exactly how to make it happen.

I still feel I am learning the most during the figure drawing sessions of a nude model, so I decided to devote this blog post to explaining in a bit more detail what this process entails and what the students are expected to aim towards.

The so-called ‘long pose’ lasts for five weeks. Typically students get a chance to work on two long poses with a nude model during one trimester. Unfortunately, because our first model was involved in an accident (she is ok now), my group only got to complete one long pose this term as visible from the photos below. And by complete, I mean finish the drawing of the model and the simplified background within the assigned period. I should clarify here that students tackle the long pose in charcoal on white paper during the first year of studies at the FAA. In the first part of the second year they continue drawing in charcoal, on toned paper, with the addition of a white chalk. Later, starting with a limited palette, students move on to painting the model in oils.

However, one does not simply start the large charcoal project on the first day of the long pose. Instead, in order to understand their subject matter better, students are first required to complete a series of studies. This includes several studies of the model in pencil from both the chosen standing position for drawing the long pose, as well as one from a different position in the room. This is in order to get a better idea of how the form turns in space. The pencil studies should focus on an accurate description of the gesture, proportions, outline and shadowline. They are very useful for understanding how the pose changes over time as the model settles in it and, consequently, for choosing the exact moment or pose that one is actually drawing.

Another study done in the preliminary stages of a long pose is a value study in the same medium that a student uses for the large project, in our case charcoal. A value study, just as the name suggests is supposed to correctly map out tonal relationships, on a small scale. In a value study, one needs not to focus on the accuracy of the drawing, but rather the correlation between the lights and the darks, as well as the idea of the flow of light.

Once the small (usually A4 size paper) studies are complete, which is normally after 3-5 days, a student moves on to the large project. As far as the size of the working surface goes, the first year beginning students are typically working on a 50 x 70 cm ROMA paper (using the reverse side of it, where the water stamp spells AMOR, because it’s less bumpy), while the more advanced students of the same year often tend to use slightly bigger sized, white Arches papers.

Here is a photo of my working board, in the preliminary stages of the ‘long pose’ project, including the start of my big charcoal drawing and its small accompanying studies:



As I already mentioned in my previous posts, the method employed in tackling the long pose, along with most other projects at the school, is the sight-size method. When using it, the first and the foremost thing that the students are supposed to get right are the big proportions of the model and the nature of the gesture. The steps we follow in doing that are, as previously mentioned, drawing out the outline, then the shadowline and finally the shadow. In finding the accurate contours, and while moving from a more abstract to a more organic drawing, a student is supposed to pay close attention to rhythms in the line, subtle angle breaks, the variety of shapes and edge quality.

As students progress with their work, they are always being reminded to go back to the big proportions and the gesture in order to establish whether they accurately describe the pose. So, at the beginning of each new day spent on the pose, one is advised to check the major heights and widths – because is that’s off, everything else will be too, no matter how fine the finish is.

The fun part starts when the values are introduced in the picture. Compression of values is here the key, as well as preserving a beautiful flow of light. That’s why students are advised to gradually approach the shading process and squint a lot as they are doing it. One thing that comes in very handy with regards to establishing correct tonal relationships is a black mirror or, in the absence of one, a smartphone with a black, glossy and flat screen (for more info, see I’ve also seen teachers and students ware hats with a wide brim, as it reduces the glare coming from the rooftop windows and helps them establish the values more correctly.

As far as values go, I got some tips from my teachers and found them very useful in establishing the correct tonal relationships in a drawing. One is to press, rather hard and only once, the bottom of the charcoal stick, slightly grated off with the tip of the nail, in areas on the paper where the darkest darks are. Also, I’ve been told that an alternative to squinting, which can make one feel dizzy if done excessively, is tilting your head slightly backwards and looking through your eyes half closed. Another really useful tip is to use the back of the fan brush (the wooden part) to slightly knock down the values in some areas, by quickly and lightly moving it back and forth across the paper. And finally, I’ve learned how cross hatching, both with the finely sharpened charcoal, as well as the finely created tip of the kneaded eraser can help create refined effects.

Speaking of finesse and fine finish, things to look for and improve at the final stages of a drawing are, amongst others: 1) smooth and beautiful transitions, while retaining a clear delineation between planes and a clear description of shadow shapes; 2) finding/reinforcing the variety of edges (with some completely lost in the background); and 3) putting the focus in a chosen area, while achieving the atmospheric effect in others.

This about sums up the process of drawing the long pose in the Intensive drawing program at the FAA. Soon, I’ll be able to report how the process changes in the higher years of studies, as I am very happy to share with you that I’ve been transferred to the Intermediate program (that is the 2nd year of studies), starting this January 🙂 I feel very honoured to have been promoted by my teachers and hope to successfully tackle challenges lying ahead.

In the meantime, I leave you with the results of my larger school work in the first trimester at the FAA and wish you all a very happy New Year!


First Bargue drawing in charcoal.


Second Bargue drawing in charcoal.


Cast drawing in charcoal.


First figure drawing – half of the ‘long pose’.


Second figure drawing – first completed ‘long pose’.


Painting En Plein Air – From a Sketch to a Finished Oil Painting

This September, I was lucky to be a part of a landscape painting workshop taught by my husband, Marc Dalessio, and Daniela Astone, a principal painting instructor at the Florence Academy of Art.

The workshop took place at Daniela and her partner Simone’s beautiful property in Tuscany, aka Studio Chianti, and provided me with a great chance to once again return to the basics of plein air painting.

Given the circumstances, I figured I should take it slow this time around in order to learn as much as possible and get all the valuable advice I can from these two great teachers. For that purpose, I decided to go back to oil painting – since both Marc and Daniela work primarily with oil paints, and since I could finally truck along all the equipment I needed (the painting venue was only 30 min away from our Florentine home).

Also, since we stayed at the same location during the whole workshop, I could allow myself to keep working on the same paintings day in day out. Occasionally, I did some watercolors (if my light did not correspond to the chosen effect for my oil paintings), but my primary focus was oil painting.

Now, one of the most important pieces of advice that Marc always gives his students is to draw more and rush less. That is to say, before starting an oil painting, it is advisable to do a pencil sketch of the envisaged subject for a painting in order to get a preliminary idea of the composition and potential problems attached to it. Why? Because what can often go terribly wrong in a painting is the design (I talked more about that in one of my pervious blog post on landscape painting, so I will refrain from discussing it again here). And when the design goes wrong, that’s when you have the so called “turps party” – that is, the not so joyful experience of erasing your entire painting with turpentine.

So, in order to avoid having too many turps parties, one should sketch more. Only once one is satisfied with a chosen subject and the composition thereof, should one move to painting it in oil. At that point though, one (and by one, I mean a student like myself) should still go slowly about tackling their subject in paint in order capture it accurately, in all its variety and complexion.

The problem that often occurs during plein air painting workshops of this type is that students see a teacher do a demo very fast (often even faster than the regular pace at which a teacher paints) and then the students try to paint at that same pace during the rest of the workshop. This frequently results in a mass of rushed student paintings and very little knowledge acquired about the middle and later stages of painting.

In that sense, it was explained to us that students who paint slowly and accurately will eventually get faster, but students who paint fast and inaccurately will never get more accurate. Makes sense. In other words, if you’re a student who likes realism and wants to work in that genre, do not rush through your student artwork.

So, in order to avoid any disastrous outcomes of sorts, I decided to go slowly about my oil paining and make sure I get the most out of it this time around.

Following the given advice, I first sketched my subject out very roughly in my sketchbook.




I was aware that this is not the kind of perfect landscape painting view where a foreground, middle ground and background compose well together. To begin with, there is no foreground in my view. Nonetheless, I decided to go for it because I found it interesting and beautiful (for its quintessential depiction of Chianti), yet simple enough to tackle. Also, it gave me a nice opportunity to practice atmospheric perspective in painting. And since we were told a major historic point of landscape painting is to get a sense of distance (depth) on a flat surface, I figured this view would do.

Once I was content with the choice of my view and the sketch thereof, I put my easel in the chosen spot and drew a slightly more precise sketch of my view onto the canvas before starting to paint. They say behind every great painting is a great drawing, so I made sure I literally have one behind mine 😉




In doing this, I applied the sight size approach, which I talked about in my previous blog posts. With the exception of a few ‘unfortunate tangents’ created by the distant mountains, I made sure to capture the rest of the view accurately and follow the rhythms in nature. Partially, this is the reason why I decided to do a rather detailed pencil sketch on the canvas first (despite the risk of the graphite showing through in time).

Another possibility was to sketch it out in oil paint, which a lot of painters do. But given the intricate nature of all the little bushes and trees in my view, and the fact that I didn’t use oil paint for some months now, I did not want to risk loosing track of the actual shapes of the vegetation and fall down the rabbit hole of dreadful repetition when I actually got around to painting it.

After my sketch was finished, I started applying the first layer of paint. In doing so, I tried to mass out the big shapes and leave any details for later. One of the useful pieces of advice I got from Daniela in that regard was to avoid using small brushes, especially in the initial stages of an oil painting. The reason for that is that students often get caught up in painting the details (like individual leaves) and get the big shapes all wrong (like the overall shape of a tree).

At the end of day one, this is how far I got:




On day two, I continued covering the canvas with paint and once the first layer was done, I proceeded to improve the accuracy and add variety to the things in my view. Shapes were corrected, some details and highlights were added and smaller brushes were introduced for that purpose.




Yet, despite adding to the painting in many ways, I kept my palette limited. In fact everybody at the workshop was advised to do so, as it results in more harmonious looking paintings. Our palettes were thus very basic, containing only titanium white, cadmium yellow light and cadmium yellow medium, yellow ochre, cadmium orange and cadmium red, cerulean blue, cobalt blue and ultramarine.

On day three my goal was to add some more detail, give texture to my painting and add some variety to my brushwork. I was also very lucky to get some beautiful clouds in my view that day – for the first time since that very first sketch I did – so I made sure to put those in. This is a great advantage to working from life – as the elements improve, you can improve your painting with them.




While painting the clouds, I was advised to make the closer ones bigger and the further ones smaller, even if this did not correspond to reality. Another thing I had in mind while painting them was the advice given to me previously – about making sure that things get not only smaller, but also lighter and bluer in the distance. Both of these tips are very useful for achieving the sense of depth and atmospheric perspective in a painting, so I made sure to follow them.

And finally, the last important advice given to me was not to overwork it. So, once I was more or less content with the similitude of the painting and the scene in front of me, I made sure to stop and call this painting done.

Et voilà! That was the process and here is the photo of the finished product:


Morning in Chianti. Oil on Canvas, 20 x 30 cm.

Morning in Chianti. 20 x 30 cm, Oil on linen.

Although working outdoors can be tricky because of the constantly changing effects, I’m happy I took this one slow and didn’t try to frantically chase those effects. This allowed me not only to achieve batter accuracy, but also resulted in a painting based on informed choices rather than happy coincidences. At the end of the day, this is what the learning process should be all about.

As for my other paintings done during this workshop, I do have to admit they were made on a faster pace. The second oil painting I did was finished over the course of two days and with no preliminary sketching in graphite involved. The watercolors, on the other hand, were completed over the course of a few hours with the obligatory sketch in graphite pencil. But that’s a totally different medium, which requires a vastly different and much faster approach, so I don’t feel guilty about that. Here are the results of these other efforts.

I hope you enjoy them!


Orcio. 20 x 30 cm, Oil on Panel.

Orcio. 20 x 30 cm, Oil on panel.


Villa Coli. 22 x 25 cm, Watercolor.

Villa Coli. 22 x 25 cm, Watercolor.


Young Apples. 22 x 25 cm, Watercolor.

Young Apples. 22 x 25 cm, Watercolor.


Daniela's Nest. 26 x 36 cm, Watercolor.

Daniela’s Nest. 26 x 36 cm, Watercolor.

Glazing an Oil Painting

Recently, I learned how to glaze an oil painting, so I wanted to share with you experience. Now, let me first explain very briefly what glazing means. Glazing stands for a procedure usually performed at the middle to final stages of an oil painting, which essentially consists in applying a thin layer of oil paint broken down with lots medium and turpentine over the existing layer of dry oil paint. It is done in order to subtly alter the color effect and add translucence to specific portions of an oil painting.

For reasons yet unknown to me, glazing an oil painting seems to be a somewhat controversial issue in the fine art painting circles. While some think it should never be done, others argue it is the best thing ever. Personally, I like the effects that glazing can create – mainly getting a glow in the color that can’t be achieved with direct painting. So, after being shown how to do it, I have decided to try it on a small section of one of my own recent paintings.

Specifically, in my recent painting of Peruvian lilies, previously featured on this blog, I glazed a lead white highlight. I wanted it to get that glowing yellowish-white effect we see when light hits a copper tone metal surface. In other words, I wanted the previously purely white highlight to get a subtle yellow glow that would make the highlight look more natural. So, I glazed my highlight with a touch of cadmium yellow light and Roman ochre, mixed with a generous amount of medium and turpentine. Here’s the short video of the process:

First, I dipped my brush in the medium (a mix of sun-thickened linseed oil and Canada balsam) and put a small amount on the palette. Then, I dipped the brush into turpentine and added a small amount to the medium already on the palette. I then proceeded to add a smidgen of oil paint to the previously made mix of medium and turps. Once satisfied with the color and transparency of my glaze, I applied it to the highlight.

As you can see, glazing is quite straightforward. The important thing though is that you glaze over dry paint. You should allow your painting to dry for at least 6 months before glazing it. Doing it over a perfectly dried painting not only prevents the muddying of the underlying paint, but also allows you to reverse the process if you don’t like its outcome. You can do that by simply wiping off your glaze with a clean tissue or a paper towel. It’s a simple as that.


The Golden Rules of Plein Air Painting

As the warmer weather comes along, I find myself painting outdoors more and more. As much as I enjoy it though, plein air painting can sometimes be tricky. Not only are you fighting the atmospheric elements when you’re painting outside, but you are also exposed to an overwhelming amount of information that needs to be broken down and simplified in order to address it in a painting.

On top of that, beginners and even classically trained studio painters often tend to repeat the same types of mistakes – which are very obvious and easy to fix once you know the rules, but difficult to perceive and address if you haven’t been told what they are. So, this time, I would like to share with you some dos and don’ts of landscape painting that I learned so far and find very useful.

  • Try to find a view that has a foreground, a middle ground and a background that compose well together. – This is considered to be the Holy Grail of plein air painting, as it is difficult to find all three working together at the same time. Such views work particularly well as landscape paintings because they have the elements needed to give the viewer a sense of depth and space. I should mention that a decent amount of walking and scouting is often required to find such views. But if you make sure to search thoroughly before setting up, I promise you’ll find the results gratifying.
  • Avoid bad design. – Bad design can be either due to a bad choice of subject matter or a bad painterly execution thereof. Either way, they are several ways to avoid it. One of the rules I was taught is to make sure you’re not having objects of the same size in your painting (even when one is horizontally and the other one vertically positioned). Another one is to avoid diagonals leaving the corners of your painting. And the third rule of good design is avoiding tangent lines. If you happen to find the so-called ‘unfortunate tangent’ in your view, even as a realist painter, you are encouraged to tweak the reality and change the nature’s ‘bad design’.
  • Once you have found your view, make sure that things in your painting get smaller, lighter and bluer as they move into the distance. This is due to atmospheric perspective – the way the air in the atmosphere reduces contrasts in the distance and makes everything paler and cooler (with the exception of very light objects, which in the distance also move towards blue, thus becoming slightly darker). In that regard, beware of the fact the fact that the rule that things get lighter and bluer as they move into the distance applies both to the lit-up objects and the shadows that they cast. Following this simple rule will allow you to achieve a sense of atmosphere and depth in your painting.
  • Compress your values. – In other words, squint and compare values of the lightest elements to the darkest elements of your whole view, instead of the lightest lights and darkest darks of a particular thing you are painting. To clarify this on an example: if your view consists of a clump of trees on a field and the sky above them, you should compare the overall lightest light in your view (say the sky) to the darkest of darks (say the bottom shadowed parts of the trees, or their trunks), rather than the lit-up parts of the trees to the shadowed parts of the trees. This leads me to another useful advice, which is:
  • Key the rest of your painting of the sky. – This will help you get closer to the actual value and color range, and prevent you from going too light or too dark in the rest of your painting. The sky, if it features in your painting, is in that sense great for setting the values for the rest of your painting.
  • As far as lights and shadows go, mass things in and only then work the details. – As I already mentioned, things in nature tend to get overwhelming and fussy. So, in order to simplify things and cope more efficiently with the information in front of you, squint and determine the larger light and shadow areas and block the big masses in accordingly. Only then work the details. This basically draws on the outline, shadowline, shadow rule that they teach you when drawing a cast, which I discussed in one of my earlier posts.
  • Pay attention to the rhythms of nature. – That is to say, do not paint on autopilot, and avoid the repetition of shapes. This is a mistake many (even professional painters!) make because it is in human nature to look for patterns. Yet things around us are much more diverse then we instinctively perceive them. Each flower petal, each leaf, each cloud, each wave and a strand of grass is unique. So, to get closer to reality and avoid regularity, the key is to slow down, concentrate and avoid painting in an automated manner, so as to better follow the rhythms of nature. In order to avoid repetition and translate the natural beauty and diversity around you into a painting, it is advisable not only to keep variety in forms, but also in edges, hues, brushwork, etc.

And, finally, the last rule of landscape painting I was taught is:

  • Once you know (and are able to apply) all of the previously mentioned rules, you are allowed to break them. In other words, if you can control the process of painting outside and can see all the potential problems related to your choice of a view and its visual translation into a painting, you can break the stated rules of landscape painting for aesthetic or other reasons. In fact, some of the best works of art are said to break the conventional rules. But the artists who produced them did so intentionally, rather than accidentally. And this is what makes them the masters of their trade.

Being ways away from that stage, at the end of this post, I’d like to share with you the last few paintings from my recent trip to California, where I tried to follow the golden rules of landscape painting.


Marina Dunes Beach, Watercolor.

Marina Dunes Beach. 7 x 10 in, Watercolor and Gouache.


Carmel Dunes in Spring. Watercolor and Gouache.

Carmel Dunes in Spring. 7 x 10 in, Watercolor and Gouache.


Point Lobos. Watercolor.

Point Lobos. 9 x 12 in, Watercolor.


Cast Drawing – Some Tips and Tricks

In my last post, I talked about the main stages of drawing a cast – both from the methodological point of view, as well as the emotional. Now, I would like to share with you some of the most important things I learned in the process of drawing my first two casts. Here they are:

  • Keep your charcoal sharp at all times. – That is, if you draw with charcoal, like I did. Personally, I find it’s a pain having to sharpen my charcoal all the time, especially since the sound makes me cringe. But it’s essential if one wants their drawing to be accurate. As I already said, even millimetric differences count, so you really want to follow this advice.
  • Do not touch the paper with your fingers. – Otherwise you risk getting grease and dirt on it, which in turn can ruin your drawing because it will cause the charcoal to adhere unevenly.
  • Pay attention to the negative shapes. – That is to say, carefully observe spaces between the defining contours of the object you’re drawing. In other words, think of your object and its background as two puzzles fitting perfectly together. You need to draw both puzzles accurately if you want your drawing to correspond to the visual appearance of your subject-matter.
  • Do not rush! – I cannot overstate the importance of this one. Doing a cast drawing is not about producing a masterpiece. It’s about learning to see and learning to draw precisely what you see. And to do that, you need to take it slow – especially in the preliminary stages of your drawing.

I’ve been told some spend 6 months on their cast drawings (!). Just to give you an idea, I spent about three weeks on each these two (and they are far from the level of finish some art instructors would require):

Cast drawing 1


Cast drawing 2


Overall, the message is, take as long as you need, but don’t overwork it. This brings me to the next important lesson I learned, which is…

  • Do not look into the shadow. – When they start drawing, students tend to focus too much on details and forget to look at their subject-matter as a whole. Hand in hand with that mistake goes staring into the shadowed areas. Both of these errors lead to two problems. One is getting a part of your drawing perfect, but out of sync with the rest of it. The second is known as “overmodelling” – which basically means overemphasizing values in certain areas in relation to the natural look of the subject/object as a whole. These problems are bad not only from the point of view of accuracy, but also from the esthetic point of view.

Having said that, sometimes reflected light areas in the shadow are quite noticeable, even if you squint. In this case, they should be reproduced in your drawing. When drawing those, however, it’s easy to get your values wrong in relation to the halftones in the rest of your drawing. To avoid that problem, I was taught to keep the edges around the reflected light in the shadow soft. Additionally, I was advised to emphasize the reflected light in the shadow by darkening the areas around it, instead of lightening the reflected light.

Speaking of the darks and the lights, here’s the next piece of advice, which is:

  • Be careful with the halftones – When surrounded by shadow, halftones are usually darker than you will perceive them. When surrounded by light areas, it’s the opposite. In order to get them right, squinting and throwing your eyes out of focus (which I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts) really helps.
  • Vary your edges. – Meaning sharpen some, soften some – as they naturally appear when you look at your subject-matter as a whole. This, however, should be done in the last stages of your drawing. And in connection with finishing a drawing, here’s another pearl of wisdom worth sharing, which is:
  • Do not worry about the finish until the big shapes are right! – That is to say, leave refining the details for the very end. If you spend a lot of time on them in the earlier stages of your work, you risk having to erase them when you notice bigger problems with the overall shapes in your drawing (and you probably will notice them).

Finally, when it comes to erasing, here is the last piece of advice I would like to share with you and that is:

  • Don’t be precious about your work. – I know that’s hard, but if your work it needs fixing – fix it. I’ve heard about students having major meltdowns when teachers made them erase stuff that they spent a ton of time on. Understandably, this can be extremely frustrating. But remember, this is not about creating a masterpiece. It’s about learning the basics in order to be able to create one later.

Learning to See

Painters are often perceived as a category of people which possesses an intrinsic ability to see better and more than other people. And because they can see more and better, they are often seen as those who can show us beauty where we haven’t noticed it before.

Indeed, in their work, painters often reveal in a unique way and masterfully capture magic in simple things, variety in seemingly repetitive shapes, intricate play of light and shadow on their subject matter and, in general, the magnificence of nature that surrounds us – all of which might have previously gone unobserved.

From this steams the common belief that painters see things differently than others. Now, the question is: Do they really?

I would agree with those who claim that they do. But to clarify, I would add that visual artists see things differently not on some elusive metaphysical level, but in a very real way. And this in turn is the result of their artistic training.

Based on my experience so far, I can testify that artistic training is more about learning how to see than anything else. And, sure enough, as painters gradually train their eye to see differently, they become more proficient in capturing the subtleties of shapes, forms, tones, colors and values in the world around them. In that regard, learning how to see is the most important and most demanding aspect of artistic education.

Since seeing all one needs to see in order to draw and paint well is not easy, I would like to share with you some valuable advice I got along the way. These tips and tricks proved vital in enabling me to be a better observer and, consequently, to see and correct mistakes that I otherwise would not have noticed.

So, here they are:

  • Squint! – I know this sounds counterintuitive, but having your eyes wide open is actually not inductive to seeing and painting better. In fact, it can have quite the opposite effect, especially on a lay eye, because it will make you focus on details instead of the whole. Squinting in turn allows you to see the overall shapes, masses and tones more accurately. Most importantly, it allows you to see the compressed value range that you can reproduce in your drawing or painting. That’s why it’s often referred to as “the magic squint”.
  • Throw your eyes out of focus. – This is a trick used by artists for exactly the same purpose as squinting. Namely, having your eye unfocused can actually help you focus on the bigger picture and important elements, rather than the particulars. I should add that both squinting and throwing your eyes out of focus are especially important in the preliminary stages of your drawing/painting – when you are laying in the big shapes, delineating light from shadow and blocking the colors in.
  • Flick you eye back and forth (between your work of art and your subject matter). – In other words, compare all the time. If you strive towards accuracy in drawing and painting, this advice will be essential. This little trick, which should be repeated frequently and throughout the work process, allows you to see flaws in your drawing/painting, making it a lot easier to correct them.
  • Use a mirror. – When your eyes get tired, everything will start appearing to be fine with your work of art. The truth is, it’s probably far from it. For a reality check, use a small mirror, which will make the yet unnoticed problems with your drawing/painting jump right at you. Here’s my husband, Marc Dalessio, explaining how to do it:
  • Take breaks! – When I start painting or drawing, I tend to get completely consumed by it and forget about my basic needs. This is bad not only because one needs to drink, eat, rest and use the restroom from time to time in order to survive, but also because by working non-stop, without breaks, you will tire your eyes to the point where you can barely see anything anymore and you’ll start making mistakes. We all know that by working too hard for extended periods of time, both our productivity and the quality of work deteriorate. The same applies in painting. So by all means, do not repeat my mistake and do take frequent breaks. It will refresh your eyesight and help you produce better work.

I now leave you with a few examples of beautiful works of art, which depict seemingly ordinary scenes from life. I find they illustrate so well the ability of painters to see and portray the world around them in a unique way.



Claude Monet, The Road to Vetheuil



Edward Arthur Walton, Grandfather’s Garden



Isaac Levitan, March



John Singer Sargent, An Artist in His Studio



Frank Weston Benson, The Reader