I had really really wanted to visit Italy and do a painting course for as long as I can remember. I felt a connection to Italy and always thought it was the kind of place I would love!!! I’m crazy about classical Renaissance art and I adore Italian architecture, historical Roman mythology and not to mention pizza, pasta and gelato!!!! Bingo! It has always been my dream destination.
Last year, I got fed up of dreaming and decided I wanted to pursue my adventure by hook or by crook so I looked up some short courses to do over the summer. I settled on the Michelangelo institute in Florence, which is primarily for languages but they have a seperate art building with an array of art courses too. It was an AMAZING experience!!!!! I had always been keen to learn art exactly in the same way the artistic master painters at the time did and since I was hungry for something different, I chose the two week Ancient painting technique course, which specialised in traditional Tempera Italian painting.
Tempera paint is a permanent fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium (usually a glutinous material such as egg yolk or some other size). Tempera paintings are very long lasting, and examples from the 1st centuries AD still exist. Egg tempera was a primary method of painting until after 1500 when it was superseded by the invention of oil painting. This method is very long and laborious.We had to start completely from scratch, manually stretching out the canvas on a wooden panel and mixing the tempura pigment powder with an egg mixture. What’s interesting about this is that you have to paint the artwork in layers as the paint is made in such a way as you cannot mix the colours together, you need to paint several coats, eventually building it up and making it richer and richer. (Kinda like photoshop!!!!) The piece de resistance( or in layman’s terms “the fun bit”) of this experience was adding the gold leaf right at the end, to give that really authentic look! Here are some photos of me creating my replica of a famous Botticelli painting, from painting the layers to adding gold leaf!!! I threw in a few photos of me and my very beautiful glamorous sister soaking in the wonderful sights!!! (Couldn’t resist)
Let’s not forget the DELICIOUS pasta!!!! Just look at how HAPPY I am about it …
I would highly recommend the Michelangelo Institute for anyone who is contemplating a painting course abroad! You even have the option of mixing in language courses alongside art courses and being taught in Italian!!! How cool is that?!! My experience had been extremely enjoyable and someday I plan to visit again, hopefully for a much much longer 6 month course!!!!