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Thinking back to Florence

Going to Florence was not initially a long foreseen part of the 365 challenge. I booked the tickets a few months before I started drawing daily and it just so happened that I managed to incorporate 5 days of painting in Florence into my routine.

I don't how many of you are familiar with the work of Cesar Santos, but I knew that if I was to learn a few skills in portrait painting, he would be the guy to do it. It was an expensive venture at the time and I went there with a mindset to extract every possible benefit I could get my hands on. I must say I was a tad deluded thinking that somehow the trip was going to change my whole life and that I would come out of that studio knowing exactly what and how. I was determined to do well and that obviously followed with a fair amount of stress and self doubt. I know it was stupid to think likely, but it was important to me. 

As I sat through the first few minutes of the lecture on the process of painting a portrait I realized why exactly I was there and that I couldn't be in a better place to do it.

This trip wasn't just about learning how to paint. Ever since I started the challenge I was making every single step on my own from the confinement of my living room. Of course there were a few followers on Instagram who often commented on my drawings and indeed those supporting colleagues at work and my darling wife. What I experienced in Florence was a true artistic freedom as I envisioned it. The studio was spacious and filled with creative air, those large windows alone looking out into the cobbled street with people chattering and an occasional horse cart swooping by was a source of inspiration. Our group got on very well with each other and I've never in my life talked so much about art. We all seemed to follow the same artists and the conversation never seemed to run dry. I've met some amazing people from different backgrounds. And we all came to Florence for the same reason - to learn, to get better, and to enjoy the experience.

Being in Florence made me think a lot about my art and my life in general. There was a moment when we were all vising the Angel academy where Cesar Santos trained himself. We were just talking to one of the students and I couldn't help but imagine myself in his place learning how to become a master. The image was intriguing...but do I want go through the same hardships, to commit three years of my life to this cause? Will it bring success? I didn't know the answers and I still don't know few months later. All I know for now is that I need to follow my own path and to enjoy every minute of it. Otherwise what's the point of pursuing this big dream of being an artist?

P.S. I want to thank Cesar Santos for his patient and insightful tuition, my wife for letting me go on this trip of self-discovery, Laura and Frank who kindly accommodated us in their wonderful studio, and of course all those fellow students I've met who made the experience a grand venture.