Thursday, October 22, 2009

First Oil Painting

Okay, I maybe lying a little. I have done maybe 2 or 3 other little oil paintings with alkyd oil paints, but this is my first large painting with real oils and mediums. The painting itself is ... oh... In inches I want to say 25x30, I forgot the size in centimeters. The medium we used was a mixture of 2 parts linseed oil to 1 part stand oil, 1 part damaar varnish, and 1 part essence of turpentine. As far as the medium goes it's kind of nice because it dries a little slower than liquin, but it's a little too shiny for my taste, so maybe I could use less or just omit the damaar varnish in the mixture. So, ta-da! This is about the only this I've done this half of the semester that I really enjoy. I think I would like to do a little more work on the basket. Let me know what you think!


For me, this picture means heaven. The leather brown sketchbook is the one I'm keeping currently, and when you hold it you feel like you're an explorer recording untold lands- however, I've almost filled it. The second brown one is the moleskin sketchbook I got as part of the ArtHouse Co-op's Sketchbook Project. Here is an overview of what the sketchbook project is:

Sketchbooks offers a glimpse into an artist's life, which is why we want to make a publicly accessible library of sketchbooks that people can browse, peruse, and check out. We think that this sketchbook collection has the potential to open a new line of communication between the artist and the viewer, since the experience of making and viewing are both so personal. Anyone can sign up to receive a sketchbook. Before joining our permanent collection, sketchbooks will be exhibited at select galleries across the US.

You can check out more about The Sketchbook Project here:

The red leather sketchbook is one I just bought in a store down the road from my hostel called Lo Scrittioi- I wish you could feel this. It is the softest thing, and it feels so great to hold it in both of your hands and just grip it. It's fantastic. I feel a little like I'm cheating on my brown adventure sketchbook because I haven't filled it yet, but it just feels so good, and I knew I'd have to buy a leather sketchbook while I was here in Florence. To my brown adventure sketchbook's credit however, it does have nicer paper, although I would be able to do little watercolors in the red one as well. My mom got me the brown sketchbook from a lady who learned how to make them in Venice actually. In short, I just wanted to devulge a little of my geeky artistic side and show you all what I really love to spend my money and time on.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Some of you have been bugging me about sketches (ahem Walter!). But I decided it was finally a good idea to post them, seeing as how my blog is titled "Emily Crowley, Illustrator". Here are some from my gorgeous sketchbook. Unfortunately I've been writing in it more than drawing, and I've almost used it up! <:( I'm going to have to get another one. I'm sold on it now. Leather cover and handmade paper goodness... mmm ice cream is to kids as this leather book is to Emily. Anyway, here's what I've got in there!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Secret Michelangelo!

Today I saw the Michelangelo fresco sketches! Tom and I met my renowned fresco teacher Lorenzo at 7:35am and then we walked the block away from the restoration labs to the Capella Medici. Lorenzo Casamenti has been played a large part in restoration here in Florence over the years. He has no family, but he is like a wonderful loving grandfather to everyone, his only true love being art I suppose. He has helped restore many of the frescoes that were damaged during the large flood Florence had many years back, and he continues to be a presence here and elsewhere in the world for restoration. When we walk with him down the street, people know him, and respond to him very fondly. I would really like to take this time to thank him once again from the bottom of my heart for taking me to see these special sketches. Grazie mile Lorenzo!
Anyway, so we enter the Capella Medici (which is right across from this great sandwich place where you can get any five items on some great bread for only 3,50 euro! Stuff like eggplant, peccorino cheese, sundried tomatoes, pear, artichoke, smoked beef, turkey, anything!)We passed large spacious rooms with artwork hanging, and sculptures and elaborate relequaries. We passed the absolutely astounding Chapel inside- the stone inlay was absolutely incredibly, and the frescoed dome ceiling was stunning. We walked further into the building, past a room full of Michelangelo sculptures. We then entered this little room that looked like a broom closet was a long narrow wooden door on the floor. Lorenzo opened it up, and there were stairs leading down to this secret room! The secret room was long and had a rounded ceiling and one tiny window. All over the walls were sketches in charcoal done on wet plaster- Michelangelo sketches! One was of a statue he carved later which is actually in the Capella Medici that the public can see. Another was a sketch for the Sistine chapel. Mike was in Florence for around 3 weeks at this point because the Pope had made him so angry that he abandoned the Sistine chapel project, but then things smoothed out and he went back to work. The greatest sketch though was of two faces, above a beautiful almost full figure of a man, and they were really ugly cartoon looking people with big noses. I like to think maybe Mike didn't really care for the Medici family because they dictated everything in Florence like the Pope did in Rome, and maybe he was making fun of them by drawing cartoons. It just warmed my heart that the master had a sense of humor, and wasn't always serious. So I got to touch the sketches because fresco, once hardened, is very resistant to all sorts of things, so I could touch the charcoal marks and they wouldn't go anywhere. It was kind of like if you got to touch Jesus' robes... yeah, for an artist, it was kind of like that. I was overwhelmed. It was just so revealing of the man himself, and I felt transported. Lorenzo said that he and a team of other restoration experts uncovered this room about 30 years ago. They used to let the public in, but then the director decided it was too risky, what with everyone touching the walls, eventually the oils of their hands would hurt it. Even Colin Powell wanted to see it, but he had a team of about 30 other people, so the director told him it was under restoration. Colin Powell doesn't get to see it, but I get to. I was so happy.