I recently got back from a month long trip to Italy where I both studied and created art. I was invited by other artist friends to apply for an artist residency in Tuscany where we would stay in a beautiful old villa making art and visiting surrounding areas for research and inspiration. The objective of the trip was to immerse myself into art....going to museums and churches seeking out the works of the great masters.
We spent six days in Rome, then took up our residency in Tuscany just outside the small town of Buonconvento (south of Sienna) . In our Tuscan villa we were focused on making art. The question is always....well, what do I paint? this is always a dilemma. I was in a foreign country, with different surroundings and different influences. Before I started this drawing I had spent many days looking at ancient Greek and Roman sculptures in Rome and Florence so sculpture was definitely on the mind. I was drawn to a particular marble frieze in the Vatican museum which was situated right next to one of the most famous Roman sculptures of Apollo. The pose of the woman in the frieze captured my attention...it was pure beauty and grace. The movement of the drapery swirling around her as well as the placement of the hands compelled me. The power of the human body with all its sensitivity of shape and form almost brought me to tears. Art does have the ability to strike a hearts string stopping us in our tracks, forcing us to take a breath and contemplate the image in our immediate gaze.
I spent many hours rendering each fold of the fabric, and just as long trying to get her hands just right. It was her hands on the sculpture that first caught my attention and I wanted them to be just as graceful in my drawing of them. This piece is my best drawing from the trip and conveys so much of what my mind walked away with from the visual roller coaster of art that is Italy. Maybe I could even go as far as to say that this is a self portrait of me finding my way through the vast and extravagant history of art, paying my homage to all the greats that have created art before me.