Let's do this chronologically (or as close as I can get. I don't quite remember what came before what all the time)
The very first day we painted, we were taken to one of the busiest places in the city. It was...daunting. The fact that I was used to working on canvases nearly as tall as myself and was now restricted to 14''x20'' paper rectangles didn't help.
Or that I had become emotionally distanced from my work in the last class I had taken. This is only important because the moment of reconnection was a huge breakthrough for me later in the class.
Second day of painting. We were supposed to head up to the Piazza de Michelangelo. Instead, it rained and we ended up on the steps of the Pitti Palace. Then we got yelled at by a curator or director or some other sort of fellow who ran the place. We left very quickly after that.
At last! The Piazza de Michelangelo. My professor and I both agreed that I should have stopped working on this one way before the end of class. There is such a thing as overworking!
Speaking of overworking...I covered this one in paint so quickly (whole thing in about ten minutes at the beginning of class) that everything else I tried to do later turned to mud. So I scraped it off and tried again. I did that probably 15 times in 3 hours. Looking at it now, I really like the atmosphere and depth of it, but at the time I was just frustrated out of my skull.
The Piazza de Santa Spirito. Still overworking the paint, but I started to let thinner washes and the paper show through in patches. A lot of people aren't fans of leaving the raw canvas (or paper or whatever) showing through, but I've always through that when done well it creates a positive texture contrast.
These were both done the same day. Theresa kept telling me to slow down, make rules for myself, and maybe even bring multiple surfaces to work on in a single session. So I did all three of those. I can't even begin to describe how much of a difference it made to me. Painting suddenly felt right again.
We didn't have time for a group critique that day, which is why I think my next one surprised so many people.
Orange and Blue! Favorite of favorites, even though somehow most of my paintings either come out purple or green. There was very little on-canvas color mixing in this one, which for me is highly unusual. Wherever possible I restricted it to adding more white to an area, and that ways it. I also got to play with filling in organic shapes with solid graphic shapes, which was a very meditative process. I had only ever done it once before on a piece called 'Grand Theft Chicken,' which was not very well received by my teacher of the time. Very glad I went back to it.
Venice! The first day in Venice! Absolutely fantastically wonderful, all of it.
The painting is ok.
This is one of my absolute favorite images of the trip. I wish all these pictures had come out truer to the actual image, but with this one I wish it the most (Well, maybe I wish it more for the next piece, but it's a close thing.) I love the graceful architecture of the city, and getting the opportunity to just...do this. Ah! Venice, why are you so amazing?
Back to Florence, to an outdoor museum. We weren't allowed to paint or use charcoal, so this was all done in my favorite .7 lead mechanical pencil, and then when I got back to my apartment I added some ink (.3 monowidth pen, if I remember correctly) and watercolor (winsor and newton travel set.) This is really one that you have to see in person, but you get the gist of it maybe?
Our final piece. It was hot, I was sunburned, and there was ABSOLUTELY NO SHADE. We were near the train station and everyone was miserable. I didn't really...end on a good note. But I did start to work the paint thicker on this one, and I do think that that was a good idea. Contrast! Texture! All that jazz!
If you are interested in seeing some of these in real life, I am putting together an exhibition at the Kresge Art Center for everyone who went on the trip. We will be in gallery 114 from September 27th to October 8th. More on that to come, no doubt.