Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wexford's Art in the Open

It took me 2 years to get here. The timing was really bad last year (2015) that coincided with a workshop that I was assisting in Florence. Same for this year too with the Repin Academy workshop ending on 29 July, but I decided to leave the workshop 2 days early and slip into Art in the Open (AITO). The instructors and professors at Repin were extremely upset I had to leave early, but I wasn't going to sit and wait for 2017's AITO!

After 21 hours of travel and 3 plane rides, I arrived drained in Dublin International. I wasn't quite there yet. I headed for Zone 14 at the Airport (near a church) where I catch the hourly Wexford Bus.  The last stretch is 3 hour scenic journey by bus. Thank goodness I wasn't driving! At precisely 9pm, I made my way to the T. Morris Bar for Day 3's BBQ Night. It was a grand welcome with 2 hamburgers and a couple of sausages! :) I was famished. 

I began the festival proper on Day 4. 

Schedule of AITO 2016

Participants check in at Passage East and get their canvases stamped for the Paint Out

There were at least 150 over painters in this year's festival. This was my morning piece.
See me sketch live!! 

Signs throughout tell onlookers what's going on

It's another 90 mins to 5pm (when the bus picks us up) to head back to Wexford

Day 5: Workshop with Marc Delassio at Curracloe Beach. A scene from Saving Private Ryan was shot here.

Back to Wexford to stock up in everybody's favourite Art Shop - Spectrum

 Tony and Trish run the shop and they have some of the most interesting finds

Saturday was Quick Draw. About 76 of us took part in this.

They just remind me of the Corrs... 

The crew preparing for the exhibition in the town Old Library

In between paintings, I'd be documenting the town in ink. Love this building called the Greenacres Restaurant which serves food and has an art gallery too.

I love Premier's Fish and Chips - sold this sketch.

When in Ireland... 


Here's a sketch at live at one of the pubs in Wexford.

Great painting locations (minus the July rains), great people, great art. I definitely would like to return here God-willing. It's just that many things happen during the summer so I have to choose wisely. If you are interested in Plein Air and whether you ink, oil, watercolour or pencil, this festival is worth getting to.  Google search "Art in the Open, Wexford."

For more of my daily oil postings, go here:

For more of my daily ink sketches, go here:

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Other Side of St Petersburg (Part 2)

There was definitely a lot to experience during my 4 weeks in SPB! So much that I have 4 posts on it: 2 about the Repin Academy, and the other 2 about everything else outside school. :) I've tried to keep the tons of images and stories here to a minimum. 

The colourful and pretty Matryoshka dolls found all over town! 

My favourite drink from the vending machine - Kvass (KBAC)
Some people like it, some don't. Definitely an acquired taste.

More local pancakes and crepes made by my wonderful host. :)

I watched the National Armenian Symphony perform as part of the White Nights festival.

Stumbled into the Soviet Union Arcade Games Museum. This became my favourite place to drop by every weekend to sketch. 

2 floors containing about 60 over vintage arcade machines.

And then I was introduced to the Russian honey watercolours! It gorgeously flows!! 

Using my new watercolours while my friends dined... 

One of my favourite oil sketches from the trip.

The clip is a jazz cruise that I went with my classmates. 

For my daily art postings, do visit:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Repin Academy, St Petersburg (Part 2)

The Repin Academy went through several phases including the Russian Revolution and its name went through a few changes too since its founding in 1757. Some examples of these names are The Imperial Academy of Arts, St Petersburg Academy of the Arts and The Russian Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. Since 1991, it's been called the St Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. More of the history of the academy can be wikied here:

The International students for the summer programme used an atelier that was once occupied by Ilya Repin himself. We were told that the ceiling, walls and floor did not go through much upgrading since the time of Repin, so that his spirit may live on in this space and those who dwell in it.

From the top of the stairs at the the entrance of the room where Repin and his family stayed while he worked below (as seen here).

Here's a sketch I did during the model breaks over a couple of days

My instructor Mikail and I debating over Italian style versus Russian

Another sketch during a lecture

This is the Michelangelo room in the cast museum. During the reign of Catherine the Great (who was a major patron of the academy), the crème de la crème were sent to Italy to learn their techniques. 

Rembrandt has 4 rooms at the Hermitage, and has a larger collection than the Hermitage in Amsterdam. 

One of my favourite pieces at the Russian State Museum - Phryne at the Festival of Poseidon in Eleusis by Henryk Simieradzki (Polish)

A special drawing room which we were allowed into

This is Lyudmila, who cleans up after all of us.

Our lovely models for the entire month! 

The final line up for the evaluation

A certificate presented to me by the vice rector of the academy - Andrey Sklyarenko

And finally, the awarding of the certificate.

The short 4 week immersion programme allowed me to counter-check where I am in the whole scheme of things. It expanded my palette because I was painting in natural light. Before I mostly paint under artificial lighting unless I'm outdoors. I also got insight to how Russians think and their method of doing things. And of course, I met many talented artists from around the world. In the next  few months, I'll be sifting and filtering out what I like from the both the Italian and Russian style. Looking forward to making more art! 

If you are interested in this summer programme for the following year, google "2017, Summer, Repin Academy" and that should lead you to a blog.  There are 2 sessions each year: one in June, and the other July. Have a good portfolio ready for screening and you might just find your way to this fine institution soon someday. 

Here's a great video on the instruction given during the summer school

For daily postings:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Other Side of St Petersburg (Part 1)

There was so much to do in the city of St Petersburg... so much that I didn't have time to train to Moscow.  I arrived during the time of the White Nights. And because St Petersburg is so high up in latitude (similar to Oslo, Norway), from around late May to early July, the sky never get dark. A dream for plein air painters! :) The White Nights festival organised by the city's administration hold numerous night-time events like symphony concerts, operas, classical ballet, plays, etc. I was fortunate to have gone for some of these cultural after school events.

Here's an example of how bright it is during the raising of the city bridges at 1:25am, July 9. 

I started a sketch around 11pm, and it was still bright enough to paint.
If you purchase this sketch, I'll throw in the bugs free of charge. ;) 

The weather, like in many parts of the world globalcoughwarming, is erratic. You carry an umbrella or a rain coat with you at ALL times. 

When the summer sun is out, it's just priceless. Many locals get out and bask under the sun. 

Catching a glimpse of a rainbow on St Isaac's Cathedral while heading for a symphony concert.

This is at the park right next to school.

Every single non-rainy day, you'd find me outside practising my craft. This one's behind the Russian State Museum.

Plenty of artists are scattered throughout the city. Many of whom have or are studying at the Repin Academy. This is Alexander Ivanov who graduated from the Academy in 1990. He paints this cathedral every single day. 

Home made bliny. It's like a pancake. And the Russians love their sour cream on everything. 

Finding the time to sketch while having a latte. The coffee is the most popular drink in Russia. What did you think it was?  :)  See the sketch in progress here:

5th Sunday after Pentecost. Feast day procession just outside the prettiest looking cathedral in the city.

How can I not paint this Cathedral?

Here's river tour to understand why are there so many bridges in the city.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Repin Academy, St Petersburg (Part 1)

I was grateful to have participated in a summer workshop conducted at the Repin Academy (also known as the Imperial Arts Academy) in Saint Petersburg. This public academy not only teaches painting, but Design and Architecture too. The journey there was a fairly long one and was glad that my easel and other art materials made it there in one piece.

In the 4 week programme, we worked on:
1) a Portrait in Graphite
2) a Portrait in Oils
3) a Full Figure in Graphite
and a Full Figure in Oils

Including that were 2 lectures by Professor and Head of the Drawing Department, Vladimir Mogilevtstev, 2 museum field trips (Russian State and the Hermitage), and a trip to the Peterhof Winter Palace. 

Here are some of the highlights in pictures:

One of the few exhibition halls they have in the Academy showcasing current students' works

Quick colour study sketch of a full figure painting I did

With Professor Mogilevtsev, author of the Fundamentals of Drawing and Painting books.
For those interested:

Fundamentals of Drawing

We we allowed to visit special rooms in the academy. One of them is the Anatomy Lab.
So Harry Potter! :)

Busy studying a portrait with graphite

During the model breaks, I would be sketching class scenes

My classroom is 5 storeys up. Here's a look at my lunch break on a typical day.