The Fundamentals – A Gallery of Student Work

Testimonial: Fay from Greece

A review from a student who came to study with me last Fall, 2018. Thank you, Fay!

Video Highlights from the Renaissance Retreat, September 2018

Video Highlights from the Renaissance Retreat, May 2018

A look at the week-long oil painting workshop held at Castello di Potentino in Tuscany.

The Providence of Fundamentals – Learning to Draw Before You Paint Pays Dividends

This story is a tribute to new students of mine who brought with them some rare commodities—courage and tenacity.  The story goes like this:

Prior to the end of 2016 I had received several requests for a drawing class.  “I want the basics,” they said, and that made me more than happy.  Rare it is to find these days a beginner who understands how important it is to start at the beginning, let alone several, unrelated, at the same time.  (To be clear, painting is not the beginning, drawing is.)

So I obliged and offered a course I called Fundamentals, Parts I and II: Drawing and Painting the Still-Life.  The first day was a great success (or so I thought).  It was February 4th, 2017, there were five students, and three had paid the registration fee, which implied they were committed to the class.  I did a demo on how to start, then each assembled a simple still-life and got to work.

As the weeks passed, the numbers dwindled.  Subject matter just not sexy enough?  Something else?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that the student who stayed with it—Yana, a talented and strong-minded Siberian—produced a beautiful still-life in graphite.  Here is a gallery of her effort:

But this story isn’t just about Yana.  It’s also about Livia.

Livia came late to the course at the beginning of March when only Yana remained.  I had already gotten to know Livia from the Figure Drawing class I held on Thursday evenings.  After a couple of weeks of figure drawing she asked me if she could attend any other class so she could put in more time.  I told her about the Fundamentals class and said she could join it on one condition: you stick with it to the end.  She agreed.

Much to my delight, she kept her word.  By the end of March, she was the only one. (Yana had left to visit the homeland.)

Livia’s development was a joy to see from week to week, which you can witness for yourself in the gallery below.  In light of the fluid world we live in today, it is most comforting—nay, most relieving—to be reminded that some understanding and practice of basic principles are ever pillars of reward.  I am especially pleased with what she was able to accomplish with the painting.  Could it have been thus without some knowledge of drawing?  Perhaps.  But rather than count on providential intervention during a baptism-by-fire painting experience, I’d prefer to see more like her have the courage to tackle the fundamentals first.

So this story is to say “thank you” to Livia and Yana for seeing the strength in the basics and sticking with it.

Brave!  Sono orgoglioso di tutte e due.

Timothy Allen
Founder and Director
The Painting and Drawing Art Studio of Rome

Painting En Plein Air Along the Tiber

This past Monday I had the pleasure to do a private lesson with Shiri and Dan from Jerusalem along the Tiber.  It was Shiri’s first time painting with oils, so I was most impressed with her result.  Thank you, Dan, for sending the pictures and thank you, Shiri, for writing a quick note:

Dear Tim,  Thank you so much for a fascinating lesson; I learned a lot and enjoyed it very much.  It was a great experience to draw with you on site at the Castel Sant’Angelo bridge.  It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope to meet you again someday.  With gratitude,  Shiri

If you too are interested in a private plein air lesson in painting in Rome, please contact me.

Summer Portrait Painting in Louisville, Kentucky

It was really good to be home in Kentucky this July to spend time with my parents and a plus that I could do some portrait sessions with neighbors Geetha (the painter) and Remy (the model).  My thanks to the both of them. (Photos below by family resident star photographer, Dad.)

A note to those who were on the trip to Rocca Calascio this past summer: I tried a birch wood panel for this portrait and have found it much more to my liking than I did the wood panels that we had used.  I should also note that I did use a primer on the wood panel that was oil-based and not acrylic.  Determining if that in an of itself made the difference will require further experiments.

In Puglia as I write this.  Looking forward to returning to Rome and starting yet another season of PADASOR.

I’m hoping to post the schedule for Fall 2015 by the end of August, so stay tuned.

Finally, if any of you were in my Figure Drawing class at the end of the Spring session in 2014, you might remember a girl from Sweden named Saga (In fact, if you were there, I defy you to forget her).  I’ve just posted to my own website and look at the two nights I had last year to paint her portrait.  I invite you to have a look.



Review of Rocca Calascio, 2015

Our second trip in three years to Rocca Calascio was another mix of great company, the cucina divina of Abruzzo, sublime vistas and the gracious hospitality of all at the Rifugio della Rocca.

My sincere thanks to:  Ludovica, Roberto, Daniela, Spass, Victoria, Kristin, James, Ruby, Mo and Oliver!

Pictures and video below.