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Italian Artisan Courses in Florence, Italy
Specialized Decorative Painting courses

Courses list | Schedule & fees | How to register | About the teachers | Accommodation

These courses each have a specific focus for decorative painters who wish to learn an historical style or concentrate on a particular technique. They can be requested as private lessons or incorporated as part of a customized course.

 Ornamental Landscape  Level: 2 | Hours: 20
Duration: Monday to Friday | Time: 9:00-13:00 | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Practice how to make an ornamental landscape to insert into a cartouche or decorative scheme

Course description:

Learn how to make quick yet effective and very expressive small landscapes. These can be used as complements to a chiaroscuro trompe líeoil decorative scheme, on furniture, or as separate small paintings in their own right.
Techniques covered:
how to prepare grounds for painting
how to construct a landscape, foreground, middle ground and distance
use of casein paints
composition and use of colour
study of 16th and 17th century Italian landscapes, 18th and 19th century French styles
various finishing techniques with varnish or shellac
antiquing, waxing and patina

The courses take place within the Florenceart studio, a working art studio producing Florentine decoration for furniture and walls for the international interior design industry. Students can observe and learn from their surroundings as well as from the teaching. See our work spaces.

All levels are welcome. Teaching is in English or Italian. The group size is limited to a maximum of 8 participants per course.

Projects per student:
1 monochromatic small landscape on a wooden panel
1 full colour small landscape on primed canvas panel
extra sample panels can be produced according to speed and desire of individual students to explore new techniques under the guidance of the teacher.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work. Read more about Alison

 Chinoiserie Panel  2 day weekend course | Level: 1,2 | Hours: 1666
Duration: Saturday to Sunday | Time: 9:00-17:30 | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Course objectives:
Become familiar with this elegant European style used for furniture and wall coverings
learn to work with materials for wooden panels and furniture
learn important elements of composition for a decorative panel
learn simple techniques for the use of gold leaf in chinoiserie
make two samples of chinoiserie ornament

About the course:
This course deals with the whimsical Chinoiserie style popular in Europe since the 17th century. The style developed when Europeans, intrigued by the exotic east, created imagery of an imaginary China in this decorative style. We explore the rich colours, shiny finished surfaces and gilt accents of this style while creating two lovely panels as samples to take away from the course. One sample is on a wooden board and the other is on canvas.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work. Read more about Alison

 Italian Column or Pilaster ornament  weekend course | Level: 1,2 | Hours: 16
Duration: Friday 14:00-18:00, Saturday 9:00-17:30, Sunday 9:00-13:00
(on request the course can be changed to full days Saturday and Sunday) | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Course objectives:
Become familiar with Italian styles of painted decoration for pilasters.
Learn to work with materials for wall decoration
Learn to create a harmonious scale of colours and shades
Learn use of stencils in combination with hand painting
Make a fabulous sample of pilaster ornament on easily transportable canvas, which can then be installed in any interior.

About the course:
This intensive course focuses on one aspect of applied decoration: The decorated column or pilaster, a common motif for the decorative artistís portfolio. By creating an example piece, students have a hands-on opportunity to understand the historical aspects of creating this type of decoration , the techniques involved in executing it and its many modern applications.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work. Read more about Alison

 Composition of Ornament  Level: 2 | Hours: 20
Duration: Monday to Friday | Time: 14:00-18:00 | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Course objectives:
Become well versed in historical styles of ornament
learn to compose and adapt freehand ornament
Train your eye to create balance and flow in decorative schemes
Use colour effectively within a composition

About the course:
The decorative painter is often called upon to create decorative ornament that is site specific. Style, weight, colour, composition and subject matter all must be considered. This course deals very much with the planning stages involved in effectively realizing freehand decoration within given parameters.
The course consists in a carefully considered series of exercises focusing on gaining a greater facility in working with composition and adaptation of ornament. The course commences with a presentation on historical styles of ornament. Students can also take advantage of being in Florence to view and document various famous historical decorative schemes in person. The studio sessions are taught by Alison Woolley, experienced decorative painter and teacher, owner of Florenceart.net.
The initial exercises involve charcoal drawing techniques. The final exercises involve limited use of colour in painted decoration.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work. Read more about Alison

 Florentine Panel  weekend course | Level: 1,2 | Hours: 16
Duration: Friday 14:00-18:00, Saturday 9:00-17:30, Sunday 9:00-13:00
(on request the course can be changed to full days Saturday and Sunday) | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Course objectives:
create a beautifully decorated carved wooden wall plaque
learn antique decorative techniques for wooden panels and furniture
learn to make gesso and gilders bole
learn to apply gold leaf
explore Florentine motifs and colour combinations
learn techniques for creating an antique patina

About the course:
Starting with an unfinished carved wooden plaque we teach the traditional procedures for applying a gesso base, gilders bole and a small gilded border, then add a painted and antiqued decorative motive in the center. There is much scope for individual colour, finish and design choices within this project.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work. Read more about Alison

 Grottesca (grotesque) Ornament  Level: 2,3 | Hours: 20
Duration: Monday to Friday | Time: 9:00-13:00 or 14:00-18:00 | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Course objectives:
Become familiar with famous Italian style of "Grottesca (grotesque)" ornament and learn its history.
learn to work with materials for wall decoration and for wooden panels.
create a rich and harmonious colour palette
make a two or three sample panels of Grottesca (grotesque) ornament for your portfolio

About the course:
This intensive course focuses on one aspect of painted decoration: The decorative style called "Grottesca (grotesque)" that characterizes many famous interiors in Florence and Rome. Grottesca (grotesque) decoration is a renaissance style which takes its name from the grottos, or archaeological digs, which took place in renaissance times. These excavations unearthed richly decorated antique Roman interiors, specifically the villa of Nerone, The Domus Aurea, excavated in Rome in 1480. The artists of the day were so taken by this lively and versatile decorative style that they incorporated it immediately in their commissioned works. Raphael decorated the Logge of the Vatican in this style and later in Florence, Vasari's workshop decorated the Palazzo Vecchio with Grottesca (grotesque) motifs. The style is infinitely adaptable and is fun for artists because it is fresh, colourful, and contains many unexpected amusing elements.

Florence Museum itinerary for Grottesca (grotesque) decoration:
Palazzo Vecchio Firenze: http://www.museicivicifiorentini.it/palazzovecchio/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_Vecchio
The seat of civic power in Florence since the 13th century, this palace is an important stop on a Grottesca (grotesque)-viewing tour. The museum on the first floor allows visitors an up-close view of the Grottesca (grotesque) decorations executed by Vasariís workshop in the 16th century. The courtyard is also a good place to view Grottesca (grotesque) ornamentation, though the work is badly worn due to exposure to the elements.
Uffizi Gallery: http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/english/uffizi/
Never mind the masterpieces in the gallery rooms, you can spend your time in the hallways looking up at the decorated ceilings, viewing more of Vasariís rich and varied Grottesca (grotesque) ornamentation.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work. Read more about Alison

 Floral and Polychrome Ornament  Level: 2,3 | Hours: 20 to 30
Duration: Monday to Friday | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Course description:
This course focuses on the effective use of a varied colour palette and confident, free flowing decorative painting when composing and executing floral motifs and ornament. During the course we focus on completing two sample panels, either on a wooden or canvas base, depending on the preference of the student. The ornamental motifs are based on historical models and we try to maintain a fresh and spontaneous quality in the painting. Paints and grounds are water based.

Subjects covered:
Making grounds
Casein paints, tempera paints
Choosing a colour palette, blending colours
Historical polychrome ornament
Historical botanical illustration
Simple composition of ornament
Transferring the design
Brushstroke and shading
Finishes and Patinas

Projects per student:
1 polychromatic rinceaux ornamental panel
1 full colour floral ornament
extra sample panels can be produced according to speed and desire of individual students to explore new techniques under the guidance of the teacher.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work.

 Painting and Incising on Gold Leafed Grounds  Level: 2 | Hours: 20
Duration: Monday to Friday | Time: 14:30-18:30| Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Make beautiful glittering works of art incised in gold.

Course description:
This course teaches you several truly beautiful and historically correct methods for decorating gilded surfaces. The techniques learned are useful to create exquisite quality decoration for furniture, frames and panels, and as a starting point to learn techniques useful in antique restoration.

Techniques covered:
traditional preparation of gesso and bole for gold leafed surfaces
water gilding with real gold leaf
burnishing and punch work or "bulinatura" as seen on Italian altar panels and museum frames
scratched pattern or "sgraffito" work common on renaissance frames
use of casein paints and egg tempera for painting on gilded surfaces
composition and use of colour
study of 16th and 17th century Italian landscapes, 18th and 19th century French style
antiquing, waxing and patina


Projects per student:
1 small gilded, incised and decorated panel
1 small frame, gilded and decorated according to the taste of the individual participant.
extra sample panels can be produced according to speed and desire of individual students to explore new techniques under the guidance of the teacher.

Instructor: Alison Woolley. View Alison's work. Read more about Alison
 
Courses listt | Schedule & fees | How to register | About the teachers | Accommodation

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