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Italian Artisan Courses in Florence, Italy
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 l’eoil 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 artist’s 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 Vasari’s 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 Vasari’s rich and varied Grottesca (grotesque) ornamentation.

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

 Intro to Florentine Decorative Painting  Level: 1 | Hours: 20
Duration: Monday to Friday | Time: 9:00 to 13:00 | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Traditional and modern techniques for producing genuine Florentine artisan decorated panels

Course description:
Students are introduced to the processes involved in producing the traditional Florentine painted panels. During the course you will learn about:

- how to prepare wooden pieces for painting
- techniques for making a traditional gesso ground
- use of casein paints, lime paints, and ground pigments
- presentation on composition of ornament
- basic gilding techniques
- various finishing techniques with varnish or shellac
- antiquing, waxing and patina

The courses take place within the Florenceart.net 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.

Students explore the historical aspects of Italian arts and crafts and gain an understanding of the high quality materials and craftsmanship involved in the production of them. The course is meant to be inspirational as well as educational. 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 gilded and painted tray
-1 panel with simple two tone decoration
- several small panels with various finishes for wooden furniture
- 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.

 Intermediate/Advanced Decorative Painting  Level: 2,3 | Hours: 20
Duration: Monday to Friday | Time: 9:00 to 13:00 | Dates and prices

Example projects:


 
Simple techniques to help strengthen the most important aspects of effective decorative painting.

Course description:

This course is very useful for artists or decorators who would like to concentrate on specific aspects of decorative painting that will strengthen their work overall. Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Renaissance Italian masterworks to key their work to very high standard. We study examples of historical decorative painting cycles here in Florence, and spend studio time concentrating on the following important techniques:

- developing colour schemes for decorative work
- the rendering of form with decorative brushwork
- recreating historical Italian decorative styles

Learn techniques for walls panels and furniture:

Paints used are casein paints, and acrylics. Grounds used are gesso, both natural and synthetic, and Italian plaster.
Working with these different mediums allow students to understand the adjustments necessary when changing between work on walls, panels and furniture.

Projects:
1. Designing a colour palette: Using a picture reference we extract a colour palette and mix our own shades to make a simple ornament. We discuss how to expand this palette to a larger scale environment.
Time: 1 day
Materials: latex wall paints and acrylics

2. Rendering form with decorative brushwork: this exercise focuses on several ways of creating an effective illusion of depth and form in decorative painting in the most simple way possible. Starting from a study of antique roman wall paintings for simple examples of form in decoration, we progress to vases and drapery.
Time: 2 days
Materials: gesso ground casein paints

3. Grottesca (grotesque) ornament from the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence- Students are asked to visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, make sketches and take some and notes. Then at the studio we make a small decorative panel working with additional picture references to really absorb the style of this popular 16th century ornament:
Time: 2 days
Materials: Italian plaster ground, Casein paints
please note: the choice of Grottesca (grotesque) ornament is optional, students may choose a different style to study.

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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