Week 12 Milan Art Institute Mastery Program

Week 12 Milan Art Institute Mastery Program

Welcome to week 12 of my journey through the Milan Art Institute Mastery Program!

I can't believe it's been 12 weeks already. This week felt like it took forever, but I think that was my own fault, I took my time with some of the exercises. But overall, I had a lot of fun and learned a ton.

In the drawing component this week, we focused on foreshortening. We started off by drawing our own hand foreshortened, which was quite challenging. I had to really focus on measuring everything precisely and making sure I was capturing the correct angles. By the end of the second pose, my hand had shifted and I wasn't holding it in a foreshortened position anymore, so the drawing came out looking like a mashed potato. Oops!. But that's all part of the learning process, right?

After that, we did some practice sketches and a nice full drawing in graphite. I kind of messed up on the practice sketches and drew the wrong reference, so then I had to redo them and they took me much longer than the prescribed 20 minutes. But I really wanted to get them accurate so I could turn them into paintings later on. That took me another two days, further adding to how long it took me to get through the week. But I'm glad I put in the extra effort, because I think it really paid off in the end.

foreshortened charcoal drawing milan art institute mastery program review

In the painting component, we were working in alla prima, which is Italian for “at first attempt”, which is a technique where you paint wet-on-wet in one sitting. We started off by learning how to create shades of white, which was also an exercise I've done in art school before. But it's always good to revisit the basics and make sure you've got a solid foundation.

light pastel oil painting portrait milan art institute mastery program review

After that, we created a painting using only shades of black, which was really challenging. I had to really pay attention to the subtle differences in value and make sure I wasn't just painting everything one shade of black.

black panther oil painting milan art institute mastery program review

Then we worked with a limited color palette - mine was red. Every brushstroke I put down had to include some sort of shade of red. This was really fun and challenging at the same time. I didn't quite get to finish my panther in the allocated time, which was mostly because when I did my drawing, it wasn't totally accurate and I had to spend time fixing the shapes. This was much harder to do in alla prima than it would have been to just paint it correctly in the first place. But again, that's all part of the learning process.

tongue licking a rose oil painting milan art institute mastery program review

One thing I struggled with was not having the right detail brushes that I wanted and not having all the paints I would have liked. For the black-on-black painting, in order to get the lighter shades, you would simply start off with a really light color like radiant blue or radiant yellow and then add the slightest amount of black to it. But I didn't have any of those radiant colors, so I really just had to add a lot of white to my paints in order to lighten them up. This made the painting look right, but it wasn't really the exercise. Still, I learned a lot from the experience and I know what to look for next time.


Overall, I really enjoyed week 12. It was a nice break from all the intense learning and serious oil painting to have some fun and turn my drawings into mini paintings. I got to experiment with some ideas that have been bouncing around in my head and I'm excited to move on to part two.

Only two more weeks to go! It's been a wild ride so far, but I'm grateful for every moment of it.

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See the Paintings from the Mastery Program

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