colourful portrait of a woman with purple hair wearing a blue sweater portrait artist in melbourne

Week 21 Milan Art Institute Mastery Program

Week 21 was a Rollercoaster of Emotions

Hey there, I'm back with another blog post about my exhilarating (or not so exhilarating) journey through the Milan Art Institute Mastery Program.

Now, I have to confess—it's been a couple of weeks since I completed week 21. Procrastination and overwhelm got in the way, and it took me a while to sit down and gather my thoughts. But luckily, I’ve got a two-week break right now so I haven’t yet fallen behind.

Let's dive in!

Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster

I'm going to be real with you. The past couple of weeks have been a bit rough. I've been in this strange funk where I don't feel like painting, getting out of bed, or doing much of anything. I think something is bubbling up from deep within my subconscious, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I feel restless, yet also incredibly lazy.

I've even questioned whether I'm cut out to be a painter.

But you know what? I've come to realise that these emotional rollercoasters are all part of the war of art that many artists face.

It's like a rite of passage, signalling that my art is about to make a leap forward or that I am on the verge of growth. Interestingly, Elli, mentioned in a video that most students go through a strong emotional reaction around this time. Some are ecstatic and in love with the process, while others, like me, feel a bit down and frustrated. It's like we're all on this crazy emotional ride together.

Maybe it's a sign that exciting things are just around the corner?

Exploring Collage and Unleashing Colors

During week 21, we dove into the infinite possibilities of collage. I experimented with two different approaches; in one piece, I tossed collage materials together randomly, without any specific intention of how they would complement the composition. The outcome was okay, although a lot of the collage was lost under so many layers of paint.

portrait of a woman wearing a pink and purple sweater

On the other piece, I meticulously cut out shapes to match the composition. That one incorporated some cyanotype papers I had from a previous project, and they looked amazing! But, alas, as I added layers of acrylic and oils, the delicate cyanotype got buried beneath the paint. Nevertheless, I went all out with vibrant colours in these artworks embracing my ‘Power Impact’ temperament. I must say, I'm totally digging the purple hair (but that’s not surprise, I’m always digging purple hair)!

Although, I can't help but second guess myself and wonder if it's a bit too bold for anyone to hang in their home?

colourful portrait of a woman with purple hair on yellow blue background

Theme Building

Now, here's where things got really interesting. I tackled the concept of building themes in my art. We were asked to brainstorm about ten categories of subject matter that we genuinely enjoy painting. After five months of brushing strokes on canvas, I had a good sense of what tickled my artistic fancy.

Turns out, I'm drawn to painting women—specifically, their portraits and busts. I like to portray them with colourful hair, making direct eye contact, boldness, and a hint of confrontation. Tattoos and piercings often adorne these fierce ladies. If they're not peering right at you, they're often deep in thought, lost in their own complex inner world. On the flip side, there are specific ways in which I really don’t want to portray my women. Nudes, submissiveness, and overt-sexualization and the male gaze don't really float my boat.

By understanding these preferences, I'm starting to shape the themes in my art and develop my unique style. While exploring these themes, I realised that I could build an entire series of paintings around just one category.

The possibilities suddenly seemed endless. I could spend years pouring my heart and soul into these ideas, one canvas at a time.

As I wrap up week 21 of the Milan Art Institute Mastery Program, I'm grateful for the way this program has led me into a deeper understanding of myself, and my art. Yeah, I’m going through a funk and questioning my passion for painting, but it's all part of the artistic journey.

Through theme building, I'm slowly uncovering my artistic voice and the subjects that truly resonate with me. The idea of delving deeper into these themes and creating an entire series around them is both exhilarating and overwhelming.

Hang tight, my artistic amigos! Join me in the coming weeks as I continue unraveling new insights, conquering hurdles, and navigating the ever-changing world of the Milan Art Institute Mastery Program (I’m almost halfway through!).

Back to blog

See the Paintings from the Mastery Program

1 of 12