Milan art institute mastery program review mixed media and voice

Week 25 Milan Art Institute Mastery Program

Week 25 at the Milan Art Institute has been quite an eye-opening experience.

As I progress through the program, the structure of the lessons has evolved, allowing me more freedom to explore and experiment with my artistic expression.

This newfound liberty has been both exciting and challenging, as it pushes me to discover my unique artistic voice.

This week Elli showed us how to use rollers and gave us some ideas on how to work with them, but we weren’t required to use them. I do sometimes work with rollers, I used them quite a bit when I was first learning to paint but they’ve kinda fallen by the wayside- for no reason really, I still love working with rollers, mostly as something in the background and to give added emphasis to the texture on my canvases.

One of the most enriching experiences of this week was the critique session with Dimitra. It was enlightening to see all my works displayed together and recognise the common thread that makes them a cohesive body of work.

I felt like I was treating each subject differently- some had skin tones, some not, etc but Dimitra pointed out that all my ladies have a transparency to them. Which I really like, I think it lends to the idea of inner worlds and trying to see inside these ladies to what’s going on in their heads.

Interestingly, we also discussed the ever-changing nature of my artistic process. Sometimes I incorporate collage or use rollers and spray paint, while other times I do not. I have been grappling with this, wondering if my lack of a consistent process was hindering the development of a cohesive style. However, Dimitra reassured me that it's perfectly fine for my approach to vary, as long as a similar colour palette and recurring subject matter bind all my paintings together. Which perhaps is why my Kookaburras feel so out of place, because I was trying a different subject matter. Although I thought I could apply my style to them and it would still work, perhaps my style isn’t strong enough to carry through to different subject matter.

Painting of Angela Srafyan by criss chaney milan arti institute mastery program

I must confess that throughout this program, I've been putting immense pressure on myself to "figure out" my style quickly.

I’m expecting my style to be a well-defined destination rather than a journey that unfolds with each stroke of the brush. Dimitra's advice resonated deeply with me, as she reminded me that an artist's journey is a continuous evolution, and there's no need to rush the process. It's about immersing ourselves in the joy of creation and letting our style emerge naturally from within.

painting of angelina jolie portrait by criss chaney milan art institute mastery program

Beyond exploring techniques, we also delved into the importance of sources in our artistic process. Learning about finding, collecting, selecting, and curating sources was invaluable. We were encouraged to assess whether a source contains too much of the photographer's voice and expression, if so, there’s no way we could use it as a source. In that instance if we really like the idea, then we should set up our own photo shoot that gets at similar themes but expands on them more in terms of what we want to explore.

As I look back on Week 25, I feel a sense of liberation and renewed excitement for my artistic journey.

Embracing the ebb and flow of my creative process and understanding that my style will evolve naturally has been reassuring. The pressure to have all the answers has lifted, and I now relish the idea of constantly growing and evolving as an artist.

Until next time, keep painting and embracing the joy of the artistic process!

Back to blog

See the Paintings from the Mastery Program

1 of 12