After spending the last couple of days traveling and getting over jet lag, I’m now settled in an AirBnB in Florence. Today, I visited The Florence Studio. In the morning, I took a workshop through the school with Tom Byrne, an Irish plein air painter. Here’s my painting from the workshop which is partly my work and partly Tom’s demonstration. The Florence Studio is just around the corner from the Ponte Vecchio in the city center, and this painting depicts a view close to the school.
After painting, Tom and I went back to the studio and enjoyed a glass of prosecco with Laura Thompson and Frank Rerut, the couple who run the studio. Both originally from Canada, Frank sculpts and Laura paints. The studio functions as a school and as a working studio/showroom. It is also home to a couple of rabbits. The afternoon prosecco and rabbits are, in fact, demonstrative of the atmosphere Laura and Frank work to create at the Florence Studio. They believe that art making can be enjoyable (as opposed to a tortured process characterized by the suffering artist).
Frank’s sculpture is human-figure focused. He makes both portraits and complete figures. He is a versatile sculptor who has experience working in wood and cast mediums making everything from toys to fireplace mantles. The thing that appears to characterize his work is the thing that he and Laura describe as characterizing their studio – that sense of joy in their work, almost a light-heartedness.