Perdue en France - the tour

Sometimes you just gotta venture out and do something that might seem a little stupid at times, maybe a little risky and something you dreamed up in the moment. Still young, single and free, then what stops you?

My "adopted" little Norwegian brother, Rolf (check him out on instagram @rolfhellem_art) and I ventured on a trip to France during our Easter break, that had us drifting down the Atlantic coast on the hunt for waves. -To surf and to paint them. 

I have had this dream to someday own a camper van that I can turn into a plein air companion. So I can live in it, travel and paint where I go. Instead of the surfboard and wetsuit spaces, I would build in drying shelfs for canvases. (And maybe I would pick up surfing eventually, since it intrigues me much.) So, again, Ryanair sales and the whim of the moment and we had tickets to Paris. We rented the smallest camper van we could get, called him Jaques and drove him to our hearts content eventually even into Spain through the outskirts of the Pyrenees.

The weather was tricky and sometimes it was just raining and hard wind which made painting and even surfing difficult. But we still used our time well and I ended up with six small paintings and lots of good memories and camper dreams.


You can find some of my paintings now on www.artfinder.com/silviailona for purchase!

Which one is your favourite?

Last weeks results

As I am writing this I am rolling down the road from Paris south west to the French Atlantic coast, where a friend and I will spend our Easter break traveling with a tiny camper van surfing and painting. (More surfing on his part I'm afraid) the weather forecast looks awful, and I am praying it'll clear up. Painting in the rain is difficult. 

Finishing things up before the break had us busy at the school and I just want to share in pictures what the results are.


In painting we had a clothed model set up this time.

I honestly didn't like it too much but tried to do my best. It's still drying and I will take a better picture later as the glare didn't allow it now. 

 

 "At the foreign café", oil on burlap canvas. 100x95 cm

 "At the foreign café", oil on burlap canvas. 100x95 cm

I finished early and got to jump over to the drawing set up of the second year students. I've been eyeing it from the start with the urge to paint it,because it was such a funny Russian looking set up. When I finally got to it I had to be very fast and did this one in 4 hours. But I managed to do a quick big sketchy portrait of her and I am quite happy with it. It was so much fun to do it. I also need to take a better photo once it's dry.

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For drawing I got to do quite an interesting one. I had toned the paper with coffee, that gave it the warm yellow tone and then I drew on it with sepia, charcoal and some chalk.

I think it looks like a retro ad for art supplies, haha.

 "The disillusioned artist" sepia and charcoal on toned paper, 100x 80 cm

 "The disillusioned artist" sepia and charcoal on toned paper, 100x 80 cm

I also finished a little early here and then did a free one after. Very different. My teacher liked it and said "for a sketch, not bad!" It might be the one drawing I actually like, even though technically it's not developed enough. I sim,y like the mood and expression of it.

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 "James' late night creative rush" 50x70 cm, charcoal drawing on coffee toned paper

And this one is also of James, the steeled version, done during the evening course. I'm supposed to finish something on the calfs and will see that I get to it. 

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seated figure drawing, sepia on toned paper, 80x 90 cm

Spring is just around the corner

Yesterday I was still freezing in the studio but today there was a sense of spring in the air and the sun even showed up in the courtyard for a little. I can't wait.

Do you ever have those days where you feel like you are so exhausted and tired you are going to break out in tears? Yes, just like a child? That's me tonight. I remember though hating my mum say "oh, you're just tired, I know!" when I was upset and crying, because clearly there were more pressing and distressing reasons then lack of sleep, which made me even more mad, because it adds the feeling of being misunderstood. When I've been pushing myself so hard that I get so emotionally exhausted I find myself wanting to break out in tears. But that's what you don't do as a grown up, right? 

Anyway, this week we started new set ups, since it's a new month. This time the models are dressed. As if the arriving warmer temperatures would suggest that. No, it doesn't make much sense... maybe there was a reason why our model last month was so purple? Kidding. No, we are not torturing them, not quite. They have little heaters blowing hot air on them, but it still feels odd, when you even wear long underwear and a beanie inside, while painting someone nude in front of you. I often feel so bad for our models. Try keeping still and in one position 45 min at a time and that for three to six hours! They are champions.

I thought, I share the process with you, I really like starting new works. I still struggle with finishing. One of my teachers said to me last week, that I do so well until a certain point and then I stop. I have to figure out, what that point is and how to push past it. 

The painting set up is a good example for,, having to do something that does not necessarily inspire you. I would not have chosen this, but let's see, what I can make of it.

we always start with a compositional sketch, like a thumbnail, that solves the solution of format and colour and tonal relationship.

 

Yes, seems like a Easter decoration... I'm going for the one on the right.

Yes, seems like a Easter decoration... I'm going for the one on the right.

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Me in the studio at work today. Thanks for the capture, Felipe Salsano ❤️ I'm first drawing with charcoal on my canvas and will start with paint tomorrow. I just got into painting on Jute or burlap canvas. I really like the rough texture. Let's see if I stick with this.

You can see my teacher, Svetlana Kurbatskaya there. She is so awesome and I work very well with her. I'm learning a lot and she understands exactly how to help me. I am so thankful to have her.

 

In the afternoon we have drawing and started an interesting set up. I'm curious, how this will turn out.

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Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm joining again the figure drawing class also with my drawing teacher Sergey Chubirko. He is a great teacher and I've grown lots with him. 

tonight was pretty funny. He's been pushing me to be bolder and faster and push through my weaknesses in drawing. Repetition helps, and frustrates. 

I had stretched and toned my paper, but while it was drying by the heater it unfortunately had ripped. I was very annoyed and didn't have time to restretch it. Sergey didn't like the look of it and asked me to rather bring a new streteched board on Thursday. After half an hour I was done with the sketch, so he challenged me to start on the big one and use it as a big sketch and see what I can do in one hour. I think I sometimes need this sense of freedom and to be able to just go for it and not be so afraid. Since I didn't have to care so much about this outcome I actually got really far in this one hour.

(Maybe I feel so exhausted because I really pushed myself hard just these two past days, haha) 

so, here is that giant "sketch". I'm happy with the result and I see where I need to improve. 

 

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you can see the wrinkly corner where I taped the damage. 

Well, Thursday will be a new start. 

 

im gonna have some more tea and curl up... not sure if I'm up for more homework now 😵✌🏽 

New works and one white day

It's already march and for us in Florence it started off with a day of snow, a very rare occasion.

Naturally, if you've been living here (growing up in Germany and living in Norway put aside)and wake up to a white blanket covering your view from the window, you get dressed and leave the house immediately to meet your hilariously excited friends from warmer places in the center to see what the Duomo, the David and Ponte Vecchio look like with that pretty powder on top. After playing I managed to speed walk back through the Italian snow chaos, which by then was slush, to our Academy. Naturally the only school that did not get snow free in Florence (hint: it's Russian). Red cheeked I finished another painting I had started with our model for February and also my third drawing of the same in the afternoon. I am happy that I now get to start new works, when I'm done and don't have to overwork the other stuff. In February we had a nude model. But this coming month it will be costumed 

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These are my drawings of this past month. 

 

Two paintings of the same girl. The first one is the one I worked on longer and it's 90x70 cm on burlap (jute) canvas and the second is 50x70cm on the same material.

 

Also I finally got to sketch people with African decent on the weekends. I've been curious on the colour schemes for darker skin. This has been really fun. Both of these sketches were done in 1,5 h.  We often do these sketch sessions on Saturdays where we privately get a model to sit for us and we all crowd in an apartment. You know, what we do for fun, haha.

 

 

New composition! Girl on a foggy lake

This one developed from a spot sketch. I did it really quickly without going too much into the drawing. That wasn't so easy and I'm sure I've done some mistakes. But I do like it and it is one of my first compositions that I developed without teachers inout and that is very freeing. I feel quite confined at school naturally and as soon as I try to do my own stuff it's really hard to break out. There is still quite a long way to go... well, but it's a start. I'm not sure, if I'll continue in this manner, but this is where I am at now. 

Do you have a suggestion for a name? Comment below! 

 

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Oil on canvas, 60x80 cm

 

 

This was the spot idea from which i developed the painting. 

This was the spot idea from which i developed the painting. 

composition of diploma work

I have started to work on my Diploma. Which will be a big compositional work. We are working on it on our own during this month and by February I have to present a bunch of my research and ideas to my professor and hopefully, he will be pleased and not disappointed...  

This last year here things seem to finally fall into place in my understanding for lots of things... I used to do so much just from intuition and now I am getting the why's. It's a process. 

so finally,  I am understanding composition more, but I already have to come up with the diploma. So I don't quite feel equipped. But with lots of things in life, you got to jump into cold water from time to time. 

with my trip to Malta I got the idea to do it on a biblical topic, which is the shopwreck of the apostle Paul on Malta. That story is in the book of Acts in the New Testament chapter 28. I'm quite excited about it. It will be a bunch of people from different fields of society and ethnicity shipwrecked on the beach. A bunch of bodies, characters, some drama. Wet and cold... in my head it's awesome, but to bring that on paper and then on canvas... we'll see how it goes. Well, I will keep you posted on the developments.

 

Random pile of my sketches to try to find a solution

Random pile of my sketches to try to find a solution

Malta with the brush

over Christmas break I took a solo painting trip to Malta. Which turned out really good - clearing my head and my palette with some fresh creamy ocean teals.  

I still want to take these sketches into the studio to make some bigger works with it. 

 

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my first one just after arrival. The sun went down too quickly on me.  really would like to revisit this study and make a bigger one.

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This was near Sliema, Malta

 

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It was quite rainy and stormy during this one. My pleinair box was shaking in the wind. This was just by Valletta. Beautiful city. This was the second sketch after which a storm rolled in and I couldn't paint.

 

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I relocated to Gozo, the north western island. Smaller and more picturesque. There could have been so many more things I could have painted. Especially in the towns. But I just kept wanting to go to the sea. Since I was traveling to my new location and then walking to the beach I had again the problem, that the sun was setting quickly. Not too proud of this one. But it was a beautiful place, so I should probably try something from this sketch.  This is at one of the few beaches in Malta, Gozo, called Ramla bay. Interesting,y the sand and the rocks had a more red hue and not the typical ochre limestone on the rest of the island.

 

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One of the better ones. I actually took some more time, that's probably why. This is at a really cute little harbour town called Marsalforn. 

 

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A cute windmill in Xaghra, the town I stayed in. 

 

one very exciting thing happened. I rented a scooter. Oh my, what fun I had with that thing. I wish I could have filmed myself... I took it to the West Point of Gozo. Last year in April the Azur woindow here had collapsed unfortunately. That was a rock formation like an arch in the sea. Not there aniymore, but it is such a cool place to just explore. I was a bit too busy finding a composition and in the end, this was t really worth it. Well, worth a try, but not very well done. Beautiful place though. I wish I had more time.       

one very exciting thing happened. I rented a scooter. Oh my, what fun I had with that thing. I wish I could have filmed myself... I took it to the West Point of Gozo. Last year in April the Azur woindow here had collapsed unfortunately. That was a rock formation like an arch in the sea. Not there aniymore, but it is such a cool place to just explore. I was a bit too busy finding a composition and in the end, this was t really worth it. Well, worth a try, but not very well done. Beautiful place though. I wish I had more time. 

 

 

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and finally this one! My absolute highlight and timely as well. I had a commission to paint a boat as I was there. I thought, I'd probably find one eventually, but most of the boats where on land due to the winter season , or very closely tied up in the harbour together, so I went around on the scooter, trying to find the right boat. Because the next day I was leaving to the main island again and the weather forbast was again storm and rain. Finally I got blessed with this location. It was such a joy to paint this.

this was in Mgarr on Gozo. 

and for this one I did a studio version, when I got back.

 

And this one is for sale ;)

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Sailboat on Gozo, 40x50 cm

It's beginning to look a lot like....something else

We've had a whirlwind of things happening and preparations for the exam/ exhibition during the last week of the semester and I feel like time has been flying ever since October.  Finally it's Christmas break and I am hiding away on Malta, my get away island for this break. It seems quite the random choice - the wish to be able to plein air paint, to be somewhere warmer and have an adventure, a crazy Ryan air sale and a glass of wine helped me go for this destination. Finally there is some space to hear myself think again and I think God knows better anyway and I am quite excited to spend lots of needed time with him.

Here are some pictures of some of the works from these past months. These are the official program works. I've done some more in the side.

 

 "The Dutch merchant", oil on linen, Silvia Ilona Klatt

 "The Dutch merchant", oil on linen, Silvia Ilona Klatt


 

"Njørk", oil on linen, Silvia Ilona Klatt   

"Njørk", oil on linen, Silvia Ilona Klatt

 

Figure drawing, Sepia on paper, Silvia Ilona Klatt      

Figure drawing, Sepia on paper, Silvia Ilona Klatt

 

 

Portrait with hands, charcoal on paper

Portrait with hands, charcoal on paper

Drapery study, different sepia, charcoal and chalk on paper

Drapery study, different sepia, charcoal and chalk on paper

Randoms in process

This is what I am working on right now. I'll post the finished pictures soon. 

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Prep for figure painting. This set up is absolutely cracking me up. Our professors make the set up. This time it's this british guy, with a very Celtic/ Viking look. It makes me think of a Nordic water god. Aparently the gods name is Njørk. I added the trident as a joke.. it would make it kind of awesome... let's see, how it will develop.

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Still in process

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Figure drawing in sepia in process. 

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Copy of a detail of a Fresko by Andrea del Sarto from the Chiostro delloSscalzo - a beautiful hidden gem here in Florence close to Piazza San Marco. Also still in process.

New semester

Here are some updates of what I'm up to at the moment at the Florence Academy of Russian Art. 

 

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Figure drawing during evening class. Silvia Ilona Klatt, figure drawing, pencil on paper. 50x70 cm

 

 

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Portrait with hands, Silvia Ilona Klatt, charcoal on paper. 90x70 cm

 

 

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Oil painting, costumed portrait with hands. 100x80 cm, Silvia Ilona Klatt