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  • Zoë Atkinson Fiennes, Founder

Voyage Beyond the Surface of a World


Per Elof Nilsson Ricklund

Oil on canvas, 2018

 What truly dwells beneath the surface of a fine oil painting? Is it that same intangibleness that lies locked inside a powerful sculpture? Sometimes, it is almost as if some divine essence lives on in a work of art long after the artist has drawn her last brushstroke away from the easel, long after a sculptor has lovingly misted a clay visage for the last time.


 Yes, some sacred substance must endure in the earthen particles of a hand-sculpted deity or mortal being; the same substance that is enfolded between the ivory canvas and its glistening, tinted oil sheaths.

 The answer, I believe, can be found in what transpires in the hours upon hours of toil and emotion that lay in ethereal veils under embossed layers of oil paint; or are twisted and turned, interlacing inside each carved scintilla, as a ready hand darts over a clay surface.

 Regrettably, much of what goes on behind the scenes during the creative process of such an artwork is a complete mystery to most people.

Beginning Sculpture Student, Amit Karo

  Personally, I've always wanted to know how the skilled sculptor is able to connect with what lies beneath the surface of things; a heavenly kiss hidden inside a block of eminent and iridescent marble; entwined lovers in an ancient and wise tree trunk; the tree of life in mother earth's reddest of clays. Too have I been drawn to uncover the pro-painter's own guarded palette of secrets, how the extraordinary seems to flow effortlessly from their outstretched brushes.

  I've heard artists express that as a work reveals itself through the hands, to the mind and heart, it is as if the substance responds to the artist's will with its own vitality: waiting to be realised. As if part of an artist's work is not only to endure the turbulent tides that are daily life, and navigate  the high seas of imagination and human longing: but to actually bridge the realm of mystery and the outside world. A world where artworks can be immediate touchstones to the majesty of being for each and every one of us.

Advanced Painting Student, Clementine Hanbury

Well finally, the wait is over...

 For the first time since its inception in 1991 The Florence Academy of Art is opening its gilded doors in the form of an online portal, and extending its already significant reach to include even more people from all corners of the globe. Peeling back the veil, the school's online subscribers can now see behind the painting, the sculpture, the plaster cast, and glimpse a shining world where beauty and meaning infuse life. Below, the Academy's founder Daniel Graves speaks to this initiative... 

 The Florence Academy of Art is now on Patreon as The FAA Collective, and for as little as $3 a month you can become a Friend or Supporter and have a front row seat to how-to art classes; feast your eyes and brushes on coveted techniques; benefit from a breakdown of the creative processes the Academy's faculty and alumni undertake; and even sit in on their Art History lectures and Art Talks. Watch artwork in creation unfold before your eyes and learn how you can become part of their world - whether you're an artist yourself, a passionate arts enthusiast, a curator, or an aspiring or established patron of the arts.

'Patreon is a subscription website, and the Florence Academy is excited to use this platform for educating and inspiring artists about the craft of painting and sculpture. "The Florence Academy of Art Collective” is a new source for thoughtful, artistic and educational videos, filmed inside the school or artist's studio, that feature FAA Founder, Daniel Graves, and Florence Academy Faculty and Alumni, Art History Lectures from the Florence campus, and behind the scenes photography. These videos will bring to you the Florence Academy's community and take a deep dive into the philosophies and practices of its professional artists. At the same time, The FAA Collective on Patreon provides a new way to help fund scholarships, artist residencies, and more. There are five tiers, with unique gifts tied to each'.

- The Florence Academy

To join Three Graces Galleries and many more community members in support of the Florence Academy on Patreon click here


One of my personal favourite Art Talks to be released by the Academy so far features alumnus Per Elof Nilsson Ricklund, you can watch the trailer below:

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