I studied painting with Robert Berkshire and Robert Eagerton, figure drawing with Harry Davis, sculpture with David Rubin, and photography and design with David E. Thompson. I learned 20th-century fundamentals of materials and techniques of oil painting, lithography, figure drawing, and sculpture.
By my senior year, I experimented with paint application. One process was to pick up oil and turpentine floating in large baths of water on canvas surfaces. This process created a marbleizing ground of abstract color shapes to suggest new inner forms in trees. This freed me to overpaint subjects in nature with more freedom of shapes and color. I discovered prismatic color compositions inspired by French Impressionist artist Claude Monet in his water lily series.
HERRON: Your memoir details your adventures while studying abroad in Venice and Sorrento, Italy. What prompted you to keep track of these experiences through journaling?
HALL: Because the Italian Renaissance began in Florence, I enrolled in the Florence Academy of Art. There, I found a deeper love of the fundamentals of painting. I recorded my life and painting experiences based on careful observation of lines, space, values of shadow and light in figure drawing. I also purchased earth pigments and began to mix my own pigments with linseed oil.
The next summer I enrolled in the Pratt Institute's summer program in Venice to learn in greater depth the materials and techniques of the Renaissance. I turned to my journals each day to record research in libraries and painting en plein air.
A trip to Sorrento to study with the Maryland Institute College of Art's summer program was the most surprising adventure. We went on a field trip to nearby Pompeii to see the ruins left by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. I picked up a small journal to sketch places I wanted to return to paint en plein air. I found the shadows in indoor gardens against ancient architecture so intriguing that I commuted each day from Sorrento to Pompeii. All this time of thought and painting is recorded in my journal.
"Poesia" is based on these three post-graduate programs and several other visits to Venice, and I have transcribed over 50 journals. I hope my adventures might be inspiring to other artists.