After getting laid off hopefully for the last time from my job in March (2009) I made a huge change in what I do every day. I decided to attend classical art school. I joined an atelier (Georgetown Atelier) that has a three year program in classical art training. The first year is drawing, the second monochromatic painting and limited palette painting and the third year full color. The year is divided into three trimesters and so far, I've made it through the first successfully. I did two pears, one in graphite and another in vine charcoal. I think the charcoal pear was the hardest thing I'd done in art up to that point. Vine charcoal, fussy little buggers! You're basically squishing dust onto your paper from burnt sticks of wood. And you get the least bit feisty, it completely rebels and creates little black dots fondly called "ant poop" and skips around causing little white dots to go with the black ones. You have no choice but to calmly stroke the charcoal stick letting it take it's time depositing little lines which blend together eventually into a smooth tone. It is a great teacher in patience. I'm now about half way through the second trimester and I'm just now finishing my first graphite cast drawing. I chose a relief cast of what was once the 'three graces', although one broke off so now there are just two. I've named them Squiddly and Diddly. Come this Monday I shall start on a long term charcoal cast drawing. I'll be doing a bust of Caesar.