Is It A Studio, or Art School?


This bunch of boys –

stick-figures of various ages –,

clustered, scattered, darting

across an artist’s studio,

all of them the Master’s apprentices, like me –

here is my new family.

Grinding pigments, mixing

with linseed oil –

better not break the bowl,

the Master won’t be happy

to lose so much fresh paint!

Still, can’t avoid

getting it all over my fingers.

Posing for the Master today.

Wish it was the adult model’s turn –

that man with curly chestnut hair

who sometimes drinks wine upstairs

with the Master in the evenings.

Can’t wait

to run run run in the street –

sitting still so long

is making me fidgety.

Making charcoal sketches

of an earlier sculpture

while the Master works on a new one,

calling comments over his shoulder –

“Take care with that line! Smudge the other corner a little more!”

How does he know?

Does he have a hundred eyes?

Still, I try,

holding the charcoal stick carefully.

I want to impress him.

It’s been so long

and wonderfully strange,

a few years here

have felt like days.

At last I’m allowed

to help finish

one of

the Master’s great paintings,

dabbing an angel into the corner.

I take a breath, bite my lip,

pick up one of the precious brushes…

Carefully, gently…time seems to stop

as features and feathers

form on the canvas.

There! Finished.


I hear the Master’s voice behind my shoulder –

Bravo, well done.”

Today, after the Master

watched me painting,

he told me there had been a guest, a patron,

who had watched too,

who wanted to see more of my craft.

Then the Master offered me

a glass of wine

and asked me to be a partner in his studio,

a working artist in my own right.

Sí, maestro – yes, I’ll do it.

How can I not,

after seeing the pride in your eyes?

~ Marta Ziemelis. Copyright February 2015. Written in Dubai.

Back to one of my favourite historical periods and locations – Renaissance Italy. I find a lot to be curious about when it comes to l’Italia rinascimentale; one of those points of interest is the professional and personal relationship between working visual artists, like Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci for example, and their apprentices. I’ll admit that I probably romanticise this particular topic, but still – fascinating stuff! Enjoy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s