John Kinross Scholar in 2005
Debby Forsyth, Red girl in the city, mixed media
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
Being able to experience the art, culture and heritage of Florence was a wonderful opportunity. I was fascinated by the Foundling hospital, Ospedale degli innocenti and the bas reliefs rounded of foundlings on the outside of the building by Della Robbia. The building still serves as a place for mothers and their young children to come combined with a museum inside, showcasing the Renaissance art and architecture. Whilst in Florence away from friends and family I found the city could come alive for me more once immersed by drawing in the streets, galleries and churches. It was a way to meet and interact with people curious to see what I was doing, and I learnt to go out of my comfort zone and be open to these new experiences which seemed hard at first.
What was the impact on your practice?
Drawing is an integral part of my work. I sketch every week at Aberdeen Urban sketchers locations. I’ve rediscovered the city of Aberdeen by drawing at some of its community and cultural events or in cafes.
In the studio the impact has been to investigate different surfaces and textures. I have experimented with papier mache and paper pulp to create a three-dimensional surface to paint. The power of the narrative portrayed in the frescoes I saw in Florence spurred me in my love of painting stories real and imagined.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
I still use that Kinross scholarship period as a reference point when needed. This has really helped me to explore what I’m trying to say and how I say it through my artwork. I am currently working on an installation using a series of puppet figures taken from the characters and narrative in my paintings.
I was invited with Aberdeen Urban sketchers to sketch impressions of the refurbished art gallery interior, prior to its opening and to sketch at the opening which was a great experience.