Flourishing in Florence
Jan 11, 2011When Ann Solyst ’11, La Crosse, Wis., decided to study art abroad for a year, she couldn’t have picked a better place – Florence, Italy – home of the Renaissance and a city crammed full of the best art galleries and museums in the world.
She enrolled in the renowned SACI art school, and spent her days sketching and painting, studying art history and learning to speak Italian. In Florence, Solyst’s artistic vision flourished.
“The school had a relaxed atmosphere, which was very conducive for making art,” she says. “Florence is a great place to find new ideas. I was surrounded by art everywhere I went.”
Solyst graduated with an art major with a preprofessional concentration in studio art. Her specialty is oil painting. Solyst says her favorite subject is portraits of people, and she’s always sketching the interesting faces she encounters on the street or in coffee shops.
“My paintings tell stories; there’s a narrative to them,” she says. “In Florence, I studied the classical, realistic style, where you build a painting in layers. I was taught to get all the shapes and lines correct before adding color, which is the opposite of what I have usually done.”
Solyst is spending a year painting, further defining her style and building a portfolio before applying to graduate schools. Solyst says Dr. Peter Schultz, chair of the art department, encouraged her to pursue her dream of studying abroad.
“Concordia emphasizes being global, and the faculty is so supportive and helpful,” she says. “I couldn’t have made a better college choice. I’ve truly grown as an artist here.”