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Monday, May 27, 2013

A Little Touch of Beach

Melbourne Beach, FL-October, 24x24, oil on board
Here is the finished painting from my post of May 19th, before critique. This painting was about paint quality, or as I interpret that, expressive brush work. I spent the morning unifying the sand. Someone had made the comment to me that it looked like two paintings. That I should cut off the top and make a long skinny beach painting with the figures and a bird painting below. That is what told me I had to unite the top and bottom via the beach. I do think it works better now as a whole.
Adriatic Bicyclist, Italy-October, 24x24, oil on board
I have also worked on the painting from March 16th post. I worked on refining the main figure, and the two little anchor figures that form a triangle with the bicyclist. The girls face did not please me, nor did the whole figure over all; she did not need anything major just a little here and there. The figure on the right was too small relative to the guy on the left in the water, so she is now bigger and the one on the left just needed a touch up. I also added the bike trail in the sand. It is the little things that can get you.

Of these two beach scenes, I thought more people would be drawn to the birds, but so far, more people like the bicyclist. As I study this photo, though on this post, I think I may play some more with the sand in the shadow. I think I can unify the whole shape better, to be more pleasing. I learned alot on doing the sand in the Melbourne Beach painting. You may see the Adriatic again...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brooklyn Museum, other exhibits

The room next to the JOHN SINGER SARGENT exhibit was an exhibit of quilts. Not modern quilts but from earlier times, even centuries ago. The details in these quilts were remarkable. I really liked the crazy quilts, some of the best I have ever seen. The detail above had the most amazing border of morning glories. They were so beautifully done with the finest of thread; if I did not know better, I would say they were machine made, the stitching was so perfect. And then the binding around each piece of fabric was like a sampler of stitches. The detail below was to not only show the outline of the fabrics but the ribbon appliqued flower. No two flowers depicted were the same. I can only imagine the time and energy that went into these quilts. (These details are from two different quilts)
The quilt below I liked for its simplicity of pattern - a stark contrast to most of the quilts in the show. I don't know enough about quilts, but I want to say it is a ribbon quilt. I saw this only because it seemed to be satin fabric. I certainly would not want to cut all those pieces, if it were not in fact done from ribbons!
We were on the elevator getting ready to leave and as we were getting off, a woman who had been on the elevator with us was telling her friend who happened to be getting on the elevator, that she had to go see this exhibit on the 5th floor-all made from "bottle tops." Well, this intrigued us as my cousin was thinking of famous paintings made with bottle caps- something she had seen on TV. Okay, so we bit and went back up to see this exhibit. It was nothing like we had imagined it. I did recognize it though, as I had recently caught a snippet on PBS on this man, El Anatsui, who uses only recycled materials for his installation pieces. Each time he has a museum show, he personally does the installation, and each time, he arranges them differently. The bottle tops ended up being the end cap off of twist top alcoholic beverages, as well as the wrapper that stays on the bottle after the cap twists off. Here is a detail of that strip of foil, folded and attached together to form a facsimile of chain mail.

The photo above shows on the wall, a "sculpture" made with the tabs off of bottles as in the detail above. This one shows  the use of multicolored wrappers, but some were all black, or all red. I took this photo to show the scope of them. The "sculpture" in the foreground is made from the tops of tin cans, but put together the same way, ie with little pieces of copper wire. On the PBS snippet I caught, it shows worker bees doing  the actual putting together while El Anatsui supervises. The photo in the middle is an example of his wood pieces, which I personally really liked better, not only are they more manageable, but also more aesthetically pleasing. But again, since each piece hangs on its own, he can change how it hangs each time it is installed. I really liked that concept. The ability to change your art around without really having to do anything but move the strips of wood to please you.

Isn't mankind creative, whether painting, gardening, sewing or re-purposing found materials?
The final exhibit, of which we only had the energy for one room, was on drawing; "Fine Lines, American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum." I had read a review in the WSJ, on this exhibit and the companion exhibit at the Frick, which was impressionist drawings and prints from the Clark, including some Americans. The critic thought the Frick exhibit the better of the two, so I went there the next day. I must say, though I only saw one room of Fine Lines, I was impressed enough with what I saw that I ordered the book/catalogue of the show so that I could study it further. I am very happy I did. Maybe because I have seen so much of what was exhibited at the Frick over the years it is not as exciting to me, personally. (although I always enjoy seeing Lautrec!) It was also more crowded. I was however, excited to see what some big name American painters drew that you don't often see. And there was NO ONE else in the gallery with us. Such a shame.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Melbourne, FL - Beach with Birds

Melbourne, FL Beach with Sea Birds, 24x24, oil on board (Day 3)
Our last class project is to paint outside our normal  modus operundi. So if we normally paint with thick paint, to paint thinner; if you normally paint thin, paint with more texture. I normally paint thin and fairly graphically, so I am attempting to paint with more texture and less line.  I am using the brush to allow the strokes to be more integral to the painting. I am having so much fun.

I forgot to take a photo after the block in, but after two class periods I had gotten close to where I wanted it to be. Just needed the birds and the rest of the people on the beach to be added. By the end of day 3 I had the birds added and worked on a finishing the water. I also had added more color into the wet sand while make it all read better as one value. In the beach tomorrow the sand looks too choppy. Tomorrow, before critique, I hope to have all the rest of the people added on the beach. I don't expect that to take too long.

Day 2

Monday, May 13, 2013

Brooklyn Museum Exhibit - John Singer Sargent

I was recently in the NYC area to visit relatives and to see ART. The Brooklyn Museum of Art had 4 memorable exhibits going on. Normally, one exhibit is more than enough for me, but knowing it was a one shot deal, we did almost 4. Today we will cover just one.

John Singer Sargent was the raison d'etre for going. It was well worth it.  The exhibit was the combination of the collection from the Brooklyn Museum and the Boston Museum; both venues had the foresight to purchase every painting Sargent exhibited at two different times, in NYC. This exhibit is the first time the two collections have been shown together, so there were around 100 paintings, mostly watercolor but about 6 or so oil paintings. The paintings were done in groupings by subject and place. The warm burnt orange of the walls was the perfect color to show off these amazing watercolors. The show was very well curated. We were allowed to take photos, too!
As some of you know, I started a laundry series after spending a few days in Venice, so of course I was drawn to this gem. It is called La Biancheria. The thing that I like about this painting, besides the subject, is how many colors he uses to illustrate WHITE laundry. there is very little pure white since most of the laundry is in the shade or silhouetted.
Above: This portrait is of Alice Runnells James; one of many stunning figurative pieces. It was not the top favorite of his portraits, but there was something about it that I did relate to. I think I was ready to lounge myself! And "The Lesson," below. (Please excuse the little bit of reflected light on the back of her easel and one right behind her hat. I did try to avoid those little bits, but sometimes it could not be helped.) Aside for the proverbial brush in her mouth, just how well he can give you a feel for the figures and what they are doing with very little detail. That little triangle of blue at the base of her orangish easel centers your attention yet also deflects to the observers.
 I do not want to overwhelm you with all the photos I took, and I hardly got them all; I haven't even touched on all the different subjects or places illustrated by this extensive show. I had so many favorites, it is hard to chose what to show you. But here is a fine example of a garden. I think it is called Terra Cotta Pots. The colors that man uses in the old balustrade. You get a feel for the solid nature of it.
Pun intended, we will end with another favorite. Who would have thought the rear end of horses could be so beautiful? But they are. A fine piece called "Arab Stable."
Hope you enjoyed this little teaser. The show is up through the end of July if any of you will happen to be in NYC. Well worth it.