Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Degas and the Nude

I ventured into Boston last week to see the special exhibit at Museum of Fine Arts. It was enlightening and generally fabulous. Nothing beats seeing (or hearing) your favorite artists' work in person, up close and 'live'.

Thank you , Peter Layman, for introducing me to the work of Edgar Degas in high school art class. I have sought out his paintings, pastels, prints, drawings and sculpture for almost 50 years now and this is a blockbuster show! There are pieces in this show loaned from Musee d'Orsay in Paris and private collections, as well as museum collections around the world.

Degas was not only a superior draftsman, colorist and designer, he had wit and a sense of humor, too.

He was interested throughout his career in depicting working women; ballet dancers, artist models, laundresses, and prostitutes. He draws and paints them with respect and admiration. When choosing your companions for seeing this show keep in mind the title - there are plenty of ballet dancers in bronze...sans tutus.

If you miss it in Boston (closing Feb 5) it will travel to Paris later in 2012. Too bad it is not making more stops in North America, but by some of the overheard comments at the exhibit, maybe it would not be widely appreciated in this country of prudes.

I think the catalogue is very good and I am glad I read it before I saw the exhibition.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stephanie's Afternoon at the Studio

This is my fourth and last drawing in the four-week January mini-semester at the River Gallery School of Art in Brattleboro, Vermont. My intention for this final week was to complete an 18 x 18in. drawing of the model and surrounding elements:draperies, windows, etc. I wanted to get the values right while preserving a likeness in a sensitive contour drawing of the model. I feel that I was mildly successful...at least it was a big jump ahead from week one's effort. I also wanted to preserve some of the excitement and strength of the abstract 5-minute thumbnail I always start with. That I'm still hoping to achieve. Next time. It is good to have a goal and a project hanging around in my thoughts for a week, until the next class.

I used carbon pencils on cream canson paper.

Yes, a new semester starts next Tuesday for me with a 10-class session of Life drawing...so stay tuned.

I am working on two new pastel paintings, too; Yellow House and Purple House.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Long Pose

Most of the subscribers to this blog are artists, so they understand why I love figure drawing...and drawing from life in general. For non-artists, direct observation (not from photos) sharpens your skills just as practicing your golf swing (or piano pieces) improves your game. For me, those are the rewards; being able to see and describe on paper the nuances of shape and line and changes in value helps me to make a better painting. I also think that changing your methods or medium opens doors in your everyday work...in my case, landscape painting.

Drawing is my fall back mode...when things are new or uncertain and I am not comfortably moving in the direction I want to go...I draw. That is the one thing I always know I want to do...no hesitation.

This model has a great deal of character and attitude and he is really fun to draw. I used charcoal pencils on Canson drawing paper. The pose was about 3 hours. My teacher at The River Gallery School of Art, Jason Alden, liked parts of the drawing and had some ideas how I might improve my efforts this week. We'll see...first I have to get to the school studio without slipping on the ice.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My weekend on the wild side with yupo

Zoe and I just finished day 2 of the 2-weekend workshop taught by Leonard Ragouzeos at the River Gallery School of Art in Brattleboro VT. Leonard is a master of very large black & white work; India ink on Yupo paper. He is a generous artist who taught us lots of his tricks. (Too bad we don't have the ten years plus experience he does with this intriguing medium or we could just do what he does! ha! looks easier than it is, as usual.) I've posted my forest piece which is about 18" x 18" on Yupo. We had fun. We got out of our comfort zone. We got creative. We got covered in ink. It was a good day. Be sure to look at what Leonard does.

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