Monday, April 25, 2016

Velazquez at the National Gallery Scotland

I love this painting!  The rapport between the old woman and the boy, the visual rhythm, the composition, how it is painted...really I just admire it all.   I really struggled with my study of it.  I thought it would be easier, but this little head study gave me a run for my money.  I struggled on all the major fronts; shape, value, color and edge.   I thought I would post it anyway because sometimes it looks easy and the effort and the struggle is forgotten.

A drawn study I did the day before.

I was already struggling with looking up at the study but "seeing" his head as Velazquez did from above.   Not to make excuses but there is glass over the painting and it is more difficult to 'see the paint'. 

I tried putting in some darker transparent to help the drawing, but I didn't go far enough with compressing the shadow values...especially the orbits of the eyes, or the side and lower facial planes.  I can see that now...but I jumped in with color.

At this point I did a bit more and then called it a day.  I felt pretty discouraged.

I did a bit more when I got back to Dalkeith..and a bit in the morning from memory.   This is basically where I left much to learn.  You can see that I 'undid' some of the structure of the nose...but I did get the further eye back into better proportion.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

National Gallery; a Glimpse

Here is a brief video I took at the National Gallery.  It is a wonderful collection.  I will eventually do a detail of the Velazquez "Old Woman Cooking Eggs".  I am not sure if I will do a study of the boy or  of the woman.  I love this painting.  I will post the study soon.

Kelvingrove Museum James Guthrie Study

This was a bit of a fiasco but we worked it all out and I got the studies done!  Honestly, it is an absolute pleasure to do these studies.   I am learning but it is still much easier to paint from a painting than from a person sitting in front of you!

Here I am with study #1  of "Old Willie".  It is a close up detail so I can have some "room to paint".   I am at the Kelvingrove in front of another masterpiece by Guthrie.  I think his chunky brush shaped forms may have inspired Ann Gale?  I feel a real affinity for this work.
 Study #1 of the "Old Willie" painting.

This was the start of my second study...I was a bit rushed.  Looking back this feels so line driven I think I got fixated on the planes of paint instead of the planes of the head!  I had to finish in a hurry so I did not yet correct the asymmetry of the eyes....lots to learn.

Here is study 2 finished.  I really shrunk his of many mistakes.

Here is a detail of study #2...I could have defined that shine on his nose much better...I tweaked this with a small round bristle brush at the left so many tracks...oh well on to the next one.

National Gallery Scotland Ruben's study for St. Ambrose

Thank You to Joanne at the National Gallery.  She has been so helpful as have all the staff.
I am very grateful for the warm welcome.

Very small thumbnail drawing of Rubens study for St. Ambrose

You can see how small this is in my journal.
I forgot to take an earlier stage,  this is about an hour and half into the study.  Each time I paint in the museum I feel grateful, pumped- up and humbled.

I did do a light imprimatura and a painted sketch including a kind of value I think I am I just trying to get some color and values and keep thinking about the whole painting.  

Someone came by and took my picture and emailed it to me!  Thank you to all the people who were so respectful of my time but also encouraged me with words of support.  I can see here that I made his ear too long!

A little further along.  It is suggested that this is an alla prima portrait study.  But I am convinced he did not do this all in one sitting.  There are some hints at an underpainting and some surface scumble that had to be done when the pass beneath was "set up".

I took these last two just before cleaning up...I did tweak two little areas but I didn't bother to re-document.  Yep, that ear is too long...oh well, maybe St. Ambrose is known for his fine listening skills!

A detail...sorry for the glare.