Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New York City Visit: Sorolla and Scene from Central Park

As planned, I visited New York for a very quick trip. Randy and I drove up Sunday early in time to visit the Hispanic Society of America located near Harlem. The Hispanic Society is home to Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida's (1863-1923) Vision of Spain murals ... as well as other Sorolla paintings and works by El Greco, Velasquez, Fortuny and Goya. What's compelling to me about Sorolla (he's my favorite painter) are his colors (vivid, strong, yet the values hold together in both the light and shadows), his bravura (bold brushstrokes and compositions) and his humanity. He obviously has a great love for his subjects. It shows.

The Hispanic Society of America houses the largest (finest) collection of Spanish art outside of Spain and Latin America. It's worth a visit. The exhibit is permanently housed in New York City.

This visit we hung out a good deal in Central Park ... a spot I decided to explore through paintings and drawings. I set up an easel on Sunday and painted a scene. It actually was daunting because there are just literally hordes of people everywhere. I'm pretty accustomed to having people watch me paint, but some came and visited me before I put the first brushstroke down. I spent quite a while (a few hours) on just one little painting. Another time I'd like to do a number of small, quick studies though I find it difficult to move on and hanging out in one spot made the place familiar to me. It becomes my corner, my memory. The reason I might want to do many small studies is there was so much vibrant life there ... so much I'd be interested in capturing.

I didn't know much about Central Park. I visited there when I was in Junior High (at Cold Spring Harbor High School: a combined Junior/High School on Long Island). That was a long, long time ago. The Park is unbelievable. A park super sized.

This drawing is one of a few I worked on yesterday ... of the Carousel in Central Park. While you can't see the horses going round, you do get a glimpse of the parents hanging out and taking photos of their tots.

"Central Park Carousel", ink wash, pen&ink and pencil on Zecchi's paper (from Florence), 6.5"h x 9"w, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Below: Detail of Sorolla's Vision of Spain mural. These are HUGE and beautiful. Lots to learn from them.

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