Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Day at the Tate Britain

Rob Liberace discussing Sargent's "Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose"
Today was the official start of our art historical trip … with the morning spent at the Tate Britain and afternoon enjoying a close-up view in the Tate’s Print & Drawing Room. Highlights of the day were seeing John Singer Sargent’s (1856-1925) “Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose" next to Sargent's “Claude Monet Painting By the Edge of a Wood." I'm taking an art historical workshop with Robert Liberace as our artist guide. Rob explained how both paintings showed a departure from Sargent's more traditional approach. He took on some of what he learned from the Impressionists about peering into shadows for color rather than dipping into his traditional tools of black … and see what’s there. He also approached the “Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose” canvas in five minute stints per day … over two years’ time. He held to painting according to the tenets of the Impressionists working in plein air, with the subject right in front of him … and not relying on his memory or the comfort of the studio. Considering this is a massive canvas, with young models, with light that appears and fades within moments … Sargent had taken on quite a feat. Successfully. We also saw Sargent’s painting “Ellen Tracy” of a well-known actress. I’ve admired that one for some time and want to capture some of that drama someday in one of mine. Actually, perhaps I have. Not all, but part. There are lessons here.

John Singer Sargent's "Claude Monet Painting By the Edge Of A Wood" at Tate Britain
We also took a good look at paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). These are dreamy and detailed. (Too much so for me.) But exquisite. Every detail was carefully and beautifully rendered. Rob explained that the Pre-Raphaelites were inspired by Raphael’s predecessors, particularly Botticelli. I could see that.

We looked at lots of JMW Turner paintings and drawings, too… moving into the Romantic Period (around 1800) … but the real treat was in the Print and Drawing room where we looked at many of his watercolor studies for oil paintings. We saw watercolors he’d developed as guides for etchings to be used in travel guides. Best of all, we saw one of Turner’s many sketchbooks donated to the Tate upon his death. Nothing like that. What a treasure.

JMW Turner's Sketchbook: right there. Amazing!
I did two drawings yesterday that probably aren’t ready for prime time … but Randy and I enjoyed visiting the Courtauld Museum and the Somerset House. A beautiful place. I’m gaining a whole new “vocabulary” of British painters. Funny how I have to gain this knowledge a bit at a time. I never took Art History in college. Guess I was a chicken. I sure love learning it now as I can look at the work relative to contemporaries and just through my own understanding of painting.

Today I created two more sketches … totally different than one another. The first was done in a very short stretch of time while I waited for my group’s turn in the Print & Drawing room … so this is done outside the Tate Britain in ink brush and ink pen.

"Waiting Outside The Tate," pencil, ink brush and pen, copyright Jill Banks 2011
My second drawing of the day is a start at capturing “Parliament” in watercolor wash and pencil. This isn’t easy but I will return to it as soon as I can. It has potential … but like Sargent, I had temporary, changing light to reckon with.

I’m now paying for Internet service. I’m buying it in 24 hour stretches … then some time away … etc. Hopefully, I’ll post again tomorrow.

By the way, my drawings are not on blue paper.  Just weird photos ... so excuse them ... think positively and see them in person sometime.

"Parliament" work in progress, watercolor and ink, copyright Jill Banks 2011
100 Faces in 100 Days Exhibits
Even though I’m out of town, please mark your calendars for the 100 Faces exhibit events. All 100 faces will be on view two times this Spring/Summer. These will be WONDERFUL, not to be missed exhibits. Come see everyone!
May 3-31 at the Great Falls Library, Great Falls, VA
Reception: Saturday, May 7, 2:30-5:30pm
Demo/Artist’s Talk: Saturday, May 21, 2-5pm

August at the Artists’ Atelier, 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA
Reception: Friday, August 12, 6-9pm
Ice Cream Social: Saturday, August 13, 2-4pm

I hope to be blogging regularly during my stay here. See what's new. Hopefully tomorrow.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
100 Faces in 100 Days Project: www.jillbanks.com/jillbanks/100_Faces_in_100_Days_Project.html
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435

Here's a Repeat: You've Got to See the School! Register Now... Classes Start Beginning of May!
Wow! I went to see the classroom that I normally teach in ... now expanded to include my previous second downstairs studio at 1144 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA. Wow again! I'm so excited about teaching there in May. The expansion made all the difference. It gets great light. There's plenty of room. Such a difference. I'll try to take a photo of the classroom soon and post it here. Yea!

Get info about the classes I'm offering on the Classes page on my web site. Portrait Painting and Drawing. Still Life Painting in Oils. A workshop on "Mastering the Business of Art" on May 25 & 26, 6:30-9:30pm. Sign up. Be happy!!!

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