Monday, September 5, 2011

A Detour: Drawing at the National Gallery of Art

"Girl with Water Lilies," b&w charcoal, ©Jill Banks 2011
A Detour
Randy and I were headed for lunch today before I went off to spend the afternoon at the Atelier ... except on the way I was trying to figure out his schedule ... and when in the week he might want to accompany me for a trip to the National Gallery of Art. Turns out, he was free today, so I might as well take advantage of it. He made a u-turn to head back home to pack up (art supplies and paintings for receiving this evening at the Art League). And, off we headed for a nice lunch and day at the National Gallery.

Lunch and Drawing
"Girl with Water Lilies" is a black&white charcoal drawing of the bronze by the same name by Herbert Adams (American, 1858-1945). This bronze graces the Garden Cafe at the National Gallery of Art -- where Randy and I enjoyed a leisurely, wonderful lunch today. I could have drawn the plate of food Randy put together at the buffet. It was that pretty. But, I could tell it was subject to change. This drawing consumed most of my attention for a couple of hours. What a great way to hang out.

Then we headed to the Armand Hammer room of drawings that held some surprises ... and inspiration. Van Gogh's drawings were hanging out with a Rembrandt and a couple of Gauguin's.

We were on our way to the exhibit of Italian Drawings. One of many highlights of today's trip. There was a Canaletto, a Tintoretto, many Tiepolos and beautiful work from many names I didn't know. I would have loved to have gotten some photos there ... but it was a no photos allowed spot. Some of the pieces in the exhibition are apparently not owned by the National Gallery ... which places the whole exhibit off limits. There's a lot to be learned from this collection. It's always interesting to see the effects of different media on the drawings ... like gouache (opaque watercolor used as a heightener), ink washes in warm and cool colors, charcoal and crayon.

"Cherub Playing with a Swan," three-color chalk, ©Jill Banks 2011
Finally, I made it to the second floor to finish up a drawing I started last year in the same spot. "Cherub Playing with a Swan" is a three-color chalk drawing created on treated paper of the lead, with traces of gilding sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Tuby I (French, 1635-1700) from the Andrew W. Mellon Collection. The gallery closes at 5:00 and we headed out of there about 5 minutes to 5pm to catch a few minutes at the Freer/Sackler (The Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art). There's so much to see in the National Gallery (and National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum), that I haven't taken the opportunity to explore the rest of the museums here in my own backyard.

At the Freer/Sackler
I didn't explore the Asian Art -- but enjoyed many rooms of Whistlers and saw one of my favorite John Singer Sargent painting -- that I didn't know was housed here.

Wow, wow, wow! I'll be back.

John Singer Sargent's (American) "Breakfast in the Loggia" (1910) at the Freer
All day long, I thought that we really live in a beautiful city. I forget how gorgeous it really is. We walked by gorgeous gardens, listened to fountains, peeked at the Sculpture Garden, enjoyed the architecture and kids jumping in puddles. Visited museums with beautiful treasures. Ate in an idyllic spot. The rain fell and the umbrellas were pretty. And a mist fell about the monuments.  There's a lot of angst inside some of those buildings -- but outside, it's pretty darned great.

August 31 - September 21: "100 Faces in 100 Days" on exhibit at the Artists' Atelier, 1144 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA. Open hours: Wednesday, August 31, 12:30 to 6:00pm, Saturdays, Noon-4pm. Additional hours will be posted on my blog.

Thursday, September 8, 7:30pm: Demo for the Vienna Arts Society, Vienna, VA. More details to come.

My Still Life and Portrait Painting & Drawing Classes are both full. See the Classes page on my web site for more information on those classes. Send me an email if you would like to receive notification of other class/workshop offerings -- what kind of courses you would be interested in, days of the week and times.

Sunday, October 2, 10am-5pm: MPA McLean Artfest, juried outdoor arts festival, McLean Community Park, McLean, VA

Saturday and Sunday, October 15&16, 10am-5pm: Great Falls Annual Studio Tour. Major weekend long event with 47 artists from Great Falls Studios participating in a self-guided tour. I'll be in the Artists' Atelier, the studio I share with 14 other artists at 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls. Last year, the tour drew 7200+ visitors from throughout the DC area. Don't miss it!

To read more about the 100 Faces in 100 Days project on my web site (, go to the 100 Faces Project Pages 1 and 2 where you can see all 100 of my volunteers. Click on the paintings, and go to my blog post for that person's sitting.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project Page 1 (faces 1-54):
100 Faces in 100 Days Project Page 2 (faces 55-100):
Phone: 703.403.7435 

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