Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Help from Sorolla

"Queue at the Palace," (Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain) oil on linen-lined panel, 12"h x 16"w, ©Jill Banks 2015
The morning was spent with our second "Print and Drawing Room" experience -- this time at the Sorolla Museum.  Sorolla's art brought me to Madrid ... to see his studio, art, part of his inspiration. As much as I enjoyed our visit last week to the same show and grounds, today's experience was different.

We split into two groups to enter the "drawing room" and I was among the first. Charcoals, goauche, watercolor, pencil sketches were laid out on the table and discussed. Around us were racks of paintings ... on either side. Those are what "got" me.  There were sketches, not yet finished paintings, portraits, beach scenes, family ... it all looked so much like what you'd see in my studio but we haven't made it into a museum.  Sorolla was the hardest working artist I've ever discovered. He MUST have gone to sleep with a paintbrush in his hand. He was clearly brilliant but wouldn't have been half the painter he was without all those miles of canvas and a heart as big as this world.

His sketches were SO loose. He wasn't trying to bring his plein air "ideas" to finely finished fruition. He wanted to make beautiful paintings. To figure it out.

Something clicked today.  Sorolla's sketches didn't show genius. They showed someone driven to paint and paint and paint. Many of the attempts no one would care to save if they hadn't seen the magnificent canvases that often appeared in his studio. He was humble and driven.

After the Sorolla Museum, the tour crew was heading to the Fundacion Mapfre exhibit to see pieces from the Musee D'Orsay  ... that Randy and I had seen a few days ago. That meant the afternoon free and I could have the span of hours needed to find my spot and paint.  And, what a spot I found. Shade, beautiful view, relative obscurity amidst a crowd, great light.

From 6 to 8pm at the Palacio de Real, admission is free for EU residents, Tuesday through Thursday ... thus the queue.  I LOVE this painting.  It's not perfect, delicate, detailed ... but it's full of life, color, energy.   I'm happy to have painted it. Been here. Experienced the day.

Sign Up for Classes -- In Virginia
Registration is going on now for Spring classes -- Tuesday nights, 6:30pm to 9:30pm for Evening Paint and Thursdays, 10am to 2pm for Painting the Plein Air Landscape.  Take a look at my Classes page and I hope you'll join us.

And my Paint with Me in Italy workshop in the Piemonte wine region, July 27 to August 2, is filling up.  I hope you'll be there!!!

Call for Artists
Plus, if you enjoy plein air painting, consider registering for Paint Great Falls! (Great Falls VA) to capture the town from May 28 to 30 with a Quick Draw event on May 31, 10am to noon.  Registration is now open at

Thanks for reading!


Phone: 703.403.7435

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See the Events page for more info/updates
April 10 to May 1: Women Painters of the Southeast Juried Exhibition, Blue Ridge, GA
May 2 & 3: A-RTS @ Rockville Town Square, Rockville, MD
May 12-16:  Wayne Plein Air, Wayne and Philadelphia, PA. Juried as one of 30 artists nationwide to paint the area.
May 30-31: Art on the Green and Paint Great Falls, Outdoor Art Show (under a tent) and plein air competition and exhibit, Great Falls, VA
June 5-7: Rittenhouse Square: The Original Art Show, Philadelphia, PA. 
June 18-21: VA Beach Boardwalk Art Show, Virginia Beach, VA. Visit my booth right on the boardwalk.
June 29-July 5: Telluride Plein Air, Telluride, CO.  Juried as one of 32 artists who will spend the week painting this very cool town lined with Victorian houses, bustling street against a gorgeous mountainous backdrop.
July 11-12: Wickford Art Festival, Wickford, RI.
December 3-6: One Of A Kind Show & Sale, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL

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