Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March In like a Lamb?

Above is last nights drawing. I am fairly pleased with it considering I was really rather tired. I had spent the earlier part of the day with a friend at the Boston MFA looking through the new American wing. Very nice, I love how they have used saturated colors on the walls instead of a boring neutral for the early American portraits.  In some galleries they have backed the furniture and paintings on display with reproduction wallpaper similar to what would have been used at the time. A lot of time and effort went into the displays and most are very well done.  The museum is showing off its collections of furniture and other household artifacts along with it's paintings.

We started on the lowest level which had wonderful examples of pre-Colombian art from both South and Central America. Pottery vessels with elaborate paintings on the sides, and some that were more sculpture then a simple shape. There were just a couple of textiles from Peru but they were amazing. Not to mention the gold artifacts. Not sure where they were found but they had to have been hidden away from the Spanish or they would have been melted down. I am very grateful that these items managed to escape notice, beautiful.
Another fun gallery was the one they set up to imitate a Paris Salon, with paintings from floor to ceiling and placed right next to each other with no space. Visiting those early Salons must have been confusing and tiring, simply from visual overload.

On the 4th floor dedicated to art in the 20th century they had several Georgia O'Keeffe paintings. I offended one museum visitor when I suggested to my friend that the painting would be more appealing visually if she had cropped the bottom third. I am of a mind that Georgia O'Keeffe while she painted many wonderful paintings also produced her share of crap and there is no reason to pretend otherwise.  In the same vein I am in awe of Winslow Homer, the MFA has a nice selection of his works, and his focus placement is amazing. He rarely places anything in the center of his paintings, usually the main object/person is slightly offset, but sometimes they are more to one side, in which case he makes sure to balance the work with something that while it doesn't have equal mass is enough to provide the needed balance.

Sorry if that last bit sounds like jargon, it is hard to talk about focus points and balance without the work in front of you. You might want to visit the Wikipedia page for Homer and view some of his works that are on display.

I totally enjoyed my visit to the museum, and know that I will have to go back soon as we didn't really spend a lot of time in any one gallery, yesterday was pretty much just a walk through to get a feel for the new space.

Now on to a totally different subject. For the sketchbook Project I managed to produce two pieces over the weekend. Remember the theme for February was Opposites.

In the image above I used a ruler to draw a rectangle then splitting it in half I use a compass to draw semi random circles. I used tracing paper I transferred the image of the circles to the other side as a mirror image.  Then using a ruler and one of my larger sized technical pens I drew straight lines. On the left I left the circles empty and on the right I filled them in. Then using my Inktense pencils I added color to the blank areas. I was happy with the yellow on the left, but the blue on the right turned out to be too dark. I should have picked a lighter color for the effect I was looking for. Because this drawing didn't work for me I turned the page and created the drawing below.

For this drawing I made a slightly smaller rectangle and after splitting it in half drew some random shapes and lines on the left side. I again used tracing paper to transfer the image to the right side as a mirror image. Then I added the fills, but for this drawing I did all the lines free hand with a slightly smaller pen point. Above is the resulting image. Interesting, but I think I would have been happier with it if I hadn't outlined the trees on the right side and left the white to just merge. I think the viewers eye would have filled in the lines anyway, but now I won't know that for sure unless I redo the drawing, which I don't want to do.

That's it for today. Our Sketchbook challenge theme for March is Spilling Over. Not sure where I am going to go with that. Should be interesting. In the meantime today is the first of March, and we are having a sunny if chilly day with a light breeze. Tomorrow we will get some March winds, but today we are seeing the lamb side of March. Remember comments are always welcome.