3/03/2013

Little Museum Drawings and a Hiatus

I've been on a short hiatus from this blog and painting since December. I traveled in December to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to see to the spectacular Alphonse Mucha show at the Czech & Slovak Museum, a rare showing of his works in the US, then a quick trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. After that, the holidays were upon us. During that time a family medical emergency took place, which I have been immersed in since. 

I am now back at my Sunday studio workshop with Sadie Valeri, starting again today. In April I will resume posting about the painting I have been working on for about a year now. I have about 8-10 Sunday sessions to go before I finish this elaborate work. After that, on to the next one, which I think will be considerably smaller. I am eager to move on to new works. I have sketched out quite a few ideas around some themes I have been thinking about for a number of years now.

It was an incredible experience to see Alphonse Mucha's works in person. Seeing a lot of his large format paintings and lithographs was absolutely worth the trip. His palette was far richer and varied than is conveyed in reproductions of his work. There were also a large number of sketches, many in mixed media, some in oil, and some in pencil and watercolor. All were amazing. Really amazing.

I sat and did a quick sketch of this painting. (There is a copy of the painting HERE.) I didn't quite capture it - I was a little distracted by the hawkish curators who were on the look out for picture taking and eyeing me cautiously even though I was only drawing.

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Next we spent a day in Chicago to visit the Art Institute. Going back to downtown Chicago brought back warm memories of being a 20 year old art student, slogging my way in between the American Academy of Art on Michigan Avenue and the Palette and Chisel across town, sometimes stopping off at the Terra Museum to check out the fantastic Winslow Homer paintings in between or the Sargent paintings at the Art Institute, one of which I did a museum study of while I was a student.

On this visit, I found this odd little sculpture that had an expression that intrigued me because of  the intensity and the strangely slightly inwardness of his eyes. It made for an arresting sculpture that I quite enjoyed drawing. 

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Earlier this year Jamie and I were in Paris, where we visited the Musee D'Orsay. The museum is packed with incredible paintings and sculptures, but also fantastic decorative Art Nouveau pieces as well. While I didn't have enough time to sketch this piece in person, I took some photos and pieced them together later so that I could do this study of a gate by Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard

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I have been collecting all of my little museum drawings on this magnetic chalkboard I have on my desk. They all remind me of some of the most magical times I have had with Jamie sketching together, probably some of the best times I've ever had with another human being. 

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 I look forward to more adventures together.

-Julia

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