On November 14 I attended another online art session sponsored by the National Gallery of Art. The theme was working with a limited color palette and was led by artist Maud Taber-Thomas. The artwork used as our inspiration was from a current exhibit Sargent and Spain.
The National Gallery of Art offers Virtual Studio every 2 weeks or so, and there are multiple sessions on each topic (which are free!) to fit your schedule, and you can attend multiple iterations. Sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org – just send them an email asking to be put on the list for the newsletter.
Our focus was to copy aspects of several artworks by Sargent. After reviewing tonal gradients we got to work. I did two of the three artworks (the third was of gourds hanging in a lot of leaves and I just could not muster up enthusiasm for it, it seemed cluttered and visually too noisy for me).
I used India ink and acrylic inks.
The first artwork was Venetian Interior. (the link showing the actual work as it appears in the NGA exhibition – you might enjoy taking a look to compare it to what I did).
Here is my version in black and white tones.
The next artwork was Camprodon, Spain. I used the complementary colors of blue and orange (with some black and white).
I’m not a big fan of Sargent, and I really hate copying someone else’s work. I know that it’s a time-honored method of learning art principles, but that’s not where I am these days. However, I decided to put pen to paper and see what emerged. Every bit of drawing practice helps me get better at expressing things the way I want to.
Plus, I did enjoy learning more about Sargent’s body of work and imagining what it must have been like to tour Spain and its environs 130 years ago or so. I reminded myself that all the people he depicted are long dead, and yet here they are, looking out at me as if they would speak. I found that quite moving and a testament to the artist’s vision.
Moral of the story: there is always something to be learned even when your mind is made up not to, so.. lighten up and listen a bit. Art, like life, can surprise you.