Museum Drawing

   Year end break – some quality time at Home, with the Family, and the pleasure to spend some moments in a museum, wandering around and sketching. I already wrote, some time ago, how I like to visit old friends… London is a paradise for the Museum sketcher, and rainy afternoons always a great pretext to get lost in the old masters rooms of the National Gallery.

This time, I devoted my choice to the National Portrait Gallery. Few weeks ago, I visited the Cézanne Portrait exhibition and promised myself to visit the show again, once the rush of the first weeks was passed. Doing so, I did a round in the Gallery and got attracted by a piece by Frank Stone : a loose and sketchy portrait of William Makepeace Thackeray. I really liked the way the look of the writer was depicted, a man absorbed by his thoughts, the light shadowing the eyes, fixing an imaginary line, or who knows what saddening contemplation… This is the expression I wanted to study in this sketch.

Thackeray Sketch

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   Now, how about Cézanne?

   My impression, after the second visit, was the same –  moved and humbled by the honesty of his pictural quest. Each painting seems like a battle scene – one can figurate the artist fighting with the medium, the colors, the perspectives and lines to produce a very personal harmony – each piece leading beyond the subject towards more atmospheric, abstract or poetic thoughts.

I sat there and did few sketches… More to capture a pose or an interesting face rather than trying to ‘copy’ some works. My interest was in the way the poses were arranged, or in the strength of some expressions…

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Not sure if I will have the time to return to one of the galleries or museum before the end of this break – I need to re-visit the Modigliani show! – but surely not the last post on the Museums I like or on Portraiture…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A figure study

   Last weekend, Sunday evening… A quiet evening in the studio, bringing the final touches to the nude study I started earlier in the month.

These are moments that I cherish – just left alone with the piece, focusing on its harmony and on playing with the color dust. Sometimes in silence, sometimes with music… sometimes not hearing anything but being absorbed by the work, in a state in which time  or external world has no part to play.

On this piece, working on a light paper, I stopped at a point, where – I believe – the drawing is still speaking… I could have charged more, but then ‘charged’ is not a good word… not for a reclining figure : the drawing is Life.

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For those interested, the different stages to the final painting :

Reclining Nude Study (48X60)

 

This work, as well as others, is available on the page gathering the recent works.

 

 

Attending Exhibition & Mixing medias in the studio

   Winter is now clearly imposing its rhythm on the days, and one is lucky to find a bit of natural light to work with… The world seems dark, and this impression is reinforced by extremely busy office days, which means my commute is the only moment I am given a bit of sun… Not unhappy though… the more busy I am, and the happier.

Dark weeks, and sparkling weekends…

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   Last week, I went on another great show – the Tate Modern Modigliani exhibition. I have to say I was more than impressed : Entering the rooms, I was immediately surrounded by a unique creative and poetic universe. The show was very busy, which led me to flee after a small hour… But I will definitely be back before its end.

I was really struck by the way each character and its pose (mainly in the portraits and the few nudes exhibited), was depicted. The lines, and the colors, serving the composition, always leading the viewer towards an aspiration and a story… Almost each painting was taking me to some sort of inner contemplation – either reflecting on the person painted, or, more importantly, the idea or feeling which was expressed. Yes, each painting was like an inner journey… I will go back, in less busy times (maybe at the very beginning of 2018?) and will spend more time diving into this…

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In the Studio, working on an oil painting and enjoying rubbing pastel on paper…

  As for the Oil work – I was having in mind, for some time now, to paint a simple window and a bit of the beautiful summer light which was enlightening a day at the office, earlie

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r this year. The subject is pretty simple, yet, the colors association is one that will need some work… I want the painting to be simple, fresh, I want to feel again the comfort and the warm promise of hope and energy I saw while I was enjoying this light… One of the

 struggles I have is that I am using cadmium yellow, and that I find this color too heavy, too

 warm… I need a proper daylight to work on this piece as color mixing is here one of the keys to reach the effects I am after.

   To rest, and for the fun of drawing and painting, I also continue the work on Human Figure. I have started a reclining nude last weekend, and may be able to finish the piece by tonight, if time and energy are there.

 

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Below are few of the painting stage, from the drawing to the first layers of pastel, after having done a preparatory charcoal drawing.  I work with a Canson mi-teinte – the paper will saturate quite fast… I will strive to keep some of the drawing energy and life, and note push the piece too far… the last stages are always exciting and perilous… how many pieces have I destroyed after being upset by some very wrong choices… Let’s see how far we’ll go with this one.

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In the Drawing Room

Continuing Autumnal works…

A very nice morning in the Studio… A bit of a grey day – waking up fairly early and, using the smell of coffee, starting to work on some autumnal landscape idea.

I didn’t have a rough paper on hand so started on a very simple Canson mi-teinte paper… the aim was to keep things simple and working through few colors.

The idea I had was the one of a rain shower, progressing slowly through a small grass land :

 

Une Averse
Une Averse – Pastel on paper – 46 X 58cm

   Somehow, green and grey can be a very calm and soft association – this painting is a bit dark, but isn’t it a bit of what I like in autumnal scenes? We love the time needed to let the grey pass, go away, as it’s somehow bringing quieter and fresher moments. These moments invite us to reflect on ourselves, the time for an inner contemplation, before coming back to the world, with a sparkle of green.

(I will start working on my blog from this site… aiming to gather, in one place, all my art activities – for all the posts and the works done in the previous years, I will keep the Drawing Room link active : https://pdrawingroom.blogspot.co.uk)