Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blogging from Paris

Tomorrow I fly to Paris with my daughter Lily.  We plan on sketching and visiting museums we have heard about, but never had the opportunity to see.  I hope to blog about these collections from my iPad.

As a preview here are a few of the museums we hope to visit. At the top of the list is the Musee Jacquemart Andre, recommended by friends Laura Primrose and Avery Fullerton.  This late 19th century mansion houses what looks to be an exceptional collection of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts.  The museum is currently the venue for a Eugene Boudin landscape painting exhibition.

                                     Inside the Musee Jacquemart Andre

Also on the list is Musee Carnavalet, set in two Renaissance style mansions in the Marais section of Paris, this museum highlights the history of Paris.

                                       Central garden at Musee Carnavalet

The Musee des Arts Decoratifs is know for their elegant exhibitions of fashion history. The collection offers furniture and fashion designs from the Middle Ages through the present day.  While there Lily and I hope to see the current exhibition “Fashioning Fashion: Two Centuries of European Fashion 1700–1915”.

                                      Inside Musee des Arts Decoratifs.

Finally we hope to visit Musee Gustave Moreau, the former home and studio of 19th century symbolist Guatve Moreau with thousands of his works on view.

                                         Inside Musee Gustave Moreau.

If time permits we hope we return to the Musee D’Orsay, and visit the Petite Palais and Musee Eugene Delacroix.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Watercolor Wash Drawing with Robert Liberace

As many of you know I frequently blog about master drawings and the process of how they were created.  I am currently taking a master drawing techniques class at the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia.  The instructor, the renowned Robert Liberace, is an accomplished painter, draughtsman and sculptor.

                   Model Lily Dunlap with Robert Liberace as he sets up the pose.

In todays class Liberace created two very different portraits using watercolor washes.  The portraits were of my husband and daughter who modeled in 18th costume.

              Robert Liberace working on painting of Lily in 18th century costume.

For Liberace the process starts with setting up the pose and lighting.  As he choreographs the pose he thinks about the light, form, pattern and composition.  For the watercolor painting he did of Lily he used a monochromatic watercolor wash on Twinrocker handmade paper.  Watercolor wash, unlike ink wash, can be moved around and manipulated, ink wash tends to stain the paper.

                         Watercolor wash painting of Lily by Robert Liberace.

As Liberace builds up the form he is conscious of not over working the dress, he wants to keep the image fresh and fluid.  He lets the white of the paper show through as the highlights and lighter values. he uses dark accents to describe areas of shadow.  The fluidity of his brushwork is remeniscent of Tiepolo. The figure’s dress and pose recall Rococo artists such as Watteau and Fragonard.

                                      Sam Dunlap posing as a buccaneer.

For the watercolor portrait of Sam, as a buccaneer, Liberace started with a light graphite sketch and progressed to blocking in the flat areas of color with light washes.  As he worked he carefully observed the model and the nuances of light, shadow and color temperature.  The resulting portrait is a sensitive study, done with a confident and energetic brushwork, that captures the character of the sitter.

                      Watercolor wash portrait of Sam by Robert Liberace.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Visiting Cezanne’s Studio in Aix en Provence, France

“This house in which there was no furniture or ornaments, was filled up by the presence of the artist, there existed a visible harmony between the two.”  Georges Riviere, art critic

             Cezanne's studio in Aix en Provence.  Photo by Marie Dauenheimer.

Last year I had the unique experience of visiting Paul Cezanne’s (1839-1906) studio in Aix en Provence, France.  It was the last studio Cezanne would have and he would spend four productive years painting there.  The studio was build under Cezanne’s direction and completed in 1902.  The plot of land was selected to offer a view of Cezanne’s muse and often-painted motif, Mont Sainte Victoire.  It is estimated that Cezanne painted his beloved mountain over 100 times.

                                Painting by Cezanne of Mont Sainte Victoire.

I visited with my daughter on a drizzly afternoon in April. Lilacs and other flowering trees were blooming outside the studio. The building is a solid structure, with a yellow stucco exterior and muted salmon colored shutters.  While none of Cezanne’s paintings are on view at the studio you get a sense of the artist through what is left behind, his still life props, easel and other accouterments.  This presence and sense of the artist is the reason I love visiting artist’s studios and homes. 

                                            Cezanne's studio, interior view.

Cezanne is said to have kept regular business hours for painting.  He arrived at the studio in the morning and worked until evening surrounded by the blue gray walls and the cherished objects, bowls, sculptures and skulls, that fill his canvasses.  Large windows offered both southern and northern exposures.

                                       Cezanne's studio, interior view.

After Cezanne’s death in 1906 the studio was not used for 15 years. Cezanne’s son sold the studio in 1921 and finally the studio opened to the public in 1952.

                     A still life painting by Cezanne featuring objects in his studio.

If you are in Provence I highly recommend a visit to the studio as a homage to Cezanne and his masterful works. For more information on visiting the studio go to www.atelier-cezanne.com