Today is a day of rest and catching up and making art. It’s been a whirlwind since we got here and the time has flown by. If you’re following the blog, Paul has been posting every day, so you know what we’ve been doing. Walks in the park, two tours, and museums. And making some art.
It’s been interesting to do some ‘touristy’ things, like the hop-on hop-off bus tour and the river cruise from London Tower to Greenwich. Despite it being the hottest day of the year and riding on the top of the bus with no cover, we really enjoyed the view of London and the chance to experience how the different parts of the city are connected. The underground, while faster, just doesn’t provide the same experience.
The museums have been an education . . . again. And it’s between the National and the Courtauld which one is my favourite. I love the Courtauld. It is small, chock full of wonderful art, and it’s special exhibits (this year it’s Gauguin) are always truly special. You can spend a day there, not be overwhelmed, and come away very satisfied. The National cannot be taken in, in one day. But oh what riches. It has a spectacular collection ranging from Caravaggio to the Impressionists and beyond.
One thing I’ve noticed this time at the National is that even when I’m walking through rooms that are full of art I’m not as interested in, heading for art that I want to spend time with, my attention will be drawn to a particular painting and when I stop to see who painted it, I almost always know the name of the artist. There is a reason that we know names like Caravaggio and Goya and Velasquez. Their art is luminous . . . the subject matter whether figurative, portrait, or landscape, pulls you in and fills your soul with beauty and understanding.
I could easily spend months coming back to the National every few days and spend time with one or two paintings and learn and learn and learn. Not having that luxury, I did spend yesterday with two paintings that I wanted to copy . . . Three Dancers in Violet Tutus by Edgar Degas (http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/hilaire-germain-edgar-degas-three-dancers-in-violet-tutus) and Sunset in the Auvergne by Theodore Rousseau (http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/theodore-rousseau-sunset-in-the-auvergne).
Below are the two sketches from yesterday, along with the magnificent originals. There were so many I would have liked to try . . . another day . . . another lifetime . . .
Here are a few of the other sketches I’ve done on this trip so far.