Hold the presses. My trip to London was fabulous. I was expecting to have a good trip with my artist friend Vicki Wilson-Schultz, but I didn't expect it would be so incredible.
My show at the Mall Galleries with David Shepherd went well and the artists included had amazing work.
But, what really inspired me were the original paintings I saw at the National Gallery, the Tate Britain, and the Victoria and Albert. So many masterpieces. More about that in a minute.
One sculpture by Thornycroft titled Lot's Wife in the special exhibition The Cult of Beauty at the Victoria and Albert could be my favorite sculpture of all time, (including Michelangelo's Pieta which I have seen in person.) The wet drapery look of the fabric, the delicate foot peering from underneath the flowing drapes and the treatment of the marble arms were amazing. The marble did not have a polished look, but was rendered in such a realistic manner that you believed she had just turned to salt moments before. The muscles in her arm were not any woman's muscles, but seemed to be of a particular woman. Her neck, while lovely, was not a "perfect" neck looking back over her shoulder which made her that much more real. Vicki and I were admiring the sheer genius of the sculpture, awed by its beauty, when I looked for the card to see who was the creator. It was then that I discovered the title. I got so excited, I grabbed Vicki's arm and dragged her over to read the title for herself. WOW. Simply breathtaking.
Back to the paintings. You can see from the lengthy description above that if I started sharing my feelings about all the oil paintings I found moving, I would be writing for years. One of the things I found particularly instructive was viewing the paintings with another artist whose work I admire and whose intelligence and enthusiasm I find invigorating. Discussing the pieces and what we love about certain aspects really gave me a deeper appreciation of the paintings. A fun game I have done with other artists is the "favorite painting" game. You stand in a room of art and get to choose any piece to take home. (the idea is to pick your favorite, not the one from which you could make the most money!) You make your selection and share why. Most of the time, Vicki and I would choose the same piece or her piece would be my second favorite. (Note: When standing close to a museum guard, you might not want to be discussing which painting you "would be taking home.") One time while walking through the contemporary art on the way to, oh I'll just say it, "real" art, I chose the bench as my favorite. The one everyone sits on to look at the art.
I haven't said anything about any particular painting and it is not because there were no standouts. There were. But what I took home from the whole experience is something more important than the fact that I like a painting or artist's work. I brought home a directive. In the paintings I found most inspiring the overall imperative was Contrast. I thought I was using contrast. Not like these guys. They pushed the concept to the max, then kept pushing.
In the blog below you can see I have a painting in progress. I will finish it. But, I need to do a "London" painting first. I want to really challenge myself. I have an idea I REALLY want to do and I had thought about starting it after I finished the bird painting. This "London" painting won't wait. So, come along for the ride and see what I paint.
Hint: there will be some contrast.