It was a tough week…stress at work and then illness…but I was lucky enough to draw a lot from life. It all depends in if the weather is good and if people get upset with being looked at. This week, I was fortunate. More pencil work, which I’m enjoying as a break from the merciless ink line. I’m reading a medieval art book and hence this sketch of the Virgin and Child statuette from 1410. I also got a Sergio Toppi book, Sharaz-de, which is amazing, every single page a gorgeous composition, all while advancing a story. And the ink line work is so exciting! Jason Polan’s two Museum of Modern Art books came, too; I just wish I could find the time to really study them. How in the world do artists keep their work going while holding down a day job? We all have the same 24 hours. Maybe they have more energy…. Meanwhile, I struggle along, wishing for more time, the chance to do color, watercolors or the paintings I sometimes see in my mind’s eye. But no color this week…maybe next.
What a glorious day! As I mentioned before, a friend turned me on to Jason Polan’s work, which inspired me to get to my local art museum to draw everything! The Carnegie Museum of Art has a great collection, and for a smaller city puts on a lot of quality shows. It’s worth visiting if you travel to Pittsburgh. I saw so much on Sunday, did tons of sketching, but didn’t do half of what I wanted to. There’s only so much you can do in 4 hours, but realistic expectations are not my strong point. Man, I wanted to go back again the next day….but work called. The Small Prints, Big Artists show was a knock out. Scores of engravings, woodcuts, etchings and drypoints by the greats of the Renaissance and Baroque, very intelligently arranged, with commentary that even a jaded art historian (me) found insightful. Looking at an early Dürer in which one could see the imperfections in his technique, figuration and composition brought tears to my eyes. It’s not that I want to see weakness in the mighty, not at all, but it was such a hopeful thing to realize he did not burst from the skull of Zeus fully-formed as an artist. The stages in his development were illustrated, Rembrandt’s technique and innovations were explained…long familiar images became exciting, at least half because I have never seen these images in person, seen how large, or how small they were, to see the micro-chip like detailing these men did. It was genuinely awe-some.
I also wandered through the very interesting Faked, Forgotten, Found, a detective tale about three Renaissance paintings, and enjoyed the small show called Architectural Explorations. I especially loved the Lebbeus Woods drawings and a sort of palimpsest of tracing paper sketches from Desmone Associates, a firm here in town. I didn’t sketch in either, but I wouldn’t mind sketching in the architecture show. There was great stuff in there.
I think the most important things to me though was the notion of drawing everything, which meant standing still in front of things I would normally walk past or glance at quickly and forget and try to see them well enough to capture them. I became quite fond of objects I’m sure would never have penetrated otherwise. I’m looking forward to returning to carry on with this project, to find what other treasures are hidden in plain sight.
A difficult week to get much drawing done…super hot early on, which makes it hard to do anything. I just wilt. Then it was days of depression, insomnia and nightmares, totally mush-brain. But the weekend has put everything right. My friend on the job, Susan, came back from vacation with a reference from a show she saw that she thought I’d like. DID I!! It was a piece by Jason Polan, part of his Every Person in New York project. The more I research him, the cooler I find him. I was totally inspired. I even went to the Carnegie Art Museum this weekend–to start my own All the Art in the Museum sketchbook? I’ll post the drawings I did there soon. It’s been years since I’ve been and I can’t even say why, but I loved it and can’t wait to go back. Except that there’s a show I want to see at the Warhol–Halston and Warhol–and a small show of Degas drawings at the Frick. Between the amazingly mild weather and all of the art and inspiration, this is turning into one of the best summers ever.