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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 21: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

When I first planned this trip, I had wanted to make stops in DC and NYC to visit fantastic museums with great collections of Hudson River School work. When I met up with Dan at West Point he suggested we take a train into the city for a day and I said OMG CAN WE GO TO THE MET! And being the most wonderful amazing supportive fiancé on the planet he said YES! So, we spent a few hours at the Met on Wednesday. I have to say, for someone who had little to no background in art before we met, he has clearly paid attention these past four years because he had some fantastic insights and questions about the art we saw. Gold star all around for Dan. :)

Dan admires Church's Heart of the Andes.
Church's Heart of the Andes detail and signature.
Church's study of science is so evident in this painting. All trees, plants, flowers, and wildlife were very specific.
Incredible detail...each 5x5 inches of this massive canvas could stand alone as its own painting.

Reflections on Frederic Church's painting: although not one done in the United States, I think, how can I describe the landscapes I'm painting and drawing with more specificity? What notes can I take that will help me recreate a landscape in my studio? How can I be more scientific in my on-site study of a landscape and consider all its elements? The detail in this painting is overwhelming and incredible. It creates an entire world for viewers.

The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak by Albert Bierstadt
Detail from a painting Bierstadt did of the Matterhorn in Europe.
Merced River, Yosemite Valley by Albert Bierstadt

Reflections on Albert Bierstadt's painting: How can I work to step back from a scene to include foreground, middle ground, and background more effectively in my small paintings? Could he even see the foreground elements of this scene, or was this invented? He works light and shadow in a similar way to Moran to emphasize the mountains and make them appear even grander.

A Sanford Robinson Gifford painting of Kaaterskill Clove, where Thomas Cole (and I) also painted.
Beautiful details and color - Gifford saturated his paintings with luminous light and color.
Thomas Cole's study for The Oxbow
Oh hey Thomas Cole!
His little umbrella.
The Oxbow by Thomas Cole. My favorite painting of his!
Two other small studies - I think done en plein air.

Reflections on Thomas Cole's paintings: He is a skilled painter but his work doesn't resonate with me as much as the other artists. I feel like I didn't touch on this enough during the "Thomas Cole" phase of this trip but most of his work was still tied to European ideas of painting...there's a lot of symbolism and romantic ideation and invention in his work. He also includes figures, as I mentioned, that I think at times detract from the overall painting. In The Oxbow, it works - I love that he included himself with his painting supplies. So there is a lot of his work I didn't look at for this trip because it wasn't specifically American landscape. But, from this I should be challenged to think of some of those grand, overarching questions and the deeper meaning in my work. This might come more into play when I'm back home working on some larger paintings. Which brings me to another point - seeing this large paintings makes me feel like I can and should paint some large canvases. Not massive, but start working my way towards that. I think I can do it.

The Teton Range by Thomas Moran

Reflections on Thomas Moran's painting: Very colorful...the light and color in this piece is exquisite. When I paint mountains, I want to seek colors in the same way he did. The painting is looser in execution than I previously thought - some of the foreground you can still see underpainting and broad brush strokes! But, perhaps this serves to keep the focus and drama on the mountain range. The shadows are warmer and richer than in the pics.

This museum visit was crazy inspiring and really got me thinking about what steps I want to take as an artist after this trip.

PS sorry this is almost a week late!


1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you got to the MET to see your artists painting up close and for real! I love all except for Cole... But, I especially love Moran! His vibrant colors and glow of lighting is wonderful.
    I would LOVE to see you paint BIG! I know you can do it and then you would have to pay attention to detail because you would have more space to fill!
    Never stop learning! And, thanks to Dan for taking you on a date to NYC!
    Love, mom