Sunday, 17 April 2011

Looking at some favourite paintings to get some ideas

I've posted about Upton House before and I paid another visit today. This time it was to look at the paintings rather than the house.  I just wanted to see the ones which are fast becoming favourites. I like to study the brushwork and composition, and also look for inspiration from the meanings and processes involved. My memory isn't very good so I need to keep checking!

 (photo of the tulips in the 1930's garden - perfection in pink)

Having a camera on your phone is ideal to take little shots to remind you of things. They are not as clear as a more powerful digital camera, but handy. Much quicker and easier than a notebook and sketching, even if there's a few blurred outlines. National Trust properties usually allow you to photograph these days, but not all, so it's best to check rather than take my word for it.

 Now this chap on the right is an absolute favourite from a painting point of view. I love it for the details of his clothes and his skin tones. The beard and wrinkles are just perfect.

The volunteer steward saw me looking and said that it was her favourite too and didn't he look kind?

I didn't argue but to me his eyes are so shrewd. He's a man with undercurrents of hardness. He was Henry 3rd of France' Secretary of State, so not a man given to naivety. He was 84 when this was painted so he got to a ripe old age; not easy for many reasons, so I think he knew how to look after himself.

This one has "Rembrant" underneath, but isn't.

I love the light reflecting on the fabrics.

 Love the horse. The muscles are so wonderfully done. This is a small painting of one of the French kings. It measures about 8" square.
 I absolutely love this one on the left. It's called Death of the Virgin by Brugel (the elder)

As you can see it's very very dark on the whole left side and you can see people in the shadows if you look. The focus is the light from the candle being held in front of the Virgin. It casts wonderful shadows into the room. Spell binding. I could gaze at it for hours.

Conversely, these two give me the creeps.

I'm really interested in using gold leaf in paintings. I have tried bits as experiments only, but I like the effects of it in backgrounds.
And another icon with gold leaf and egg tempera.  I'd still like to try a small miniature sized painting soon, but I have to get to grips with layering techniques, and there just so much to do...I need another few hours per day please.

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