Woman with geraniums, oil on canvas, 23x30in, originally uploaded by ahtravis.
The summer I learned how to really “mine” a museum!
I have the sketchbook habit. The habit began as assigned work in my drawing classes while a student at The Cleveland Institute of Art. I began in pencil and ended up sketching in ink. The sketch book goes with me everywhere. My favorite subject is the figure in movement and I regularly seek out those spots where people in movement can be expected to congregate. I have always found museums a rich environment for a wide variety of body shapes, stances and clothing. I observed and made my own sketches.
But in July, 2007 I was in Paris for a month studying at the Paris American Academy on an Art Students League Merit Scholarship funded by the Fantasy Fountain Fund. Several times a week, our academy art tutor, Calum Frazer, an art historian as well as a practicing artist, would take us to one of the many fabulous museums in Paris. I knew museums as a source of sketching from life but I’ll admit, it had not occurred to me to sketch the work of others, especially sculptors. I learned!
This past summer I needed a figure for a painting I had in mind, my second “Woman with geraniums”. A watercolor I had painted en plein air, in 2006 suggested the Adirondack chair with geraniums. In this much larger, more substantial painting I needed a figure rising from that chair. I found her in a sketch (see Flickr photos attached) made at The Louvre, Paris, 2007. The sculpture was a Roman Aphrodite. She had lost her head and arms so I added them.
and i remember how you used to lament that you could only paint what was literally in front of you- what a wonderful developmental process the last several years have been.