Still Life with Apples on a Pink Tablecloth after Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse was one of the most influential artists of the early 20th century.  He achieved this status primarily through the revolutionary use of brilliant color.  Matisse often exaggerated form to express emotion.  Born in 1869, Henri Matisse first began a career in law.  However, in 1891, he began to study art.  He started by taking a drawing class in the morning before he went to work.  Then, at age 21,  while recuperating from an illness, his true vocation as an artist was confirmed.  As has happened in the lives of many artists, Matisse decided it is never too late to follow your passion. Matisse went through many changes in his style and was influenced both by artists who came before him as well as contemporaries.  He was particularly taken by the work of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac who painted in a “Pointillist” style with small dots of color rather than full brushstrokes.

A love of bright colors is what Matisse is most known for today.  He produced major creative breakthroughs in the years 1904-05 eventually leading to the emphasis on capturing mood rather than merely trying to depict the world realistically.

I was drawn to Still Life with Apples on a Pink Tablecloth because of the unique placement of the composition and the majestic use of color.  Like many of the paintings that hang at the National Gallery of Art (NGA), the years have somewhat dulled the paint used by the original artist.  I try to imagine what the painting looked like when it was created in 1924 and try my best to reach back in time to recreate the luster that was intended by Henri Matisse.  It is always a challenge but what a privilege it is to be at the NGA doing what I love to do. I don’t even think twice when I have to wake up at 4:30 am every Tuesday morning to begin the 50 mile journey to the museum.  I’m currently in gallery #81.  Stop by and say hello!

Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son

Tuesday, April 8, 2014, was the fifth day of copying Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son.  I love the atmosphere in the Impressionist Galleries.  Everyone has been searching for spring this year and we just haven’t been able to find it.  However, in the Impressionist Galleries, it’s always spring and I love being there!  Visitors are happy and the mood is grand.  I can feel electricity in the air when folks enter the galleries to view the magnificent works of Monet, Renior, Cezanne, VanGogh, Picasso, etc.  Color explodes inside these rooms and I enjoy every minute I’m there.  This is my second copy of Woman with a Parasol.  It was so much fun copying it the first time that I decided to produce a second copy, and try to make it even more perfect.   But mostly I am simply excited at being in that room.

Monet favored painting landscapes – a subject that was attuned to outdoor painting.  Impressionism evolved in the late 1860’s from a desire to create full-scale, multi-figure depictions of ordinary people in casual outdoor situations.  It is believed that Claude Monet painted Woman with a Parasol in just 4 hours, very spontaneously as is evident particularly in the clouds and conveyed by a repertory of animated brushstrokes of vibrant color.  Bright sunlight shines from behind Madame Monet making her appear in silhouette while color reflections from the wildflowers below touch her front with yellow.

This is the perfect time to visit the National Gallery of Art.  The cherry blossoms will be in full bloom within days and spring has decided to finally pay us a visit bringing an abundance of color inside and out.  I’m in gallery 85 every Tuesday.   Come by and say hello!

New Exhibit at the Delaplaine

The Frederick County Art Association will open its Member Exhibit with a reception this Saturday, January 4th from 3 to 5 pm at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, 40 S. Carroll Street in Frederick, Maryland.  I have entered two works into the exhibit, “Young Dancer” and “Bridge at Argenteuil” after Monet.  I hope to see many of my friends and family at the reception.  It is also First Saturday in downtown Frederick which offers many activities to be enjoyed all over town, not to mention great restaurants and shopping.  So bundle up, come out and enjoy the town as well as great art during the opening of several new exhibits at the Delaplaine.

Young Dancer
Young Dancer
The Bridge at Argenteuil after Claude Monet
The Bridge at Argenteuil after Claude Monet

On Tuesday, January 7th I will be putting the finishing touches on my copy of Vincent van Gogh “Roses” at the National Gallery of Art.  I’m also very excited to see for the first time the NGA’s newest acquisition of van Gogh’s painting “Green Wheat Fields, Auvers,” which has not been seen publicly since 1966 and was painted months before the artist’s death in 1890.  It hangs right next to “Roses” in gallery #83 so I will be able to admire it all day long.

On Tuesday, January 21st I will begin work on Paul Cezanne’s “Landscape near Paris” in the Impressionist gallery.  This masterpiece is a bit different from the ones I’ve previously copied.  It is a very loose oil painting done in thin washes almost like a watercolor. It will be a new challenge for me.  I will keep you posted on the progress.