Monday, 1 December 2008

impressionism in london

while we were in america we were presented with the offer to make an unexpected and spontaneous visit to London. we excepted, and nothing has been better for my inspirational juices and creative thoughts. this city is rich with art and I have learnt a lot, been opened wide!

luke and i have visited many galleries and been continually blown away by so much history and story in one city. our favourite so far has to be the National Gallery, where we have spent hours and hours studying everything there, but especially all the pieces in about 4 small rooms...Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Tolouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Seurat, Cezanne, Pissarro...all these amazing artists i have studied at school, coming truely alive for the first time. i have always loved the Impressionists the most i think, so to see them all together in one place is incredible, overwhelming, and very inspirational. nothing compares to seeing these works in real life. they suddenly have such depth and colour and intricate moments.

i realise their amazing textures, vibrant colours, fascinating techniques. i am very drawn to the technique of a painting. i love to stand up close and see just how the paint has been placed on the canvas, how the overall effect has been achieved. i love both the bold, strong techniques of many artists in this movement, as well as the gentle and clever perfection of others.

Cezanne, and his early development of cubism - where the surface of the painting is broken up into small areas of paint, just strokes of colour if you look at it closely, but so particulary placed that on the overall they form a brilliant portrait or landscape. this is 'Landscape with Poplars' (1885-7).

Van Gogh and his bold texture and use of bright chunks of colour - i love how it stands off the canvas. i was especially taken by this technique in his ‘Long Grass with Butterflies’ (1890). pictures obviously don’t do these pieces any justice...

Seurat’s technique, pointillism, also intrigues me. his painting ‘The Channel of Gravelines, Grand Fort Phillips’ (1890) is made up completely of tiny dots, painted on the canvas with such precision and perfect tone, that so much detail is present, even to the point of being able to see the faint pinky purple sunset forming in the blue sky.

i also love the soft gentleness of Monet, who also often used carefully placed pieces of colour to create intricate impressions of nature. when you look at it closely it is just solids of colour, but taking steps back it becomes a beautiful scene of intricate life. this is 'The Water-Lily Pond' (1899).

i also love this painting by Cezanne, ‘The Painter's Father, Louis-Auguste C├ęzanne’ (about 1865). he painted this directly onto a wall in his father’s house (it has since been lifted off and restored onto canvas). it is hard to see in the picture, but the texture on the face, in contrast to the body and then the background areas is so bold and chunky and well yeah, it’s a great effect and this is a great painting.

so, there is my small tour of the National Gallery for you...i have just so enjoyed discovering art again. i have loved relearning about these techniques and movements, and seeing this incredible talent right here in real life in front of me. i am inspired to try so many different things, to just give it a go, and get to expressing myself creatively.

i got given some material from a friend here, and i have been having such fun playing with it’s colours and textures. i have ideas for jewelry made using the lines of these artists and this material - i have been experimenting! stay tuned for more, and thanks for coming on my gallery journey with me ... xx

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