pencil and coloured pencil in Moleskine notebook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
While waiting to get into the Velaquez exhibition yesterday (timed tickets only) I took the opportunity to go and revisit these works - and this time to sketch in colour (Regular readers may remember this "Drawing Monet" post from last year - which describes my technique for sketching works being viewed by others). Those who have my plan for this year know that I intend to study and draw the works of artists I find influential in order to understand both them and their works better. Today it was the turn of Monet and Degas. For more sketches done yesterday in the Velaquez exhibition see the previous post.
oil on canvas
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I started with two of my favourite paintings from Monet's Poplars on the Epte series. This time I got the audio guide and learned that:
- there are 24 paintings in the series depicting the poplars at different times of the day and in different weath
- Monet painted them from a flat bottomed boat borrowed from his friend Caillebotte which had been specially adpated so that it could take canvases of different sizes. ( The painting from a boat habit reminded me of John Singer Sargent who used to sketch in Venice while sat in a gondola - I'm beginning to think about devising a boating expedition!)
- He had to buy the land that the poplars stood on to avoid them being cut down before he had completed the series!
I then sketched the Degas pastel "After the Bath" and rather regretted not having a deep yellow with me - but have added that this morning, Interestingly when I looked at the reproduction on the website this seemed to be a much more washed out version which looked rather more yellow than the reality! However drawing in very subdued lighting might account for me thinking it's darker than it really is!
The Degas is interesting because it's actually done on five pieces of paper which have been mounted onto board. I also learned that Degas had his own recipe for fixative (he fixed between each layer and then worked again on top) which I now feel the urge to find out more about. His use of fixative makes some works - such as this one - look more like oil paintings than conventional pastels.
Tip: One of the ways I remember which colours need to be added in later if I don't have them with me is to actually work out and identify the precise colour by name. I find it's much easier to remember that way.Have you ever sketched in a public gallery - as a child or as an adult - and , if you did, how did you find it?
- National Gallery: Manet to Picasso Exhibition (until May 2007)
- National Gallery - "Manet to Picasso" - Press Release
- National Gallery: Introduction to the Impressionists
- Making a Mark: Drawing Monet
- Making a Mark: Drawing Heads: Velaquez and the Prince's Drawing School