Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whistler, Even More Continuing

"Out the Back Window" - 8 x 10"ish colored pencil on Bristol paper.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
$50 - email me at portraitswithcharacter@gmail.com to purchase (first request received honored)

Well, today has been crazy. We just moved back to our old town to be closer to my family and grandmother, and moving is - well, you know how moving is. I'd rather eat a tomato, which for me is saying a lot. And we JUST moved too, so grrrr . . . also, I have my first show of the year coming up this weekend so I'm very busy making sure my booth set-up is beautiful for that (e-mail me or comment any artists who are interested in seeing pics of that and having me wax poetic on the joys of outdoor shows). So expect me to be scarce this week - back in full force on Monday but popping my head in until then when I can.

I took advantage of being separated from all my "real" work that I've been working on to do my Whistler project - remember, the drawing from memory? If you're just signing on, head back a few days on my blog and read the post on how Fine Line Artists is studying him this month.

Anyway, James McNeill Whistler painted his later nocturnes from memory, saying the impressions of a location were more important than exact details, so I decided to try it. While we were in the car the other night, I did as he did: observed the details of the scene, then closed my eyes and recited the details to myself, including what colors I thought each large area was. (No, I wasn't the one driving, in case you were cringing and wondering). That was two days ago. I was surprised how many details fell out of my head in that time, like any of the exact colors I'd planned to use, or how trees really looked.

But I gave it the old college try. And you know what, it kinda feels like the evening. I can remember the way the light looked when I look at the drawing. I think in another life I would've made it softer and less detailed, but it's hard to break out of that mold.

Anyway, I really want to see my readers' attempts at painting and drawing from memory. It doesn't have to be a long effort - this one was about 30 minutes of my time - but it was entertaining and kind of freeing for a normally anal artist like myself. So will you show me yours, pretty please?

7 comments:

vivien said...

Degas was of the same opinion about memory distilling the essentials.

http://vivienb.blogspot.com/2007/05/and-lsa-show.html the long thin canvasses in this show were 'memory' ones. The surrounding work is by other members.

I like this :)

and I hate moving too - maximum stress levels.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Vivien, that trees one looks amazing - any chance of seeing a bigger pic?

Belinda Lindhardt said...

Wow this is really interesting maggie... i might see if i can give it a whirl ... :)

i would love to see photos of your show ... good luck with it.. i love seeing all that type of thing the more pics the better :)

Katherine said...

I think my Low Tide one was a bit like that - must get round to posting it.........

I like this - and it's reminding me of something or somebody and I can't remember who. Not Whistler per se but it's a 'good' person.

Cooper Dragonette said...

Maggie I'm stuck at the library while the brokers tour our house right now. We're haven't moved yet, but showing your house might be worse.
I would love to see pics of your booth as I will be exhibiting for the first time this summer outdoors and haven't got a clue!

Karen Mathison Schmidt said...

Maggie, I for one would love to hear you wax poetic on the joys of outdoor shows. And I'm with Cooper - please show pics of your booth!

Hope everything is well with your family, and that your show goes super this weekend!

ACEO's By Rose said...

I love your Whistler paintings! They are awesome... but you are so versatile, I expected perfection! :)

Anyway, this is to let you know, you've been TAGGED! I've admired you for so long I hope you'll find time to go along with this, it's fun! I have instructions on my blog, unless of course you've done this before and you already know (why do I have that feeling??)... anyway, have a happy Memorial Day and good luck with your Whistler paintings... awesome! xo Rose