Friday, May 16, 2008

May Artist #5: Elizabeth Nourse

I am completely squirming today with exciting stuff that I can't talk about (yet) but I have to type about to torment you guys. I really wanted to use it and my runny nose as an excuse to get out of doing this blog post tonight so I could hurry up and watch Chocolat to reward myself for being good . . . but I felt the siren song of discipline singing to me.

So here I am, and I'm glad I did, because I found a really interesting (Safely Dead) artist to highlight this time.

Between this artist and Mary Cassatt, you guys are going to think I've gone all soft and that I'll stop calling my children things like "Ankle biters," but never fear, it's not really the sentimental subject matter that drew me to Elizabeth Nourse's work.

Without further ado, here is what drew me to her art and what I would like to steal for my very own:

  • I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with my recent sketching kick, but I've become a real sucker for realistic gesture and pose in my art. And Nourse's work, like Cassatt's, is full of very real and very candidly observed people.
  • Lovely use of values. You guys are probably beginning to see that I tend to like works that are mostly dark punctuated by light, rather than the other way around. Nourse has plenty of dark gloomy works to make me content, but regardless of the predominant value, she uses the value on the opposite end of the scale to point to her focal point.
  • Multiple subjects. Busy, busy, busy. I love works that have multiple subjects and pull it off well. Check out the first painting in the post. Absolutely crawling with children and yet not busy at all. Why? School marm there is the clear focal point and the children, while adorable (and probably smelly) are merely there to play supporting roles.
  • Color. As teens would say, OMG. I love those purples and burgundys offset by light violets and whites. It gives the paintings a certain . . . gravitas.
Makes me glad I'm bringing my sketchbook with me tomorrow.

Links for this artist:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Americans in Paris
Valparaisio Poetry Review
Revolt in the Desert
The Ohio Channel
Biography of Elizabeth Nourse


Amy Sullivan said...

Not soft, just a lover of life, big difference. And, Thank God, these moments really do happen, they are not made up. A loser version of this artist is Carl Larsson .I love him.

Amy Sullivan said...

now, how did that happen? was checking back & found my repeats. sorry, don't no how that happened. amy