"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Washington DC National Gallery of Art.

The Smithsonian National Gallery of Art - what a divine place! I will start with the post impressionists and impressionists as they are always my favorites.

A self portrait by Van Gogh that caught me by surprise. I had never seen this one before and it is so vibrant, so visually compelling that I could hardly take my eyes off of it. A mere photo could never do it justice. You must see if for yourself!

I adore Degas and seeing The Mounted Horseman was near to heart stopping for me. His drawing skills are so superb - each horse and rider exquisitely rendered.

Degas / Scene from the Steeplechsae: The Fallen Jockey. This painting is very large, about 71 x 60 inches and is totally mesmerizing with gorgeous color. Degas exhibited it at the Paris Salon in 1866 but was unsatisfied with it. He repainted it and the  original position of one of the horses can be seen in the sky on the upper left. Apparently  Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon loved Degas' work almost as much as I do since many of his paintings have been donated by them to the museum.

Woman Viewed from Behind / Degas. I would have taken this little gem home with me if I could have!

Toulouse Lautrec (another favorite) / Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero /1896

Toulouse Lautrec / Woman with Dog / 1891
 And then there were a few surprises! This exquisite drawing by Verrochio of Woman with Braided Hair.

 And a small, perfect Leonardo Da Vinci portrait!

A tiny masterpiece attributed to Vermeer 

  And a lovely Cezanne landscape.

I took dozens and dozens of photos and I wish I could show them all but I do encourage you to go and spend a day at this wonderful museum. 

I will leave you with a photo of a painting I did many years ago of Toulouse Lautrec in his studio with his dog , his model and his completed Moulin Rouge painting!

Artist and his Muse / 24 x 36 / oil on canvas

Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 Begins, a Bobcat and Part 3 of Washington DC

Fundamental Limit to Precision / oil on linen / 18 x 24

Hot off the easel - first painting of 2020. And a big surprise this morning as I was having coffee in my kitchen - a beautiful, bobcat walked right across the backyard! I was not fast enough to get to my camera for a photo but did remember this lynx  (cousin of a bobcat and very similar in appearance)  painting I did a while ago.

Canadian Lynx / oil on masonite / 14 x 18
We finally got to tour Mount Vernon on the next morning of our Christmas vacation. I have wanted to see the home of George Washington for  a  long time and was not disappointed. I was filled with a sense of awe and of history to be able to walk through the rooms and gardens where he and Martha hosted Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison. I learned that following his Presidency, he was an avid farmer and was surprised to hear that he was the first person to breed a mule - a cross between a female horse and a male donkey. He wanted a big, strong animal with lots of stamina to be able to plow the fields!
Mount Vernon

Breathtaking view from the porch over the Potomac River

Bedroom where Lafayette stayed when visiting Washington.

George Washington's study with his chest from the Revolutionary War and his  chair with an overhead fan powered by foot pedals.

The working section of the farm - the laundry, ice house and stables.
We spent the afternoon walking the gentle hills and valleys of Arlington National Cemetery - a place I have no adequate words to describe other than to say I have never felt more humbled or more grateful for the sacrifice of these men and women. It is a still and quiet place of great yet disquieting beauty - a place for deep sorrow,  reverence and introspection .

I have yet to show you my photos from the National Gallery of Art and the National Portrait Gallery. I will post those next time. I hope that this New Year is beginning with great promise and potential for everyone as we move forward into this brand new decade!