I’ve been in such a rut lately. A friend of mine said I should reconnect with my roots and my old loves, so I went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington today. Decided to draw still life since that’s what I’m working on in my own painting. Found this Frans Snyders painting, Still life with Grapes and Game. Besides the grapes and the game, it also features a tray of figs. That’s what I drew. You can see them on the left-hand side of the painting.
I only had two hours to look at paintings and also to make my little drawings now that Washington has upped the cost of its metered parking to new heights. The Mint stamps only so many quarters, you know. Anyway, before I made my oil pastel version, I drew it with pencil.
In both versions, I was not especially concerned with how Snyders painted his subject (though of course that’s a very interesting matter). Instead, I drew the figs just as though they were real figs, putting my colors down in ways that suited my thoughts and making little attempt to describe Snyders’s thoughts and techniques.
It’s tricky being in a museum drawing this way. So many factors enter in that people typically don’t think about in regard to art. For instance, my left hand started going numb on me from balancing the pastel tray under my notebook. And my purse and coat started weighing heavily on my shoulders. (Could I be getting old?! NO!) Still, people ought to know that my hand was going numb while I was working and that my shoulders started to ache! Hey, brownie points, please!
Alas, there goes my violin career. Anyway, I feel that looking at this painting — even though I wasn’t thinking about Frans Snyders’s techniques — helped free up something in my brain as regards my own pictures. Time will tell. (And I’ve got to get back to the museum more often.)