I try to run a full service blog, and whenever I learn about a good art website I link it here. Consequently if you ever want to go art surfing on a rainy day, remember my sidebar. Recently I went through all the links to check their status and I eliminated ones that had expired. I also rearranged things a bit to make them more organized. But everyone likes different things, so you have to explore on your own to find whatever suits you. However, I can assure you — whoever you are — that there’s something here for you because I’ve assembled quite a variety of sites over time.
From time to time, I’d like to feature certain ones that I think are especially noteworthy. Today’s candidate is the Rembrandt van Rijn: life, paintings, etchings, drawings and self-portraits site. It has good reproductions of the major paintings and also an excellent selection of drawings and etchings of good quality and resolution.
I’m always encouraging people to copy old master pictures for the sake of all that you can learn. Thanks to the good quality of these images at this Rembrandt website, you can observe the varied techniques Rembrandt used, Rembrandt that always intrepid 17th century art explorer. Copying drawings in imitation of his specific techniques and materials is one thing to try, or copy images translating them to other media (like maybe into blue ball point pen — just sayin’) or find your own motif and work directly from life in emulation of the ways that Rembrandt teaches through his imagery — these are all possibilities. And no doubt you’ll think up other possibilities of your own.
But here’s a great site for study and for pure enjoyment.
Just returned from the National Gallery of Art in Washington where I made some drawings after old masters. I can give advice about ways that artists can learn to draw more spontaneously, but it’s harder when I have to take my own advice. Drawing in museums where masterworks hang all around can be intimidating, and as I wandered through the galleries it was difficult to settle upon one thing and just draw it. Once I decided to draw, it was also challenging to begin when so many visitors were nearby possibly to observe me. But I did recall to myself the advice I give out. And I can hardly expect anyone to listen to me if I won’t listen to myself.
So I just started. One of the drawings I made is the sketch above.
I was thinking about Renoir after reading a Facebook page discussion of one of the artist’s paintings in a Washington museum. Decided to think with the pencil.
After I took these photos, while looking at the Renoir picture some more, I decided I had further thoughts about it, so I did some reworking.
And up close …
My version’s different from the old guy’s, as versions always are, but I hope I captured some of his bright optimism concerning young women, youth and beginnings in life.
While I’m on my memory theme, I took this face from some old master, but I can’t remember who or where. (Other than that, and the continual dance of hide and seek that I play with my car keys, I have a great memory.) I think it’s from a Degas portrait. (Is there an art historian in the house?)
The advantage of drawing from old masters is that you get such neat ideas. If I draw from life, I can use what this image teaches me. Of course, I’m usually drawing fish. But, hey, they have such fine chiseled profiles, they really do.
Anyway, my violin hero Stephane Grappelli used to play a Bach duo with Jean-Luc Ponty, de temps en temps. They called it their “Bible.” So, I take a break from my jazz koi to draw a little classical Degas sometimes.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington (my favorite hangout) had a fabulous exhibit on Picasso about ten years ago. The exhibit’s appearance was especially fortuitous for me — and I’ve got to tell you, I love it when the big institutions do things especially tailored to my needs. I had always been fascinated by certain of Picasso’s early works, and the paintings I loved most happened to be among the ones exhibited.
I went through the exhibit almost daily, for a season, and often I made drawings from the paintings. There were lots of drawings exhibited too, which was wonderful. Seeing Picasso’s drawings side by side with his paintings gains you insights into how he made his pictures.
This drawing was one I made from a Picasso “blue and rose period” painting. It’s a copy of Picasso’s Portrait of Corina Romeu, which you can find at a comprehensive website of Picasso’s works.
When I made this drawing, I wanted some memory of the light and dark relationships between her face and the background. In a later drawing, I focused solely on the face. I’ll post it up next.
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[Top of the post: Drawing after Picasso’s portrait of Corina Romeu, by Aletha Kuschan]