Tuesday, September 28, 2010
nocturnes/dusk/Whistler and my struggles
Lately I have been studying the light of the early evening hours. It's always good to go and look at inspiring works as well. Who better to look to than the man himself?...Whistler. Downtown in the Freer Gallery of Art there is a wonderful selection of his gorgeous nocturnes.
My special interest is in his blue nocturnes of Venice and the Battersea bridge. For these he painted on a deep red or mahogany panel. It glows through the thinly layered blue/gray paint. That's what makes the blues sing. Whistler painted with sweeps of color..just the perfect sweep..no more no less. If it wasn't just right he would wipe it off. Because of the beautiful "simplicity" In his time Whistler's nocturnes were not considered "real art." They just seemed too easy... Oh to be that good!
Whistler said that his palette was where the painting took place. He felt that once all the colors were mixed on the palette the painting was almost done. So much precise thought went into making a beautiful harmony. He pre-mixed all his colors. For what I understand his colors included: raw sienna, raw umber, yellow ochre, cobalt blue and then 3 reds, an orange red- I think - vermilion, Venetian red (cooler, bluer red), white and black.
Below was my first try three layers, all wiped away...already!