Up Close at the Met

Last week John and I where in New York City for the American Impressionist Society 20th National Art Show opening.

We signed up for a list of demonstrations, lectures and tours. On the second day we found ourselves with 1 1/2 hours of free time, of course we had to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park.

But what do you do with only a short time in a museum that would take a week to see? I headed right for the American Painters. John Singer Sargent, Robert Henri, Mary Cassatt, George Bellows. . .this is where I can really get inspired.

Standing in front of this enormous Sargent painting of The Wyndham Sisters took my breath away but looking up close was even more spellbinding.

In this detail from the lady in the center you can see the confidently placed, few brushstrokes that rendered the sparkling pearls and jewelry.

Mrs. Hugh Hammersley by John Singer Sargent

A wonderful staccato of brushwork to make up a seemingly complicated lace collar.

Rendered so freshly, no overworking here. . .

A totally different genre, Frederick Remington’s On The Southern Plains.

Just look at the simplicity of those faces, horse and riders! Simplicity that only comes after a lifetime of study and painting.

Even the prairie grass and shadows have a rhythmic direction in the strokes.

Fluer de Lis by Robert Reid

One of my favorite American Impressionists, what a wonderfully delicate, yet textural way he rendered that face and those hands.

James Jebusa Shannon, Jungle Tales

Look at those faces, not a hard edge to be found.

It’s so inspiring to see the work of those masters that have come before us. There really is no “right way” to paint, whatever it takes to get the end result.

I was reading something the other day directed at painters that said, “art doesn’t happen in nature, it happens in our head”.

 

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