Saturday, August 7, 2010

Musings after the Museum

Mabel Hewit, Houses, 1936
Friday, my friend Kristen and I, made our annual trek to some venue of culture.  This year, we chose to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art.  We had been there before for  a special exhibit on armor (yes Kristen wanted to see all that armor and I just wondered among all the metal men) but the main exhibit had been put away due to renovations.  So it was a treat to finally see what this great museum had to offer.
When I was younger, I used to just stroll through art museums as if they were  big illustrated history books.  I would marvel at the scenes depicted, clothes worn, and history involved.  Now though, I use them as big buildings of inspiration.  The CMA did not disappoint.
First, we were met with the special exhibit of depression era artist, Mabel Hewit.  I had never seen her work before but thought the ads for the exhibit looked interesting.  The exhibits were of her wood cuts and showcased her use of bold color and simple shapes.  I literally feel in love with her work and I'm sure she'll be an influence in mine.
Degas. Dancer Looking at the Sole of her Right Foot, 1896
As I went through the rest of the main collection, I try to take note of the masters' use of value and where the focal points were in their pieces.  Its amazing that the same design elements that worked for them will still work for me.  Like in Degas' piece above, he uses value (the lightest light) to have your eye move across the piece.  Also the use of the accent color burnt orange does the same.  With that the rhythm of the piece is created.  I like that although the dancers are standing still in this scene they still seem to be moving.

Sloan, Women's Work, 1912
Sloan's painting, a Women's  Work, really caught my eye.  Not only was I drawn to my favorite subject matter, women, but also I love his use of line and value to bring your eye right to his focal point.  There among the big buildings of the inner city is a lone woman going about her daily chores.  The laundry line is a big arrow right to her but then he repeats that bit of white near the top to still keep your eye moving.  LOVE IT!

I could go on and on.  Still my favorite part of the museum was the paintings from the 19th and 20th century.  So many of the pieces were figurative without being too realistic so that they weren't just a snapshot of that moment but also envoked a strong feeling.

So remember to take time to treat yourself and your eye to a bit of culture and beauty.  Visit a museum or a gallery.  Your soul will thank you.


Quilter Kathy said...

Great advice! I love that Women's Work painting!

Sharon said...

thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment because now I know about your blog, too! Going to museums always inspires me. LOVE IT!
ArtL8dy at etsy