20 November 2015

Talk and Draw at the National Gallery

A while back, I went to the "Talk and Draw" Friday lunchtime events quite often, and today (as part of a Production Procrastination project) I decided on the spur of the moment to go. It was in Room 45, and the painting was Rousseau's 1891 tiger in the storm, also known as Surprised! - a very child-likeable painting, being oggled by a group of adults for a change.

In the Talk part, Aliki told us about the painting in the context of the times in which it was painted - how Rousseau, a self-taught painter who got confident enough in 1880 to leave his lowly clerk job, moved among the independent artists. Picasso was a supporter of Rousseau's art.

The subject matter, the power of nature and beasts, is one used by generations of painters. Rousseau took his plants and animals from the Jardin des Plantes and the natural history museum, mixing them up - pampas grass in a jungle?

Our "assignment", given that the painting had been "made up", was to remake the painting ourselves, either using elements in it or some photos of jungles and tigers she had prepared. The materials were pencil crayons ... something I've never used effectively. We took a couple of warm colours and a couple of cool colours.

Not sure whether the pencil crayons have been used effectively here, but I certainly used them vigorously and freely and with some pleasure. The 45 minutes of drawing time passed in a flash and I was pleased to get most of the paper covered and to have discovered some fast ways to make marks, eg those trees.
All this with four colours?
Sometimes it's good to Just Go and not think about it too much. As my current art-throb William Kentridge says somewhere (maybe in this video), it's important to maintain the same level of energy throughout the drawing.

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