17 June 2018

Sunday in the park (and gallery)

On the way to Tate Britain this morning I walked through Green Park and St James Park, enjoying the birds and flowers and becoming aware of "military" bands playing across the lake and then down the mall - of course! it's the lead-up to Changing of the Guard!
Approaching Buckingham Palace

Meadow beside the lake

Bold and "tame" geese ....
... learning from MamaGoose

And such shenanigans among the people...!

More shenanigans!
 Everybody loves a parade, and the music sent us hurrying to the Mall to see ...
After the band passed, and as the stirring music faded, these guys
with their machine guns at their sides were a (chilling)
reminder of modern times
 At Tate Britain (after tea and cake of course) I sat myself down on the first convenient bench and got on with Tuesday-drawing "homework": to copy something -
That's part of Stanley Spencer's "The Resurrection, Cookham" (1924-7), and this mere smudge is 45 minutes of intense work - looking at the relations between parts of it, and the tones -
It's faint and timid on the page, but I felt that all the "noticing" that went on was very enlightening - dark and light, how to get movement and how to get stillness, the types of lines vs masses. I found myself checking and rechecking the relation of one figure to another, the tombstones to the figures (that grid of eye-movements could make "a map of looking").

Back through time, through various rooms, to the 1740s and another convenient bench. More looking and checking, and here's my deepened understanding of a family group by Scottish painter Allan Ramsay -
 ... from this distance ...
Up close, of course, there are all sorts of subtleties, not least in the colours (and the sudden appearance of the dog!) -
 and the expressions, especially of Mary, who was partially sighted -

My quick sketch completely misses capturing the personality of the sitters. Nor did I even attempt that! One step at a time ... first let's get them in the right places, at the right relative size.

I firmly believe that so-called copying is a good thing to do: you're doing it as a means of educating yourself, and of getting practice at both looking/seeing and capturing the shapes/tones. It's a private pursuit, and it's not easy: perseverance is definintely required.

On the way out of the building this memorial to Malcolm Morley, the first winner of the Turner Prize (1984) -

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