Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Little Diversion

My favorite Vermeer is "A Maid Asleep."

 A Maid Asleep, Johannes Vermeer, 1656-57, Metropolitan Museum of Art (click on image for larger view)

Back in my undergrad days in New York, whenever we had some free time we'd go into "the city" from Brooklyn and visit the Met or the Modern (as it was known then). I used to gaze at the Vermeers, and marvel at the technique. This one wasn't at the show at the National Gallery last week, but I keep thinking about it: how softly the light fades into the shadow areas; how realistic, photographic, really; the girl looks. I had a small, 6"x6" panel lying around, and it occurred to me that I might learn something about Vermeer's painting style and his odd flesh tones if I tried a copy. There are artists who go to museums and set up their easels in front of the old masters' paintings in an effort to do the same thing: learn. So I'm trying my hand at it.

This is a very raw beginning:

 Study After A Maid Asleep, (Johannes Vermeer), work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Again, I'm using a limited palette: Ultramarine Blue, Ivory Black, Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Red Light. Oh, and of course, Titanium White.  That seems to be all that's necessary for this one. You can see how far off the tones are at this early stage. There will be some adjustment. And I might switch to a Zinc White for the warmer areas.

Meanwhile, I continue to consider what new pieces to start and what direction to take with them in the coming weeks.

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