We had out of town visitors last week, which was most of the reason for my frantic spring-house-cleaning-after-a-year-of-pandemic. The visit was great, well worth the preparation. We chatted around the kitchen table, went out to a very beautiful botanical garden, ordered a great dinner for delivery, and strolled through the marble halls of the National Gallery.
So this is where the reality check comes in. It's been a while since I visited any gallery, let alone the magnificent ones we have here in the Metro DC area. And I've forgotten what real, museum quality painting looks like. Well, the Winslow Homers and the John Singer Sargents were an eye opener; I've always admired their work but after a year of concentrated study, I was able to grasp some details and take them away with me. I should mute my colors more; sometimes a single stroke says it all; the clouds I paint should show more structure; I need to visualize the unified impression of the final work before I start and then aim for that; skies on a hazy day can go almost white; and a wash of blue haze over the horizon line can also be scratched away in spots.
I get on brain overload very easily in places like that, and usually can't look at the art for more than twenty minutes. So I'm writing down what I saw in hopes I'll be able to look at it again sometime and utilize it.