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Plein Air Painting - Europe 2016 - London Part II

Continuing from my last post, ( you can read it here) I´ll write now about my reencounter with another Great Master:
John Constable

Nature and Nostalgia
Constable took a long time to achieve recognition. While his work was just as radical as Turner's, it shows none of the latter's constant searching for new subjects. He admired earlier Dutch painters as "a stay at home people, hence, their originality" His work was located in familiar territory beginning with his native Stour Valley between Suffolk and Essex.

Salisbury Cathedral from river Avon, 1820
oil on canvas
John Constable

Some of Constable sketches record individual motifs that reappear in finished paintings while others, provided the basis for entire compositions. 
Cloud study
 John Constable
pochade study
John Constable

From the 1780 s British and French painters began increasingly to make small scale oil sketches out of doors. These sought to capture subtle effects or light and atmosphere, and were not usually intended as finished works of art, John Constable was the great English Master of this medium. Being in a gallery surrounded by all that little gems was a dream come true!
Sandra Nunes at
Constable Gallery of studies
Victoria and Albert Museum - London
John Constable
John Constable
 He based his art on study from Nature, making drawings and small oil sketches outdoors working direct from the motif.  His subjects were chosen from personal meanings or associations. Even early pictures are imbued with sentimental memory. Nostalgia dominated his later work, reflecting his faith in the continuity of rural life in an age of change

John Constable
Cloud study
John Constable

The largest surviving group of these studies, over ninety works, was given to Victoria & Albert Museum by the artist's daughter. They shed unique light on Constable's working practice and are remarkable for their spontaneity and accuracy.

Time to rest the eye and do my "homework":

In a completely different surrounding than Constable's I went to capture the light and atmosphere of a wet day in London.
When I got to the site, it was only cloudy, but before I could start my work the rain came down. Fortunately there was a bus stop close by and I had shelter for the painting session.
This was one of that experiences that we never forget!

At the bus stop
Euston Road

Sandra Nunes
Plein air painting - Euston Road
To be continued...
Next post, an amazing exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery: "Russia and the Arts"

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Plein Air Painting - Europe 2016 - London Part I

I´m back from Europe, as usual I'm late with my posts here and as usual greatly inspired after an overdose of  viewing great Art,  I feel like painting 24 hours a day!
I´ll try to show here some highlights of these amazing days.

Meeting Sargent...
Meeting Sargent - Tate Britain Gallery
While it is wonderful to see great masterpieces up close and personal , we can never lose the opportunity to learn from the studies and the unfinished works...

Study for Madame Gatreaux
J. S. Sargent
Turner's many studies of Nature forms and fleeting effects convey the artist's inquisitive mind and his constant search for the pictorial possibilities in the world around him. Spanning fifty one years of his life, they served as valuable reference material in the composition and finished works.

Trees and Skies
J.W. Turner
Goring Mill and Church - JW. Turner
There´s no preliminary drawing in this unfinished work,
the sky is sufficiently developed o show that the weather
is fine and the war clouds suggest afternoon...

Their function as studies allowed for greater freedom to experiment with format, medium and technique. Turner´s focus varies from the single motif to wider views of the landscape, encompassing foliage, mountains, rivers, skies and the sea which exerted a particular fascination for him later in his life.

J. W. Turner

Turner drew prolifically in sketchbooks of various shapes and sizes, some of which(about 300!) are now held at Tate. In 1801 he used this small sketchbook during hs tour in Scotland, which included an exploration on the Highlands. This  sketchbook below is open at studies completed in guache, a more opaque medium than watercolor, giving solidity to the mountain form.

Turner's Sketchbook

                                       Time to rest the eyes and do my "homework":
Sandra Nunes
Sketching in watercolor - Hyde Park
To be continued in the next post with another Great Master: Constable!

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Paraty - Festa do Divino

I´ve been working in the city of Paraty these days. This is a Unesco World Heritage site and it  is a painter´s dream! This year the village received us like this: the colonial houses bathed by the May sun and all dressed up in red and white for the traditional "Feast of the Holy Spirit"
Paraty - Festa do Divino
oil on canvas 27 x 35 cm
Sandra Nunes

Sandra Nunes
Painting in Paraty

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São Clemente Street

The charming district of Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro-  Carioca SoHo
São Clemente Street - Botafogo
Sandra Nunes
oil on canvas 46x65 cm

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Marina da Gloria

Rio de Janeiro is getting ready for the Olympics. Marina da Gloria was completely remodelled for the Nautical games, its amazing, the view is a post card for itself.

 The bike easel  sometimes takes me to places that are sometimes impossible to reach by car.Why not join two pleasures and work?

Marina da Gloria
oil on panel 16x22cm
Sandra Nunes
Pochade Box on my bike-ease

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Afternoon tea - watercolor

I´ve been painting more with watercolor these days. I enjoyed playing with the subtle values creating a light atmosphere.
Afternoon Tea
watercolor on Saunders waterford
Sandra Nunes

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Painting reminiscences -work in progress... time travel

During the Olympic Games there will be an exhibition in Rio about the city on the nineteenth and early twentieth century. I was one of the artists invited to tell this visual story. Plein air painting is a good way to travel through time, besides finding old buildings, survivals of a bygone era, being on the site provided me the opportunity to listen to the stories of passersby.I will post t the finished painting later.

Thanks to two passersby who spontaneously took these pictures and sent them to me.

Sandra Nunes painting Castelinho do Flamengo
work in progress

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Sometimes we go far away in search of inspiration and it happens to be just beside us.
Afternoon Light
Sandra Nunes
Watercolor on Saunders Waterford paper 300

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Summer on the Bike Path

High summer, there is an explosion of Flamboyants in bloom all over the city. The fallen flowers turn the bike path into a yellow/red carpet!
This morning..
Summer on the Bike Path
Flamboyants in Bloom
Sandra Nunes
oil on canvas

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From Plein Air Painting to Studio Work

There is no Greater Master than Nature when learning to paint. Nothing substitutes the observation and constant training of the eyes when facing natural elements.In fact, learning to paint is learning to see and translate our inner vision. Whenever I´m asked why plein air painting I have longer and shorter answers, but I always state that they are completely different ways of working.
Recently I finished in the studio  the painting I´m posting now. It is a very large work for plein air!
I had already done smaller works with this theme, but for this one I started with compositional studies on the site and brought them to the studio to be developed into the final painting.
Victoria Regia - The Star of the Waters
oil on canvas 180 x 80 cm
Sandra Nunes
On the next post I´ll show the preliminary studies for this work. 
By now, Happy Holidays!
I wish you  a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Sandra Nunes Victoria Regia -
 The Star of the Waters
                                                                                         oil on canvas 180 x 80 cm

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Art and Traveling - part III

Being an artist I´m always pushing myself, exploring new techniques and materials, learning all along the way. Sometimes it is tough leaving the comfort zone and setting new goals.Well, I believe it is not the destination but the journey that counts and I´m having a blast on mine!

On the previous post I mentioned my first contact with Cobra Oils Solvent Free, the water miscible oils from Talens(you can read it here).

Arches Huile

Another material I had the opportunity to test was Arches Huile. This paper was specifically designed for oil painting and I specially liked the texture that keeps the look of Arches watercolor papers. It is archival , high quality, 100%  rag, 300 gsm manufactured with a barrier that absorbs  water or solvents evenly. It is very practical as it is available in  A3, A4 pads and in rolls that are easy to cut in different sizes

In Paris I combined the water miscible oils (Cobra) with Arches Huile. I  loved their practicality for traveling; just attach the paper  temporally to a solid support like a foam board and you are ready to paint immediately. The only attention one must have is  mounting it afterwards on an equally archival support before framing.
This paper is a bit more absorbent than the support I use to prepare for my paintings, that calls for a different approach, maybe more impasto than thin areas...Well I´ll continue exploring plein air painting on this surface  and in the studio as well to test its versatility.
Sandra Nunes painting from the porch
Canal San Martin, Paris
I started this oil sketch at the end of  a rainy afternoon from the porch. Paris rooftops  always attracted my attention and they were specially beautiful under an ever changing grey sky. I just wanted to capture the atmosphere with quick and synthetic brushstrokes only suggesting rather than rendering the rooftops architecture. At this point I called it done and stopped to  watch the gift of a wonderful sunset in Paris! 

Paris Rooftops -Sunset quick sketch
Sandra Nunes
Cobra Oils solvent free on Arches Huile
Read from the beginning Art and Traveling 1
                                         Art and Traveling 2

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Art and Traveling - part II

As I have written in the previous post, besides learning from the Great Masters studying their paintings up close, in galleries and museums, traveling abroad provides the opportunity to work in different locations; it is a great exercise on training to capture the local atmosphere. In addition, there is the possibility of experimenting with new techniques and use of new art materials.

Painting in oils, when travelling, may present some difficulties from brush cleaning, using solvents in inappropriate environments such as hotel rooms, to packing and transporting  wet canvases.. As we know, drying time of oil painting is subject to many variables ( I intend to  talk more about this soon).

I am always in search of the best art supplies to work with, not only the immediate result but permanence is also important. I want my paintings to last for many years after I´m gone.

Well,  I've tested water miscible oil paints some years ago, Winsor and Newton Artisan, Talens H2Oil and Grumbacher Max. None of them satisfied me for one reason or another. The pigment concentration, for example, I didn´t find any brand with the same pigment load of the traditional oils in their professional lines
This year I've learned about  Cobra, the new generation of Royal Talens water miscible oils. They  are manufactured both in professional line (Cobra fine) and student (Cobra study). I tested only the professional line.

Cobra Solvent Free Oils
Sandra Nunes
Painting in Tulleries Garden
I was positively impressed by its quality, and the fact of not using solvent was a good point. At first it behaves differently from traditional oils, but after understanding how to handle it, a new world is opened! No smell!
When I´m travelling all paintings are done alla prima, hit or miss in one session.

Tulleries Garden
Cobra Solvent Free oil on panel
16x22 cm
Sandra Nunes

There are some mediums available to be used for  example when working in layers. I didn´t use any at this time, just a bit of water at the beginning and then just paint.

Sandra Nunes
Painting in Honfleur

Sandra Nunes
Painting in Honfleur

Read Part one here
 To be continued...

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Art and Traveling

I´ve been  posting less here and privileging Facebook. This is a natural way  for the social network's immediacy and real time response. But I still like writing and reading longer posts. So I´ll keep this blog and my website as well for this kind of interactivity, sharing  as often as possible my creative process.

I´m restarting with some highlights from my recent trip to Europe.

Revisiting Rembrandt, this time at Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam
The Night Watch
Rembrandt at Rijksmuseum
The same subject, this time depicted by Frans Hals

The Banquet of the Officers of Saint George Militia
Frans Hals
Studying the Master of brushstrokes at Frans Hals Museum - Haarlem
Traveling  and being  exposed to different cultures, painting outdoors has been a great experience. Besides learning from the great masters, studying their canvases from the original, having  the opportunity to produce my work in different environments facilitates the exercise of a closer look at subtleties when trying to capture the local atmosphere.
Plein Air painting in Amsterdam - Leidseplein

Sandra Nunes

To be continued in the next post...

Continue reading here

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Spring is here- Sunflowers

It is quite understandable  Van Gogh's passion  for sunflowers, this is a beautiful flower when it blooms , lives beautifully  and it can become even more beautiful when dying. Its warm hues turns gray, its leaves twists and turns like a ballet in a circular dance.
I was privileged to live a few days with them and yesterday decided to capture their last minutes of life.

Spring is Here
"sunflowers, fading beauty"
soft pastels on wallis
Sandra Nune

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Urca - Nomand Castle

Those who visit my website and blog for some time now, realize that Urca has been quite often one of my inspirations.Strolling through its 17 streets, cycling or walking is part of my daily life. Sometimes with my bike-easel, pochade or large canvas I stop to register these peaceful moments.
Urca- Normand Castle
Sandra Nunes
oil on canvas 54 x 73 cm

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Santa Teresa - Almirante Alexandino Street

It´s been four years since the district of Santa Teresa lost its charming Tram. Now, the neighborhood is getting ready to receive the new vehicles.
In fact, they have started now to run experimentally, along a short distance.
Little by little I´ve been returning to this collection that gives me so much pleasure to paint. I´ve been working on new compositions, revisiting some other ones and on a rhythm in harmony with Santa Teresa's  I´ll be posting some works here and on my website. Thanks for following this!

Almirante Alexandrino Street
Oil on canvas 120x 90 cm
Sandra Nunes

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Arte de Portas Abertas - Santa Teresa Open Studios

Thanks everyone who attended my show  at Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo this weekend. It was great meeting old friends and making new ones!
The show runs til August 30th from Tuesday to Sunday - from 10 am to 05:00 pm
If you happen to be in Rio at this time, stop by!

Arte de Portas Abertas
Opening Night
Sandra Nunes

                                      Arte de Portas Abertas
Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo
Sandra Nunes

 Arte de Portas Abertas
                                                                     Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo
                                                                                                  Sandra Nunes

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Vitória Regia, Star of the Waters

There´s a Tupi Guarani legend which tells that whenever the moon hid itself behind the horizon, it took its favorite maiden to live in the sky. If the moon fell in love with a girl, the girl would turn into a star. Naia, daughter of an Indian chief and princess of the tribe, was impressed with the story. Then at night when everyone was asleep , she climbed the hills chasing for the moon in the hope that it would see her.But the moon did not seem to notice her and couldn´t hear her sobs of sadness in the distance. One night, Naia saw in the clear waters of a lake the shape of the moon. The poor girl, imagining that the moon had come to pick her up, threw herself into the deep waters of the lake and was never seen again.

The moon, wanted to reward the sacrifice of a young beauty, and decided to turn it into a different star from those that shine in the sky. She transformed her into a "Star of the Waters," which is the Victoria Regia plant. Thus a plant was born whose white fragrant flowers only open at night, and at sunrise look rosy and dies.
Whenever I go to Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden I stop at Frei Leandro´s pond to watch the water lillies. This time the "Star of the Waters" called my attention to paint this horizontal  composition.

Star of the Waters Sandra Nunes
- oil on canvas 40 x 120 cm

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High Summer - Flamboyant in Bloom

Along with the unbearable heat, summer comes exploding in color with the lush blooming of Flamboyants all over the city!
These trees have been calling me to paint for some time now,  and soft pastels seemed to be the right choice to make justice to these flowers vibrant colors bathed by the sun.

High Summer - Flamboyant in Bloom
Sandra Nunes
soft pastels 35 x 61 cm

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Kandinsky: Everything starts from a dot.

On view at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil  Kandinsky: "Everything starts from a dot."
This show brings to Rio de Janeiro works from the artist who is considered the pioneer of abstract art. Most of the works were selected from the collection of the State Museum in St Petersburg. On display alongside works by his contemporaries and by artists who influenced him, the exhibition is a great opportunity for understanding how his art evolved from figurative to abstract.

Kandinsky and Plein Air Painting

Wassily Kandinsky
The Red Church
oil on wood

Kandinsky was strongly influenced by Claude Monet, after seeing an exhibit of the Haystacks Series. He was impressed by the way Monet used  patches of color that seemed completely independent of the object represented.
Like the French master, Kandinsky worked  in Plein Air(outdoors), sometimes panting the same scene over the changing seasons.

Wassily Kandinsky
The River in Autumn
oil on wood

Wassily Kandinsky
Murnau- Summer Landscape 1909
oil on cardboard

His research on plein air painting went through the period of his life with the German painter Gabriele Münter in France. Both used to work outdoors direct from nature.

Wassily Kandinsky
Gabriele Münter Painting 1903
oil on canvas
(not on display in this show)

Wassily Kandinsky
Murnau- Summer Landscape 1909
oil on cardboard

His interest in form and color led him to construct his colorful way from figurative art to abstraction where the influence of Xamanism, popular art and music is  evident. 

Wassily Kandinsky  Saint George 1911
oil on canvas
His friendship with the composer Arnold Schönberg is displayed through the letters they exchanged:
Kandinsky and Arnold Schönberg letters
Arnold Schönberg set aside in his music the existing rules of harmony in favor of  a new atonal compositional method. Kandinsky wrote in his first letter to the composer:
"You have realized in your work that which I have so long sought from music: The self-sufficient following of its own path, the independent life of individual voices in your compositions, is exactly what I seek to find in painterly form."

" I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and made them sing with all the intensity I could"...

"Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul" Wassily Kandinsky, in "Concerning the Spiritual in Art"

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition 1916
oil on canvas

Wassily Kandinsky - On White 1920
oil on canvas

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