Plein Air Painting - Europe 2016 - London - Part III

Russia and the Arts - The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky
Sandra Nunes
National Portrait Gallery
London 2016
 One of the highlights of my trip to Europe this year was having to chance to attend this exhibition in London. A collection of portraits of Musicians, writers, actors, and artistic patrons is on display with masterpieces from the prestigious Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow
It is a parade of faces, feelings in a reunion of heroes from the end of the nineteen century till 1914. They are intense, tormented...

Modest Mussorgsky, 1881 by Ilia Repin

This masterpiece by Ilya Repin portrays the composer Modest Mussorgsky on his last days is of his life at the age of 42. The painting was commissioned by Pavel Tretyakov, the philanthropist who founded the state gallery, it was painted in a military hospital in St Petersburg.The composer sat for four difficult days in 1881, dying before the planned final sitting. Repin found it the most powerful and poignant commission of his career, donating his fee to a memorial for the composer.

Mikhail Vrubel, Portrait of N. Zabela Vrubel 
But while we are familiar with figures such as Akhmatova, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy , we are less familiar with the Russian painters of the time.Painters like Serov, Repin and  Mikhail Vrubel are almost unknown in the western hemisphere. We are much more familiar with Russian avant garde painters like Kandinsky and Malevich.

Fedor Dostoesvsky, 1879 by Vasily Perov
Dostoevsky's portrait by Perov shows a frail man sitting in the dark, pale and skinny, showing all the suffering he had during the years he was arrested, sent to a labour camp and the subsequent five years of enforced military service.
Nothing I can write here can describe what one feels seeing this masterpiece up close and personal.

"Russia and the Arts is an exceptional collection of works. Many of these had never left Russia prior to this exchange, and certainly most have never been seen in the UK before. But more than this, it is a genuinely fascinating show that reveals much of the variety in artistic styles in Russian painters at that time, and, in the shadows that haunt their sitters, these portraitists reveal much of the turbulence and turmoil that engulfed Russia in these years."  Huffingtonpost

Time to rest my eyes and do my "homework". Painting the postcard, after all  I am in London!
At this time of the year, days are longer, it is nice to watch the sunset at 10 pm! 

Sandra Nunes
Painting the London Bridge
London 2016
You can read London part II here

Posted bySandra Nunes at 7:07 PM 0 comments Links to this post  

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" 

Posted bySandra Nunes at 7:42 PM 0 comments Links to this post  

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!

Posted bySandra Nunes at 8:10 AM 0 comments Links to this post  

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