Ah, today is the last day to see the Sargent watercolors at the MFA. Lucky as I am to live near enough to one of the best art museums in the world, I have to admit that this time I missed the boat. What with work and holidays and now a devil of a bout with the flu, I'm not going to be able to see these gems in person. Luckily my friend and collaborator Joni Parker-Roach made it in to town twice for this exhibit, and brought back the catalog! I'm not sure that I'll ever love the watercolors as much as Sargent's masterful oils--satin drapery! glowing skin!--but looking at details of these sketches just shows what a master draftsman can do with any medium. I love that the transparency of watercolor allows us to see the painter's sketchy graphite lines, it's like watching his thought process unfold. I also love that Sargent was apparently willing to use whatever he needed to achieve the desired effect--translucent color, opaque gouache, wax, whatever. I love that about Degas, too--a great experimenter.
One of my favorite art bloggers and a supremely talented artist in his own right is James Gurney, artist and author of Dinotopia. He manages to write about art EVERY DAY on his blog, and far from running out of things to write about, he just keeps coming up with great stuff to share. Here's a link to his post about the Sargent exhibition, with his typically fantastic observations.
Almost two weeks ago now, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Winsor School in Boston to co-teach two Upper School art classes on acrylic medium transfers and acetone transfers, with my good friend Sara Macaulay. What fun! Those are lucky kids, with a studio art program like that, and teachers like Sara! I was impressed with their solid foundation in drawing, observation and composition--so necessary for art in all mediums. The students were great, and the time flew by. If anything, I wish they'd had time to slow down a bit. I know that my life out here in the country affords me the great luxury of taking my time with things, and that it's unusual in today's world. I'm used to being able to spend two to three hours with an art class, and half a day at a time in my studio if I like. That's just not true for high school students, I guess. They had one hour to get settled into the studio, watch two technique demos and try it out for themselves, and get cleaned up, then they were off to the next thing. I have to wonder if that's a good way to learn, at top speed? Well, they seem to be thriving, and that's the normal pace of things these days. Anyway, a good time was had by all, and I hope the transfer techniques will be useful to them in the future. And by the way, it was very strange to be introduced as Ms. Wilber. Very odd indeed.
Alexia Rosoff Wilber
News and notes about art.