I joined a group on Tumblr called The Daily Draw. We are given the theme for the upcoming week and commit to do a drawing a day based on the theme. My first week, the theme given was Vegetables. So, I came up with 7 drawings of vegetables that week. At the same time, I was getting work prepared for a group exhibit with the theme "New Beginnings." I pondered how I could use the vegetable drawings to go with this theme. So, I chose 4 of the drawings, all created using the Sketch Club app for iPad., then loading them into the Camera+ app to crop and boost the color. Here they are:
I used the Photo Wall app to make a collage of the four drawings. I had a problem, tho. The backgrounds did not match. Here it is, before I loaded it into ArtRage to work on the background color:
I loaded it into ArtRage and used the brush tool to work on the background and pull it all together. Now, an 8x8 inch print of the piece is mounted on an 8x8 Ampersand board, hanging in the "New Beginnings" exhibit. Here is the finished digital version:
The "New Beginnnings" exhibit is hanging in the "Open Doors" gallery at Hill Country Bible Church NW, 12124 RR 620 North, Austin, TX 78750.
Pierre Auguste Renoir's large painting, The Luncheon of the Boating Party, hangs in The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. I have visited this painting twice. The first time, it had traveled to Texas while the The Phillips was being remodeled. I think it was at the Dallas Museum of Art. But, was it in Houston instead? Thirty years is a long time ago. The second visit was to the Phillips, about 12 years ago, I think.
That first time, I arrived completely unprepared for just how big this painting is. When we are used to seeing images in reproductions, we have no idea of the real size of the piece. For the record, it is 51 x 68 inches. Four feet, three inches, by five feet, eight inches. When the painting burst into view, I was mesmerized. We don't truly know how beautiful a work of art can be until we see the actual piece with our own eyes. Reproductions in books, an image on a monitor? They give a tiny taste. But, in real life, we get the full meal. The complicated composition blows my mind. I have enough trouble trying to handle one figure, let along a crowd. Within the painting, we have smaller vignettes. Little stories. For example, look at Renoir's wife-to-be and this little dog:
Understand, the conservatives of the art world viewed his works (along with the other Impressionist works) with disgust. They described them as ugly. Difficult to believe, isn't it? But, true. Artists are often pioneers -- breaking new ground. It shouldn't surprise us that it took awhile for these pieces to gain respectability. In our day, Renoir's paintings can seem almost too sweet. The young woman's cheeks are as rosy and chubby as a well-fed baby's. Have you ever ooohed and aaahed over a friend's little one and said, "Oh, I could just eat those chubby little cheeks!" Yes, I thought so.
Just as you would expect at a party, small groups chat amongst themselves.
And, as always, at least one figure seems isolated, apart from the others. The man below, to the left, is he looking at one of the other party-goers? Is he lost in his own thoughts? Or, is he simply an introvert, uncomfortable in a crowd? You, the viewer, make up your own story.
What a beautiful still life on the table. As we gaze at the wine bottles and glasses, the painting begins to dissolve into brushstrokes. The conservative tastes preferred highly finished artworks, with the brushstrokes no longer visible. Renoir shares with us his process. Learn from this: when see contemporary art -- pieces which we don't even want to dignify with the word "art" -- yes, they may indeed be absurd crap. But, they may be works of genius. Time will tell.