Over the next few days I'm going to share my trip with you!
The very first painting which captured my attention on this trip was John Constable's Flatford Mill...
Aside from the brilliant, clear colors it was the composition that I noticed. Don't you just love the way the tree branches form an arch over the red roofed buildings.
Whenever I go to a museum I take plenty of notes, photos (if allowed) and make sketches as a way to further enjoy and more intimately explore a work.
The gallery was very, very quiet with only a handful of people enjoying the art. I guess everyone was outside on such a gorgeous spring day! Since I didn't want to disturb the silence I'm speaking rather softly in the video, so you may want to turn up your volume.
Here are two details of the amazing texture in this painting...
This amazing painting got me thinking about the tyranny of subject which often plagues painters, especially plein air painters. It's the nagging feeling your inner critic gives you that you need to carefully and accurately portray your subject. I think we do this mostly because it's safe. It proves to everyone that we have talent, that we really do know how to paint. If done well the subject is unmistakable. Everyone will recognize every detail of what you've painted. It might even look as good as *gasp* a photograph.
But being shackled to an exact representation of your subject is the fastest way to squash creativity and expression and to muffle your authentic visual voice. Take a look again at the details of Dedham Lock and really let it sink in. See how abstract and expressive the paint application is, that is authentic, unique creative expression. That's what I'm striving for in my own work.
Below are a couple of beautiful cloud studies by Constable....There is an amazing book called Constable's Clouds which is out of print now. Amazon.com sells it used through the marketplace unfortunately the cheapest copy goes for a whopping $525.00
"I have done a good deal of skying. I am determined to conquer all difficulties and that most arduous one among the rest...The sky is the source of light in nature and governs everything" John Constable Oct. 23, 1821