I started Tuesday off with a trip to the Rijksmuseum. I'm halfway living there this trip, thanks to the museum kaart. It's quickly become one of my favorite museums anywhere, up there with the Scottish National Gallery and the Rodin Museum. It's not too crowded (except by the Vermeers) and is easy to come and go from. And I love sketching there.
I went back particularly to sketch this group portrait of the Drapers' Guild. It took a little longer (about an hour) than most of my museum sketches -- it's bigger, a double spread, and quite intricate. And, you know, people..... Harder for me. But I love Rembrandt's use of light and rich color, and I learn from copying.
Then I went to the Rembrandt House. It is always powerful for me to be in a space that a painter I admire lived and worked in. Looking out his studio windows and seeing the view he would have seen also brought tears to my eyes. I also loved that he had a front room gallery, as I do, where he could entertain clients and sell art. I sketched it. I'm a sucker for a checkerboard floor.
There was also a stunning display of his etchings. I hadn't copied anything this linear and intricate since doing art journal copies weekly in college. (Thank you, Sheldon Tapley!) I had a ball doing this one. I loved the dramatic darkness and the texture of all the falling lines.
Afterwards I sketched the front of the house, and then the houses across the Amstel canal, just down the block.
Finally I ended up at the Rembrandt Plein. They have life sizes sculptures of the figures from the Night Watch, and it's a trip to watch the tourists interact and take photos with them. I'd been wanting to sketch it for several days. Fun to have a full day devoted to Rembrandt.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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