Musee D' Orsay
It took several days to get my internet going at home, and the seminary semester started, so I'm working with students and faculty there too, but I finally have some of the trip stuff scanned in.
I spent much of my last day in Paris in the Musee d'Orsay, since I'd had so much fun sketching in the Rijksmuseum. I got there early and had some pretty quiet time with the Van Goghs early before too many people arrived.
This next one is my favorite I did. I'm iffy on people, but it turned out well, and the painting itself was so graphic in nature that it lent itself nicely to copying. With the Van Goghs, I know I won't be able to capture the richness, but looking at a painting long enough and closely enough to copy it helps me learn from it, even if the sketch itself isn't a fair reflection of the original. And sometimes I just love a painting enough to want to spend that time with it, even though I know I can't do it justice.
I took a break from copying on the top floor and did a quick sketch of the view instead. I wish they let you out on the balcony.
I've fallen all over again for Odilon Redon. Dixon had an exhibition of his that I loved many years ago, but I hadn't thought about him too much before doing those copies in Amsterdam. Then at the Orsay they had these enormous panels that just gobsmacked me. The light was dim, so my copy is too vividly yellow, but I had fun doing it. I really love his mystical approach to his subjects. It suits my thinking just now, as I start doing more Biblical art for my year at the seminary. I'd like to bring this creativity and loose beauty to a text people are familiar with and see if I can make them think about it in a new way. I'm a very literal painter (I usually paint quite closely what I see in front of me), so the idea of this freedom is both challenging and beguiling.
I finished by sketching an early Monet that I had drawn just in pencil two years ago. The sycamores always grab me, and there's something about this that I just love. It was fun to try it in color. And revisit a painting that had struck me last time too.
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Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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