After a overly long roller coaster of a week, I was finally ready to get to the National Gallery of Art on Friday to work on my painting. I started off with a new class on Monday which was a lot of fun but also a lot of work because I was trying to cover enough for my absence the following week. The class was engaging and intense which made it easier to match the energy of the room. In between classes I had lot of meetings and even an event, trying to clear the tracks for my vacation. By Friday I was exhausted, but still meeting with instructors and sending out multiple emails starting at 6AM.
By the time 11AM hit to begin my pilgrimage down to the museum, my shoulders were firmly attached to my ears from stress and I was in a groggy haze. I popped my ear buds in and started listening to Johane Alexie before I even grabbed for the front door. The music sooths me and makes my experience less stressful when I paint, so I thought it would be good to start early. Every time I painted in the past, I was in a relaxed mood. This was the first time that I was stressed before the experience. I was even wondering if I should go down to the museum and ruin the energy of my modsterpiece project. After some internal debating, I thought that it couldn’t hurt to try and that the meditative state I get in when I paint can only help at this point. Also, I could always hit the undo button if I didn’t like what I was painting. And having lunch with a great and hysterical friend like Denis in the refectory would be a big bonus to starting the weekend.
Painting was great that day. I felt my shoulders releasing from my ears the more I worked. Friday I finished up the rest of the roughing in. I worked less on details and started to focus more on all the layers of color that makes up portions of the painting. While I’m working, it’s fascinating my engrossed I get in the fine details and subtlety of color and texture. I have learned so much from this painting so far with our thoughtful and quiet conversations. It’s almost like John Singer Sergant is whispering to me while I work. While I work on the painting I wonder how long it took him for this painting and which parts did he love and which he struggled with in order to produce such a perfect piece of art. I’ll never get close to his work, but the amount that I’m learning about painting it immeasurable.
Friday was the first time that I saw other copyists in the museum. Of course they are official with their permits and oil paints. I have to admit that I was a little jealous. The smell of thinner and oils gives a sense of legitimacy. The added tarp that they work on defines their space in front of the painting. Plus, the work of the copyists were truely inspiring. It’s neat to see a large canvas in reality instead of a large painting that is crammed into a 13 inch monitor. I can zoom in when I work, but it doesn’t have the same presence and sense of accomplishment while you are working I’m sure.
While I was wandering through the museum to find other copyists, I was scoping out which painting I want to work on next. I think I decided which painting I want to tackle next, but in order to work on that painting I will need a stool because the painting is a little too far away from a sofa. Because of this, I decided to contact the museum for a copyist permit so I can use their stools. Sitting perched on a stool won’t be the most comfortable experience, but it will beat standing. So far I wrote them three emails regarding the copyist application. The first time I wrote I forgot my mailing address. The second time I included the address, but not accidentally left some of it out. Let’s hope that the third time is a charm.
As always, it was a lot of fun and it turned around my mood completely. Well, and there is always lunch with Denis. He was a blast to hang with as always.