Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect

An Exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum celebrating the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth

I spent all day today at the Brandywine River museum at the ‘Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect’ exhibit. I’d been looking forward to this since it’s announcement, and today was the day, on the 100th anniversary of Andrew Wyeth’s birth!

The museum had organized special events for the day, including the dedication of 12 Andrew Wyeth Forever® Stamps by the United States Postal Service, a tour of his studio, and watercolor demos by local artists.

I envisioned that an exhibit of this caliber would bring together many of Wyeth’s rarely seen works and I was anticipating his watercolors, especially the ones from his early period, and it did not disappoint. Kudos to the curators Audrey Lewis (Curator, Brandywine River Museum of Art) and Patricia Junker (the Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art at the Seattle Art Museum), for a fabulous output.

The exhibit spanning two floors of the museum is presented chronologically and spans Wyeth’s work from his very early stages, as early as his twenties, all the way through to his last painting titled ‘Goodbye’ which he completed just prior to his death.

This is just a teaser of a few of his watercolors!

I ended the day with a preview of the WYETH documentary feature film, that presents, through his paintings, his life story and his emotions and the driving force that led him to paint objects, landscapes and people in just the two locales where he spent most of his life – Chadds Ford and Maine. The documentary attempts to reveal through his paintings for the first time, what lies beneath the Wyeth that the world thought they knew. It talks about his journey to reduce his subject to its bare essentials using objects and landscapes to evoke emotions and represent people of importance in his life. The documentary is set to premier on PBS series American Master sometime in spring / Fall of 2018.

The exhibit leaves you breathless. It’s worth seeing more than once and I expect to do so. It’s on view here in Chadds Ford through September 17, and then it will go on to be  presented at the Seattle Art Museum beginning in October 2017.

If you get a chance, this is a must see exhibit of Chadds Ford’s most iconic resident artist.

Sketching at Longwood Gardens

Day 9, 10 & 11/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth

I decided to do it differently for the past three days of #WorldWatercolorMonth. For days 9,10 and 11 instead of posting each day I did cumulative sketchs of the same subject over and over. I figured this would improve my technique and a better understanding of my subject matter. I chose the water lily pool at Longwood Gardens. The pools is a bloom and though it’s a late start the lillies are looking great. The large lotus pads which are a trade mark of Longwood’s lily pool have not reached their peak size yet but are still huge! These leaves are what I’ll be focusing on over the next few days. I did a total of 12 sketches but I’m just posting three..

Tropical Patterns 

Day 8/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

Today’s post is about Patterns. At the US Botanic Gardens the tropical plants all around were luscious and very green. Only a few had blooms on them, but that didn’t really matter because the leaves were large, some of them even a 2-3 feet long and a foot wide and heavily patterned. Meandering through the pathways you didn’t really distinguish each leaf individually because the stripes and the colors just seemed to merge and flow into one another forming intricate patterns of yellows and greens in all shades. This is just one pattern that stood out and it happened to have a calyx adding an extra pop of color. 

Bijin ōkubi-e – Utamaro

Day7/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth. 

Another sketch at the Sackler gallery of ‘Inventing Utamaro’ exhibit. I’m really loving this artist’s ability to portray the image of women with sensitivity and a certain vulnerability. Each one of his okubi-e paintings is different and essentially stunning. 

Utamaro is best known for his bijin ōkubi-e “large-headed pictures of beautiful women” of the 1790s. Essentially these are what we would call portraits of beautiful Japanese women, but they are so much more. 

I did this sketch inside the exhibit, and then added watercolor sitting outside while the colors were still fresh in my mind. 

Chagall – a small panel of America Windows 

Day 6/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth 

Paying homage to Marc Chagall – who was born on this day (well yesterday actually, but my site was acting up and it didn’t get posted on time for some reason!!!) 

The brilliant stained glass windows – America Windows or the Chagall Windows, as they are popularly know are a signature feature of The Art Institute of Chicago. They were forever made famous by their appearance in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

For me the blue of these windows is just off the charts! 

I used one panel for this sketch and used YInMnBlue as well as other pigments made at Oregon State at Mad Subramanian labs. 

Fireworks on the National Mall 

Day 5/31 – #WorldWatecolorMonth

DC put on a spectacular show at the National Mall last night. Fear of thunderstorms had the fate of the fireworks in doubt, but we lucked out and the storm and rain held out long enough for the eager crowds to get what they came for and then some! I managed to capture a few splashes of watercolor in my sketchbook in semi darkness. I did several of these and then I just had to put down my brush and simply watch, and oooh and aaah with the rest of the crowd! This one came out better than the rest so I refined it a bit. 

I might just post the other splashes, if I feel bold enough…

Circus Tent – Red,White and #YInMnBlue !

Day4/31 – #WorldWstercolorMonth

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the theme is Circus Arts. The Festival brings the rich history, mystique and diversity of American circus arts to life on the National Mall. There were circus performances, behind the scenes, emerging artists and contemporary visionaries, and coaches, costume designers, makeup artists, musicians, prop and tent designers, riggers, poster artists, wagon builders, and many others whose collective creative work brings the circus to life. 

While the crowds lined up all the way around the tent I sat outside the big tent and sketched the Red, White and Blue under a somewhat ominous sky! They were calling for thunderstorms tonight. 

Happy 4th!