Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Easy Livin' (oil on canvas, 2010)

John Constable is one of my heroes. The first time I saw his "Hadleigh Castle, The Mouth of the Thames — Morning after a Stormy Night" at the Yale Center for British art in New Haven my knees gave out and I dropped to the floor and wept. Years later I read that Delacroix had a similar experience when he first saw Constable's "The Hay Wain" in the Louvre. Despite a relatively late start as an artist, meager sales and continually being rebuffed by the "established" artists of the Royal Academy (Constable wasn't voted in as an R.A. member until he was 52, at which point the president of the R.A. stopped by his house to inform him that he had received enough votes to finally be admitted, but that he, the president, had voted against him and felt that he didn't deserve the honor.) he continued with his studies of painting directly from nature, eventually becoming one of the most important of British artists and, either directly or indirectly, influencing every painter who has ever stood outside with a brush in hand and attempted to make art based on the natural landscape.

One thing that Constable was repeatedly criticized for by his contemporaries was his, in their opinion, over-use of the color green. There's a great story about Constable standing outside on a lawn discussing art with some other painters and one of them remarked the the best color for grass was the color of an old Cremona violin. Constable went into the house and returned with a violin and laid it on the grass at the speakers feet. Once, after he had become a meber of the Royal Academy, one of his paintings "Water Meadows Near Salisbury" was mistakenly put into the room filled with work by non-members that was to be juried in. Upon seeing it, the other R.A. members, not knowing that it was Constable's painting, were quite severe in their criticism, with one remarking "What is that nasty green thing?!" Constable picked up his painting and left.

This is a painting of the back of Fred and Inez's house. It has a lot of green in it (in case you were waiting for me to get to the point). I did a series of pastel drawings of this view, none of which I was completely satisfied with, and then did this painting based on everything I had learned from the drawings.

1 comment:

martinealison said...

Tellement adorable cette petite barrière... elle donne une immensité à la prairie... Bises