Saturday, July 3, 2021

Temptation of the New! Exploring.

Albert Einstein said, "Once you stop learning, you start dying." That seems a bit intense, but when brother Buddy asked me if I had worked with water mixable oils, I had to admit, of all the crafts I had not tried, that one was not tempting. He said it is such fun to work with oils but not have the smell and the cleanup. You just wash out your brush and containers with water! "Why not," said I!

Exploring online, I liked what I read about Cobra brand water mixable oils and bought a set of ten tubes. I was going to NYC to see Alice Neel before it closed at the Metropolitan Museum, Cezanne at MOMA  and the Medici Portraits at the Met, so these paints would be easy to get into and carry on the spirit. At the art store I had earlier asked a helper what had most recently excited her that the store started carrying. She introduced me to Arches paper that is gessoed. Although she suggested the gessoed paper for studies, I like the fact that Cezanne often put several paintings on one big sheet or canvas and Tanquy his dealer could be seen cutting out the assorted gems to sell, three paintings from one. I loved the oil paints.

I had read in the Times and seen photos of Cezanne's drawings and watercolors or colored pencils and thought I must be prepared for that as well. I went armed with a good 0.7 mechanical pencil with leads that were darker than usual. I loved working in a Cezanne spirit,  but of course forgot the colored pencils. I picked up a limited number at the Met. It was 95 degrees in NYC but it seemed open and beautiful again, while nightly I would color: paint and draw. When I returned home I couldn't quit. Cezanne said he sketched daily; and the late in day drawing prepared him for painting the next day.

The oil painting did not dry immediately  like my gouache paintings did, so I ordered  Daniel Smith water mixable medium that speeds up the drying. However. the water mixable oil paint lifts so beautifully and covers so well when wet, I was excited to keep working on the self portrait. I was so mesmerized drawing sunflowers one early morn in the dark with my new mechanical pencil and dark lead, I dated the drawing 2020 instead of 2021.  

And I haven't even told you about the superior drawing lessons online: Art Making at the Princeton Museum which reference their collections and take you on more trips of the mind and hand.Nor did we discuss synthetic squirrel watercolor brushes. As Michaelangelo said at 87, "I am still learning." I also like "The expert in anything was once a beginner."