Skip to main content

A Recent trip to the Museum - The Sorolla Experience, Part I

There is always so much enjoyment visiting a museum and gazing into the works of masters.  How often I have looked into the paintings, peering in trying to decipher the colors, application of pigments, techniques and approaches that the artist employed.  And each time I am filled with great inspiration and long to understand much more about the paintings.  Recently I was afforded an opportunity to do more than just glimpse at genius, instead I had the chance to immerse myself into a masterwork by Sorolla.

I had always wanted to paint at a museum and copy a master work, but something seemed to just get in the way. Perhaps it was just timing issues or conflicts of one sort or another.  Poor excuses really. Thanks to a friend,  my procrastination was replaced with action. She was very kind to bring me to the museum and she showed me just how simple it was to step through the door into another realm. An epiphany occurred the moment I walked into a large room and was greeted by a pantheon of masterpieces.  A whole new world opened up to me.  I felt like a kid again, gazing upwards at the magnificent murals upon the walls, awestruck completely unaware of anything but the splendor of color and light.  How huge the murals were.  I felt small in their presence.  Drawn to the paintings, I looked the work over very closely paying attention to certain details.  The paintings revealed quite some interesting things.

Some areas were painted thinly or the tone of the canvas showed through.  Quick brushstrokes, drips and dribbles of paint appeared often.

I do not profess to be an expert in the analysis of paintings however when I viewed some of Sorolla's work, it did appear at least to me, that he repainted some passages.  It got me thinking about how reworking or repainting a passage within a picture has its benefits.

And then of course, the colors, wow the colors of Sorolla's murals. Simply divine.  The life that emanated from the color, wonderful, vigorous and exciting.

After having several turns, pacing about looking at the murals, I was fired up and ready to work from one of Sorolla's paintings.  After the Bath looked decidedly like a good lesson in painting white.  And indeed it proved to be an invaluable lesson.  It is still in fact a lesson that is continuing to evolve.  As I continue to return to the museum to work on the copy I learn more about Sorolla, more about painting white and more about myself.  This I will relay in a later post.  But this I can state concretely, the value of working from a masterpiece cannot ever be underestimated. It should be practiced when possible and encouraged to those who thirst for knowledge and who wish to surround themselves with greatness.  I cannot say enough as to how grateful I am to Julie for bringing me to such a treasure trove of beauty and genius.  Because of my experience my spirit soars and I am filled with inspiration and I feel invigorated.  I look forward to returning to the museum and continuing my painting journey.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Understanding the DuMond palette-A brief tutorial

Many of my students ask me, "what is this palette that you are teaching me?" To which I reply "a palette that my teacher's teacher's teacher developed some time ago long before you and I were born." Of course this explanation fetches some curious looks, but in truth, the palette has been handed down through the generations from teacher to student. Fortunately it was handed down to me and happily I am handing it down to a future generation of aspiring artists.

At first glance, the prismatic palette appears to be of a complex nature with many colors. As shown above it proffers an array of a multitude of manufactured and premixed colors laid out in strings according to values. The top string of colors are manufactured pigments ranging from white, yellow, orange, red, blue, and black. The rest of the palette is comprised of pre-mixed colors in eight equal steps of light gray to dark gray, eight equal steps of light blue to dark blue and eight equal steps of l…


The art we create in essence is a reflection of who and what we are, what we have experienced, what we feel, what we think, what we would like to say.  Several months ago I lost my beloved pet.  It was a loss that I had never experienced before and it was devastating to say the least.  Many a day was spent feeling such sadness. Then one day I picked up a pencil and started to draw my dog’s portrait.  And from that point on the drawing became a means to express my love, my sorrow, all those feelings that had welled up inside.  Upon completion of the drawing  there was an internal shift and a catharsis followed.  The drawing had been a way to heal.  It had been a way to express everything that needed to be said and a way to honor her life.

Blogging vs. Facebook

It seems like a lifetime ago when I first set up my Facebook account and opted to concentrate my energies there on networking and exchanging ideas about art and artwork.  However after a decade or so on Facebook and having watched it change over the years I’ve come to the realization that the platform I once found engaging and constructive to building networks seemingly is no longer.  Upon reading one particular Facebook friend’s status update  (a fellow artist by the way) and the status update announced that as per this individual Facebook had become of a source of anxiety, dread and frustration.  And hence the status update continued with their announcement that they were leaving Facebook and returning to blogging.  In summary they felt that by returning to blogging they would get back to amicable exchange of ideas and discussions about none other than ART.  Such a novel idea. Their announcement struck me and I could absolutely see the merit in their thinking which prompted me to ex…