Last month, we visited NYC. The MET – twice! And still didn’t get through one-fifth of the place! My son Philip led me by the nose through the mass of people to the painting that inspired me as a child. Marie-Denise Villers’ Young Woman Drawing. I gasped. I teared up. I swallowed hard. Partly because here she was before me just as I remembered. Partly because he remembered me showing him the painting in the old ’51 edition of the Book of Knowledge; he was very young.
And, the Sargent paintings. Ahhh. I owe my love of John Singer Sargent to my figure drawing teacher, Richard MacDonald. So nice to meet you in person, Madam X. You are so very beautiful.
The Neue Galerie, an exhibit of Kolomon Moser – look him up, Art Nouveau – was exhilarating. And I fell in love with Klimpt again, both the simplicity of his drawings and the elaboration of his painting, his gilding. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, stunning! Oh, to stand beneath paintings I’ve only seen in books.
We went to the Brooklyn Museum and took in the Sargent watercolours. Again, masterpiece-ly designed, coloured, and executed by the master himself.
The visits to these monolithic museums, as does the Norton Simon and The Getty especially, always inspire me to push myself. Though primarily I am a calligrapher/illustrator, I was pushed to get out the paper and pencil again.
Babies and children and young women are difficult to draw, in that, we naturally want to put in too many lines.
The rule is: keep it simple. The more lines you add to your drawing, (this includes shading) the older the subject looks. And what woman – young or not young – wants someone to render every line on her face – there or not there!!
So, anyway, this is my granddaughter Beatrice, at 16 months, captured in all her tiny little sweetness.