Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Last of summer

oil painting of dog eating ice-cream
A little painting that ought to have been a bit tricky but actually wasn't, and painted itself in about 30 minutes. If I had set out to do it in that time I would, of course, have ended up with a board covered in what could only be described as slurry. Painting is a strange process: however hard you try you are never really totally in control. Anything could happen. On this occasion, what happened was a dear little dog who is very focused on his ice-cream. 
Just back from a short last-of-the-summer break in glorious Derbyshire. The sun shone every day and it was just fabulous. Visited Chatsworth and discovered they had 3000+ Old Masters and other works of art. I saw a Raphael cartoon, numerous Van Dykes, Gainsboroughs and Reynolds; two spectacular pieces by Franz Hals and, joy of joys, a real live John Singer Sargent, the very painting I have looked at so many times on the internet for help with painting white: Portrait of the Acheson Sisters (1902)
Portrait of the Acheson Sisters, John Singer Sargent

What I hadn't appreciated from studying this painting on the internet, is how absolutely enormous it is. Then rounding the corner, I found this fabulous Landseer:
Oil painting by Sir Edwin Landseer, Trial by Jury having in Chatsworth

painted about 1840, "Trial by Jury" it was bought by the then Duke on condition that his own dog, Bony, was added into the picture. Bony's little face can just be seen peeking out from behind the red chair on the right hand side of the painting. This painting is a satirical take on the pomposity of the judiciary and was inspired by a chance remark from a judge, overheard by Landseer at dinner, to the effect that the Count d'Orsay's  French poodle would make a "capital Lord Chancellor".
Lots of images of the paintings at Chatsworth can be found on their site here.

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