Friday, September 26, 2008

Called Away

It’s tough to be called away in the middle of a plein air sketch.

Sometimes a rainstorm does it. The raindrops at the top of this watercolor study by William Trost Richards testify to what happened. A storm moved in, and he had to stop working.

Here’s another Trost Richards seascape. Why is the bluff on the left only just laid in? Maybe someone called him to dinner, or his ride was leaving. We make art at the mercy of the stomach and the weather.

Thanks to William Vareika Fine Arts, link.

13 comments:

lianneb said...

And in terms of fortunate mistakes, the rain spots on the first painting actually add to the picture (at least in the scan)

Eric Orchard said...

This is such a wonderful accident, nature was allowed to contribute in a very direct way. Gosh, his work is beautiful, I've not seen his work before. This reminds of me of Munch would hang is drawings in the forest foe days and retrieve them to see what nature had done to them.
something that's happened to me is my water colours have turned to ice crystals right in the page as I paint. I've ended up pushing slushy pigment across my paper.

jeff f said...

These are wonderful sketches.
I did not know this artist thinks ofr posting his work.

Maybe it was insects.
I can't tell you how many times I had to stop painting because of mosquitoes or nats.
I use bug repellent but sometimes it just does not work.

It is interesting to read about what the Hudson River School painters put up with. I was reading about Church who mentioned how awful the mosquitoes were in one particular outing.
In those days they did not have bug spray...

Frank said...

That first one seems a little involved for plein air watercolor. Is that the official story that he got rained on?


f.

Patrick Waugh said...

I've never been stopped by the weather, but the stomach, yes.

James Gurney said...

Frank, there's no proof to my knowledge that WTR was stopped by rain on-site with this piece, but the water drops are a clue. Art historians tell me they also look for insect wings and legs in oil paintings to figure out whether they are done on site. I have photos of WTR working outdoors, and he was known for his amazingly detailed plein air studies.

Eric, icy slush does put a damper on winter watercolors. Jeanette has tried white wine, which froze, and wants to try vodka next time.

Victor said...

Having grown up around Palo Alto, did you have a chance to see the Trost Richards works in the Canter Arts Center at Stanford? It's a nice small museum to check out if you're ever in the area.

James Gurney said...

Victor, no I never even heard of the Cantor art center. I did visit the Leland Stanford art museum, which had a nice collection of Rodins.

etc, etc said...

Thanks for the introduction to Trost Richards. Such magnificent treatment of rocks (among other things).

The Professor said...

I can imagine that freezing would be quite a problem. The wine is a clever idea, however I would wonder if the alcohol would change the colors. Maybe it would add extra interest to the painting.

On another note, when is the next Art By Commitee going to be posted?

Thanks...

Dianne Mize said...

Sometimes the work leaps to life because its master is "called away". Would that some (I won't name any) were called away much early in the work's progress. In fact, I've got a few, myself like that. Shoe fitting and all that...

Super Wu-Man said...

does anyone know if the blog is on hold for the next few days...?

cegebe said...

James is probably busy in Switzerland - getting the exhibit ready, eating cheese fondue, playing with the Large Hadron Collider to see if it can be used to teleport creatures from the Cretaceous etc.