Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Looking at Looking

1. Painters look at nature.
2. People look at paintings that look at nature.

3. Guards look at people who look at paintings that look at nature.

4. Sketchers look at guards who look at people who look at paintings that look at nature.

24 comments:

Arkaga said...

5. Me (website visitor) looking at Sketchers look at guards who look at people who look at paintings that look at nature.

renate said...

funny:)

Mich said...

Ad 4. Actually, I think you're being watched by the gentleman right behind you... eerie.

jane said...

Oh, I don't know, I think it is the young lady that has her eye on you . . .

jane said...

(p.s. what materials are you using? I'm planning a trip to New York and the Met webpage says that you can only use pencils - not good for a fountain pen/watercolour user!)

Christian said...

6. Guy on a painting behind sketcher is looking at Me (website visitor) looking at Sketchers look at guards who look at people who look at paintings that look at nature.

Tom Hart said...

Love these sketches!

Did you get any reactions from the subjects?

I'll be interested in your answer to Jane's question. I'm guessing that a liberal interpretation of a "no-paint" policy would allow the water soluble pencils and a water pen, but I'd guess they'd frown on ink in the water pen (?)...

Mike Blake / Monisawa said...

Haha this is great! Took me a second to get it...mostly because you didn't have anything for number 1
(which confused me as to which number went with what picture).

Janet Oliver said...

Oh, you went! What are your thoughts on the New American Wing? Would it be worth the trip from Colorado? I think I know the answer already . . .

James Gurney said...

Arkaga, Christian and Mich, yes, it's an endless hall of mirrors. The self portrait behind me is of John Vanderlyn, who does seem to be watching. The nude beyond me is a copy of a Vanderlyn by Durand.

Jane, I'm using a Caran d'Ache Supracolor pencil (a dark brown) and two Niji water brushes, one with water and the other with ink. After I finished sketching, I noticed in the brochure that they have a "no pen" policy. The guards definitely noticed me sketching them, but they didn't seem bothered by my pens, either because they really weren't pens or because I was pretty careful and far from the artwork. There were painters in front of the Velazquez paintings with oil paint on brushes, so go figure on the policy.

As far as people noticing me staring at them, the art-lookers were facing away from me, and the guards just glanced and kept moving anyway. They don't really hold still for long because they have to keep moving. People sketch in the museum all the time, so you don't stand out at all.

Mike, I had #1 over the first picture, so it was easy to miss. I moved it down.

James Gurney said...

Janet, in a nutshell, it's fantastic. Really well curated, great captions. The rooms are thematic. They have quite a few plein air studies by F. Church up, and the E.A. Abbey of King Lear is featured nicely. There are amazing period rooms, too. You can easily spend a whole day just in the new American wing. And it wasn't too crowded.

jane said...

Oh, thanks for the reply Mr.Gurney! Think I'll take my pen with me - sounds like the worst they can do is tell me to put it away.

Will maybe have a pencil for backup!

(this must be one of the most planned trips ever - never thought little me would get to go to New York!)

Lester Yocum said...

Ah! The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has a new American art wing! Sorry, it took me a minute. The logo in the first sketch helped.

Meera Rao said...

splendid sketches and awesome fun captions :)

Janet Oliver said...

Thanks for the review, James. I see a trip in my future!

Vicki said...

But it's all just people looking, which looks like people standing, unless you somehow put them all together into one picture. I'd like to see that one.
In this particular set, you are the only one who looks as though he is doing the looking with his whole self.

docmagnus said...

5. Commentors look at sketches of guards who look at people who look at paintings that look at nature

Sketching Artist said...

Last time I was at the Met, I pre-prepped some pages with a color wash and used water-soluble color pencils to sketch with. Later on, i went back in with some ink for detail. The guards allowed us to take no flash photos. This helped with the detail work.

My Pen Name said...

@sketching & et al - the met only allows dry media unless you have a permit- that includes pens... some people get away with it, but if they notice it you'll be told to put them away.

My Pen Name said...

@ james There were painters in front of the Velazquez paintings with oil paint on brushes, so go figure on the policy.
You need a copying permit for that. Several NY academies are offering copying classes @ the Met.

I was lucky to do some copies there.. its' a wonderful experience.

The only other city museum i know of that allows oil copying is the under-visited hispanic society on 155 & Broadway.

Matthew said...

How funny. I was just there today and because I was there for the new American Wing galleries, sketching paintings seemed lame to me and I considered sketching people looking at the paintings. Instead, I headed over to the Armor section and sketched that instead. My post will have to wait until tomorrow though!

r8r said...

it's only natural.

James Gurney said...

Museums don't have much to fear from sketching artists, whatever media they use. Conservators have told me that the biggest threat to the artwork in a lot of museums is red wine splashed by tipsy patrons at openings.

My Pen Name said...

... I forgot to mention.. insurance companies! that's why some exhibits won't even allow people to take out ANY media - pencils included!

Also at the Met for example, copy permits are only issued for paintings the musuem owns - you can't copy paintings on permanent loan - even ones that have been there for 50+ years.

James, I agree about the wine- that's one of the big scandals of museums and corporate/wealthy donor fundraisers. It's my understanding the curitorial staffs are quite demoralized by it... they expect them to clean up like janitors.