Virtual gallery visits

During the lockdown we will be 'visiting' galleries around the world on Zoom.

On this page we will look at a work from the collection and there will be some drawing exercises based on it. 

May 9th 2020 the rijks museum in Amsterdam

'The Milk Maid' (1657-58) 

by Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675)

Details to notice:

  • The tiles at the bottom of the wall.

  • The quality of the shadow in the corner of the room.

  • The intensity of the blue - Vermeer used a more expensive pigment than artists usually used.

Drawing exercises:

  • Try drawing some of the details, for instance the hands and jug.

  • Draw a window in your own house looking at the shadows and light

  • Draw some bread next to crockery. Use different marks/materials to capture the contrast in textures.

May 22nd 2020 MOMA in New York

'Broadway Boogie Woogie' (1942-43)

Piet Mondrian (1872 - 1944)

Details to notice:

  • Mondrian painted this in response to arriving in New York and the music he heard there. The grid layout mirrors the grid system of streets in Manhattan.

  • In the video on this page a musician explains the relationship to boogie-woogie

Drawing exercise:

  • Draw something in your home or outside your window which has strong shapes and lines.

  • Make another drawing of this drawing keeping only the main shapes and lines.

  • Make another drawing leaving out all shapes/lines that are not essential.

  • Make a painting of this drawing with really vibrant colours

June 6th 2020 The work of Barbara Walker

'Construct 2' part of the series 'Show and Tell' 2009

Details to notice: 

  • In this series of portraits faces are obscured. The only information we have is details of clothes, hair and jewellery. 

  • The format is traditionala plain, neutral  background, half body or head. The fact that faces are obscured or the person is viewed from the back subvert expectations of the form.

Drawing exercises:

  • Make a drawing of something which might give information about you. It can be clothes, shoes, jewellery or some other item on display.

  • Use a mirror to make a self-portrait where your face is obscured. Concentrate on your clothes, jewellery and hair.

June 13th The National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi and the Delhi Art Gallery 

'Unfinished self-portrait' undated  Ramkinkar Baij 1906 - 1980 and below: 'Horse's Head' (cement) undated.

  • Details to notice: the contrast in materials. Ramkinkar Baij worked with both the solid and heavy cement, and the lightest watercolour

  • In both works the focus is on the head in profile. Notice how in both the underlying musculature is described

Drawing exercises:

  • Make a drawing using watercolour, ink and wash, pastels or charoal using as few marks as possible. Make your marks big and sweeping. 

  • Try using a stick, cotton bud, tissue paper or cloth to make marks using colour and water

June 27th Museo Del Prado Madrid

'Las Meninas' (1656) Diego Velásquez (1599 - 1660)

  • Details to notice: Is the painter painting the King and Queen of Spain reflected in the mirror at the back?

  • That would mean that The Royal Couple are both inside and outside the painting.

  • Is the painter looking at us, the viewer, or at the Royal Couple?

  • Is the man at the back coming in, or leaving the room?

Drawing exercises:

  • Make a drawing that plays with point of view. Draw yourself in your room from above or behind, perhaps using a mirror

  • Make a portrait of someone (photo or real life). Include yourself in the drawing

July 18th Kimathi Donkor at Omeka gallery Lagos and Sungi Mlengeya at  afriart gallery kampala

'Oshun visits Gaba at Tate's big house', Kimathi Donkor 2013

Below: 'Four friends', Sungi Mlengeya 2020

Details to notice:

  • The stark contrast between the figures painted in great detail and the simplified backgrounds.

  • The dark/light contrast which follows the principles of the Japanese concept 'Notan'

Drawing exercise:

  • Draw an object or a self-portrait in detail. 

  • Make the space around the object part of your drawing. This is called 'negative space'.

  • Leave white areas or flat colour. Make sure this is in balance with the detailed part of your drawing.

July 18th Japan

Kitagawa Utamaro 'Hawk and Shrike' 1790

 

Details to notice:

  • Flat areas of colour and black outline.

  • Formalised 'pattern' rather than faithful reproduction.

  • Plain background.

Issey Miyake 'Fall Ready-to-Wear show', 2016

 

Details to notice:

  • The spiral pattern on the skirt that is echoed at the neck.

  • The movement of the fabric reflects the movement of the pattern.

  • The fabric has tiny pleats.

Drawing exercise:

  • Make a drawing of items around the house, or do a portrait where you contrast flat colour with pattern.

  • Use black outlines.

  • Think about the overall shapes and patterns that objects make.

August 22nd Luxor Art Gallery

Abo elyoun 'Shadow of the Cobra', undated

Details to notice: 

  • The influence of ancient Egyptian art.

  • How the artist has incorporated the flaws in the wood.

  • The serenity and timelessness of the expression.

Mahmoud Salem 'Untitled (The Question)', undated

Details to notice:

  • The range of techniques including engraving into the wood.

  • The sculpture tells a story as you move around it.

  • The number of elements represented in the work - rock, plant, people and animals.

Drawing exercise:

Thinking in three dimensions:

  • Make a drawing of a sculpture you would like to make.

  • Draw it from several different angles.

  • Think about how light might reflect on it.

  • Think about what it would be like to touch.

  • Think about what materials you might use.

  • How much space would it take up?

Irene Avaalaaqiaq 'Wall Hanging', 2016

Details to notice:

  • Bold, graphic shapes and flat, primary colours.

  • Combination of felt and embroidery. Felt is not a traditional material but was introduced later in craft programmes. Traditional designs would have been on animal hides.

Annie Pootoogook 'Windy Day', 2006

Details to notice:

  • The artist creates depth and movement using flat areas of coloured pencil and minimal background.

  • The drawing depicts a scene of everyday life and the experience of living in this environment.

  • The simple buildings and technology (electrical cables overhead) do not seem to compensate for the effects of the wind. 

Drawing exercise:

Plan a wall hanging:

  • Choose an object with a strong shape.

  • Simplify the outline.

  • Make a pattern repeating this shape.

  • Choose bold, vivid colours.

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