Saturday, March 22, 2014
Drink & Draw
Last night I went to the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, CT for a Drink & Draw event. These events are becoming more and more popular everywhere it seems! The concept is pretty simple, a gathering that is both a social event and an opportunity to flex your creative muscles.
We had a nice selection of wines to choose from, received a special museum wine glass to take home and enjoyed cheese and crackers and fresh fruit. About 30 minutes of socializing and meeting fellow artists and then into the museum to sketch.
The museum provided folding stools, drawing boards, clips, paper, pencils and erasers or you could bring your own materials.
Sketching Classical Sculpture
Above you see our venue. The museum was founded by William Slater in memory of his father John Fox Slater, a textile tycoon in the 19th century.
This snippet form a NY Times article by Bill Ryan published September 6, 1992 explains how the amazing collection of classical sculpture came to be...
" Mr. Slater hired an expert in antiquities, Edward Robinson of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, who went to Europe and visited leading museums to obtain reproductions of their best pieces. It was done by covering the artworks with plaster and then removing the plaster very carefully. Robinson was eminently successful. From Rome came copies of the "Discus Thrower" and Michelangelo's Pieta as well as the "Dying Gaul." From Florence came David. From the Louvre in Paris came Aphrodite, or "Venus de Milo" as she was commonly known. From the Museum at Olympia in Athens came Nike of Paionios.
When the Slater Museum was dedicated in 1888, it contained nearly 150 plaster duplicates of the world's best examples of creativity in stone and bronze."
In the article there's also the curious story of why fig leaves were added to so many of the sculptures and what the reaction was from the art world back in Victorian times. Read the article it might surprise you!
Pencil, Pen and Watercolor Washes
When sketching such monumental sculptures one feels obligated to attain some sense of the proportions and beauty of the originals so I sketched in with pencil first just to make sure I was at least capturing the essential characteristics and form of each piece. When I was satisfied with that, I used a fountain pen with Noodler's Lexington Gray ink to ink over the lightly sketched pencil lines and then used some Maimeri Blu watercolors to add some washes and bring to life their warm, neutral patinas and the wonderful rich brick red wall color.
All in all an incredibly fun and happy way to spend a Friday evening.