Botanical Illustration Course- Week 3 Journal Entry
This weeks prompt: Think of a favorite painting, drawing, or other work or art. Perhaps it is one you have enjoyed since you were a child, or maybe it jumped out at you during a trip to a museum earlier in the year. What was it about that piece that spoke to you?
"Oyster Gatherers of Cancale," by John Singer Sargent was one of my favorite paintings that I viewed this spring when visiting the Houston Museum of Fine Art. This exhibit was in the section that displayed his paintings by the sea. You can see the painting by using this link http://jssgallery.org/Paintings/10075.html
I loved the years that my family was able to spend a week in our family friend's beach home in Galveston every summer. Sometimes we were fortunate enough to also spend time in the fall when bird watching was at its' best. I have tried over the years to sketch or paint scenes of the ocean and the people that live and work there. It is a different type of lifestyle from what I am accustomed to here on my farm in Central Texas, everything from the smells of the ocean, the sound of the waves crashing into the shoreline, and gulls flying overhead looking for a catch of fish from the sea. One of my favorite things to do on the beach was to walk the coastline and collect sea shells and anything else interesting that might wash up from the ocean floor. I have quite a collection of shells, shark teeth, driftwood and other plant materials that I keep saying I want to sketch and do a watercolor painting of this collage, maybe now I will make the time to do so.
The people that Sargent painted in this detailed sketch evoked a sense of being right there at his beach in Italy watching these ladies gathering oysters into their baskets. We don't know for sure why they were gathering these treasures from the sea, it could have been their livelihood or for their family to eat, but it was an intriguing look into a moment of their life that caught the attention of this artist and likewise myself. Also the light and color he captures that was so pure and bright along with the apparent brush strokes seen in the oil paint is something I aspire as an artist to be able to develop in my own work; a looseness that conveys to the viewer a lively feeling of life.