Monday, January 27, 2014


I’m a little late with my post for this week.  I assure you I was not lollygagging.
 Joaquin Sorolla, Self Portrait, oil

Call it professional development.  Handsome Husband and I ventured to The Meadows Museum in Dallas Texas over the weekend to take in a once in a lifetime exhibit of paintings by one of Spain’s greatest artists, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.  Sharing this experience with us was my sis and her very own handsome husband, both historians who hold keen insight into Spanish tradition, culture and art. Having them along to share their observations was invaluable. Plus, we like them a lot.

A selfie at The Meadows, Dallas Tx, 2014, photograph
Studying original works of art is an intensely valuable experience for an artist. While surfing the web to visit collections from the Hermitage to MOMA is helpful, there’s nothing like being there…

Ninos A La Orilla Del Mar  1903, oil

... bare canvas peeking out from under a heavy swath of paint, thin swipes of color crosshatched into apparent texture … the dash of cerulean blue laid over a warm patch of rosy orange, and then that glob of brilliant sunlit … not white but almost so … oh! 
 Perhaps the most beautiful thigh ever painted.

Step back slowly and experience the dizzying coming together of those slashes and dashes into a scene of windblown beaches, brilliant sunshine on wet bodies… cool fabric on a damp thigh…it is almost possible to hear the waves crashing on the shoreline and voices calling to each other, to know damp ocean breeze against sun-warmed skin…

Joaquin Sorolla,  White Boat, 1905, oil
There were other paintings; it seemed as if speaking at all while in their presence would be an unwelcome intrusion.  Handled in dark, somber tones with quiet strokes of liquid paint, they spoke of hopelessness, desolation, loss…
Joaquin Sorolla, Another Marguerite! 1892, oil
Another Marguerite!, (for which he received the gold medal at the National Exhibition in Madrid, as well First Prize at the Chicago International Exhibition) can only be appreciated in life.  The hopelessness, the desolation and bone weariness Sorolla paints into this scene simply cannot be translated through a computer screen.

It seems Sorolla’s hand was never idle. Besides the collection of completed paintings, there were dozens of sketches done on restaurant menus, an array of nearly abstract dashes of gauche depicting the view below his hotel window, as well as several charcoal preparatory drawings for his beach paintings. This exhibit is a master class in dedication to one’s craft.
Joaquin Sorolla, Grand Army Plaza, 1911 gauche
 I’m still evaluating the experience, as you can tell. I’ve got a million questions. It seems the best way to find the answers will be to go to my work space, squirt out some paint, and get to work.


Cathyann Burgess said...

How fortunate you were, Patty, to get to see them up close and personal! I am jealous. Gotta check out where they will be headed next. Great post!

Patty said...

Cathyann! So kind of you to take time out from preparing for your upcoming exhibit to comment. Yep, I know it was a fortunate thing to be able to see that quality of work up close. HH said, "I'll never see the world the same again". How great is that?