Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eakins Senior

Last week, I attended a lecture relating to academic art by the artist Graydon Parrish at the Grand Central Academy of Art ( great lecture, very informative!) Since I had some time to kill before the lecture I thought I would drop in at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and look at some of the artists that would be featured in Graydon's lecture. While there I also went looking for some of Eakins work because I've been doing a lot of reading about him lately. Strangely enough, the Met currently has a lot of the American wing paintings on exhibit in some kind of storage room, locked into glass cases. In a way, it's good because very few people seem to wander in there and it facilitates prolonged study. Anyways, I spent a good deal of time looking at "The Writing Master". I've seen it before and it always captivates me. Eakins was a student of Gerome, and Gerome always claimed that Rembrandt was his favorite artist. Other than the story telling aspect though, I can find no Rembrandt influence in his paintings. Eakins painting of his father is a different story. This painting seems clearly indebted to Rembrandt without overly emulating his style. So in between drying times on other paintings I decided to give "Eakins senior" a shot. The reproduction I'm using is only about three inches tall and I'm working on an 8"x10" panel. I'm experimenting with the method I see demonstrated on Tony Ryders site which is to use an open palette (no pre-mixed color strings) and to window shade my brush strokes working from a dark base (the paint on your palette). It's fun to change things up once in a while. I'm sure this is nothing like the way that Eakins worked so I consider this more of a study than a copy.

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