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Archive for August, 2013

 

The Clark Museum

The Clark Museum, Williamstown, MA

Quote from the exhibit:

“Robert Sterling Clark  declared Winslow Homer (1836–1910) to be among the greatest artists of the nineteenth century. Acting on this belief, Clark bought more than two hundred of Homer’s works and eventually owned more works by Homer clark portraitthan by any other artist. The breadth and ambition of Clark’s collection, more important than the large number of works it contains, make it the finest gathering of Homer’s art assembled by any individual since the artist’s death.”

(Clark’s grandfather was the business partner of Singer of Singer sewing machine so he could afford all this.)

I would say that the exhibit is really about the man and not the watercolors per se.  It is unlike the Brooklyn Museum’s Sargent exhibit which was about watercolor technique as Sargent practiced it).

There was a great deal of memorabilia in the exhibit, like this case of gallery correspondence:

home case with letters

As well as very minor graphic work, often reproductions of some sort.

home wall of reproductions

and a wall of woodcuts

homer wall of woodcuts

There was introduced the interesting idea that Homer painting some paintings, mostly oils, for himself and some for the market.   They segregated the two types.  Of course, the ones for himself were much better than the ones for the market.

Sledding, a paint Homer is thought to have painted for himself.

Sledding, a painting Homer is thought to have painted for himself.

Corny painting for the market

Corny subject but a well painted job for the market

There were several study drawings for the above picture which is quite interesting since Homer’s finished drawing have a different quality.  He seems to be working out the planes and forms of the image in this sketch.

homer drawing jpeg

 

There is a section of the Clarke website here that allows you to search the images in the show.  It is a “nested” series of images, meaning you click on the first image and it opens to a page of other images.   Everything seems to be there, so I am not going to post all the watercolor images.

Most students of Homer’s watercolors believe there was a radical shift late in life (sometime after the late 1880) when he did his Adirondack paintings and his Bahama paintings as a result of the influence of Japanese woodcuts which were indirectly transmitted to him via John LaFarge and work in stained glass.  Unfortunately Clark bought a lot of very early work.

An early Homer

An early Homer

a late homer of two guides who appear in his paintings often

a late homer of two guides who appear in his paintings often

 

One of my favorites (the bird is an Osprey)

One of my favorites (the bird is an Osprey)

 

Below is a list of the watercolors in the exhibit.   You might want to check the dates to focus on the late work.

One thing I noticed was how complex his skies are and how dark and formless his background trees are in the later paintings.

 

Summer, 1874

Gouache, watercolor, and graphite on cream wove paper
21.9 x 11.1 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1491

Hunting for Eggs, 1874
Gouache, watercolor, and graphite on cream wove paper
24.9 x 14.1 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1497

Children on a Fence, 1874
Watercolor over graphite on paper
18.3 x 30.2 cm
Williams College Museum of Art, Museum purchase, with funds provided by the Assyrian Relief Exchange, 41.2

Sketch at Ferry Landing, c. 1875
Watercolor and graphite on paper
34.3 x 36.8 cm
Private Lender, New York

Lemon, 1876
Watercolor over graphite, with touches of gouache, on cream wove paper
47.9 x 30.3 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1494

Shepherdess of Houghton Farm, 1878
Watercolor and graphite, with additions in ink and gouache, on cream wove paper
27.9 x 48.3 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1483

Feeding Time, 1878
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on cream wove paper
22.2 x 28.4 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1493

Four Boys Bathing, 1880
Watercolor over graphite on paper
24.2 x 34.3 cm
Williams College Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. William C. Brownell, 58.15

Two Boys Rowing, 1880
Watercolor on paper
25.4 x 34.9 cm
Private Lender, New York

The Lobster Pot, 1880
Watercolor on paper
24.1 x 33.7 cm
Private Lender, New York

Perils of the Sea, 1881
Watercolor over graphite on cream wove paper
37.1 x 53.2 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.774

Beach Scene, Cullercoats, 1881
Watercolor, over graphite on cream wove paper
29.1 x 49.5 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1490

Fisher Girl with Net, 1882
Graphite, gouache, and gray wash on gray laid paper
28.9 x 48.9 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1485

An October Day, 1889
Watercolor over graphite, with scraping, on cream wove paper
35.7 x 50.2 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.770

A Good Pool, Saguenay River, 1895
Watercolor over graphite, with scraping on cream wove paper
24.7 x 47.9 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1492

Fish and Butterflies, 1900
Watercolor over graphite, on cream wove paper
36.7 x 52.5 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.775

The Eagle’s Nest, 1902
Watercolor over graphite on cream wove paper
54.7 x 34.5 cm
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1502

Schooners at Anchor, Key West, 1903
Watercolor on paper
35.6 x 55.2 cm
Private Lender, New York

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ultra light tripods

zipshot folded

If  you don’t just jump out of your car and set up right next to it, the weight of your gear becomes important.

There is a new class of tripods that are very light and quick to set up that artists are starting to experiment with if they want to travel very light.  There seems to be three companies marketing the same thing on Amazon:   Zipshot for $49.95, Davis and Sanford for $24.29, and AGFA for $17.99.   If you shop around, beware when you shop on the internet because, although these are full-size tripods, there are mini tripods that look like them when they are folded .

I do not know how to explain the wide variation in price, but it probable is something we will see more and more as merchandise is mass produced in China with the upscale product being made during the day and the cheap product made on the same machines at night with often cheaper materials by another group.   This has long been the case with tripods.  You can see identical tripods in a camera store, but one is considerably heavier than the other (the one made at night.)

I have the Davis and Sanford one and it seems to me to be the same as the more expensive Zipshot, not heavier or made with different materials probably because the materials for both versions are cheap.

The thing about these tripods is that the sections are held together by bungie cord material, so they set up by just untying them and giving them a shake.

zipshot expanding

When they are expanded they look like this:

agfa expanded

The above picture is of an AGFA.

The head looks like this:

zipshot head

You can put a very light-weight pochade box on it and there are quick-release accessories for an additional price.   But, when I put a sheet of 1/4 inch plywood on it that I use to hold a 1/4 sheet of watercolor paper, it was not steady under any weight.  I could not hang a waterbasket on it or it would tip.  The ball head doesn’t hold tight if there is too much weight.  In a wind I don’t think it would work.    On the other hand, I could paint with this set up, but just using the brush made it move.  Sometimes I steadied the plywood with my hand.   All that said, I find it acceptable.

By the way, the sheet of plywood has to have a female part that mates with the male bolt in the head of the tripod.  There are two types, one that you must hammer in  and another you screw in.   Here’s what the hammer in one looks like.  It probably is the best for a thin sheet of plywood which is all this tripod can handle.  It is called a T-nut.

sell nut

xx

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