Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ah Summer

It looks like we are going to have a sunny and warm Fourth of July here on the northern Oregon coast. I have been itching to get outside to paint. I could but....I am feeling a bit overwhelmed this weekend. Our little town of 700 hearty full time souls has swelled by several thousand people to partake in the festivities. Every house has several cars, the streets are crawling with people and their dogs and herds of small shrieking children. The beach is crowded with people burning the beautiful driftwood logs and, in one case, a tourist knocked down a street sign and threw it on the fire (he was fined). Even though there are signs all over the place forbidding fireworks on pain of citation and fine, there are fireworks all over the place. We don't have a large police force, as one would guess for such a tiny town.
It is funny how fast we claim ownership of a place. We have such a wonderful local culture of sustainability and recycling, and love, gratitude, and respect for the incredible natural beauty of the area. It is a bit hard to see people come in, shatter the peace and drown out the sound of the ocean with their music, disrespect the laws, and leave trash on our beaches. Specially, for me, thousands of people (someone told me 10,000!) Well, all this has made me feel a bit reluctant to go out and paint until the holiday is over and most of the people go home.
So, with that rant out of the way (if you are still with me, I appreciate you hanging in there) I will move on. I have started a charcoal portrait of my husband. It is my first attempt at a portrait. I have been reading and viewing videos and figured it is time to just do it, and make mistakes, and do it some more. I am also working on my first ocean painting using an oil sketch I did on the beach and a few photo references. I will have more on that later. I have a color study all set up. A simple color study this time! Life drawing continues and all the work feels good.
Of course, we have had well loved visitors with more to come and now the holiday weekend but thankfully summer days are long. Love it!
No pictures of my work this time but I want to wrap up with another woman artist from the past. I plan to look up more on this incredible woman, Rosa Bonheur 1822-1899. She lived an unconventional life starting with her upbringing. She was allowed to follow her tomboy nature and was the daughter of a drawing master. She was sent to a boy's school with her brothers! She blossomed as an artist early in life with encouragement from her father. She was a master painter of animals. Here is one of her most well known pieces:
The Horse Fair, 1853–55
Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822–1899)
Oil on canvas
96 1/4 x 199 1/2 in. (244.5 x 506.7 cm)
Signed and dated (lower right): Rosa Bonheur 1853.5
Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1887 (87.25)
On view: Gallery 812   Last Updated June 29, 2011

This painting is 8 ft by 16ft! Here is another beautiful one:
Rosa Bonheur, Sheep by the Sea, 1865; Oil on panel; National Museum of Women in the Arts   
Source: http://www.nmwa.org/collection/detail.asp?WorkID=476
The picture above does not do it any kind of justice. Looking at a photo of the painting in 50 Women Artists You Should Know, the colors are rich and the detail and lighting is exquisite. Google her name and a lot of information comes up. It is wonderful to read about a woman who was a successful artist on her own terms and was accepted as such, more or less. It wasn't all smooth sailing, One critic wrote "Mademoiselle Rosa paints almost like a man." (50 Women Artists You Should Know, pg. 63) I mean, really!
The life and work of Rosa Bonheur is well worth checking out.
I will add her name and link to my artists who inspire list for sure.
For those of you in the USA, have a happy and safe Independence Day. And, to our neighbors up north, happy Canada Day.
-Renee

2 comments:

Theresa said...

I believe I have seen the Horse Fair years ago as the subject matter has always been of interest! :) Thank you for spotlighting this artist.
Quiet 4th up here this year, didn't hear a single firecracker!

Renee said...

Thanks for wading through my rant Theresa to get to the good stuff. I bet the painting is amazing in person.
The official fireworks on the beach were spectacular. Bob and I joined a group of the local Kiwanas and spent a couple hours the next morning picking up the beach. It will take months to get all the stuff up. I continue to be impressed how most of the folks who live here are passionate about the natural beauty of the area and organize to take care of the beach and all the sea critters that live here.

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