Back to Work

After a layoff for some health issues and a digression into more drawing and watercolor, it's back to work in oil at the National Gallery. The painting I'm working from now is "Flying Shadows" by Kenyon Cox. This painting was acquired as part of the merger with the Corcoran collection, so it's only been at the NGA since 2015. There isn't a high-res image of it yet on the NGA site, nor many notes about its technical and historical background, but the Corcoran site still has an extensive entry on it for the scholars among you. The life of the physical painting is always fascinating, all that it has been through to reach its present state. Just like a human, it bears the evidence of some hard times but its beauty shines through.

Here's the start of day 1 and the end of day 2:

My canvas is 20 X 24". Still a long ways to go, many corrections and layers to add.

Kenyon Cox was a very important painter, illustrator, and muralist in the Academic Classical style. He trained at PAFA and in Paris. This landscape is an early work in his oeuvre, a bit looser than his later work. He taught at the Art Students League, where he applied the ancient dictum "Nulla Dies Sine Linea"--no day without a line (of drawing), still the best advice for artists of all kinds. There are a number of his drawings in the NGA collection as well.

The painting has a buff-colored ground and no overall undertone. It seems constructed of many thin layers built up to portray the lush softness of the grassy fields and the trees. That's my strategy, to get the soft, subtle glow of gentle color coming through. The biggest challenge is to tone down my usually-brighter palette without killing it. Landscape is definitely in my comfort zone, and Kenyon Cox has a lot to say about it.