Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tall Tuesday: Savoring Whistler's Art

ML and I visited the University of Michigan's Art Museum to view prints by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. It was a fantastic collection that was well organized by time period and themes. I was fascinated how he balanced lights and darks, details and emptiness to create wonderful atmosphere. I also enjoyed learning more about lithography. It explained how Whistler pushed the boundaries of lithography to create almost watercolor effects with subtle tonal gradations and tried to bring respect to medium considered low brow and used only for advertising and mass media.

The collection was also very large, which by the end left us a little wore out. Although I exaggerate a little in my sketch I had to perform the hip thrust and shallow bends in my knees and back to get a good look at the pieces. One minor disadvantage to being very tall. I suppose it wouldn't be much easier being very short or in a wheelchair craning to look up at the art either.

Hanging art at home creates a challenge as to how high to hang it to where I can look at it easily and others, too. When I lived in an apartment I didn't think about it and hung everything near my eye level. Sometimes someone would comment, "Why is all your artwork hung so high?" Cretins! (I use that term lovingly.)

About the art:
I used Koh-I-Noor woodless graphite pencils that I received as a gift recently. I really like them. They have a nice weight and allow me to use the full width of the tapered lead without feeling like the tip is going to break off. It felt nice to use a pencil to lay down some tones. It's been a while since I've used them. A white pencil was used for the few highlights.

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