About the MotmotExploring the natural world with pencil and paper from high atop a one-story bungalow in the middle of Oklahoma. Currently on sabbatical in Copenhagen, Denmark, until December, 2014.
No foxes were hunted during today’s annual Hubertus Hunt in the great Deer Park forest at Klampenborg, just north of Copenhagen. In fact, the deer were laying low, too. But steeples were chased, if I’m getting that right, and the race was glorious. The grand horses, the elegant riders, the beautiful fall day all came together with throngs of lovely people and their dogs, too. Someone won, someone else fell off their horse into cold water and someone’s horse stalled at one jump and took courage at the next.
Urban and travel sketching was in the news yesterday, to my surprise and delight. Luis Simoes, a Portuguese artist, is on a 5 year mission to sketch his way around the world. He talks about his experiences and the purpose of of slow travel via sketchbook:
“What I’ve learned is I have time to see things, to see the culture passing by. I can be in one spot for three hours maybe, it gives me the time to feel more.
Which sums up the practice very nicely. He also talks about sketching as a cultural ice-breaker, which is tremendously useful at times (like the time someone sent a drink to my table in Florence where I was sketching. At least, I think that was the reason).
It made me very happy to see sketching, and a great sketcher, featured in mainstream news, and I hope it inspires people to pick up sketchbooks and go for it. You don’t have to travel around the world to make it work, either. You can try this at home.
And Happy Anniversary, Antman!
Why did Camille Pissarro put a woman in the gutter? The couple in La route de Louveciennes stroll along a sidewalk which is partly blocked with fallen leaves and melting snow. The woman steps off the curb and slogs through muck and debris while the man walks high and dry. As I drew a little sketch of this unequal relationship, my imagination overheated, and I began to worry. Did he push her off the sidewalk ? Are her shoes okay? Should she find another boyfriend? Maybe none of these questions worried Pissarro when he painted the walking couple. Or maybe they did. Could La Route de Louveciennes be a sly little commentary on bad manners?
Drawing is a great way to get inside a work of art, and a great way to absorb and remember a museum. I wasn’t the only one in the Musee d’Orsay doing this. A boy who looked like he might have been ten years old was sketching a Van Gogh. No parent hovered nearby and he wasn’t part of a class. He was an independent young artist, drawing with confidence. He even ignored the rubberneckers peeking over his shoulder. I peeked. He was making a very fine sketch.
A gaggle of art students sat cross-legged on the polished floor and sketched Renoir’s Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette as their instructors lectured and critiqued. The regular museum visitors threaded their way around the students, admired the huge canvas a few moments, and moved on.
Of the the two groups, one came away with a deeper understanding of Renoir’s cinematic canvas, and may even have had a few questions about the subplots, the casting, and at least three of the extras, while the other got sore feet and an espresso at the museum cafe. Care to guess which was which? I leave it up to your imagination.