On Impressionists, Cellists, and Cool New Website

watercolor and ink sketch musicians playing cellos Okay, I'm back from the break that I had to take after the intensity of the 30x30 challenge and daily blogging! If you are following me on Facebook, you know I haven't really fallen off the edge of the Earth :).

I did drive to Sacramento to visit my family, with both kids...An 8 hour drive, which was not as horrible as it sounds. I have pretty well-behaved kids :). The trip was good. The week I spent not cooking or doing housework or even watching the kids that much was worth it. The grandparents and all the other relatives got to enjoy the babies, I got my fix of art stores. I even slept in on most mornings! Really, this was as close to a vacation as I've been in a long while. I did have plans to go to San Francisco and see the Vermeer exhibit at DeYoung but Elijah (my 3.5-year-old) got sick, so I had to adjust my plans. Instead of going to San Francisco, I stayed in Sacramento a few extra days and caught one of my favorite events - 2nd Saturday Art Walk.

As in most similar events, the majority of the art was so-so, some was blatantly bad, but a few pieces were pretty great. I visited a couple of places new to me and enjoyed the work of a wide range of artists. I noticed that, even though I am drawn to abstracts, particularly color field ones, they seldom keep my attention for longer than the initial few seconds. Oils and acrylics dominated, as usual; not much watercolor.

I also visited a used book store, Time Tested Books, and got two art books. One is on the Russian Symbolist artist Vrubel (in Russian, which is extra cool), the other on the Impressionists (The New Painting: Impressionisms 1874-1886. ). This second book I liked for the pictures but it turned out to be quite entertaining to read, too. It documents eight of the original exhibitions of the Impressionists, with painting images, descriptions, and essays. I think the best parts of the book are, however, the quotes from the contemporary reviewers of the exhibitions.

gustave caillebotte paris street a rainy day impressionist painting

For example, this famous painting by Gustave Caillebotte is criticized for its odd composition (I don't really like that lamppost in the middle, either), unimaginative treatment of figures, and ABSENCE OF RAIN :). Caillebotte is also praised for his drawing abilities, which, apparently, few Impressionists possessed. It seems like not very much has changed in the last 130 years and that even the Impressionists were your normal everyday artists.

While browsing the books, I enjoyed listening to a duet of cellists who were performing at the book store. I semi-discreetly snapped a couple of photos with my phone and last night, made the sketch on top of this post. Look out for the video of me making the sketch. Speaking of videos, I will soon be launching a new website dedicated to my how-tos, step-by-steps, videos, tutorials, and all that educational stuff. Eventually, it will become the platform for my online painting courses. Yay!