Saturday, November 26, 2011

Viewing A Painting: Sketching in A Museum

Viewing A Painting: Sketching in A Museum

Leslie here.  Last month I traveled to the Netherlands with my husband, who had business in the area.
One of our favorite things to do is visit the amazing art museums.  Among the treasures in the Mauritshuis Museum in Den Haag is a small painting by Carel Fabritius called "The Goldfinch".  I'm captivated by this small painting, which the artist painted shortly before his death in 1654.  I can't explain what it is about this painting that draws me in.  I just know that it haunts me long after I view it.
This year, I took my sketchbook into the museum and spent a bit of time doing a quick drawing.  I think that, while viewing the painting as I draw, I go deeper into it.  I'm looking at the nuances of the painting in a different way because I am drawn into the shapes and I look more carefully at the cast-shadows.

Later, in my room, I took my small box of gouache paints and continued to work.  I began the drawing on a gessoed page that had splatters from the adjoining page.  I like the imperfections they create under the painting.

Since I had some letter & number stencils in my little travel kit I decided to paint the artist's name and the date the painting was created.  There are a few things wrong with the size of the perch, as compared to the original, but I'm not concerned about that.  For me, the joy was in the seeing, the drawing, the painting.  
Have you ever taken your sketchbook into an art gallery to draw from a painting or sculpture?  I'm interested to read about your experiences.


  1. In one of my art classes in college we had to do this often. It was fun trying to capture someone else's work. I really look much deeper when I am trying to copy an art work.

  2. I agree, Janelle. I hope to find more time to do this in 2012!


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