I’ve been taking a lot of photos at art museums lately, because I’ll be leaving this area soon and I want to record some of my faves before I go. Mostly I don’t take snapshots in museums, though. A camera is a pain to carry and it can be annoying to other visitors (especialy if you forget to turn off the flash). I’d rather hold the art in my memory than in a photograph.
My mnemonic trick in art galleries is to carry a little sketch book and quickly make a visual impression of something that interests me. When you make even the most rapid drawing of an artwork, it forces you to really look and see things you might have passed by otherwise. Here are a couple of pages from my book:
This is about the actual size of the open book which fits in my shirt pocket. The paintings I made these scribbles from look more or less like this in my blurry (sorry!) photos:
The top painting — left sketch — is from 1790. It is a an oval portrait of some lucky citizen of the newly minted United States: the handsome dude had just won the Massachussetts Lottery. Well, he holds the ticket anyways, and I doubt he’d have wanted to be portrayed holding a dud. The artist remains anonymous, perhaps fearing libel. The sitter appears to be Keith Richards.
The bottom painting is by Richard Lorenz who lived from 1858 to 1915. He was born in Prussia, but spent most of his working life in the U.S. where he had a big influence (or so I read) on the Western genre. The painting, from 1912, is titled, alternately, “Lost” or “Lost in the Blizzard.” It’s about two and half feet wide.