A Saturday Afternoon with Edward Hopper

Sketching from the Hopper Collection

Sketching from the Hopper Collection

People say, “It is only a sketch.”  It takes the genius of a real artist to make a good sketch–to express the most important things in life–the fairness of a face–to represent air and light and to do it all with such a simple shorthand means.  One must have wit to make a sketch.  Pictures that have had months of labor expended on them may be more incomplete than a sketch.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

This past month, I have taken more advantage of my local art museum’s offerings than previously.  The Edward Hopper exhibit has offered excellent schooling for me, as I admit with regret that I have never been a disciplined sketcher.  This current exhibit focusses on the preliminary sketches that led up to the masterpieces of Hopper that I have admired for so many decades.  I have forced myself to go to the museum again and again, to sketch, and sketch some more, study the results, and return to sketch some more.  I’m hoping that it will alter my studio approaches in the future.

Today the museum offered a workshop–Sketching Like Hopper.  I reserved a spot and showed up gladly.  Here, I have posted a pair of my charcoal sketches of his work.  I have always liked Robert Mothwerwell’s observation, “Drawing is a way of organizing space.”  In this pair of sketches, I focussed on the geometric shapes that made up Hopper’s compositions, then tried to put in the darks, middle tones and light areas, saving the details for last.

I emerged from the museum to a fifty-degree day, a nice respite from the string of frozen days experienced lately.  The food trucks lined the park north of the museum, and the experience of a Reuben sandwich in the sunlight was a deliciouis one.

Thanks for reading.

Lunch Outside the Dallas Museum of Art

Lunch Outside the Dallas Museum of Art

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