Saturday, March 26, 2011

How Do They Do That?

Last week I went on a Guided Tour of some of the historical art at Cardiff Museum. It turned out it was the same tour I had taken a few weeks previously. I should have figured that out from the title. Still, it was interesting because it was a different Tour Guide and she put her own slant on the pre-set script.

The Guide was a woman who had previously been in business but had decided to follow her lifelong passion for art by doing an MA in Art History at Bristol University. She now works as a Volunteer at the Museum while she works out how to earn a living from her interest in Tudor portraiture. And I thought I made life difficult for myself. I wished her good luck with that one!

At a couple of points on the Tour she handed round X-Rays of some of the paintings. These showed alterations to the original painting (often made at the request of the patron) and in one case a completely different picture! A landscape by Richard Wilson had originally been a portrait! Presumably the commission had been cancelled or the portrait had been rejected. Wilson obviously thought it a shame to waste such a large canvas.

Someone asked whether all the paintings were X-Rayed. Apparently not. An X-Ray is only taken if the Conservators notice something unusual.

Conservators look at art in a completely different way to art historians or critics. Theirs is a more forensic examination. For them it’s all about materials, technique, process and execution.

I find that fascinating.

I’m very interested in how and where people produce work. I’m interested in the place and the process behind what they do.

It’s why I’m so interested in Studio Practice and enjoy hearing about the approaches other artists take to their work.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be opening up the London Studio so people can come and see what’s happening and how it all works. Hopefully it will be interesting to look behind the scenes.

In the meantime have a look at this link to see other artists’ studios. It’s taken from a book in which painters describe their daily routines, how they lay out their studios, what custom tools they use, and when they considered themselves professional artists

Also, this link shows some of the home offices of crafts people (very neat, aren’t they?).

Do those crafts people actually work in their offices? Mine never used to look like that
Lol Joanna ... I agree!
My pottery never looks like that unless I do no work for a long time!
It's kind of reassuring to meet people who have chosen an even more obscure path than the one we've chosen, isn't it? :) And thanks for the reminder about Inside the Painter's Studio - I've been meaning to check that out for a while now.
I know the feeling Duncan!

Angela ... a very obscure choice indeed! The book looks good, doesn't it?
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