Saturday, August 7, 2010

Visiting Olana and Church's oil sketches

On July 28th we went to visit Olana, the home of Frederic Edwin Church. It is now a state historic site, offering guided tours of the house (call in advance if you go). Inside, you can see Church's studies and a few of his larger studio paintings. Right now there is a special exhibition in the gallery of his oil sketches from Jamaica, which we got REALLY excited about. We have spent all month painting in the field and thinking about how best to approach these studies so that they may be useful in the studio when tackling a larger painting. To get up close and see how Church worked was amazing. From afar, these quick oil sketches on paper look almost like finished paintings. Up close, it seems like he painted the whole thing in three quick brush strokes. Except maybe the one below with the vines ... that looks like it took a few days of work. We left inspired and excited to go out and try some new things with our approach to oil sketching.

Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900),
Tropical Vines and Trees, Jamaica, ca. May–July 1865
Oil on paper mounted on wood, 18-1/8 x 12-1/2 inches

Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900)
Scene in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica, August 1865
Oil on paper mounted on academy
board, 10-5/8 x 17-3/4 inches

Iceberg study by Frederic Edwin Church

"Clouds Over Olana" by Frederic Edwin Church, 1872

Great Basin, Mount Katahdin, Maine, by Frederic Edwin Church, 1852, oil.

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