Gardner Museum

oil painting
Gardner Museum, oil on canvas 24 in. x 30 in., October 2017

I like to take friends to the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, and when I went with my friend, Gabby, I took a picture of her on this balcony area. However, I painted the space without a human presence. The light is more powerful this way.

I was really drawn to the distinct, solid shadows on the floor contrasted to warm yellow light, and the playful sunlit slants on the wall in the background. There is a high contrast of light versus dark in this composition. And I like how there are defined foreground, middle-ground, and background regions. When I paint, I want a sense of a 3-dimensional space, so this landscape was very engaging to me. The strong light and shadow in the foreground contrasts with the more playful light on the purple wall in the background. Light expresses itself in various ways, and I am exploring how to portray the different types.

The light was the focus of this painting, but I ended up spending a lot of time on the architectural details of the space as well. I didn’t realize how much time and meticulous work it would take to do the smaller details (such as the arches in the railing). For my next painting, I want to work larger-scale to avoid having to do close-up work with tiny brushes. I am still working on trying to make more spontaneous brush strokes. However, this painting is me at my realistic best; I did not strive for more personal expression here. Nonetheless, I am happy with this painting in this style.

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