I'm studying at the moment, and I decided to relate my studies to this week's challenge from Summer of Colour which is to use Candy Apple Red and Yellow in an image. The sketch is derived from one of Chagall's paintings.
Next week Dev and I are attending a three-day Summer School at the Tate Liverpool Gallery which is linked into their current exhibition "Chagall! Modern Master". Chagall is one of my favourite artists so I'm really looking forward to it, and preparing for it with some 'self-directed study'.
I'm hoping you will see that what I'm doing with the Red/Yellow sketch above is analysing and thinking about his approach and not trying to make a perfect copy of the painting, shown below:
At first glance it looks such a simple and even naive painting, folk art, almost childlike. Yet in fact it is very complex and full of Chagall's memories of his childhood home-town in Russia. What I wanted to examine were all the geometric shapes, which divide the picture and focus attention on particular areas of the painting. Here's my simplified drawing.
It may look a simple painting, but I find it very difficult to copy his works. This was the best I could manage, just focussing on the elements that interested me for this study.
I've looked at this painting in my Chagall book so many times, and trying to copy any painting really makes me concentrate on detail, but this was the first time I ever noticed the cross and the wedding ring.
My drawing is on good watercolour paper, but I wanted to save it for when I have time to use acrylic or watercolour to paint it, so for this simplified red/yellow version I printed the drawing out onto smooth cartridge paper and used Inktense pencils.
I added the green for contrast, and to separate the other two colours where I could. The red looks rather pale, but it is a stronger red than it looks here. I learnt quite a lot from doing this self-imposed exercise. I'm off to study another painting in my book in a few moments.
Chagall's painting has another aspect which interests me. Whenever I look at it these days it reminds me of journalling with its layers of memory. I decided to pretend Chagall was going to post one of his journal pages on his blog. And as the Inspiration Avenue challenge is to 'Use words in a piece of art', here's his journal page with one of his childhood memories to follow that theme.
The text reads: "In my grandfather's stable there is a big-bellied cow; she stands and stares stubbornly. Grandfather goes up and talks to her like this: 'Hey, listen, give us your legs. You must be tied up. We need something to sell, meat, do you hear?' She falls with a sigh. I reach out to put my arms round her muzzle, to whisper a few words to her - that she shouldn't worry, I won't eat the meat; what more could I do?"
The quote is from this book in the picture below which I bought on Amazon. It would have been more appropriate if I could have found a quote involving a goat, but I didn't find one.
Written by Chagall himself when he was 35 (he died at the age of 95), the book is only 171 pages long and beautifully written.
I hope you love Chagall's art as much as I do.