Friday, April 4, 2008

brushstrokes and blossoms

I was given the day off work today so I decided to make good use of a Friday and finally go downtown to visit the Smithsonian Art Museum, which I have been wanting to do for a while (I was in a mellow, artsy kind of mood).

The overcast, windy weather made it a perfect day to wander through the art gallery and gaze at some incredible portraits and paintings. I was mostly interested in seeing the "Impressionism" exhibit, as that is one of my favorite periods of art.

"Spring" (1890) by Thomas Wilmer Dewing

"The Hermit Thrush" (1890) by Thomas William Dewing

I think it's the soft brush strokes and the pastel colors that attract me--along with how impressionism seems to evoke the whimsy and romance of the "gilded age" in history. Seeing these paintings in person is so much better than looking at them in pictures. You can get as close as you want and see each individual brush stroke and imagine the painter moving his brush to get the colors and shadows just right. If you take the time to really look at it, you gain a much greater appreciation for the painter and his art.

"The White Ballet" (1904) by Everett Shinn

I kept coming back to this ballet painting--for some reason it just kept grabbing my attention. I think it's because of the unique point of view. It's very voyeuristic--you're looking over the audience's shoulders, seeing what they are seeing and catching their reactions.

This one was my favorite:

"The South Ledges, Appledore" (1913)
by Childe Hassan

The detail in the brush strokes was incredible.

This one wasn't in the Impressionism exhibit, but I really liked it (the pink colors don't show up nearly as well in the picture):
"Juliette Gordon Low" by Edward Hughes

She's the lady that founded the Girl Scouts.

After my visit to the art museum, I headed down to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom--being celebrated by the famous Cherry Blossom Festival. More on that later...

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