I visited the National Gallery of Canada with a friend on Thursday evening. Thursdays after 5pm, access to the regular exhibits is free, so it’s a great time to go. I’ve been reading a lot about art styles lately, though there is so much out there it could take me a lifetime to become any kind of aficionado. I have identified some things I enjoy though.
I like art pieces that are primarily scenery with a small amount of human life in them. Breathtaking landscapes where a small girl is reading a book, for example. The scenery in these paintings is almost always filled with nature and has both dark and light elements. I especially like it when there is a beautiful, bright area in the background and the dark elements in the foreground seem to frame the light in the background. It’s almost like they are saying that things might be dark right now, but just ahead something beautiful is waiting. These are my favourite types of pieces. Gustave Doré and Thomas Cole are good examples.
I also like paintings that feel like there is a story going on. Some of the ones I saw seemed like they were probably the evidence of a hell of a party the night before.
I enjoyed “The Pianist” by Lyubov Popova much more than the Picasso that was hung nearby it. I was surprised to learn that Picasso was painting around the time my parents were born. For some reason I thought his work was older.
I’m not big on portraits, geometric shapes, or urban landscapes, in general. Barret Newman’s “Voice of Fire” wasn’t awesome to me, but the sheer size of it was. Edward Wadsworth’s “Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool” is cool, but doesn’t move me on a deeper level.
There was a still life of grapes that had more depth than most do as there was a sky in the background with the bright piece that I mentioned above. I don’t know who it was by.
Seeing some of the works of The Group of Seven in person had a very different feel than learning about them in grade school did. There is more to the paintings than you can see online or in a textbook. “North Shore Lake Superior” by Harris is a good example where this happens.
The feature image on this post is a Gustave Doré one of Loch Lomond. There’s a small man sitting on a rock. I’m sure there’s an official story, but my writer’s brain loves pondering about the man, why is he sitting there, what or who is he waiting for, etc.
I think I did well for my first trip to a major art gallery. I’ve been to small ones before like the one inside the Capitol Centre in North Bay and the one inside the John Mlacak arena in Kanata, but nothing like this one was. I’ve learned the art I enjoy the most usually isn’t related to any particular movement. They also don’t have so many obvious layers of paint. Everything seems to blend nicely.
I did wonder about the massiveness of some of the paintings. Where might one purchase a canvas that is bigger than the walls in my condo? What does that sort of thing cost?
I feel like there might be some painting lessons in my future, but not until I’ve learned more guitar and French.