Seven Museums in Two Days
I got in and had lunch with my longtime friend Angelique Trouvere-widely known as a costumer and in the 1970's she was one of the first "Vampirellas" and "Red Sonjas" at many of the comic cons. Hadn't seen her in ten years so it was great to catch up.
After that, I pounded the Mall and went to the NAtional Academy of Sciences for the John Brosio display. John is a great artist I have come to know lately as a friend, and he paints tornadoes like no one I know. He has 12 large canvases there and they are on display in the same halls that once walked the likes of Albert Einstein back in the day. The place is impossible and, so obvious to find!!! After that, I went to The Corcoran Gallery, The Renwick Gallery, The National Gallery and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History! WOW! All in five hours!!!
The National Gallery had some amazing Thomas Coles (his epics "Voyage of Life") my favorite(and Ray Harryhausen's) John Martin painting, and some fantastic paintings by Fredric Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt and Jasper Francis Cropsey, and JMW Turner, and many more. Back in Baltimore the next day, I went to the Walters Museum of Art and The Baltimore Museum of Art. The Walters wound up being my favorite, despite The Baltimore having a fine Thomas Cole. The collection at the Walters was pretty amazing. They have a 19th Century hall that has a Gustave Dore painting I have only ever seen in a book and it does it no justice, and a wonderful Asher Brown Durand. As well as this, they have an Orientalist room which contains some Jean Leon Geromes,a Delacroix and the always amazing Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
All of this completely re-invigorated my inspirations. It was reassurance for me. I'm never intimidated by masters such as these. I simply look at them and see things they did that I am now doing and feel like "Yeah, I'm doing the right thing". For instance, Dore has so much texture on his painting that it becomes all part of the detail and how you percieve the work. Nothing looks "slick". While I like Sci-fi and fantasy art, I like this stuff even more because it's epic and it's done for it's own sheer granduer. And I find myself rapt looking at these works.
I can always stress to artists, go to MUSEUMS. Take a look at these great masters and take your inspiration and style hints from them, don't copy contemporary artists. Also, if you make a living in art, it's tax write off to visit these places to see this work in person. And it enriches your mind and expands your perceptions.