Monday, 3 August 2009

The Restoration of the Italian Sculpture Room at the V&A

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Trust me to choose such a complicated theme! This was certainly a challenge from the start, but I wanted to get my teeth into some detail.

Whilst researching my new chosen venue for a workshop in July, the one and only Victoria and Albert Museum, I made a beeline for the Sculpture Rooms and discovered to my dismay that the Italian room was closed for renervations. On closer inspection, I got quite excited to see various areas of tonal contrast created by the plastic sheeting draped all over these masterpieces. Believe you me, only an artist would understand.

One is not allowed to use watersoluble materials in the museum so I had to work from a photograph. I started by doing a detailed line drawing and then I used masking fluid to block out the important 'whites'.

I don't always like using masking fluid as it leaves a hard edge. Those of you who know me, will understand my love for 'invisible' edges. Once these stages were completed, I filled a number of spray bottles with tinted water covering a choice of primary colours and began to indicate the light source using yellows, pinks and blues.

A lot of fun I might add, and for those of you who are intensely worried about my cream carpet in my studio (Mom and I), I had a plan in the form of a large dust sheet which I draped all over the place. Not a far cry from the room in the V&A I was trying to paint.

I then proceeded to paint and paint and paint. It was quite a mammoth task as I had to apply layers of pigment and then bring out the highlighted areas using white gouache and a degree of scratching out using a sharp scalpel. Yes, some blood was spilled during this process.

I finally finished this painting and am now tackling a 'looser' watercolour approach of yet more selected subjects. Please offer me some feedback if you have time. Your opinions out there are most valuable.

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