On Saturday, we toured the Altes Nationale Museum in Berlin to see paintings from the late 1800s to the early 20th century. This purpose built museum for a fixed collection was the first in the world to collect impressionist paintings (Monet in 1876). It houses work by Adolph Menzel, Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Blechen, Anton von Werner, Max Lieberman, Arnold Böcklin and Karl Friedrich Schinkel (among others). See this link for more details on the collection. I especially liked Menzel’s paintings. His brush and color work seemed to be precursors to the English painters Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud (both immigrants to England as children of Jewish parents in Nazi Germany. I wonder ha=ow much they studied his work.

On Saturday we also had dinner with Meryem Berker, the daughter of Attila Berker with whom I worked at the architectural office of Candilis, Josic, Woods and Schiedhelm from 1971-1973 in Berlin (on the Free University of Berlin building); and Karen Schiedhelm, the wife of the late Manfred Schiedhelm—who was my first true mentor.

Sunday was a cold, windy and typically Berlin winter day. We got a slow start, toured the city in our rental car and then headed for the airport and the trip home.

On Monday I began the third and fourth sight-sized portraits. The morning sitter is Christopher Wyatt Scott, an American living in Florence. In the afternoon, Lea agreed to sit for a portrait of her knitting. Both portraits benefit from my last two portraits. I learned a set of lessons:

  • Put more paint on the brush. I tend to be too cautious and too studious with my marking. I need to relax more and let the paint do the work.
  • My shadows are too light. There is too little contrast to establish a good turning of the form.
  • I still am struggling with the eyes, nose and mouth. I tend to get the perspective line of the features out-of-whack. Amy (my teacher) keeps reminding me to establish the  placement of the nose, the eye sockets and the angle-line of the mouth first. Practice, practice, practice…

Here are the sequence pictures for Chris and Lea. I still have 2 days to go on both of these.


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