Monday, July 27, 2009

Summertime and a Cup of Tea

One of my most favourite painters is the woman impressionist Mary Cassatt.

My mom has a print of this painting which I've adored since childhood. It is called "Summertime". I enjoy the work because of the beautiful reflective quality of the water that echoes the mood of the ladies in the boat. I enjoy the textural brushwork, the repetition of the birds with variation in their style, the graphic nature of the boat coming into the frame, as well as the distance created by fuzzy trees at the shoreline and the more indistinct ducks. I also love how there is created the sense of strong outdoor light with a shadow under the younger girls hat. There is a real sense of the moment in this painting which I think makes it fresh even over a hundred years since it was created.

Another painting of hers which I saw in exhibit here in San Francisco last year, is "The Cup of Tea 2". Again I love the textural brushstrokes that get smaller in detail and more dainty as you look closer at the tea cup and her fingers placed so precisely. I love the sense of depth you get with the gestural flowers and the atmospheric brushwork beyond. I also enjoy her use of unexpected colors, like the strong red on the edges of her dress and at the edge of her nose. It's interesting even how the blues in the flowers behind are echoed in the blues on her glove. This piece utilizes the concept of overlapping in a small space to obtain depth. The edge of the chair is in front of the woman who is in front of the flower stand.

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