Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Peacocks II

I most excited with this peacock having used lessons I learned from my watercolor workshop last June! It's actually done mostly in acrylics with just a bit of watercolors added for a transparency like watercolor. Acrylics are such a flexible medium and I'm enjoying painting with it. I love color expressionism and I feel I managed to do just that with this painting. I just love how the tail explodes with colors.

Peacocks have been an inspirational subject for so many paintings and other objects of art. I was very fortunate to have visited one of the most beautiful peacock art installation/room a few years back in Washington D.C. Located at Freers Gallery , is the Peacock Room. A wealthy London ship owner by the name of Frederick Leyland, commissioned an architect, Jeckyll, to build intricate shelving to display his prized Chinese porcelain. Jeckyll also installed guilded antique leather to the walls and above the fireplace, was hung a beautiful painting "Le Princess" by James McNeil Whistler. As it happened, Whistler was in another room making decor for the entrance. Jeckyll asked his opinion about the colors for the shelves whereupon, Whistler volunteered to match and paint colors all with Leyland's approval. Before you know it, Whistler completely took over and painted the shelves in imitation gold leaf adding 4 peacocks to the shutters. He had parties in the room and conducted press conferences without Leyland's permission. Of course, Leyland was upset. Then Whistler wanted to be paid and there was a bitter dispute about that. Finally, Leyland agreed for about half the price Whistler wanted. To add insult to injury, Leyland paid in pounds instead of guineas which further lowered the payment to Whistler. In response, Whistler painted a wall with two peacocks: one with silver feathers in the neck to indicate Leyland who wore ruffled shirts standing on top of coins and another peacock with a silver crest who represented Whistler who had a lock of white hair in the middle of his forehead. He entitled this piece "Art and Money" and then he proceeded to paint the leather walls a peacock green. I'm sure Leyland loved the room as he kept it until it was sold to several art patrons until it made it's way to Washington D.C. It's far better to see the room in person as the photos just don't convey what it's like to be surrounded in all that beauty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW, visually stunning. Can't stop looking at it