Yesterday, I was off to the GoMA here in Brisbane to see the Matisse Exhibition of his drawings. I caught two buses in and walked to the place in the heat of the first day of March to find that there were over 20 school groups and hundreds of people arriving for the day to do exactly what I was there for.
After paying my way in to see his works, I walked through the door and found the walls covered with a massive collection of his drawings, etchings and engravings from his entire life which he devoted to art. There wasn't a single day that passed where he wasn't drawing something - anything - and he mainly drew to warm up himself to get into painting. Even though there were only a few paintings in the collection, it was the people who influenced him that astounded me.
Picasso, Van Gogh and other Masters of his time - such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres all influenced him in how he worked; and he took the time to try out their styles as well as work on his own style. He tried out Picasso's cubism, Van Gogh's impressionism and landscapes and Ingres' Arabesque to see if he could do these styles. And once he mastered them, he worked on his own skills and works; even through both WWI and WWII, he was working his craft. Between 1927 - 1930, Matisse devoted himself exclusively to printmaking. However, once had mastered this - and perfected the technique - he became restless; and so packed up his belongings and set sail for the USA and eventually Tahiti.
As I walked around the large rooms with all this work on the walls and inside glass-covered tables, I noticed he had used almost all the differing types of styles of art. From pencil to charcoal, to watercolour, coloured pencil to ink, Matisse, used all of the ways to get his arts onto the page or canvas; and he was forever learning. He even used Classical Motifs and mythological figures as inspiration for his works as well to keep his artistic juices going.
I found a lot of this work overwhelming and wished I had been there to visit as soon as the exhibit had opened last year; so I could come back and visit again today - to see it again and find something new about it again - however I didn't and now I regret that. But as I found myself at the end of the seemingly endless rooms of Matisse' work, I found myself in a Drawing Room where there were people sitting around with clipboards sketching still life pieces and statues. A lady at the door had handed me a pencil and invited me to draw something in the Drawing Room. I was absolutely delight! I thanked her and looked at the boxes of clipboards with A4 and A3 sized parchments attached to clipboards. I pulled out an A3 sized clipboard, walked around and found a stool, pulled it around to a side view of a statue and sat, put my bag on the ground and began drawing. I gave myself 2 minutes and drew as fast as I could. It's a fun exercise to do this... and I came up with something that looked good too.I was advised that there was a model coming in - fully-dressed - at around 11:30am until 1pm, however I had other plans after this place. So, I couldn't stick around, no matter how tempting it was. So, I handed my clipboard back, folded up my sketch, kept my pencil and went to the gift shop. After looking around, I purchased a handful of lovely bookmarks... all Matisse ones. It may be the cheapest way of buying souvenirs, but I'm a reader, and enjoy remembering great things like this. Until my next post, keep creating!