Sunday, June 17, 2012

Drawing Amiens Cathedral, detail above the portal, drawing

"The Fourteen Saints", Amiens Cathedral, above the portal, 10" x 13.625", Richard Britell June 2012

The drawing is on cream color, 100% rag paper.  I used only an hb, and a 2h pencil in this work.  The overall effect is of tremendous patience and precision, but an enlargement of details shows an expressionistic feel.     Signed and dated at the bottom. Richard Britell, June  2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Drawing Amiens Cathedral, Richard Britell

The drawing is on cold press watercolor paper which was prepared with gesso, and a wash of  a very light tint of watercolor. Because of the gesso preparation the heavier marks have almost an engraved quality. I used only an hb, and a 2h pencil in this work.  The overall effect is of tremendous patience and precision as in a rendering, but an enlargement of details shows an expressionistic feel.  The drawing measures 12.5" x 9.25", and is signed and dated at the bottom. Richard Britell, May 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Northampton Skyline Near Smith College

Click image to enlarge

This drawing is of the Northampton skyline near Smith college. The tower with the flag is the bell tower at the entrance of the college. The view is from State Street, near the corner of Button street,  looking west.  The drawing measures 7.25" x 10.5" on 8.5"  x 12 " watercolor paper, and is drawn with sepia wax pencil. The  paper  has a slightly rusticated surface do to its being painted first and some fine brick dust pressed into the surface.  I prepare the paper this way for several reasons. First it makes the surface stone like, as is the subject matter, secondly it gives the paper a beautiful tint.  Also, a drawing done this way is unlike any reproduction of which we see billions. The surface has an identity, like a fingerprint, or like the texture of the surface of polished marble.  I have included a detail of the surface below.  This is just the sky in the right hand top, though there is nothing there, you can see that it is lively with fine textures and tints like an abstract painting. The drawing is signed and dated along the bottom, Richard Britell,  2002.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Victim Of The French Revolution

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The thing about architecture of this period is that every square inch of the edifice was attended to with the same minute devotion. This drawing approaches the subject with the same attitude. In a work of this sort you will not find anything artistically unfinished or scribbled over as in the vignettes of the 19th Century. From the grass among the loose rubble to the single overhanging stone everything is look at with the same attention. Even so, if you look at details carefully you will be able to detect my left-handedness in the direction of the strokes of the shading. A two point perspective rendering, done with hb graphite pencil, on hot press Arches watercolor paper. Image size 10.5" x 7.75" Signed and dated across the bottom, Richard Britell, April 2012, an original drawing.

Some information about Jumieges Abbey ruins:  The abbey was founded in 654 by Saint Philibert, who had been the companion of Saints Ouen and Wandrille at the Merovingian court. Philibert became first abbot but was later on, through the jealousy of certain enemies, obliged to leave Jumièges, and afterwards founded another monastery at Noirmoutier, where he died in about 685. Under the second abbot, Saint Achard, Jumièges prospered and soon numbered nearly a thousand monks.
In the ninth century it was pillaged and burnt to the ground by the Vikings, but was rebuilt on a grander scale by William Longespee, Duke of Normandy (d. 942). A new church was consecrated in 1067 in the presence of William the Conqueror.
Enjoying the patronage of the dukes of Normandy, the abbey became a great centre of religion and learning, its schools producing, amongst many other scholars, the national historian, William of Jumièges. It reached the zenith of its fame about the eleventh century, and was regarded as a model for all the monasteries of the province. It was renowned especially for its charity to the poor, being popularly called "Jumièges l'Aumônier".
The church was enlarged in 1256, and again restored in 1573. The abbots of Jumièges took part in all the great affairs of the church and state. One of them, Robert Champart, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1051, after being Bishop of London. Many others became bishops in France, and some were also raised to the dignity of cardinal.
The fortunes of the abbey suffered somewhat through the English invasion of the fifteenth century, but it recovered and maintained its prosperity and high position until the whole province was devastated by the Huguenots and the Wars of Religion. In 1649, during the abbacy of Francis III, Jumièges was taken over by the Maurist Congregation, under which rule some of its former grandeur was resuscitated.
The French Revolution, however, ended its existence as a monastery, leaving only impressive ruins.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cathedral of Notre Dame De Brebieres, wash drawing on prepared paper

This is an original drawing on prepared paper of the cathedral called Notre Dame of Brebieres, which was destroyed in World War I and later rebuilt.  The drawing measures 8.6" x 6.2", and is signed and dated across the bottom as can be seen in the enlargement above.

Some information about this historical site below:

During World War I, the statue of Mary and the infant Jesus - designed by sculptor Albert Roze and dubbed the "Golden Virgin" - on top of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières was hit by a shell on January 15, 1915, and was put on a horizontal position and was near falling. The Germans said that whoever made the statue fall would lose the war, and a number of legends surrounding the "Leaning Virgin" developed among German, French, and British soldiers. The Leaning Virgin became an especially familiar image to the thousands of British soldiers who fought at the Battle of the Somme (1916), many of whom passed through Albert, which was situated three miles from the front lines.
In his letters home to his wife, Rupert Edward Inglis (1863–1916), who was a former rugby international and now a Forces Chaplain, describes passing through Albert:
We went through the place today (2 October 1915) where the Virgin Statue at the top of the Church was hit by a shell in January. The statue was knocked over, but has never fallen, I sent you a picture of it. It really is a wonderful sight. It is incomprehensible how it can have stayed there, but I think it is now lower than when the photograph was taken, and no doubt will come down with the next gale. The Church and village are wrecked, there’s a huge hole just outside the west door of the Church.
The German army recaptured the town in March 1918 during the Spring Offensive; the British, to prevent the Germans from using the church tower as an observation post, directed their bombardment against the basilica. The statue fell in April 1918 and was never recovered. In August 1918 the Germans were again forced to retreat, and the British reoccupied Albert until the end of the war.
Albert was completely reconstructed after the war, including widening and re-orienting the town's main streets. The Basilica, however, was faithfully rebuilt according to its original design by Eduoard Duthoit, the son of the architect who had overseen its construction in 1885-95. The present statue is an exact replica of Roze's original design, and a war memorial designed by Roze and featuring an image of the "Leaning Virgin" can be seen in the "Abri" (Shelter) Museum, which houses souvenirs of the war. The underground shelters in which the museum is located served as protective bunkers for Albert's residents during aerial bombardments in World War II.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Dakota, 72nd Street, New York City

This is an original drawing in pencil. The paper is not white, it has been tinted with watercolor to a light tan similar to the trim color of the building. This style of drawing is considered an architectural rendering. The drawing measures 9.125" x 12.25"

The subject is famous Dakota apartment building in upper Manhattan, this is the 72nd street entrance. It has been rendered with an hb pencil on hot press watercolor paper. Under the tint are two coats of white gesso for luminosity. This drawing is signed and dated across the bottom, Richard Britell March 2012

Some information about this famous building:

The Dakota, constructed from October 25, 1880 to October 27, 1884, is a co-op apartment building located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, at 1 West 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023.

The architectural firm of Henry Janeway Hardenbergh was commissioned to create the design for Edward Clark, head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The firm also designed the Plaza Hotel.

The building's high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a North German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic townhall. Nevertheless, its layout and floor plan betray a strong influence of French architectural trends in housing design that had become known in New York in the 1870s.

According to often repeated stories, the Dakota was so named because at the time it was built, the Upper West Side of Manhattan was sparsely inhabited and considered as remote as the Dakota Territory. However, the earliest recorded appearance of this account is in a 1933 newspaper story. It is more likely that the building was named "The Dakota" because of Clark's fondness for the names of the new western states and territories. High above the 72nd Street entrance, the figure of a Dakota Indian keeps watch. The Dakota was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fear of Gypsies

This is a work in progress. Julia Britell is the model, but the features have been adjusted to fit the idea of the painting. When Julia was a child she was afraid of gypsies. This fear was aggravated by the fact that she liked to listen to the song, "The Raggle Taggle Gypsies O". In the painting the dress represents the idea of the Gypsies, or at another level, all of the infinite influences over time, that compose a personality.

This is in the under painting stage, and when finished will measure 64" x 18", or life sized. Oil on canvas, May, 2010, Richard Britell