Some Very Abridged Travel Notes

Freshly back from an intense journey to Montreal, Berlin, Milan, and Tuscany, I’m processing all I have seen and experienced. One of the things that stays with me is the work of Adolph von Menzel at the Alte National Galerie in Berlin. I had not been aware of him until now, and I feel he should be much better known beyond the borders of Germany. His work for the Prussion King Frederick was very good, but what struck me the most were his images of an inconsequential backyard, paintings of his feet and hands, and his exquisite drawings found at the Kupferstichkabinett within the Gemaldegalerie at the Kulturforum.

Adolph Menzel

The Kupferstichkabinett is a marvel–you can walk in and, for no charge, request old masters drawings from their impressive archives of over 200,000 works on paper, which are wheeled out to you by a courteous staff-member. You can see matted, unglazed drawings, examine them at length and draw copies if you like (which I did for a few exquisite hours last month).

Making copies from old masters is a great way to get inside the thought process of great artists. And it doesn’t hurt that while you are drawing you might occasionally hear the sound of bells from the nearby church wafting in from the street.

I also did some drawing from statuary while in Berlin. Here is something I did in my pocket Moleskine after a sculpure by German artist Reinhold Begas, “Mercury and Psyche”, 1857.

I will return and write more when I have time. I’m back in the studio again and loving beingĀ  in Vancouver in the last vestiges of summer.