Late Nights at the Whitney
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Edward Hopper sketched from life or from what he called the fact—he often made preparatory drawings with written notes about light and color which then informed his paintings. During one of Family Program’s last Sketching Tours in Hopper Drawing, kids and parents viewed Hopper’s Room for Tourists (1945). In his study for the painting, Hopper described the “dark greens” of the windows and doors of the building, indicating where objects were “in shadow” and describing the different types of light and color as “cooler” or “warm.”
Families were asked to create their own sketches of the shoes and socks of the educator teaching the tour, and then carefully annotate their drawings as if they were taking notes for a painting. They wrote detailed, descriptive notes about the different shades of colors they saw—for example, devil red, clown red, sunshine yellow, pumpkin, and midnight black.
Families were encouraged to take their drawings home and use them to create a painting. One of the fathers took a picture of the shoes with his cell phone. A mother asked whyHopper chose to draw rather than use photographs to help him create his paintings? The group discussed the benefits of drawing something directly as opposed to taking a photograph where color and light are captured in a different way. One kid said that taking a photograph is a bit like cheating, “because you are not drawing it with your own eyes.”
A fond farewell to Hopper Drawing which is on its way to the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas.
By Billie Rae Vinson, Coordinator of Family Programs