A Day at the Met: John Graham & Train Lady

Today is my first day working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am stationed in the exact room where, midway through the training week, my supervisor chided me for staring at the paintings. "Ms. Churnin, we need to put a leash on you!" Face flushed, I continued on. Later, I told him bravely that I would memorize and paint all of the paintings I love. 

 John Graham's "Celia"
watercolor on paper 6" x 7.5"
September 2nd, 2012

Today is John Graham, Ukranian, born Ivan Gratianovitch Dombrowsky. Graham's "Celia" (1944) stands out in a heavy-hitter room of two de Koonings, a Gorky, Pollock, Calder and a Kiki Smith. "Celia's" vacant gaze and distorted form recall Ingres and Pontormo. Even in the small room, one can see Graham's influence on the young Willem de Kooning and Gorky. Catching glimpses of the painting during shifts, I draw it from memory during breaks. Above is a watercolor rendition of those memory drawings.


"Lady on the 6 Train"
watercolor on paper 6" x 7.5"
September 2nd, 2012

Across from me on the train ride home is a magnificent lady with cat-like eyes. I have never seen eyes like these, dipping down like tear drops into her nose, accented by prominent cheek bones. Are they cat-like or Egyptian? Luckily, she doesn't notice as I sketch her features for this late night watercolor. 
Post a Comment

Popular Posts