Friday, August 11, 2006


The Constable Exhibition at Te Papa is well worth a look. For a painter the opportunity to see his works up close is fascinating. Because he painted many scenes more than once comparisons between various approaches can be made. For instance he might scumble a passage (drag paint quickly over a surface leaving a broken stroke) in one painting and in the next painstakingly paint every little dot or dash. His style ranged from very tight to incredibly broad - well before the French impressionists. Often he would add an extra strip of panel or paper to correct his composition. He was a very patient man. And he must have dearly loved the countryside he recorded.

One of the other interesting things on offer is small facsimile reproductions of his tiny sketchbooks. They look like the real thing but you can pick them up and thumb through the pages. It's a great pleasure stepping back in time.

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