Judy Cooke – Added thoughts

Recently I was at the Museum of Modern Art and saw couple paintings that reminded me of things I noted about Judy Cooke’s terrific painting show at Elizabeth Leach Gallery (http://www.orartswatch.org/judy-cooke-and-the-quiet-challenge/).

First, I came upon this Picasso, Repose, 1908:Picasso a

The strong lines reminded me of the motif in Cooke’s Circuit:


Picasso’s lines derive from the “felt” structure and dynamism of the figure that he is working from, while Cooke’s lines seem to be improvised  in response to the shape of the  blank canvas. When I invert the Picasso image, the similarity is even more striking:

Picasso Cooke

Not to make too much of this, but it is about organization and structure.

Then I saw this Mondrian, Composition No.II, with Red and Blue, 1929.

Mondrian overall

I mentioned Mondrian in my review, as he certainly was involved in structure, but his lines are clearly hand painted. The thing about Mondrian in this painting is how he decided to carry the image around the side, just as Cooke does in several of her paintings (like Circuit  above).

Mondrian Crop Right Mondrian Crop left

On the right side the line goes around the edge, on the left it stops short. An important “painter’s decision.”

And Cooke makes these decisions, too.



On Drawing: Mirrors at The Met

I’ve been very lucky, living about 3,000 miles from New York, to be able to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art just about every year for the past 30+ years. Nowadays I plan to get there about lunch time (after taking the train from Connecticut into the city) and after gathering my thoughts in the cafeteria I spend a leisurely afternoon noodling around just seeing what might catch my attention.

Of course I enjoy revisiting big name masterworks, but it seems that the memorable (and photographable) incidents now are little things, little surprises tucked away in more crowded displays in vitrines.

So here are some great line drawings, on the backs of Etruscan bronze mirrors, 3rd century BC.

Mirror a crop

Look at the descriptive quality of a few well chosen lines.

Mirror b crop

Look how that composition fits into the circle.

Mirror c crop

2,300 years before the loose lines of Matisse…


…or the exactitude of lines by Picasso.


Who knew the Etruscans could draw like that?