Pre-Raphaelite Magic Strikes Again….

 In Art, Art Travels

My London Escape Artist Retreat is in just a few short weeks… I am just so excited about spending time in that wonderful city and with artists. I have amazing Sketchercises planned.

One of them is something I had to share, just in case you are in London yourself!

Do you remember my Pre-Raphaelite experience last year?

When I was in London last year, I went to the Tate Britain to see two Pre-Raphelite paintings. ‘Ophelia’ by John Everett Millais and ‘The Lady of Shalott’ by John William Waterhouse.

Ophelia-Millais What I didn’t know was that even though they have been on display in the Tate for most of it’s 117 year old history, they have both been out of the Museum since 2012 on tour to Russia, Japan, Italy and the USA. By a complete art miracle ( mirarticle?), the two huge paintings returned ‘home’ the day before my visit and were uncrated just as I was entering the building. By the time I walked into the gallery, there they were. Sitting on the floor. Still in their wrappings.

LAdy of Shalott-waterhouseDid I cry? Yes. Oh yes….

Art that I love hits me like this. I am crying now just thinking about how LUCKY I was to see these paintings in the flesh. The dear security guard saw me standing there with tears rolling down my face and said how happy he was to see these paintings back too. I asked “Are they your favourites?”. He laughed and said “No, but I have been asked every day where they are for the last 3 years!”.

Then he let me sneak in a little closer to the paintings and have a better look.


I went to the Tate to see these paintings because when I think of a ‘Nymph’ these are the paintings that come to my mind. Salvador Dali captures my feelings into words: “The Pre-Raphaelite painters bring us radiant women who are, at the same time, the most desirable and most frightening that exist”.

I used the experience and love for these paintings in my lesson for Radiant Faces ( which you can still join). Although neither of the women in the paintings are nymphs, they have the yearning, the otherwordly beauty and stillness that I want to capture in my artwork for the lessons I have planned for Radiant Faces.



So back to the NOW.
Buried in the information on the Tate Britain website is news of a new exhibition:

Pre-Raphaelite works on paper Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.42.54 pm

“Pre-Raphaelite paintings began on paper; on sketchbooks, scraps, even backs of envelopes the artists tried out the ideas that would create a new kind of art.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were young art students and writers who rebelled against the establishment. The seven friends rejected the formulas of beauty and old-fashioned subjects taught at their art school, the Royal Academy, and pursued more realistic styles and stories relevant to modern life.

Drawings and watercolours were essential to developing and sharing the Pre-Raphaelites’ closer way of looking. The preparatory sketches and more finished works on paper on view in this room explore personal dramas, tense and tender encounters sometimes in private settings. The detailed studies reveal another kind of close encounter between artist and subject: the long, intimate observation that underpinned Pre-Raphaelite ‘truth to nature’.”

To say I am electrified by this is an understatement.

I love seeing an artist’s process.
Maybe because I love sharing my process so much?


Another wonderful chance to see artist sketchbooks is at the Royal Watercolour Society too! I can’t wait to see them too.


Now back to packing and deciding which supplies get to come to London and Paris with me. I am so appreciative that I can leave my home in wonderful and safe hands as I embark on these artventures with fun people.  LOVE!



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Showing 6 comments
  • Fifa Points Kaufen

    Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening
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    Other then that, awesome blog!

  • princeskitten

    you picked my 2 fave painting of all time – I love all the tiny little details

  • Linda Faber

    What magic and serendipity for you! I adore those paintings as well and always dashed to see them when in London. I think I heard music too (in my head) when I stood adoring those works.
    Thanks for sharing that story.

  • Renee Beauvais

    I feel the same about Degas’ dancers and I sat in awe the first time I saw an original da Vinci. Enjoy your art bliss!

  • Sonya Badgley

    Oh Jane!! I would have cried too!!! John William Waterhouse is one of my FAVS!!! How lucky are you to get to see these paintings in REAL life!! JWW captured something so amazing in everyone of his paintings…I just can’t express it verbally!! It’s just spectacular work! Oh to paint like that…<3 Have a fun, safe trip, Jane!

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