Monday, December 23, 2013
First off, I am excited about my upcoming portrait painting class at the Woodstock School of Art starting on January 8th, 2014 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. So will be refining plans for that in the next few weeks. Click HERE for info.
I am also pleased with my latest 12x12 - the model is Naoko, who is also a painter.
My other plan for the hols is to finish my unfinished paintings. One painting done and ensconsed in its new home is "Trey" - a full length portrait of my good friend and radio documentary-maker extraordinaire, Trey Kay. The painting + detail images are now added to my Portraits Portfolio on the website but am including one here too and a photo of the portrait with Trey - not a very good quality photo alas.
My biggest bugbear right now is a profile portrait I am working of the beautiful Phillis Kelly. This is where it is right now. The thing with profiles is that there is no room for fudging. It is what it is. I hope to make an animated slide show of the various morphings that this piece will have gone through before it is finished. Well, that's it for now, dear Phan.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Yet I cannot tell you, dear reader (are you there?), how often I have heard people dismiss the ability to draw and paint from observation - most of mine are from life - as being a mere "facility" that, with a little effort, anyone can pick up, like tracing a dot-to-dot in a child's coloring book, presumably. Mostly those people - artists working in non-rep modes - have not, so far, "picked it up" themselves. In the meantime others that I know, accomplished artists, have spent half a lifetime trying to chase down that elusive thing, the human face and, despite sharply honing their skills of observation and deepening their technical knowledge, continue to be eluded by that will o' the wisp: the life force within. Being able to see deeply and transform that knowledge into an image is not a facility, it is a gift - quite a rare gift and I am fortunate to possess it to some reasonable extent.
I am no hater of non-representational art - see my own Mixed Media portfolio on this website - and much of the art I write about is installation, assemblage, conceptual, and abstract. But all art is abstract, certainly in its execution. A case in point is Ellsworth Kelly, one of the most abstract artists of our time, still with us at age 90. His most well-known paintings tend to be vibrant monochromes on shaped canvases - no Rotho-esque romantic washes or soft edges. But Kelly is a superb draftsman who draws every day from nature and takes what he discovers there into his painting. When I read what Kelly says about his most abstract work, I think "but that is what I am thinking when I am painting a face." The difference is that he takes those shapes he sees in nature, separates them from their context, unifies the color, and reproduces them on a monumental scale. Here are some of his plant drawings: http://mhsartgallerymac.wikispaces.com/Ellsworth+Kelly
That is enough waffle out of me for now, so I shall leave you, Phantom Reader (may I call you Phan for short?), to draw your own conclusions.
Oh wait - while I have your attention. Do check out my commentaries about art on Roll Magazine online. Latest is about the new, massive show going on right now (until Dec 15, 2013) at Industry City in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn: Come Together: Surviving Sandy. The show is a fund-raiser for artists affected by Hurricane Sandy last year and includes both artist victims and those wanted to support the cause, 300 in all. Artists include a number of "Bold Face" names: Alex Katz, Chuck Close, Kiki Smith, Shirin Neshat and very interesting works by Shojo Azari, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Dustin Yellin, Diana Cooper, Corban Walker (from my old alma mater) among many others and also under-recognized and emerging artists. A good read, if I say so myself.
Also check out my article immediately before the Surviving Sandy piece - this is about a very different kind of art show: The Woodstock Landscape, Then and Now, and is worthy of note if you are interested in how Woodstock became "Woodstock" and why it all happened in New York State instead of, oh, North Carolina...
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Monday, November 4, 2013
I just started this new blog - annoyingly I wasn't able to upload my already existing Live Journal blog - and have decided to make this one about work-in-progress, news for what's going on in the Open Studio that I monitor at the Woodstock School of Art (WSA), and whatever else seems worthy of note including the occasional rant.
First Item of Note: check out my commentaries about art on Roll Magazine online. Latest is about the new, massive show going on right now (until Dec 15, 2013) at Industry City in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn: Come Together: Surviving Sandy. Artists include a number of "Bold Face" names: Alex Katz, Chuck Close, Kiki Smith, Shirin Neshat and very interesting works by Shojo Azari, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Dustin Yellin, Diana Cooper, Corban Walker (from my old alma mater) among many others and also under-recognized and emerging artists. A good read, if I say so myself.
Life Drawing & Painting Open Studio - it is every Thursday morning at the beautiful Woodstock School of Art and only costs $20 including the model fee, or $50 for four sessions if paid in advance (no make-ups though). We have long poses that often continue for three weeks so many of us paint. Starting this Thursday (November 7th) we have a three week pose with Ann. And then, hopefully, a three-week pose (model TBA), thereby bring us up to the holidays.
WEDNESDAY GROUP: from November 6, four of us are starting an independent painting group also at WSA. Unlike the Thursday Open Studio which is open to all comers, we want this group to consist of seven artists, six committed to being regular participants + one guest or floating artist so that we always have good access to the model. At the time of writing we are still looking for our sixth. Like the Thursday group it will be a long pose - up to three or possibly four weeks per pose.
WORK-IN-PROGRESS: first is a mock up of the 12"x 12" profile photo project that I am working on with a mix of some finished 12 x 12s, and some cropped photos of larger paintings. I like the idea that it would be huge.
|Below are two pieces I am in need of completing, first is a 20 x 20. Second is approx 65" x 24" full length portrait. The subject mostly needs facial hair at this point.|
|I cropped the face for the 12 x 12 mock-up above. |
Below are some images that show my process - this painting I just finished yesterday (Nov, 2013)
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(I can't figure out how to put the FB badge on the blog)