Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"The Good Old Summertime" Now at Gross McCleaf Gallery

If you are in Philadelphia, please stop by the Gross McCleaf Gallery to see Wish You Were Here! Paintings in a variety of styles by 22 terrific artists, all with a summertime theme, make this a fun show. You can enjoy the best of the season within the air-conditioned gallery. I have three paintings in the show, one of which is pictured on the card below.  Below is a review of the show by Alison McMenamin for The Artblog. I'm tickled pink that the Artblog has published review of representational art. My daughter wrote for Artblog several years ago and at that time it focused mainly on conceptual art. So either the tide is turning or this is an exceptional show--or both. Anyway, enjoy the Good Ol' Summertime!

The good old summertime – Wish You Were Here at Gross McCleaf

July 21, 2012   ·   0 Comments
It’s summer at Gross McCleaf, and many of the artists are working in the style of en plein air painting. Landscape dominates Wish You Were Here, a show of twenty-two artists on view until July 27. Following the late nineteenth century tradition, the artists focus on the season’s natural light. While it is unclear if the paintings were actually composed in nature, it is obvious that each of the artists is fascinated by the changing character of light and with the elements of air and water.

Giovanni Casadei, “Ferris Wheel”, oil on board, 9 x 11 inches, Courtesy of Gross McLeaf Gallery
Giovanni Casadei’s “Ferris Wheel,” captures the atmosphere of the seashore. The boardwalk and amusement ride appear in the distance, and the beach is covered with colorful umbrellas. Pink streaks of paint are used in the sky to add warmth to the painting and reflect the sun’s oppressive heat. 

Also sharing an interest in the seaside vacation aspects of summer, Alexandra Tyng’s “Afternoon Ferry” depicts the comings and goings in a small, seaside town. In “Early Morning Callers,” breakfast is set at a lake house waiting for rowers to return. Each of Tyng’s works reflect her interest in the figure and the color shifts of natural light.
Naomi Chung, “Ocean”, oil on canvas, 60.25 x 84 inches, Courtesy of Gross McLeaf Gallery
Air and water feature prominently here, and, like all the works in this show realism is the style. Naomi Chung’s “Ocean” shows a water-filled canvas with a barely-discernible horizon. The painting creates the feeling of being lost at sea. With its massive size and meticulous brushwork, Chung captures the wave’s force and destructive potential.
Air and clouds feature in Douglas Martensen’s “Changing Light,” in which rolling clouds dominate the landscape with its low horizon line. With their evanescent quality, the billowy forms have always been a favorite of the plein air painter.

Frank Trefny, “October Bouquet, High Dunes”, oil on panel, 24 x 32 inches, Courtesy of Gross McLeaf Gallery
In a more surreal juxtaposition, Frank Trefny mixes still life with landscape in “October Bouquet, High Dunes,” in which a vase of flowers on a table gets activated by an an ocean scene behind. The added motion gives new life to the flowers and helps create an image of serenity.

Ellen Hutchinson, “Beach Still Life”, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, Courtesy of Gross McLeaf Gallery
More straightforward still life painting shows up in Ellen Hutchinson’s “Beach Still Life.” A table set with a summer tart, flowers, cups, glasses, and other containers is the foreground for the beach and light, seen through an open window. The painter depicts each of the scene’s different materials taking interest in their varying interactions with the light.
It’s not surprising that the artists choose the same familiar subjects; nature’s changing light continues to be a source of endless study.
Other artists in Wish You Were Here include: Martha Armstrong, Joan Becker, Tim Conte, Larry Francis, Dean Hartung, Eric Huckabee, Deborah Kahn, Charles Kaufmann, Max Mason, Kevin Muente, Deidre Murphy, Scott Noel, Jeffrey Reed, Emily Richardson, Alexis Serio, and Joe Sweeney.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Adirondack Painters in the News!

Looks like the "Adirondack Mountain School Painters" got some local news coverage! Click on the image to enlarge it.  And, yes, I'm the one in the huge goofy white hat.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plein Air Paintings of the Adirondacks

Here are some of my paintings from the Adirondacks trip. All are in oil; on linen or linen board.
Barn at Asgaard Farm, 15" x 10"
Rock Study, Bog River Falls, 9" x 12"
Bog River Falls, Morning, 12.5" x 16"

Two small studies of Heaven Hill Farm, both 7.5" x 11.5"
Heron Marsh, 10.5" x 16"
Painting and Fishing on Ausable River, 11" x 15.5"
White Pine Camp, Osgood Pond, 12" x 16"

Painting the Adirondacks

Oh, how I love plein air painting! I've always wanted to go to the Adirondacks, so when I heard that publisher Eric Rhoads (Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Plein Air Magazine) was going to hold another invitational paint-out at Paul Smith's College, NY, I signed up immediately.

It was even more wonderful than I imagined. First of all, there was no competition. So many plein air events center around competitions, and I know a lot of artists enjoy this aspect, but I enter my share of competitions so whenever I get a chance to just PAINT, with no pressure, no rules, no frames, no show--I jump at the opportunity. This 5-day trip was just about a group of painters getting together and doing what they most enjoy. Heavenly!

 Bog River Falls 

Heaven Hill Farm.
Overlooking Lower St. Regis Lake at Paul Smith's College

Farewell party at Eric's lakeside camp 
Time for one last painting at Heron Marsh before heading home

Portrait Society Conference Highlights

The first evening commenced with the "Face-Off," during which 15 artists painted from models for two-and-a-half hours. There were three artists per model, and I had the enjoyment of painting alongside Ellen Cooper and Susan Lyon. All the models were Colonial character re-enactors; our model was dressed as an Irish indentured servant.

Here we are in the first few minutes. I'm trying to stay calm as I block in the major forms. 

Putting the finishing touches on my painting.

On the second day of the conference, Mary Whyte, Daniel Greene, and I presented our new work. One of the most interesting things about the conference is having the opportunity to see what other artists are doing and hear them talk about their work. Okay, so I admit I also like to talk about my own work! But whether you are on the giving or receiving end, this kind of sharing opens up a dialog between artists, or between artists and other people. You always end up appreciating other artists' work more if you know something about the motivations and interests that underly it. The added benefit of talking about your own work is that, every time you do it, you understand your own work and articulate your thoughts a little more.

Cocktail hour: with friends Diana Ansley and Linda Vizi.

Son Julian, husband Steve. Thank you both for being there!

As the awards banquet progressed, I grew increasingly nervous. Luckily, my family and friends were there. My friend Diana, the subject of the painting, had flown down from Maine for the conference.

Artists Nancy Bea Miller and Mary Walsh: tension mounts as the prizes are awarded.

Here I am as I receive my award for Year at Sea.

Award winners on stage.

Many of my friends also received awards for their wonderful work. This year, there were 20 finalists and 30 semi-finalists, a record number!
After the ceremony, the conference-goers headed to the bar to celebrate. During the evening the amazing KAWAS (a group of women artists organized by Anne Nelson Sweat) posed for a series of group photos. Hardly anyone wanted to get down on the floor so somehow I ended up there along with some other terrific ladies. You all rock!!

The conference ended at noon Sunday, and the finalists' paintings had to be packed and shipped. This was one of those times when I was thankful the conference was in my home town and the painting fit in my car.
Nancy Bea snapped this photo of Mary Walsh helping me pack up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

First Place Award for "Year at Sea"

I knew Memorial Day weekend was going to be exciting because my painting Year at Sea had been chosen as a finalist in the big international competition held every year by the Portrait Society of America. And this year the conference was in Philadelphia, my home town. Plus, I had been asked to be on the faculty, and I was looking forward to that.

A big surprise was in store, however: Year at Sea won First Place! Here's the winning painting. 

Let me tell you a little about it. It's a portrait of my friend Diana, but I'm also using Diana as a model through which to express ideas that are both internal and universal. I call this a "figurative portrait" because it has elements of both figurative painting and portraiture. The whole process from first idea to finished painting took years. I first had an idea of painting Diana as a kind of modern pioneer woman, sitting on a large glacial boulder in front of her house in Maine. In my first idea she was turned sideways, but then I did an oil sketch of her in my studio and I realized the expression I had caught was HER, and if I did a larger portrait of her, it should have that expression or something similar. Meanwhile, I was trying different poses and backgrounds. I wanted dark trees behind her head, but then I realized she is more of a water-person and so the painting should have a background of water.

The idea became fully formed when, following the death of her mother, Diana began taking on some of her mother's characteristics, expressions, and preferences. I was fascinated by this, having seen this process in several other women I know, and being aware that my own mother's life would end soon. I realized it is a woman's way of internalizing her mother, of incorporating the real mother into herself. My friend was reevaluating her life, and realizing what was most important to her and who she truly was. She was searching, and in the process of change. The expression being "at sea" means being lost, but I did not see Diana as "lost." On the contrary, she was grounded and able to steer her course (thus the feet on the rock and the kayak paddle in her hand) though she was not exactly sure where the course would lead. The process of mourning and assimilating her mother took a little over a year; thus the title "Year at Sea." I like to give an expression a slightly different slant, suggesting different ways of seeing a person or situation.

When I am gathering the reference material for a painting, I want to make sure I have the best possible information, most importantly accurate color, perspective, proportion, and details. I took over a hundred  photos of Diana, and did oil sketches of the lake shore and rocks at her feet, at the same time of day. I sketched her in different positions. When I finally get down to painting, I have all the references at hand. Here are two oil sketches: the portrait head and the foreground rocks:

When I am designing a painting, I stay focused on the central concept and eliminate all things that seem unnecessary. Everything in the painting, from the background to the water to the dog, wedding ring and pink nail polish say something important about the subject and the idea. 

I am honored to receive this award for Year at Sea. Many thanks to to the jurors, judges, and to the Portrait Society of America! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Alla Prima Portraits

I and a few friends have been honing our skills together recently by painting models in 2 1/2 hour sessions. It's exciting, but daunting, too, to be working alongside mega-talented artists such as Ellen Cooper, Lea Wight, Garth Herrick, and Stephen Early. On one occasion I painted with another group of amazingly talented artists, Rachel Constantine, Diane Feissel, and Nancy Bea Miller. Here are my efforts of the past few weeks.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

LUCKY 13: Expedition & Beyond Opening this Friday Evening

13 is a significant number (lucky, too), at the Principle Gallery this Friday. Not only is the date April 13th, but also 13 artists are featured in a group show called Women Painting Women: The Expedition & Beyond. I'm honored to be part of this group, and excited to be in this show.

The 13 artists are: Diane Feissel, Linda Tracey Brandon, Terry Strickland, Rachel Constantine, Sadie Valeri, Alia El-Bermani, Shannon Runquist, Mia Bergeron, Catherine Prescott, Kate Stone, Stefani Tewes, Cindy Procious, and I.

Each artist will be exhibiting three paintings: one small study done on location during our original week-long painting trip to Charleston, SC, and two paintings completed since the expedition.

The only distinction I can claim is of having the only painting of a 1) man and 2) an elderly woman in the entire show. Here they are:

Elemental Balance, oil on linen, 46" x 42"

Hot Enough, oil on linen, 36" x 36"

Hot Enough, detail

My third painting is a plein air study, painted at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston SC. I became fascinated with the southern plants, especially live oak trees--their forms, and the colors and textures of bark and mosses growing on them.

Live Oak and Monument, Magnolia Cemetery, oil on paper on board, 9.5" x 11.75"

You have probably already seen some of the work by these artists online, but I encourage you to come see the show if you are able to get to Alexandria. I saw some of it when it was being delivered, and it is VERY DIFFERENT (much better, IMO) in reality. The impact of the size alone is unexpected, and the color is often quite different, plus the paint quality and texture are usually invisible in an image, but significant when you see the real painting.

All the artists in the "Expedition" hope you can make it to Principle Gallery on Friday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'll be on the Faculty at the Portrait Society of America Conference

I'm happy to announce that, this year, I'll be on the faculty at The Art of the Portrait, the annual conference of the Portrait Society of America.

This means that you will see me around a lot, participating in several events:
1) Face-Off: A unique program in which fifteen leading artists gather to paint from models. Attendees will vote on their favorite artist, who will then demonstrate on Saturday afternoon for the plenary session. Second, the completed paintings will be part of a silent auction during the weekend, so you will have a chance to collect a painting by an artist you admire. Participating artists: Casey Baugh, Ryan Brown, Ellen Cooper, Michelle Dunaway, Stephen Early, John Ennis, Rose Frantzen, David Jon Kassan, Robert Liberace, Bart Lindstrom, Susan Lyon, Tony Pro, Alexandra Tyng, Mary Whyte, and Lea Wight.

2) Beyond the Face: New Works by Daniel Greene, Alexandra Tyng, and Mary Whyte I will be showing examples of my figurative portraiture and discussing my process and the way in which I develop the ideas and symbolism of each work. Mary Whyte and Daniel Greene will also show their amazing new work--this should be awesome!

3) Lunch and Learn If you want a relaxed, informal time to ask questions and discuss art with me (or certain other faculty members), and you don't mind if we're all chewing while we talk, sign up ahead of time for this event.

4) Portfolio Critiques You don't need to sign up for this, just show up at the critique session with your portfolio.

The Annual Art of the Portrait Conference will take place in Philadelphia this year, on Memorial Day Weekend. Come see the winning paintings and sculpture on display at the conference. The weekend is packed full of events--painting demonstrations, panel discussions, talks, and power-point presentations. Art vendors will be selling a dazzling array of products. You might even win a top-of-the-line, super-duper easel!

The Portrait Society of America, founded in 1998, is a national 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization to further the tradition of fine art portraiture and figurative art.

For more information, or to register, click here.

You can also read about the Conference and participating artists on the Portrait Society's blog.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Watch my Interview on Sketchbook Live

Here's my taped interview with artist David Kassan. We had such an interesting conversation last Thursday. Many thanks to David for inviting me to contribute to his series of conversations with artists.

Video streaming by Ustream

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sketchbook Live on March 22

Tune in at 1:00 p.m. E.S.T. on Thursday, March 22 to Shetchbook Live, artist Jon David Kassan's interactive dialogue with the representational art community.

David will be interviewing me as the latest chapter in his series of informal artist interviews. The interview will take place at his studio in Brooklyn, NY, and it will be streaming live.

To watch it, here's what to do: Start a little before 1:00 to give yourself time to get on. First go to http://sketchbooklive.com/ and log in. You will then be able to listen to the webcast and type in questions while it's going on.

Later that day, from 5-7 p.m., please join me at the Fischbach Gallery, 210 11th Ave (corner of 25th St. and 11th Ave.) in Chelsea, NYC, for the opening of my one-person show of my recent paintings of Maine.

Rocks II, Indian Island, oil on panel, 9" x 12"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Announcement in Fine Art Connoisseur

The Expedition and Beyond has been listed in the exhibitions section of the current issue of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine! Take a look: