Friday, July 14, 2017

Alphonse Muncha and a little Paul Cezanne

I've just returned from a three week vacation traveling around the united kingdom (England & Scotland), and a week in Switzerland. This blog posting features a couple of art exhibitions I visited while on my travels.

 Photos of England & Scotland travels

While in the North of England, I spent a day in Liverpool and visited for the my first time the Walker Art museum. The highlight for me was a room of post war British artists (Freud, Hockney, Glasgow boys, Gilman & others). This period (around 1940s-late 1960s), I feel produced some really exciting growth and exploration within British art. It's a period that holds many of my favorite British artists who produced some wonderful art.

 The gallery also had a nice Vuillard, that was tantalizingly hung under a blind. It was quite exciting to pull the blind cords and slowly reveal the painting underneath.

The museum had a nice exhibition on Alphonse Mucha. I took this phone photo before I realized they discouraged photography, so there's few photos of the actual exhibition.

 Muchas design/composition was always so powerful. His influence and style of treatment, is often imitated today, in illustration, graphic arts & other mediums. I was glad to see a major exhibition of his work, since I have long felt his importance is underrated within art history.  But he was without doubt a powerful draftsman, with a singular style and voice. Surely no one can think of the 'art nouveau' movement without picturing his work?

 The man himself

 Near the end of the exhibition there we're a number of photos from his studio. Here's Gauguin playing the piano without any trousers?

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On my travels I saw a number of Churches and Cathedrals. Always great and impressive buildings.

 I really enjoyed the stained glass windows in St. Nicolaus, Freiburg, Switzerland.

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 Photos from our Swiss travels.

 The Foundation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny, is a surprise. It's a strange building & exhibition space, but they pull together some impressive shows. The museum also has a nice sculpture garden, vintage cars and some roman artifacts.

The Cezanne show was impressive in terms of size. I don't think I've ever seen so many Cezanne's in one place.

 The museum also has an impressive collection of vintage cars, there must have been at least 30!

 This was my favorite still life painting in the exhibition. 

How I feel about Cezannes paintings is an enigma to me. He's not an artist who I greatly enjoy or admire. I don't dislike his works, but in many cases they don't overly move me. However I do see great synergy between his work and my own. I think there's great commonality between how we both choose to approach still life paintings. We follow similar rules or conventions for the placement of subjects within the painting.  Many has been the time, when I have been struck by this common approach, and the overlap between our works is often visible.

 Additionally to this, I enjoy the tonal relationships he employs. Many of his paintings have near perfect harmony and value shifts within them. To my mind it's the consistency of his brush work and tonal choices, that makes his work so recognizable. Just look at the colors and tones within this Still life painting above, and appreciate his masterful execution. For me his strongest work, is within still lifes such as this.

 It is his perfectly chosen tones that I appreciate; they contrasts so dramatically the color based drama I invoke within my work. For me today, the pull to Cezannes work isn't there, but part of me wonders if one day I may find myself feeling differently. Perhaps many years from now, I'll catch myself studying his art,  his treatments, and tonal choices?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Extra cloth

I have begun working on a set of still life paintings with layered cloths on the table. Enjoying the extra depth and interaction that it creates.

Here's the first two completed paintings from that series. .... more to follow

2 cloth series - Hyacinth, Limes & Lemons over purple and red
30 X 40                                 Acrylic on Canvas

 2 cloth series - Tulips with Oranges
48 X 24                                 Acrylic on wood

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A great show in Santa Fe

Stargazers with Papaya and Limes Over Blue
 Stargazers with Papaya & limes over blue
36X20                   Acrylic on panel
Stargazers with Papaya and Limes Over Blue

Just got back from a great 2 person show in Santa Fe. It was my fourth year to show at Ventana Fine art on Canyon Road, sharing my show with the equally talented Frank Balaam.

Outside arrangement of Papaya on Purple circle cloth
40X22                              Acrylic on wood

It was such a busy and energetic opening that I didn't have time to photograph the actual night itself, but here's a few photos from the main room inside the gallery, I think taken the morning after the opening.

I also was fortunate enough to get on the cover of Santa Fean magazine, the weekly publication that lists all events and going on. A big thank you to my gallery and the magazine for that kindness.

On the Saturday and Sunday, I painted with Frank outside the gallery. It's a fun time, we enjoy each other company and there's always someone stopping by to watch us work.

 Frank hard at work.

 Here's the painting in it's final stage end of day Sunday. It's now being shipped back home to me so I can continue to work on it here.

The show still has a few more weeks, so stop by if you can.
Call or visit #Ventana_Fine_art for more info. 1-800-746-8815 ‪‪

Enjoying some art, and well fooling around a little.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Santa Fe Art show

This coming Friday (19th May) and over the weekend I'll be in Santa Fe NM, for my two man show with the talented Frank Balaam. It's a beautiful town and Ventana Fine Art is a great gallery, right there on Canyon Road.  Stop on by and say hi, you might even catch me painting?

Here's a few images from the show, but you can find more paintings online, just follow the link. There's a great variety of sizes & prices.

Call or visit #Ventana_Fine_art for more info. 1-800-746-8815 ‪‪

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bluefish Cove, California

Some Californian coastal cliffs for New Mexico! One of my landscape paintings going into my two man show in Santa Fe next month. Over the coming weeks I'll post more works.

Call or visit #Ventana_Fine_art for more info. 1-800-746-8815 ‪‪

 Winter Morning - Overlooking Bluefish Cove
36X24                  Acrylic on panel

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New paintings in Carmel

One of three paintings I'm delivering to New Masters Gallery in beautiful Carmel CA tomorrow! Drop by of contact the gallery for more info. tel( 831) 625-1511

Harmony (oranges & cherries on purple cloth)
46X30                             Acrylic on wood

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Re work, Re imagining, Re finish!

It's common to reach the end of a painting and need to let it sit for a few days, to a week, before I can ascertain if it's completed done. Often times I find myself making small adjustments to these nearly finished paintings. Reaching that point where you feel a painting to be complete, can be tricky. A good number of years ago it was clearer to me; I painted faster and never looked back. However in recent times I have gained great pleasure in reevaluating a painting that I viewed as complete and giving it a little adjustment. Sometimes these paintings I have stored for a year or two, before revisiting.

 Sometimes this process reminds me of giving a room a new breath of energy by moving the furniture around. Some have ask if these adjustments are necessary, and that's tricky and ultimately a personal viewpoint. I would not argue that either painting (old or new) was finished, better or worse. But for me it reaffirms my affection for the painting; the process of applying a new or current idea, to an older painting, is exciting. In short, it breathes new life into the work, even if I'm the only who sees it!

I reworked both these paintings last week. They came from last years paintings, and both changed, by becoming a little more subtle...

The 'new'
Peruvian Lilies & Delphinium over Purple & Violet
24X36                                    Acrylic on panel

The 'old'
This painting worked, but felt a little cool. I wanted to keep everything unified and close in colors, so I adjusted the tablecloth to a yellowish white. Internationally I left parts of the original color shine through to give the effect of a loosely painted tablecloth design. I then lightly glazed the background floor to separate it from the tablecloth. The end result I think has elevated this work with a lot of nuance and subtlety in color, over the original drama of the cyan tone.

The 'new'
Lemons, Poms & Cyclamen over tribal drape
22X22                              Acrylic on wood 

The 'old'

The power of the background design felt too impactful, when the focus needed to be on the flowers and table. I toned the drape design into light yellow/greens, which unified the color design of the overall painting, and brought the focus to where it belonged. For the observant amongst you, you may also notice I altered the cut Pomegranate a little, and adjusted the line of the table, (where it meets the purple vase/cup).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Inspired by Mary Fedden

Here's a fun little painting with a little inspiration from the paintings of Mary Fedden. Don't think she's terribly well known in America, but she's important to British still life painting.  I enjoy her work and it was fun to tweak my usual style to incorporate a little of her work and the Naive like flattening of forms.

White Cyclamen with Pear after Fedden
20X20  Acrylic on Canvas

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Day in the Life of an artist

Here's a couple of shots of a fun little feature in the Spring edition of Acrylic Artist magazine, called 'A day in the life'. Look out for the magazine it's a great publication.

Not sure if my average day is ever quite this busy, but one can hope...

Monday, February 6, 2017

new work - Stargazer Lilies

Here's two recent paintings featuring Stargazer lilies. As flowers they have such dramatic color and shapes, they're great fun to paint.

I begun these paintings together, but after the early 'under painting' stage I finished the one fully, before tackling the other. Looking back now I can't recall, which was ahead of which. The bouquet was the same for both, though you may notice I made a few aesthetic alterations to each to differentiate the paintings, and build different compositions within them. Within "Oranges, reds' the stems of the flowers twists and curl across the width of the composition, whereas in 'Watermelon & Stargazer' the flowers primarily stretch up, lengthening (or 'aiding') the tall design of the overall painting.

I enjoyed working on them as a pair, the same size and a similar subject; however with a few conscious color and composition changes, each seems distinctly different in tone & treatment.

 Stargazer lilies with Oranges, reds & pinks 
36X24                Acrylic on panel

Watermelon & Stargazer lilies arrangement
36X24                         Acrylic on panel

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Bigger Commission

In late fall last year I took a commission through my gallery in Santa Fe, to paint a still life for a collectors dinning room. They loved my work but had some ideas on subject matter and we agreed on the size of 60X72. When working to this size I move from the studio to my garage. In truth the canvas can fit in my studio, but there's not a lot of room. Though the garage may not be luxurious, there's lots of space to move around.

Here's an early sketch, I produced a series of these concept sketches. Gradually elements from various drawings are pulled together to produce the final design. This isn't the final, since I felt it more interesting to show some other choices during the process to provide a contrast to the final painting.

After the sketch is approved, I provide a number of different color designs to choose from. You can see how different the final color choices are when compared with the final painting to this plan.

Some elements within the painting are discussed in detail, such as what tablecloth design to use.

The final canvas is stretched primed and ready to go.

Notice my embarrassing, but surprisingly functional makeshift easel. The studio easel would cope with this size, but it's heavy. Rather than carry it to the garage I used a cool chest with a length of wood on top. The canvas is placed on this and held above by two metal wire coat hangers bent and twisted over the top of the painting.

The cloisonnist lines are painted onto the canvas, sometimes I'll even project my loose sketches over the canvas to help guide me, keeping strongly to the initial sketches. I will also refer closely to photographic reference materials of elements on the table to make sure I represent them accurately.

Using the color plan as a base design I paint in strong under-painting color.

A painting of this size takes some time to complete, it represents many weeks of hard work.

Below in the final painting. The colors within this work are hard to show within a photograph. Taking a picture of this scale of work provides unique challenges, the color represented in the small detail image, represents the work far better than say the shot with me beside the painting.

 Arrangement of Tulips fruit & Peruvian cloth
Acrylic on Canvas           60X72

A detail.