Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Robin Hood 3 day 1

 I am working on the third Robin Hood cover in the series of books by I.A. Watson that I have been doing for Airship 27. I started out by doing this really quick sketch to get the cover idea approved  and then went aboyt shooting my model and gathering reference. this time the cover is about Robin hunting the "Heart of the Forest". After quickly sketching down the figures and a very simple fashion I started in right away on the painting. I iod some things different this time, first this one is on canvas that I covered with an additional coat of Oil Primer to give it a better surface than the standard acrylic primer that often ends up feeling like sandpaper.
 This was all done in one day after i did my self portrait in the previous post, and I will update as  go along. I changed things from the sketch feeling the bush/tree near the deer competed with it too much, the trees in the background will now be more ghostly as well as the deer and it ethereal ligh. Its still a work in progress so many things are still open to change.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Self Portrait at 51

I had plans today that were messed up by the weather so I ended up doing this quick little self portrait of myself today at home in my living room by using the camera on my laptop and painting myself that way instead of trying to set up a mirror. Its 12 x 9 in oil. It has been a year since I did my last self portrait and I think I should do at least one a year--I am the cheapest model money can't buy.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rewind- and Repaint

 Now that I am moving studios and having a real chance to do some spring/summer cleaning I have gathered a heap of old paintings from school that I am going to paint over. Lost of old classroom and odds and ends, failures and fugly paintings from the last several years of school. Its a great way to see progress and remember the painful steps and missteps of hard work up the endlessly steep Art Mountain. Its also a great way to say some $$$$$$! I figure with the 20 or so paintings I covered with the Windsor Netwon oil primer I saved way over $100 on canvases. I also like the textures of painting over old paintings, the surface can really be a lot of fun and grungy in spots which makes of very interesting textural opportunities and accidents. There is something so satisfying about taking a  house painting brush and stroking fresh white paint over these scabs of art.
Its also funny to actually remember making these paintings--even making specific strokes, marks and passages.  Some where done in good company with my friends out painting in Philly, some even paint here at home with the DPC. Some of the landscapes were clearly many moments of anxiety and a collision of poor thought and organization--many classroom paintings moments of anger and frustration trying to apply the lesson at hand and do something I was happy with. Sometimes that just couldn't be done--it was like a bad marriage.  But doing dozens and dozens even hundreds of paintings is the only real path to glory, and if not glory confidence and competence--enjoyment even.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Last Studio Painting

 This is the last painting I will make or will have started in my first year studio in the Master Program. I am moving from my studio 953 on the 9th floor down to a studio on the 8th floor for my last year. At least I will be there for the summer unless I move again after they maintenance crew finishes repairing the ceiling on the 9th floor, which is in bad shape, lots of peeling and chipping paint. As a result everybody has to be off the 9th floor for probably half the summer. I called this my "submarine studio" as it was a long and  narrow studio and I had work stations on either side like an old WWII sub movie.

I am very disappointed I did not get a window studio for my second year in the MFA. Especially since I work in natural light, and many who got window studios don't. But those are the breaks and I guess I have no choice or recourse other than to work off site when needed despite paying for the studio. I think this is partly a result of the program having something like 45 students in my MFA class. The faculty makes their choices on who goes where, get a window studio or not, and they are always in short supply and I think I'll let it stop there.
 Last year I started doing drawings and paintings of these abandoned homes off of Route 1 near the Brandywine. I am just drawn to the mystery and the strange quality of these houses that have been left to slowly decay year by year, like poltergeist of their former lives. I showed these drawing to pretty mixed results in my reviews in my first semester review, but Grad School is about what I want to do, not what my critics want to draw or paint, so I will keep exploring these subjects. One of these house had what looks like its guts strewn about, the furniture of its former tenants laid or tossed out including this old doll house which is being drawn into the trees and bushes. I just couldn't resist at first drawing in  and now painting it in he series of paintings I have been doing with figures in covered or draped heads.
I blocked this in working from a series of pictures I took, not using any photo exactly or using any one photo, but using them as a source to get the shapes where I wanted them. All in all this is about 3 hours-4 hours of painting to get it to this state. Now the painting is at home where it will probably stay for the summer and I'll work on it here. After I move my studio I'll decide how much if at all I'll use it for painting once I settle in. My plans are to go out and do a lot of plein air painting while the summer is here. I'm also trying to line up models to do some figure painting outside as well.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday Painting

This is a quick little 12 x 12 painting done at my buddy Dave Wilson's apartment where he's been hosting a weekly life painting session. Each week we take turns modeling for each other to keep the cost down. We paint until the light changes too much, which now is about 8pm or so and we start around 5-ish. I was thinking about how Robert Henri could do these fast little paintings so well while I was working on this.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sargent Watercolors and the Annual Afterschool Program Exhibition

 It was another whirl wind weekend for me, filled with art and travel as I traveled up to the brooklyn Museum to see the John Singer Sargent Watercolor show as well as helped set up and attend the annual student show for the PAFA After School Program.
 The Sargent show is a must see! I have been a huge fan of Sargent for years and have been fortunate to see a few good shows of his work like the one running until July at the Brooklyn Museum.

 Sargent produced over 900 works in oil and well over 2000 works in watercolor over his career. The quality and size of the show is fantastic, with many of Sargent's best watercolors on display and many haven't been seen for decades. The show is organized into sections like his paintings in Venice, portraits or his paintings in quarries, etc.

The work is in fantastic condition--they looks like they were painted this morning, much of it was originally acquired by the Brooklyn and Boston museums and there are over 93 pieces in the exhibition.

there were also displays on Sargent's techniques, paper and videos by other artists demoing Sargent's techniques. There are also several oil paintings mixed in--really just a top notch and brain boiling show. After I went through the show my brain was on fire, like when my fan turns spins on my laptop.

 I really felt incredibly impacted by this show and I will be processing it for a long time. Never a wasted stroke, never something ugly, wrong, odd or unpleasent--nope, just fantastic design, technique, passion , beauty and restraint. This was Sargent painting for pure joy and every piece shows this and an artist mature in his rapture.

The brookly Museum itself is a fantastic place and probably overshadowed by the New york Museums like The Met, The MOMA, etc. They have a lot of other great exhibitions going on as well like the African Innovations exhibitions featuring some really fantastic African sculptures and masks.


There was also a great drawing show Fine Lines going on as well which featured sketchbooks from Sargent as well as William Meritt Chase, drawings by Thomas Ridgeway Knight, Thomas Eakins and more.


A drawing by Robert henri and an painting by Chase which is in the permanent collection.



A really great encaustic painting in the museum which also has a fantastic exhibit of Egyptian art and sculpture. There is soo much in the Museum I'll have to go back to see it all as there was just some work I couldn't make it to all in one day.

What's a trip to NYC without some hot honey-coated peanuts? After we ate our dinner at the Stage Door on 34th we walked around a bit before the bus back to Philly. I saw this street artist doing a caricature of a couple.

                                                   AFTER SCHOOL EXHIBITION

After the Bolt Bus ride back to Philly I was pretty tired but gut up early and headed down to help set up the exhibition on PAFA's 11th floor for the After School Program. Everey year we hang up the best of teh best of the students work from the program. Each weekday for 19 years there is a free art class at PAFA open to any high school student to attend in painting, drawing, and Illustration, which I have taught for the past 3 years.

Al Gury put the program together and its a great opportunity for any kid to come and get a real college level class on art but also a great opportunity for MFA 1 and 2 students to get real teaching experience as all of the teachers are grad students from PAFA's MFA Program.

Here is Abby posing with one of the great pieces she did in the my Illustration class this year.
Al Gury poses with Emily another one of our best students in the program. One of Emily's great cast drawings is below.



 It's a great show and a great opportunity that the school provides for student's in Philly, especially in light of the fact that the school district is in a shambles and many schools no longer have any art programs at all. We have had a few students from the program even get accepted into the undergrad program at school starting next fall.