Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weekend with the Masters - Final Day

This re-cap has taken a while, but we are finally on to the last day -- I can't wait to start blogging about some other things (if you have any recommendations, just let me know). This Final day was very light and I only have a few photos.

I spent the majority of the morning watching Quang Ho's still life demonstration. He painted two small demos, and like his other paintings, he first blocked in the darks and shadows. He then worked around the canvas adding various shapes of color.

From talking with Quang and watching him paint over those few days, I have realized that he loves applying some mystery in his painting. I'm not saying that he leaves things in his painting that are a mystery (although that may be true), but that as he's painting, he avoids or leaves things to a later point. He will build up random shapes and colors and then all of a sudden create that one needed silhouette or edge which will just bring an object to life. He did this both in his still life (with the fabric table cloth) and in his evening duel (where he painted the arm and hand hand as loose shapes and then added the edge between the arm and dress - making it pop into reality).

As I was leaving the demo, I jumped across the hall and snapped a couple pictures of David Leffell's demo (I'm sorry I didn't stay longer or get any of the canvas . . . I believe it turned out really well)

After a somewhat relaxing lunch and doing a little work for the event, I jumped into David Spricks workshop and had an hour and a half to do a little drawing.

And that's it -- After a short sleep and a long plane ride, I was back at home and back into the grind (while being energized and excited about this next year of painting and what it will bring).  I'm already looking forward to the next event . . . thanks for sticking around and being interested in the journey.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend with the Masters - Day Three

I'm starting to forget the exact details of each day and it's all starting to blend together (I have the worst memory!), so I'll do my best to re-live it. These last two posts might be a little light on text, although most of you might prefer that anyway.

I started out the day watching Carolyn Anderson's morning demonstration. She started with a few placement lines (top/bottom of head, tilt, hair/profile lines) and then jumped right into painting the main shadows. From there, she moved around and built up the painting with the right color, in the right shape, in the right location. I am always so impressed with Carolyn's (and Quang Ho's) style and ability, I have probably said this before, but I believe that if someone has really figured out how to paint, they will embody some of this style and technique -- it's all about complete control and accuracy of the components of painting -- knowing what needs to be there and omitting the rest. That being said, I sometimes wish Carolyn's paintings had a stronger or more refined center of interest . . . something that a viewer could really grasp on to. 

Hopefully as I grow as an artist, some of these qualities that are seen in Carolyn's work will be seen in my own paintings.

After watching most of the demo, I jumped around to the other portrait workshops to find a place to paint in the afternoon. I spent a few minutes in both Scott Burdicks and Nancy Guziks workshop, snapping a couple pictures for you.

I decided to paint with Nancy that afternoon and Richard came in to see how the workshop was coming along. During his visit he drew a quick sketch of the models younger brother (the girl in the above picture) and then also played chess with the model. This little girl was really good at chess and had most of us scared to play her. I'm not sure how I would have faired, but I figured I should just stick to painting.

Friday night (day 3) was the last of the evening events which was a duel between Quang Ho and Daniel Sprick. The two are friends from Colorado and are both represented by Gallery 1261 in Denver. Both artists were engaging and painted well. Quang spent the first 20 minutes discussing his thought process and ideas while Daniel got a much needed head start. As mentioned before, Daniel's style is much more refined (verging on photo-realism at times) while Quang is much faster and simplified. It was nice to see two very different approaches to the same subject . . . something you usually don't see in these types of events. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weekend with the Masters - Day Two

Day two started off the workshops and except for a couple lectures, most participants were in a single class the entire day. Each "Master" spent the morning discussing and demonstrating their painting method which left the afternoon for student participation.

I spent most of my morning watching the start of Rose Frantzen's demo (I had missed the beginning of day one's demonstration and was really interested in this stage). Like a true master, she quickly constructed both a wonderful likeness as well as a piece of art -- I would highly recommend Rose's workshops . . . she just gets "it" and can easily describe and teach what she thinks and knows.

One of the things I took away from her demo was that when she squints down at the subject (to simplify the shapes), she always asks herself a coinciding question. Like "How does the shape of the right eye differ from the left", or "does the hair line disappear" or "are these two shapes the same value even though they have different temperatures." I may do the same thing half of the time, but I bet I'm guilty of just squinting at the subject because that's what "your supposed to do."

She also takes assessment of things as she slowly squints down and opens back up. So, for example, if she wants to find the hardest edge on the subject, she will slowly squint down until all the edges are lost except for one (which will be the hardest edge), and then as she slowly opens her eyes, she will take an account of all the other edges that start to come back into her vision . . . so through one squint, she will know the hardest edge and the others that follow.

Later in the morning, I spent some time in Dan Gerhartz's workshop as well as a few moments in Daniel Spricks. Both are amazing artists -- Sprick starts with a very classical duotone underpainting while Gerhartz blocks in with more local color (much like Frantzen or Burdick).

In the afternoon, my friend and I crashed Rose's workshop and was able to paint for a couple hours. I have to take photos of the paintings, and will try to get to it soon.

The evening event was the much anticipated portrait demonstration of Richard Schmid painting Alexey Steele. If you know Alexey, you know that he can't sit still or stop talking, making it very entertaining to see Richard paint a portrait while Alexey is flailing his arms and giving a 2 hour monologue in his Russian accent. I don't have any photos of the event (my camera battery was needed), but I was able to take a little video -- it's not much but it does have a surprise ending when Daniel Keys and I were goofing off and laughing about who knows what . . .

To wrap up the evening, a bunch of us grabbed some food after the event . . . here are a few pictures of to many people around to small of a table. (notice how we all care about being in the pictures and being "social," but Richard was the smart one and just wanted to eat his soup and go to bed!)

 Taaron, Jon, and Adam enjoying a story from Rosemary (Rosemary and Co Brushes)

Day three . . . coming soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Weekend with the Masters - Day One

The team at American Artist did a great job this year gathering a very broad range of Master artists -- from the highly-classical approach of Jacob Collins to the more abstract and painterly style of Dan McCaw. This event is a convergence of the major faces in the representational scene and should be seen as a historic moment that both brings these masters closer together, and fuels the next generation of artists.

The first day got everyone warmed up with half-day demos and lectures (saving the full-day workshops for the rest of the weekend). In the morning I watched Scott Burdick give a portrait demonstration. Scott's work is very thick and usually starts by blocking in the large shapes, he then layers ever-thicker strokes of paint as he defines and refines the details.

Around noon, Richard Schmid gave the keynote lecture, "The Adventures of Painting from Life," which was a perfect way to start off the event. Getting to view many unseen paintings, process images, and hear some good stories was proof that if artists want to accurately portray the beauty of life, they must get their inspiration and information from life itself (not a photo, or second-person account).

In the afternoon, I spent most of my time watching Rose Frantzen's portrait demo. Rose is such a dynamic teacher and had all the attendees mesmerized with her stories and amazing painting.

The evening event was a panel discussion moderated by David Leffel. The main and first topic was related to "Beauty," and it's relationship with art. The responses were a mixed bag with some saying that beauty was merely subjective while others saying that it was objective even though we apply our own subjective feelings.

Seeing that you have read this far, I guess you will stick around for my thoughts on this topic: As an artist, I have been able to take the time to observe and study the world we live in. It is very apparent to me that there is order and creativity in all things.

Just as my paintings are evidence of their creator (me), this world is evidence of it's Creator. And for all the hours I spend on deliberately laboring over a single piece of art, it is merely a glimpse or sliver of this world. Imagine the skill and awesomeness of the Creator of the entire universe!

Whether you ever see my painting or not, my painting is still here (probably in my closet) and is no more beautiful or ugly for your opinions of it. The same would be true for us and this world. If you apply your subjective ideas of beauty and ugliness on this world, it stills exist as a work of "art" just as if we were not here. As a masterful piece of art, this world is not all beautiful and vibrant objects, but a harmony of beautiful "color" and not-so-beautiful "greys". Some may say the grey is ugly, but they exist to lift-up the colors and promote them as beautiful. Yes, each human applies subjectivity to our world and self-defines what beautiful is, but think of it as a location on a pre-existing scale.

As artists, there is a world that we attempt to portray, it embodies beauty, and we try and capture a glimpse of it within our canvases. -- we are subjective creatures in an objectively beautiful world.

Back on topic . . . the panel discussion also veered of course and eventually became a battle between drawing vs. painting and highly-rendered vs. painterly -- entertaining and drama filled (which is what you want from a panel discussion I suppose).

Well, that wraps up the first day, I'll leave you with a couple Scott Burdick paintings that he brought along with him. More about the other days to come . . .

Monday, September 12, 2011

Painting in California

I headed to CA with the plans of posting throughout my time there, but the days were so packed and seemed to always end at 1:30 am or later --  so I'm going to have to catch you up throughout this week.

I spent the first four days with my artist friends (Daniel Keys, Taaron Parsons, Adam Clague, and Jon Stasko) painting on the California coast and in a local studio. This time we spent together was a wonderful experience and the five of us not only got to know each other better, but we all formed some lifelong friendships.

Some Weekend with the Masters specific posts are on the way -- it was a great event this year!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

News and Painting

Some great things are happening these days -- I am pleased to announce that my work is now being represented by M Gallery in Charleston, so if you want to view (or buy:) four of my paintings, get down there and check them out. The gallery is also hosting their September show, "Strength & Grace" a one-woman show of my friend Michelle Dunaway.

Also, I will be heading to California tomorrow to help the American Artist team with the Weekend with the Masters event coming up next week. Before the event, a bunch of artists are getting together for some plein air painting and I will try my hardest to keep the blog posts coming about my adventures.

And lastly, I want to leave you with a recent painting. I had process images of this, but my old desktop died and the images went with it. I'm not sure if I'm "done" yet or what the actual title should be . . . If you have a good title, shout it out in the comments.

In the Mirror, 20x30 Oil on Linen