Archive for December, 2012

Getting ready for the new year

Its that time again. Moving spaces and installing new art in the gallery. Below is a small oil that I’ll be putting up on Monday.

'Just Enjoying the Day'  -  8x10 Oil -- $400

‘Just Enjoying the Day’ – 8×10 Oil — $400

Grandkids are great

This little fellow is one of my grandsons. I have captioned the picture with the following:

“OK Grandpa, You just select the AP you want. You know what an AP is, don’t you?”

He is just a bit young to actually be doing that, but is growing up really smart, really fast.

OK Grandpa

Back to Florida

Just returned from our annual trip to the northland (New York and Connecticut) where we visit relatives and friends. The trek consists of a drive up I-95 and back along the same route. My wife and I trade off driving (she takes the high traffic areas such as the Washington Beltway and I do the long easier stretches through the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey). The trip up was different in that the night in the Carolinas was punctuated by meteors of the Geminid shower on the night of the 13th. As I don’t usually get up to see the sight in the wee hours seeing the streaks of light was fun.

New York was as New York is. Lots of people. My son took us to the New York Historical Society to the exhibit of New York’s contributions in WWII. Part of the exhibit was designed and implemented by the brother-in-law of my son’s significant other. It was indeed well done. However, the real treat was on the second floor art gallery. There was an exhibit of works from artist of the Hudson River School. Forty five paintings of Bierstadt, Kensett, Cropsey and Durand. The centerpiece was Thomas Cole’s five painting series “The Course of Empire”. I’ve seen these in books and such but to see them in person was really something. They are tremendous in person. The detail and the way they are painted is worth studying for a long time. Other works included different artist’s view of Niagra Falls. So many great masterpieces; so little time.

The color in the north is so much different than here that it provides a great lesson in why certain paintings work better here than there and vice versa. The color was subdued with a chewing gum grey sky, damp and cold atmosphere and burnt sienna woods with black tree trunks. Thus the paintings seen are not as high in chroma as those generally seen here.

I’m going to try to raise the level of brightness in my work. A friend here has suggested going to a midrange value palette color instead of the white bisque tile I have been using. Its made of a piece of foam core with a properly valued warm gray paper mounted on it. Then a piece of glass is placed over the paper to mix colors on. This is fitted with wood lath pieces into the drawer of my French easel. I’ll post my feelings about the results when I have worked with this palette for a while.

Enough rambling for a while. My best wishes to all of you and your families for a happy and safe holiday season.

Be Well

New Work

Butler Beach is a section of Anastasia Island and is a great place to observe waves and weather.

Oil painting 8x10 inches
on exhibit at the P.A.ST.A Art Gallery, St Augustine

Oil painting 8×10 inches
on exhibit at the P.A.ST.A Art Gallery, St Augustine

First Friday

Tonight is the First Friday Art Walk in St Augustine. I’ll be in the gallery at the Professional Artists of St Augustine all day so if you are in the area, stop by.

One of the new works I am exhibiting this month is shown below.

Sea Abeam 8x10 oil on canvas

The work is an 8×10 oil on canvas. Title: Sea Abeam

What can you do with a pencil

Check out Paul Noble drawings

http://www.johncoulthart.com/feuilleton/2006/09/10/the-art-of-paul-noble/

More sites for great art

Here are some sites to visit for some great art.

http://www.cutterandcutter.com/
http://wn.com/johnmecray
http://www.williamtrostrichards.org/

Enjoy

Art Discussion One

The question: Are there any artists living today who are as good or better than the Old Masters.

Answer One
Great question. That idea has me considering 4 points.
1. The paint quality of modern times is less luminant…less toxic…and overprocessed.
2. Mass media has generated more exposure to less traditional art. I refrain from saying bad art because modern taste is generally not educated and rather cheap and impulsive.
3. Gone are the days of mass salons and exhibits for collectors. Gone are the days of culling and isolating artists off the mainstream.
4. Anyone can call themselves anartist. That hasn’t changed. But gone are the people who starve to prove it. I don’t see anyone dedicated and obsessed like van gogh who had a brother who sheltered and sponsored him. Anyone like that in modern society…who ate shoe leather and was undernourished for a singular cause would get a visit from DCF or social services or some other government org. 🙂
Just saying.

Answer Two
I definitely believe there are painters out there with the same level of talent as the Old Masters, it’s just a matter of finding them. The search may be tough because the general public finds it inconsequential that they exist, but then again, there’s the internet.

Ask any educated person for the name of a great painter, though, and they will most likely name an Old Master because those were the fellows who set the bar for great painting. I have to wonder if artists these days are striving only to reach the Old Masters’ level of skill or if some modern day painters are truly aiming to surpass it.

The main problem is that the doors and windows have been blown off the definition of “great art” and there is no consensus as to what it might be, so the very idea of a “better painter” is open for hours-long dissection. I, for one, assume that there are digital artists on http://www.cghub.com who could very well be Old Masters with Cintiqs.

Answer Three
Since the mid 19th century the 2d art (read that ‘painting’) community has undergone as profound a change as has society. Artists have gone from a few good ones doing their work for commissions and possible sales at or as a result of ‘salons’ through the opening of their own shows which resulted in the invention of ‘galleries’ to the proliferation of galleries of all shapes and sizes which display all manner of work. This proliferation has led directly to the dilution of the quality of work being exhibited. There are gems of truly wonderful work out there by artists whose technical expertise rivals the old masters and in many cases exceeds their work. It stands to reason that the expertise did not die just because there are more folks being painters. I see portraits that are as great as the ones done by Sargent but at the same time there are so many many more that are very much worse. Those gems are out there, however they are for the most part lost in the fog of so many people doing so very awful work and further dimmed by a society that seems to be adverse to telling the truth about art. We (and I am very guilty of this) hid behind the phrase “I can only say what I like, not whether it is good”. People who do bad art are guilty of hiding behind a similar phrase “Who can say what I do isn’t art. After all what is art is what I say it is”. We as a society allow bad art to exist.
The paint quality today is so much better and so much more plentiful that paintings must be better today than in times gone past. The surfaces are better and more uniform. The brushes are great compared to just a few decades ago. We can paint light, shade and colors so much easier than those who have struggled in badly lit and drafty lofts of days past. How can we as artists with these tools at our disposal possibly do less than the old masters? We do less for several reasons. Those include but are not limited to our own ability, talent and desire to do the academic work necessary to understand the fundamentals. Starving or hurting to improve ones work does little. The pain should be in the fingers that hurt from the hours holding brushes and pencils, the eyes that burn from squinting and trying desperately to see and the knowledge that when we have done the best that we are able that day it is just not enough. Not enough in our eyes, not in someone else’s opinion. We cannot all equal or exceed the work of the masters. However some have and they are out there.

Can you name any representational artists who are on the same level as Constable?