Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jeanne-Claude (1935 - 2009)

Jeanne-Claude, 74, American artist, wife of Christo and resident of New York City, died suddenly November 18, 2009 as a result of of complications due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. Christo is dedicated to completing their current works in progress: Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, and The Mastaba, Project for the United Arab Emirates, as Jeanne-Claude would wish.

Together, Christo and Jeanne-Claude saw the environment with fresh eyes, and shared their vision with the rest of us, creating effects not usually seen, such as wind moving the fabric, reflections and shadows.

"The temporality of a work of art creates a feeling of fragility, vulnerability and an urgency to be seen, as well as a presence of the missing, because we know it will be gone tomorrow.

The quality of love and tenderness that human beings have towards what will not last - for instance the love and tenderness we have for childhood and our lives - is a quality we want to give to our work as an additional aesthetic quality."
- Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marin Art School - Dorallen Davis and Jane Heaphy

The Marin Art School, founded in 2005 in Novato, California, offers a flexible schedule of day and evening classes for all levels of adult art students, providing a strong foundation of skills and discipline. Founders and instructors Dorallen Davis (above) and Jane Heaphy (below) emphasize Impressionist principles such as painting from life, seeing the effect of light on shapes and color, noticing the relationships of colors to each other and the arrangement of warm & cool colors in a composition. The cost of classes is reasonable ($150 for a six-week session) and the systematic curriculum is effective in teaching students to create competent works of art. Guest artists and painting retreats (both foreign and domestic) are also offered.

A native of Marin County, Dorallen Davis was hired to paint portraits at the 1964/5 New York World's Fair. Eventually, she realized that accurate rendering wasn't enough to express her vision, and she spent many years studying with colorist Camille Przewodik, portrait artists Cedric and Joenette Egeli, plein air painter Joseph Mendez and artist Jove Wang. She also studied at San Francisco State University and College of Marin. But she credits Jane Heaphy with being her mentor in painting from life. Together, they offer nearly six decades of professional expertise in painting, seeing and self-expression.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Outdoor Painters Society - Plein Air Southwest Event

The 4th annual Plein Air Southwest event was held in four locations this past summer - Big Bend National Park in Texas, the Hill Country of Texas, the Ouray area of southwest Colorado, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument in northeastern Arizona. More than forty artists participated, including signature artists, guest artists and juried artists.

The exhibit of 150 finished paintings from the event, juried by Gay Faulkenberry, will be held at Southwest Gallery in Dallas. The show opening, awards announcements and artists reception will be on Friday December 4th, 5-9 pm and Saturday December 5th 1-5 pm. The show will remain on view throughout December.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Emily Carr, Canadian Icon

(Our appreciation goes out to Robert Genn whose helpful website called painterskeys provided the lively quotations by Emily Carr in this article.)

Emily Carr, Canadian painter, writer and potter, was born on the island of Victoria, British Columbia, in 1871. In her late teens, she spent three years studying art in San Francisco and then visited England to study watercolor. Eventually, she spent two years in France learning about Post-Impressionism and the colorful Fauves.

"I think that one's art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows."

She had always loved the native cultures, the Haida, Gitksan and Tsimshian, and when she returned to Vancouver she spent time traveling up the Skeena River and along the coast to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Moresby Island documenting their houses, masks and totem poles.

"Indian Art broadened my seeing, loosened the formal tightness I had learned in England's schools. Its bigness and stark reality baffled my white man's understanding... I had been schooled to see outsides only, not struggle to pierce."

Later, she focused on the landscape, purchasing a caravan trailer ("The Elephant") for plein air sketching trips into the forests of British Columbia. She often used oils on paper, which contributed to her fluid, spontaneous brushstrokes.

"I sat staring, staring, staring – half lost, learning a new language or rather the same language in a different dialect. So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born."

At the age of 57, she was invited to participate in an exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada and traveled to Ottawa where she met the Group of Seven. She found the work of Lawren Harris especially inspiring, and he became a friend, saying that she was "one of them." She returned from this eastern trip to begin the most productive period of her career, creating the inspired, powerful canvases for which she is best known. Her work was exhibited in London, Paris, Washington and Amsterdam, as well as major Canadian cities.

"I have been sent more ridiculous press notices. People are frequently comparing my work with Van Gogh... I do hope I do not get bloated and self-satisfied. When proud feelings come I step up over them to the realm of work, to the thing I want, the liveness of the thing itself

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Theodore Waddell - Rancher & Artist

For thirty years or more, Theodore Waddell has been both a rancher (in eastern Montana) and a painter. These two vocations combine in a vision at once vast and familiar, distant and true. His work is in museums and galleries throughout the West.

"I feel as if I live in the midst of a large painting and choose parts of it to examine. There is a stability to the landscape and people here, allowing me to examine the same situation over a long period of time, even though the seasons change and people change…This stability slows me to study a place at length and appreciate it very much." - Theodore Waddell from Into the Horizon: Paintings and Sculpture, 1960-2000

He is participating in a group exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center which will be on view until December 6th.

And be sure to check out his children's book, Tucker Gets Tuckered (written by Ted Beckstead) about his beloved Bernese Mountain Dogs. It's available on Amazon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Richard Lindenberg - Plein Air Poetry

Northern California painter Richard Lindenberg has a blog-post about his introduction to "plein air poetry" at the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival. Who knew? You don't necessarily need your paint with you to create a plein air sketch. Just pay attention the way you usually do, and instead of using colors and shapes, create an image with words. You can still incorporate elements of rhythm, contrast, subtlety, movement, detail, realism, abstraction, etc., only in a different medium.

"The name originated at the SLO Poetry Festival. One night, Kevin Patrick Sullivan (an exuberant man and producer of the SLO Poetry Festival) hosted a group of local poets that read some of their creations at the Art Center to a crowd of painters and poets. In fact... two of the poets tagged along with two of the painters at the event and wrote about their experience."

You can read the poem Richard wrote about the painting above, Pelican Point, in his post.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Artist's Square in Savannah

It might be cold and snowing where some of us are, but the southern part of the country, plein air season is just beginning.

Artist's Square is an organization for promoting plein air painting in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah has many historic "squares," or open areas, and one of the very oldest is Telfair Square, named after an early governer of the state.

This weekend will be the fifteenth annual Telfair Art Fair, and artists are invited to set up their easels and participate both days: Saturday, November 14th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, November 15th, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gretchen Krause-Holesovsky, Watercolorist

Guerrilla Painter sponsored an award this fall at the Northeast Watercolor Society's 33rd Annual International Show, held in Kent, Connecticut. The winner was Gretchen Krause-Holesovsky, with the painting shown here, entitled Linked Together.

Gretchen also won First Place at the New England Watercolor Society's 2009 Regional Show in Duxbury, Massachusetts, with a painting entitled Well Worn, on view at the Art Complex Museum through January 17th. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 1-4 PM. There will be a painting demonstration on December 13th.

Congratulations, Gretchen!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roger Dale Brown - Artist

Roger Dale Brown is originally from Tennessee, but he has traveled widely to study painting and continues to travel to offer workshops in different parts of the country. Having spent time along the Gulf Coast, he loves to paint the ocean. In Maine, he was attracted not just to the seascapes but also to the history of artists such as Gruppe, Strisik, Hawthorne and the Wyeths who have painted there.

In addition to landscapes, he also paints still lifes and figures, which help sharpen skills in drawing, composition and seeing color & value relationships.

He has written the first in a series of four books, entitled Images of the South. Each book will celebrate one of the four regions of the United States.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Painted Sanctuary: Plein Air Landscapes of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

Tomorrow evening from 5-9 p.m., twenty-seven members of the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan will show nearly 80 paintings at the Park Trades Center in downtown Kalamazoo. The show, Painted Sanctuary, contains paintings completed during a seven-month period within nine preserves, sanctuaries or conservation easements protected by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Half of the money from the sale of paintings in the show will benefit the conservancy. Shown here is the 2010 calendar created by participating artists as a fund-raiser for the Land Conservancy.

Most paintings are traditional oil or pastel compositions. Some, however, break down the landscapes into their stark elements. One piece pairs an artist's journal entry with her minimalist watercolor interpretation of a beech tree at the Chipman Preserve in Comstock Township.

Richard Jordan, the founder of the plein air group, said painting in nature, not in a studio with a photograph, presents challenges but results in an inspired piece. He said many artists battled changing light conditions, or, in the case of his piece, Winter at Hidden Marsh, the cold.

"I don't think there's any competition to being there," he said. "There's a world of difference."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nanci Erskine - Artist

Nanci Erskine's subtle paintings aren't done plein air, but the sketches they are based on are done from life, sometimes outdoors. She's been focusing these past few years on flowers and vines.

If you click on "Previous Entries (Select a Month)" you can read posts from earlier this year. Here is what she wrote about John Grisham:

"Watching an interview with Charlie Rose the other night, I realized that my previous connection between writing fiction and making a painting was somewhat flawed. Sure, there are some strong similarities with the writing life and process….I have been a somewhat slow painter, because of all the reworking and rethinking that might go on, and I always likened this to letting your characters tell you who they were, etc.

Grisham writes about a book a year, seems intent on the storytelling, more so than great characterization, and has a pretty efficient system. . .but when asked about how he spends his time, getting ready to write, Grisham pointedly said he spent a lot of time outlining. The times he has short-changed it, he writes himself “into a corner.”

A light went on in my head. Since a new theme emerged a couple years back, I hadn’t really gotten back into the habit of committing to the preparatory sketch/composition. I used to do monotypes for this purpose.

In the crunch of time- deadlines etc., I went with a beginning that seemed pretty interesting, only to paint myself into lots of corners.

Now this is not the same as declaring that I want to know exactly what a piece will look like even before I begin- far from it. Only that the arrangement, color, and idea the painting serves, when thought out in the beginning, gives me more to stand on."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

David Hockney Exhibit & Video

Pace Wildenstein Galleries in New York City are presenting an exhibit of David Hockney's recent large landscapes, on view through December 24, 2009.

This is a video interview of Hockney talking about his return to Bridlington, Yorkshire (in "twenty-oh-four") where he had lived as a child, after spending most of his life in Los Angeles. He was inspired to see the changing seasons in the expansive landscape, and wanted to paint it from life.

This website has clips from the film, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture by Bruno Wallheim (click on "The Making Of" for some amusing outtakes).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Plein Air at Beaver Farm - Benefit Sale

More than thirty professional artists working in diverse media are participating in the first annual Plein Air at Beaver Farm benefit sale for Camp Hill Special School for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania.

The show opens with a reception tomorrow evening, November 3rd, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the Rosenfeld Gallery at 113 Arch Street (just two blocks from the Betsy Ross house in Old City) Philadelphia.

The 55 acre organic Beaver Farm property houses the Transition Program for 18-21 year-olds. The artists participated in a paint-out on the farm in August to create the works that will be on display tomorrow. Click here to see them - oils, watercolor, gouache, encaustic, woodblock prints and photography.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Randall Sexton - Artist

Bay Area artist Randall Sexton studied landscape and portrait painting with Ken Auster, Bob Gerbracht, Michael Lynch and Milt Kobayashi.

A former instructor at the San Francisco Academy of Art, he now teaches plein air at Pixar. He also teaches workshops in other parts of the country.

"The discipline of direct painting, both in the plein air experience and in the studio, has helped me to develop a loose handling of paint that speaks as much about the paint itself as it does any given subject matter. I try to combine traditional methods of painting with a "sense of myself living in the present". My paintings are a direct response from the world around me as I strive to be "in the moment" while I work. Nature has proven to be the most demanding and inspiring I work from life, as often as possible and try to remain open to new ideas and new approaches."