Thursday, April 5, 2018

So this popped up on my Facebook feed today...

I was in on the Kickstater for their Vincent Van Gogh figure, and he's adorable. (I've been wondering why they haven't made a Dali until now, but how we have the chance to get one)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

New show!

It's always fun being in a new show, so a big thanks to Colorado Springs Art Guild for making it possible. It's located at a new wine shop in town, The Little Wine Barrel, so if you're in the Colorado Springs area, you should be sure to check it out. There is a huge area up front for tastings and the like and several CSAG members have their works featured, including yours truly.

(Woo hoo! Go drink responsibly and buy some art!)

Both pieces are acrylic on canvas and 24" by 24". The work on the top is a new one that I'm especially proud of and the bottom one is a piece (one of three) that I had at the Cottonwood's monochromatic show last November.

So, thanks again to the Colorado Springs Art Guild for the exposure and I have pieces on display at three places around town and all of them are for sale.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Optimistic Nihilism

Okay, so it's not particularly art related (except in the sense it looks nice, I suppose) but it's worth a watch.

Some people are comforted by the idea there's something "out there," whether that's some sort of Higher Power or universal truth but personally, it's the lack of a universal truth that makes me feel that living here and now is the most important thing there is. I'm not working for a better existence in an afterlife and I'm not trying to please some unknowable entity.

If this life is all there is, then life is what you make of it.

(From Kurzgesagt's YouTube channel)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How much time should you take to look?

Well, this is interesting: How long do people really spend looking at art in museums?

The takeaway: (1) I guess I am really weird and it explains why I often get the stink-eye from overzealous museum guards, and (2) I shouldn’t stress out so much about my paintings since nobody else will look at them as intently as I do.

I wonder what the statistics would be if you separated out the painters from the general population. I know I can tell when it’s a painter looking at art because they have that “how in the hell did he do that?” squint as they look. I also know that the benches are never just where I want them, or I would spend a whole lot more time staring. (Would I be rude if I brought my own chair?)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Michelangelo on Michelangelo

"Cowabunga, dude." - Michelangelo

I enjoy these pictures more that I probably should.

Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until February 12.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

"Paint what you see"

I've been thinking about this lately, the first thing your art teacher tells you. It's trite but it''s still pretty good advice when you think about it. As I've been pondering it lately, it seems like there's two levels to it, and it is a good model for a person's growth as an artist.

"Paint what you see"

The first meaning is to look - really look - and paint it. The book Drawing on the Right side of the Brain, for all its outdated "left brain/right brain" theory, has a good representation of how children approach drawing - for the most part, they rely heavily on symbol drawing, where everything is drawn as a representation of an eye, a door, a cat, a bicycle. It's also why people have such a hard time with perspective - they can't get the image in their head to rotate just right to fit.

This is why a person's first challenge in drawing or painting is to observe their subject, depicting what their eye tells them is there instead of what their brain tells them. I always feel like my eye and brain are having a fight at figure drawing class ("What are you doing? That isn't what an arm looks like!" "That's what this arm looks like!") as I try to discern what's really there as opposed to what I think is there.

"Paint what you see"

The second level is getting over the idea that there is only one way to make a painting and for you to put our own unique stamp on something. I really struggled with (and still do) the idea that if it's not photorealistic, it's not "right." The current resurgence in classical painting is awesome in many ways, but it makes me a little bit sad when it holds to the idea that art has to be on par with a photograph to be good. Don't get me wrong - I love a lot of that stuff, but much of it also leaves me cold as it comes off as technical excellence at the cost of a sense of vibrancy. Besides that, not everyone had the aptitude or interest to paint that way. The key is to observe, then to show us your unique interpretation.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2009

Andrew Wyeth died nine years ago today - January 16, 2009, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

He is probably one of the most loved and easily recognizable American artists. Working primarily in watercolor and tempera, he is probably best known for Christina's World, which is in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York.

It's an amazing painting so see up close and personal and is hung next to the escalators - it's a weird spot, almost if MoMA doesn't know what to do with it.

Yeah, that's really where it is - catch it on your way to the fifth floor men's room. I wonder how many people go to MoMA, see Starry Night, and leave thinking, "I thought they had that Wyeth painting there") Part of me wonders if that's a metaphor for the art world's opinion of Wyeth - loved by the masses but maybe not seen as "important" as other painters. Don't look at me, I'm no expert.

Personally, I love his work - it has a tone of melancholy and loneliness that I see in painters like Hopper or the American Realists. It also has detail in watercolor like I've never seen. One of the things I like best about his work is that like some of my other favorite artists, he spent his time painting the ordinary and the mundane and gave it a sense of nobility. He seemed to take joy in painting "regular America" - his neighbors, his children, the areas around his homes and noticing the interesting art in things we see every day.

 A couple of years ago, we were able to see the amazing exhibit of  Wyeth and his son Jamie at the Denver Art Museum and it still ranks as one of the best special exhibits I've ever seen, anywhere. Last fall, totally by chance, we saw another exhibit at the Portland Art Museum that featured all three generations of Wyeths - with Andrew's father N.C. Wyeth alongside Andrew and Jamie. (That exhibit is going on until the end of this month and it's worth seeing if you're in the Portland area)

I love that his work is so grounded in nature - so much of it is inspired by his summer home in Maine or his year-round home in Chadds Ford. If you're in the Philadelphia area, it's not that far a drive to Chadds Ford to visit the Brandywine Conservatory and Museum of Art, which along with a permanent museum for the Wyeth family's work also gives tours of the homes and studios of N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth.

This is the sign Wyeth put on the door of his home and studio and it is still there today. I swear to God, if Brandywine sold reproductions of it, I would have bought one. Don't worry, though - the museum will happily give you a tour.

All three generations of Wyeths have made some amazing and inspiring art but Andrew's work feels the most uniquely American.