Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Plein air painting at the lagoon

This morning I went out painting with an old friend. He learned in Lithuania and Russia and has seen original Repins and Serovs and Levitans. We drove to Skokie Lagoon and painted on a windy fall day with the sun going in and out. I was attracted by the warm red, orange and yellow leaves to the right of the oldd tree at the water's edge. The background was done with a lot of layering of one color upon another. This is an 11" by 14" oil.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The not so secret life of the artist

This Friday, October 14th, 2011, I am in a show in the Fine Arts building, 410 South Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago. "Common Ground, the Landscape", work inspired by plein air painting has three other artists besides myself. This is my first show in such a large area. I will have 8 paintings on display. Also, I am in a show at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois just west of Chicago, with the art league that I belong to with two of my works. In addition, I am in the "Farms & Barns" show in Dixon, Illinois, about 100 miles west of Chicago (or 50 miles east of Iowa and the Mississippi River). I will also have two works done in pencil at the "Shades of Gray" show at The Next Picture Show Gallery in Dixon at the end of this month. Sometimes you toil in obscurity and other times you are out there before the public.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Secret Life of the Artist, part 7 (a)

This is just a little addendum to my last posting. ( I am having trouble with my "Publish Post" function on the blog and don't know what to do about it and got cut off. ) The final thoughts were....that I tried to find my way after art school, first by challenges in art school and then later. Heck, if I'd followed my first path I think I would have wound up trying to do Western art -- that illustration type painting that still sells well, I guess, but just has a phony-looking illustration quality --- and been unsuccessful at it. Eventually my path has gone toward a regionalism -- I do a lot of pastoral scenes. I'm a city kid, but I have worked on a farm and I still do a lot of portraits which satisfies the inner need for that that I've enjoyed since art school. Develop an interest in a path of art to follow and hone your painterly skills.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Secret Life of the Artist, part 7

Along with the Rembrandt and Rubens paintings I had in the "Influences" show at The Next Picture Show Gallery, I had this painting which is my copy of Frank Tenney Johnson's (no relation) "Somewhere on the Range". I apologize if it's not totally in focus. This is 30" X 36", a large canvas which I did back around 1977 or so. Now, here comes the "Secret Life" connection: Why does one do this copying anyhow? While I was in art school I wanted to make up for years of not doing much art. When I was a kid I would draw, but didn't keep that up. As a result I felt like I was behind and needed to make up for years of neglect. How to learn a lot in a short time. As I said before, Mr. Eugene Hall, my oil painting teacher, told me to copy the masters. I took it to another level. Besides copying Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer and others, I wanted to learn additional techinques that you don't really see in a Vermeer (although you do in Rembrandt). So I started copying FT Johnson for his thick paint and scumbling. I think you can see in the lower right especially, the thick paint scumbled that opens up another dimension on the canvas, kind of a sculptural look. Art school began me on a plan: I worked with the portrait and figure at school. At home I worked on portraits, then figures, multiple figures, figures with animals and finally maany figures and many animals --- see Frederik Remington's "Cavalry Charge on the Southern Plains" which I also copied --- always trying to get more complication and challenge. So now all these many years later I have found my own place: a portrait and Midwest landscape painter, watercolorist, pastellist and pencil artist. My last show, Barns & Farms, at The Next Picture Show Gallery garnered me a 3rd place ribbon and some nice compliments from the judge -- "painting mastery".