Thursday, August 22, 2013

Learning from the Masters

Painting for me is a passion. It is a visual language where I am trying to communicate to the viewer the beauty that I see in the world that surrounds me.  As part of my learning process, I have dedicated some time to study the work of other artists - specifically, masters of the past.

The exercise has been very rewarding and it has helped me to solve the problems that I encounter during the frustrating moments when a painting is not successful. The process has provided lesson about color, edges, tonal values and brush work.
One of my favorite master artist is John Singer Sargent. He was the greatest of modern portrait painters. An account of Sargent's technical methods is included in the famous 1927 biography by Evan Charteris. Sargent's five (5) basic principles for painting can be summarized as:
·         Directness: He aimed at once for true tone and color. His technique was basically Alla Prima.
·         Economy of means: Economy of effort, fewer brushstrokes possible.
·         Accuracy of value: Absolute precision on the lightness or darkness of each tone.
·         Attention to transition: The flow of one tone or color into the adjacent one. The treatment of edges whether sharp or soft.
·         Everything based on observation: the artist must develop the power to see with accuracy and analytical discern.
One of my favorite paintings of John Singer Sargent is the 1892 masterpiece "Lady Agnew" which is located in the National Museum of Edinburg, Scotland. I was not able to copy it at the museum, instead I used a high resolution photograph. Of course, I do not claim that my study would be an exact replica of the great masterpiece but the exercise provided great lessons about color, edges, values and brush work.
Here is my study of Lady Agnew!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Have you ever spent a day doing things that you really love?

Well, this past Friday August 9th, I dedicated the entire day to share with my artist friends, visiting museums, attending opening receptions and looking at great art. It was such a rewarding day that started with a trip to visit my great friend, mentor and master artist Judith Carducci. I also had the pleasure of meeting my artist friends Kim Moore, Susan Cone Porges, and Carol Medhurst and we all headed out to have a great lunch. The afternoon adventure proceeded with a visit to the Butler Museum of Art in Youngstown, Ohio where we enjoyed the art of the American Impressionists, John Singer Sargent and Robert Henri. We also had the chance to see an outstanding portrait of Judith Carducci painted by Mark Giangaspero which is showcased at the 77th Mid Year Exhibit.
Judith Carducci's Portrait painted by Mark Giangaspero

The story continued with a visit to a visit to the BayArts area where my friend Judy Takacs was having her opening reception for her famous Chick With Balls exhibit which I greatly enjoyed.

It was a very wonderful and inspiring day!