Monday, September 30, 2013
My brother the Guitar maker has added a second plein air paint box to his offerings. The box is similar to the travel mate with the addition of a front opening drawer to hold paint or other items of choice. The drawer is mounted with stops to keep it in position as you angle the box to your preferred position.
One Drawer Mounted, Travel Mate in Background
The new model offers the same rugged construction, ease of operation, flexibility of design, adjustability etc as the Travel Mate. Its advantage is a single location for your supplies. Of course the added material adds a bit of weight.
Goodies in the Front Drawer
The front drawer has a removable lid that can act as a palette extension. I like the front mount because it keeps me from getting close to the painting surface where I might be tempted to niggle and pick instead of painting. I use this approach with my studio easel.
With Panel and Side Wing
Here the box is shown with a panel mounted and an optional side wing. A wide variety of panel sizes can be accommodated. The side wing can be used on either side. The panel can be raised easily to your line of site minimizing your eye travel. Very important when you are painting what you see.
Should you be interested in more information, or in acquiring either model of box, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put you in touch with my brother.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Recently people have been asking "What's the difference between contemporary and traditional representative art?" Or as my buddy calls it "old school".
I ran across this on Underpaintings today.
I ran across this on Underpaintings today.
As many of you are probably aware, Arcadia Gallery in SoHo is no more. This is not to say that it is gone completely; it has instead changed its focus and its name. Arcadia Gallery is now Arcadia Contemporary.
I would not go so far as to say this change has "upset" many people, but I will say that the change has made many people "concerned," including myself. Arcadia has been a great place to see well-crafted representational work, in a city where the shocking, the grotesque, and the skill-less in art still rule - and still command top dollar. Arcadia Gallery was an oasis, and when you tell wanderers in a desert that the oasis will be changing, there is bound to be some trepidation.
31 X 43 in.
|Mary Jane Ansell|
Girl in a Shako
oil on panel
12 X 17 in.
As part of this change at Arcadia, there are several artists who will no longer be exhibiting with the gallery. Michael Klein amicably parted company with the gallery earlier this year, before any announcement of changes were made, and more recently it was released that Robert Liberace and Ron Hicks will also no longer be exhibiting there. Dorian Vallejo, whose first solo show with Arcadia was set for this autumn, was also let go, just last month. It is the gallery's view that these artists are, without doubt, extremely talented, but that their work is too much mired in the past, and not "forward-looking" enough.
You can look at the work of the departing artists to get a feel for what is said to be more traditional. The tools and methods are the same. Seems that contemporary has more to do with subject and how it is presented. That may explain why fantasy painting is so popular in some galleries I visited in Quebec.
It will be interesting to see the wheel turn yet again. Paint on.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Around 10 years ago John Hartman suggested that I narrow my scope. Go deeper, understand more, see where it goes. That was great advice at the time. I had been hound dogging everything I encountered. I needed focus and deep knowledge. About two years ago I ventured out to townscapes. I had done a few before, but the new version was much richer, more interesting. I brought new insights from my days on a narrower path.
Now I am venturing out again. Interiors with figures. I have done some before but this is a fresh challenge. I talked with a chef in his kitchen, gained permission, did some sketching.
One of Many Sketches
Hard to stop the motion, but that is part of what I am after - motion. Have to be careful not to go rigid using photos.
Wash, A Few Darks, Wipe Away
Continuing to add darks to indicate structure. Drawing errors float up. Edge work critical. memory strained.
Back to Back, 12x12, Oil on Canvas
There are currently 5 in the series. I am off to Ottawa, Montebello, and Montreal for a few days. Hopefully there will be gobs of interesting reference material to continue with. These will show in early October.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Avoid becoming stale. Get out of your comfort zone. This helps you improve your art making and keeps you from being a one trick pony.
The dreaded green helped me avoid another greenie when painting on the Pine River meadow. The wild flowers were out. So I picked a good handful from a few feet away and threw them randomly as a bunch on the beach. "You came all this way and you're doing a still life?" Whatever, and what an environment to do it. Standard palette and all.
On the Beach, 12x16, Oil on Canvas on Board
The caveat to this suggestion is that one should narrow their tendency to paint differently every time in search of the secret. That is disabling as is painting a a seller over and over.
Monday, August 26, 2013
My brother is a guitar maker. So he has made a pochade box that I am finding very useful. It is small for travel, but it is also durable, light, flexible, adjustable, and fast to set up.
Panel and Palette Holder Version
When I travel by air I pack very light. I only take the box, no tripod. Then I paint with the box on my lap, on a table, on a fence, or whatever.
The feet allow for setup on rocks and such. The tripod mount is visible here as well.
Mounting a Small Panel
The box opens to any position you wish and there are no wing nuts and struts to frustrate you. The top holder slides out so the board (or canvas) can be mounted. Just seconds.
To Eye Height
In a few seconds you can move the bottom panel holder into position for your eye height. I really like this feature because I like to paint from below the bottom of the panel to facilitate creative brush strokes.
A 12x16 Panel
This thing is very flexible. Here is a larger panel. But you can also mount it 16x12. This allows for painting 16x20 or wider. For me this covers most of my plein air needs regarding size.
16x12 or 16x20
So I have found this box satisfies my plein air needs unless I go to a larger painting than 16x 20 or 16x24. I can use this arrangement pretty much every day. For that I add the palette extension wing.
Ready to Paint
There you have it. Since I am in the habit of carrying a compact back pack, I find carrying my paint, medium, cleaner, sketch book etc. in small light containers is not a problem.
My brother has been supplying these to other painters now. So, if you are interested in obtaining one of these, you can email me at email@example.com and I will put you in contact.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Painting on site is an animal very different from the sterile studio experience. Not that the studio is a bad place. There is not much in the out of doors that is controllable including the weather, the light, the people, or the bugs. But the rewards, infinite. So, I have collected a number of easels for my development in the great out of doors. If I could only have one easel for that purpose I would choose my old French Jullian Easel shown on the left below.
Some of My Easels
I have used this easel for twenty years. I'm familiar with her to the point where it takes me about two minutes to set up. Others seem never to master this type of easel. She has been all over with me. We have painted in storms, with large canvas, in the water, in the snow, and even in the studio. She is versatile and I have never been blown down. Everything in one package. However, you can see I have quite a collection of other easels.
open and Ready
A few years back while hiking the Chickenishing Trail at 35C I came to realize that my French Easel was both heavy and awkward. So began the hunt for something light. The second from the left is an all in one pochade box. Yup, lighter that the French, but it requires a tripod. And that gets blown down. She is a beautiful box, well thought out. The next easel is a palette and board holder. You bring everything else in a separate container. This is also a popular product, simple and rugged. Needs a tripod. I have found that I take all sorts of things in a back pack no matter which easel I use - pencil, view finder, paper towels, garbage bag, sketch book, camera and so forth. So only having a palette and board holder is fine with me. The box on the right is a home made super light piece. Maybe a pound. But doesn't do much. For example I have to hold the painting surface in position. It is held on the lap or a stone fence or whatever is handy. Now I could spend some more time and make it more substantial, but I'd rather paint. For you information, I have been blown down with each of these smaller boxes. That incidence could be reduced by a tripod upgrade. I have one in mind that is simple, light and rugged.
So my brother, a guitar maker, had a look at this collection and has made me a box to aid me in my light travels. I'll show it next time.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
It is always interesting when I teach. I get to observe others painting. I learn a lot. And I see numerous bad habits brought along from previous experiences. I have found that these are hard to change. My teacher was very truthful and forceful regarding habits that lead to better painting. Today everything is deemed beautiful, great, wonderful.
A Guest Student
Here is a short list of my observations. These pertain to objective painting.
Drawing versus painting.
A dive in start without ability to draw.
Ditto without perspective.
Ditto without regard to concept including design.
Ditto with regard to value.
Trial and error approach.
Inability to mix colours.
Inability to mix grey.
Painting what one thinks, not what one sees.
Incessant dabbing without even looking at the subject.
Licking the canvas while trying to determine what to do next.
Changing direction in mid course.
Aversion to some pigments on hearsay.
Inability to manoeuvre the brush, knife etc.
The list goes on.
Yesterday I heard the excuse "I haven't got time to learn to draw (do perspective, mix colours etc.) Of course that same person has the time to use trial and error over and over again in search of a better painting. Slow way to make progress.