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Saturday, May 31, 2008

New sheise has come to light..


OK so like I said the other day.. I thought I'd tackle ( reasonbly quick ) oil painting study of a baby. Why ? well the subtle forms are more like body-parts than most adult faces so good practice there and.. well I think big fat brand new people are amazing .. so.. oh and he/she has this bemused expression ( got milk ?) or the dreams he/she is having are still the kind with no strife and all good things.. oh - and yes Gue and Omari - I did get to the somARts workshop this morning at 10a ( 6 bucks - great model!)..
below is about 2 hours in.. just got basic colors in place.. i'm feelin' all right about it..
below is about 4 hours in and I really like this stage.. it reminds me of a jenny saville painting ( not a good one but.. ok enough of that!)
below about 7 hours ( 2am last friday night).. tightening up forms and shapes..
and today at about 7pm.. i think i'm done.. like i know ? there is much I can keep going on but I'm calling it if not "golden".. how about pewter ? ( bad joke only my Mom will get, maybe)..

Thursday, May 29, 2008

so i've had the flu .. only my sketchbook is gettin' any lub..

that's Valentino Rossi - an Italian GP motorcycle champion.. amazingly talented.. andy hampsten in the lower corner ( first american to win Alp D'Huez!).. i'm thinking of doing a small oil of the baby.. or a baby.. for some reason I want to do a series of newborns.. what is wrong w/me.. some of these are henry copies as I convalesce on the sofa..


Exactly what I think! (and most of my friends!) from today's WSJ

THE GALLERY
'Classical Realism: Antidote to 'Novelty Art'
By ROGER KIMBALLMay 29, 2008; Page D9
New York
In 1959, the critic Clement Greenberg wrote that "the very best painting, the major painting, of our age is almost exclusively abstract." It was a tune Greenberg sang early and often. He said similar things throughout the 1940s, and as late as 1967 insisted that "the very best art of this time continues to be abstract."

Hirschl & Adler Modern
Cloud Study (Perspective), 2007 Oil on panel, 4 1/4 x 11 in.
Let's leave the fraught question of whether Greenberg was correct to one side. What we can say with confidence is that the focus of much artistic energy at the time was centered around abstract art.
This has obviously not been the case for some decades. What happened? Several things. On the one hand, there was a powerful upsurge of what Greenberg elsewhere called "novelty art," the 57 varieties of pop, op, minimalism, and neo-Dada performance art that have infested the art world like a gigantic flea market. On the other hand, there was a quieter but no less powerful return to older artistic sources and traditions -- a return, that is to say, to the figure.
It is a curious irony that Andy Warhol -- one of the chief perpetrators of novelty art, the man who once said "art is what you can get away with" -- should also have had a hand in fomenting the counter-revolution that is now returning artists to a serious concern with traditional figurative techniques. Twenty-five years ago, Warhol helped start The New York Academy of Art, an institution "dedicated to the advancement of figurative painting, sculpture and drawing."
Who knows? Perhaps Warhol somehow sensed that an art world in which everyone would have his 15 minutes of fame would itself be subject to that 15-minute rule, eventually returning art to the more deliberate rhythms required by technical mastery.
In any event, if large precincts of the art world are still in thrall to "novelty art," there is also a vital and increasingly prominent current of artistic practice seeking the rehabilitation of aesthetic canons and plastic techniques that were pioneered in the Renaissance and promulgated in the studios of the Beaux Arts.
"Classical Realism" is one name many of the more ambitious new figurative artists embrace. The movement has its home in institutions like The Florence Academy of Art, founded in 1991 by Daniel Graves, which seeks "to provide the highest level of instruction in classical drawing, painting and sculpture." The Florence Academy has been a fertile source for many other initiatives, including The Harlem Studio of Art in New York, a small but vibrant atelier school presided over by the artist Judy Pond Kudlow. Founded in 2002, it offers rigorous training in modeling, one-point perspective, cast drawing, and all the other technical aspects of art that one used to assume would be part of an artist's training.
Is technical mastery sufficient by itself to guarantee high artistic accomplishment? The art world has been shouting "No" for decades. That judgment is correct -- ultimately -- but it leaves out the important codicil that an artist who lacks technical command also lacks competence.
One sign that Classical Realism has arrived is the conspicuous interest of major galleries in its products. As I write, Hirschl & Adler Modern in New York is featuring "Rediscovering the American Landscape: The Eastholm Project," an exhibition by Jacob Collins, one of the leading proponents of Classical Realism. Now in his mid-40s, Mr. Collins is a cynosure of the new figurative art, a sought-after teacher and an increasingly prominent artist. This is his fourth solo exhibition at the distinguished East Side gallery in as many years, and it is a captivating reminder that the bravura technical mastery of the Hudson River School is not only alive and well but still capable of producing works of keen aesthetic expressiveness. The exhibition (on view until June 13) revolves around "The Hen Islands From Eastholm," a meticulously observed 4-by-10-foot oil landscape of a view from the island of Vinalhaven, Maine.
"The Hen Islands" is a quiet masterpiece. But in many ways it is merely the pretext for the exhibition. Commissioned by one of Mr. Collins's regular patrons (and not, incidentally, for sale), it is surrounded by 50-odd studies for the huge painting. Some are quick plein-air sketches, visual memoranda of sky, woods, water. Some are highly finished studio details that grapple with the particulars of foliage, clouds, the infinite intricacies of light reflected off calm shallows. Together, these works provide a glimpse into the engine-room of Mr. Collins's art. More than visual cues, they are systematic transcriptions of observable reality.
Mr. Collins spent innumerable hours poring over topographical and nautical charts, local geological studies, and taxonomies of clouds in order to educate the eye that would guide his hand. "Those who fall in love with practice without science," Leonardo observed, "are like a sailor who enters a ship without a helm or compass, and who never can be certain whither he is going." Mr. Collins's practice underscores the animating strength of that admonition.
Of course, every species of art must conjure with its characteristic occupational deformations. For much contemporary art, deformation by politics or some other extra-aesthetic passion is the defining temptation. For much contemporary figurative painting -- especially, perhaps, for movements like Classical Realism -- the governing temptation is kitsch -- art that may be technically proficient but is nevertheless soulless, histrionic, or cloyingly sentimental.
Although there are patches of melodrama in some of Mr. Collins's earlier painting, his art has grown steadily in seriousness, conviction and existential traction. This is art that requires no excuses, no alibis, no apologies. It is art that is confident, accomplished and traditional, understanding that last word in a positive, enabling sense, not as a term of diminishment.
In one of his gnomic apothegms, the Greek sage Heraclitus said that the way forward is the way back. Mr. Collins is an artistic pioneer. But as this splendid exhibition demonstrates, he has the wit to know that the most demanding mysteries are those that are inseparable from our fragile, human nature. The newest realities are also the oldest, the freshest art the most perennial.
Jacob Collins is the real thing. Criticism isn't prophecy, but I will end with a prediction: You'll be hearing more, a lot more, about him and about the kind of art he practices in the years to come.
Mr. Kimball, co-editor of the New Criterion, is the author of "The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

mini tribute to barbara bradley..


I was knocked over to hear about the death of Barbara Bradley and her husband. I had just been blessed only two weeks earlier to attend her facial expressions workshop which was super fun.. she was hilarious and had great feedback and gave me grief and..(all with a wink..) well to watch her sweep her arm with her conte charcoal crayon to draw a leg in one motion was just .. somethin! I am sorry ( selfishly) that I won't get to learn from her - nor will any of my fellow students .. she will be missed - massively..

anyway.. I needed to take my colored pencils for a drive yesterday and since she was also a huge fan of Norman Rockwell I did a few things.. that guy is from a Sat Evening Post cover and was playing a trumpet ( i didn't get that far and wanted to do that little blond kid.. i have never really used colored pencils so forgive the mistakes.. but color in my sketchbook is cool!!

i tweaked the color balance.. not that it's helping.. MUCH!

Friday, May 16, 2008

My final still life for S.L. Uno..

well, I blame Mark E for having me plunge forward in attempting the backlit 'fridge.. but it turned out to be a fun challenge. My goal was not to go crazy fine detail so it's a bit loose but I think it has some cool colors.. we'll see how it goes.. (ok so i like the grill, the first level and the hardwood floors.. gotta have an apple - no ? ;-) (ps the setup is the 2nd pic... couldn't keep the fridge open the whole time! the carrots in the plastic and the peppers did end up.. um.. shriveling..




Thursday, May 15, 2008

Last day of a great class and fun classmates!

Some of the crew from intermediate figure. I had so much fun with this class, learned so much and enjoyed the passion and intensity ( and talent ) of my fellow students! Here are a few that I could torture into a photo: Gue ( of the fab floating women!); Omari ( always a new idea and .. 6 notebooks this summer ?); Justine ( passionate about her work and, of course anything by Yes, Rush or ELP or Fripp or.. just get your arse back to school in the fall is all I say!) and Irys who REALLY hates being in photographs and thinks she's kicking my bum in still life class!!! ( she is!) .. will miss you guys and all the crew not pictured.. hope to catch some workshops this summer and see you all rocking the charcoal stick, pencil.. whatnot!

FAll Clothed Figure 1 (mini class re-union!)

A small group of excellent drawers ( well, and me) met up for a Chris Canga clothed figure 1 reunion last night at R&G lounge ( lunge ?) in Chinatown. You can tell Elisha is her usual grumpy self ( third try at photo only makes her more grumpy ;-)); Max is thinking of his Ill 1 final project (still to be completed), I'm skewing the age and non-asian status at our table, Yeben is making Yeben noises and Emerson, happy as usual feels picked on ( but I swear, mostly by Carmen and Elisha ( see next photo as Carmen (I speak da' trufe') Chow is the photog on this one!).. and Yes Carman - your portfolio is awesome but I'm partial to your figures and portraits.. i do like that giant guy with the red knee!) --- Super fun.. and yes I think I owe you guys money for the lobster ( my bad).

need to get some gestures up and a home doodle!

just a stylized sketch of chaka kahn that i changed a bit to not be so obviouly from the photo ( dashed plans by showing photo in corner!)..


these are 2 mins and maybe 3 or 5 ... not long.. anyway.. good practice for de' eyez!

2nd to last still life for class.. still SO much to learn!!!!!!@#%%#

not pleased with lots but thought it worth posting at least.. the post card is from the Alex Kanevsky show a month back here in SF - he is pretty awesome - check his work out at: somepaintings.net. back to the canvas for me!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

new still life and some ball point work..



and some things from my notebook in ballpoint.. (some Henry pen copies that are not great so I'm not sure why i'm including.. oh and something i copied from the Force book - check it out!)



OK so this one of my friend Kamela was done in mechanical pencil and 4b and 6b pencil.. so sue me!