Rotation, Contours and Space

“One realizes that symmetry and consistency, whatever their merits are the enemy of movement” said Kenneth Clark in his BBC series, “Civilization”.  But, just avoiding symmetry and consistency does not evoke a feeling of movement.  Using the diagram in example 1 we can demonstrate how a shape may inhibit or promote a feeling of movement. In this case I present conditions for recognizing a rolling movement.  Landscape painters have applied these principles to hills, rocks and swales. I will be applying them to shoreline sea grasses or, in colonial times what was known as salt hay, a harvestable crop.

While the example is largely self-explanatory I begin with a pan cultural and pan historic image, the iconic sunburst.  Once the radians are separated from the central disc it begins to pulse or radiate and, once the arms or radians are curved as well as detached the disc suggests rotation. If that disc is slightly turned or pivoted we see an elliptical figure.  This foreshortened effect suggests a figure with three dimensional space.  If the radians and the disc are described as with illusory thickness then the feeling of rotation in space is strengthened.

The final figure in the diagram shows bands of the rotating arms set side by side with diminishing rows stacked on top.  The feeling suggests a contoured surface rolling forward and back in space.

Example 1. Diagram.

The fun lies in applying the principle to a subject area such as shore grass which you see in example 2. The consistency of the diagram is thwarted by overlapping tangled strands rather lining them all neatly side by side.  The tangle of overlapping strands which swell in size as they advance and diminish as they retreat give a more layered and textured surface to the form.  By undermining consistency a more dynamic form is created.

Example 2.

Using  a chorus  of undulating and waving strands as demonstrated in my diagram has been a strategy of adventurous artists like Van Gogh (examples 3 and 4) and Renoir (example 5). Each knew that a unified but, not quite consistent  wave patterns would invest more motion in their work.

Example 3. Van Gogh preparatory drawing.

Example 4. Van Gogh painting of fields behind St. Paul De Mausole, 1889.

Example 5. Renoir, painting along the Seine near Champrosay, 1873.

Using the same principle but, with other interval variations and the introduction of other shapes like large triangles I developed examples 5 and 6. Example 5 separates the rolls with intermediate spaces (blue water).  Example 6 will be preceded by its first step, the initial laying in of the contour patterns (example 6a).  Example 6 presents more variety in (less consistency) in the arrangement of the sea grass strands.

Example 5. Present state of this image, “rolling sequence” 36×48.

Example 6a. Step one of “Fallen Sea Grass”.

Example 6. Step two and present state of “Fallen Sea Grass”.

Example 7. presents the current state of “relaxed sea Grass”. This image wheels sideways as it slowly turns back into distant space.  The flat blue (water)  intervals on the left diminish in thickness in the distance. The sea grass strands wheel parallel with the ground plane as they turn toward and away from the beholder.  Examples 6 and 7 are both painted on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum. The reflectance and colors of the image depend upon the viewpoint of the beholder. This cannot be demonstrated in a single photo of the painting but occurs as you shift your weight when looking at the image.

Example 7. Present state of ‘Relaxed Sea Grass”.

I invite you to join me in a two day workshop at the West Hartford Art League on January 14 and 15, 2017.  The Workshop is:”Techniques of the Masters, Past and Present”. Visit their website westhartfordart.org or call 860 231 8019.

 

 

 

 

 

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Next Steps

Here are examples of the proposition that no picture is ever finished.  I previously posted most of these images in their earlier incarnations. Now, you can compare the previous with the present.  These paintings have been distracting me in my studio this past month.

First, here is a recent painting of the vista from Rockefeller Center. Example one is the before and example two is the after. I wanted to push the color contrast and the feeling of atmosphere in the after image.

Example 1. Roc Center Vista before.
dec1626rock-centerstep-one

Example 2. Roc Center Vista after.
dec1626roc-center-step-twoalt

Next, is a before and after (examples 3 and 4) of a bridges painting which I built up with successive overlays. In the before example the image canted too awkwardly to the right and lacked sufficient color contrast.

Example 3. Bridges before.
dec1612update-on-milwuakee-canal-and-bridges36x36

Example 4. Bridges after.
dec1626milwaukee-bridgesstep-two-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum36x36

My third comparison has a twist (examples 5 and 6).  The previous image is a study 24×24 for a later version which is 36×36. I had posted the 24×24. Here I invested Times Square with a forested plaza. I previously noted parallels with Stieglitz’s photo of the Flat Iron building and other artists’ works.  In the after image I departed further from those parallels. Again, I wished to push the contrasts and introduce some semi-opaque glazing for atmospheric effects.

Example 5, the study, 24×24.
dec1626times-square-forested-step-one

Example 6, the following  36×36.
dec1626times-square-forested-oilon-enameled-laminated-aluminum-36x36

 

A new theme for me this fall was to visually climb inside meadow plants like wild grape or porcelain berry.  This image also received additional selective blue glazing as you can see. (Examples 9 and 10)

Example 9. Porcelain berry, before.
dec1626meadow-porcelain-berries-deep-space-step-one-24x24

Example 10. Porcelain berry, after.
dec1626meadowporcelain-berries-and-deep-spacestep-two-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

 

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Evolution of the Elevated View

As cities rose in density and prosperity so did the market for images city life.  Ancient Rome was the first to live in cramped 5 and 6 story buildings. Roman artists obliged their market with micro-mosaics and frescos of  Roman urban architecture.  The point of view of the artist rose with the buildings in an effort to depict the extent of urban architecture.  Within 1000 years Chinese artists followed suit with elevated perspectives of their cities. Ruins of the ancient Roman six story highrise can be visited in Ostia Antica today (Near Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, Rome).

As the height of Roman buildings grew so did the artists access to  elevated observation posts within the city (example 1). In earlier blogposts I previously neglected some of this history.  Artists came to painting elevated city views over time. It is a learned tradition with learned skills and, it is an evolving tradition. Its evolution interests me here.

Example 1. Detail from Roman wall painting.
dec1612boscorealeroman1stcent-c-e-wallptg

If we race forward into the 1600s we find Jacob Van Ruisdael climbing windmills and clock towers to find his new observation post (example 2).  By the 1600s artists employed not only the principles of linear perspective but optical machines like the camera obscura as well to help them make more natural  images.  His contemporary Jan Vermeer gives an example in his view of Delft (example3).

Example 2. Jacob Van Ruisdael view of Amsterdam.
dec1612jacob-van-ruisdael-jacob-view-of-amsterdam

Example 3. Jan Vermeer view of Delft.
dec1612vermeer-landscape-view-of-delft

In the late 19th century Pissarro’s view over the avenues of Paris gave a more sensuous  effect. Now, the enumerated buildings and other details were of less interest than a momentary experience of colored atmospherics (example 4)

Example 4. Pissarro view of Paris.
dec1612pissaro-camille-from-his-paris-windowfull-image

Throughout the 20th century modernists would look up and down at their urban settings.  Georgia O’Keeffe painted elevated views of New York from her high rise apartment.  This distillation and graphic simplification became part of the new fashions and goals for modern artists like O’Keeffe. (Example 5)

Example 5. O’Keeffe view from her NYC apartment.
dec1612okeeffeeast-river-view-from-georgias-33-flr-hotel-win

Matisse and others would continue to abstract the city from an elevated point of view. By the mid20th century through today artists like Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud experimented  with abstracting, exaggerating and distilling the city from an elevated point of view (example 6).

Example 6. Thiebaud’s Big Condominium from 2008.
dec1612thiebaudwaynebig-condominium2008

Last week I gave an example of an elevated and semi-abstracted view of Milwaukee.  I return to a similar theme today with an image which is in its beginning stage (example 7).  Next, I moved my venue to the top of Rockefeller Center looking south over Manhattan.  With a set of squeegees and brushes I conjured the intense crowding of forms and edges I experienced as I looked down and across Manhattan. This image is also in a preliminary stage.

Example 7. Milwaukee, looking South Along Michigan to Chicago (present state).
dec1612view-to-chicago-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum2nd-step

Example 8. Looking South from Roc Center, oil on enameled laminated aluminum, 36×36, present state.
dec1612cityroc-center-vista-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum36x36

Because I often present images in earlier stages of development I now can offer you an updated image along with its previous appearance (examples 9 and 10).

Example 9.  Bridges in earlier presentation.
nov1621bridges-step-four

Example 10. Bridges as updated.
dec1612update-on-milwuakee-canal-and-bridges36x36

I invite you to join me in a two day workshop at the West Hartford Art League  on January 14 and 15, 2017.  The Workshop is: ”Techniques of the Masters, Past and Present”. Visit their website westhartfordart.org or call 860 231 8019.

Please join me in my classes at the Silvermine School of Art. Registration for the winter semester (Mid January through March) begins Wednesday, December 14th at 9 AM.  Call the school at 203 966 6668 ext 2 to register. I look forward to working with you. Note, that I previously and incorrectly stated that registration began on December15; my apologies.

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20% Off Holiday Sale on all of David’s DVDs until December 31, 2016.

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Under Construction

Artists’ fascination depicting the dynamics of intersecting angles in architecture extends from ancient Rome through today. In the 18th and 19th centuries artists visited a pre-selected set of classical sites celebrated for their historic ruins. In the 18th century Piranesi grew so intoxicated with the inventive possibilities derived from linear perspective and these historic ruins that he created a category of architectural prints he called “invenzione”.  Example 1 demonstrates how he exploited linear perspective’s possibilities through invented architecture.

Example 1. Piranesi, Carceri (prisons).
dec165piranesicarceriinvenzioni

The tradition continued into the 19th century as artists made plein air oil and watercolor sketches of historic ruins such as Jorgen Roed’s 1838 rendering of the temple of Poseidon at Paestum.  Observe the multiple converging diagonals.

Example 2. Jorgen Roed, temple of Poseidon, 1838.
dec16519th-cent1838danishjorgen-roedpaestumtemple-of-poseidon

In the Early 19th Century American Ash Can artists like George Bellows revealed their fascination with urban architecture that was both in decline and deconstruction as well as projects which were under-construction.  Examples 3 and 4 present designs of Bellows which were framed under receding bridges.

Example 3. Bellows, Bridge and Blackwell’s Island, 1909.
dec165bellows-georgethe-bridge-blackwells-island1909

Example 4. Bellows, the Lone Tenement, 1909.
dec165bellowsgeorgelone-tenement1909

While Bellows explored his urban constructions Egon Schiele in Vienna was investigating the architectural rhythms of his neighborhoods.   He found a dramatic tension between the exploding expulsion of water versus the uncertain geometric construction of an old mill (example 5).

Example 5. Egon Schiele.
dec165schieleegon-mill1916perhaps

Chasing the inventive architectural themes of Piranesi but, using comic-book styled exaggerations of perspective, and layered imagery I offer examples 6, 7 and 8.

Example 8 continues my examination of the architecture and  the horizon of Milwaukee.  I conflated several similar views of Milwaukee to cook up example 6. Notice the dark blue triangle framing the left side while a spike of complementary orange secures the right side of the image.

Example 8. Milwaukee Skyline Confusion, oil on enameled aluminum, 36×36.
dec165milwaukee-skyline-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum-36x36

Examples 10 and 11 follow the theme of traveling under bridgework. Like Piranesi’s Carceri I  invented my architecture.  I did this with a variety of locations, combined into one then, added further gestures and geometric intersections.

Example 10, West Side Glass and Steel, oil on enameled aluminum, step one.
dec165cityshnippers-and-nyt-step-one

Example 10a. West Side Glass and Steel, step two.
dec165cityschnippers-and-the-nyt-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 11. Port Authority Labyrinth, present state.
dec165cityport-authority-labyrinth-36x36-oil-on-enameled-laminanted-aluminum

Using the principles of interlocking shapes, geometric tension, and complementary color I developed example 12, a landscape.  Notice the off-centered bright pink square serving as a bright squared key geometrically anchoring the composition.

Example 12, Audubon Preserve lake, oil on enameled aluminum, 36×36.
dec165shoreline-audubon-lake-oil-on-eenameled-aluminum36x36

I invite you to join me in a two day workshop at the West Hartford Art League  on January 14 and 15, 2017.  The Workshop is: ”Techniques of the Masters, Past and Present”. Visit their website westhartfordart.org or call 860 231 8019.

Please join me in my classes at the Silvermine School of Art. Registration for the winter semester (Mid January through March) begins on December 15th.  Call the school at 203 966 6668 ext 2 to register. I look forward to working with you.

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Trading Places, Near & Far

Illusion in painting depends upon exploiting the visual experience of the artist and the beholder.  An object appears near when blocking the view of a similar smaller object.   This triggers the perception of here and there; near and far.  A subtler question is: Can those objects alternate their location?  Yes, and here is how we exploit not only near and far percepts but also, how we can construe a selected area in a painting to occupy an alternating position of being at one moment near and in the next, far.

Here is a semi-abstracted landscape by Martha Armstrong from 1997 (example one). At first glance we read the map of the painting which suggests that the spaces between the trees are sky shapes. But, because the tree shapes and the sky shapes are so similar we can reconstruct the image to see the sky shapes as light and the tree shapes as dark.  Then the sky shapes can appear to move forward along-side or even in front of the tree shapes.

Example 1. Martha Armstrong.
nov1628american20th-cent-late1997-martha-armstrong

In example 2 we see Joshua Adams painting which presents us with variably sized rocks on the shore.  We know the larger rocks appear closer to us because the sensation is consonant with our experience of perspective but, we can also accept anomalies. For example some of Adams’ rocks in the distance are anomalies in scale. Some of his rocks in the distance are substantially bigger than their adjacent companions but, because they are numerically anomalous (there are fewer of them) we accept that these rocks are big but, distant.

We have other signs distant rocks. The distant big rocks have less surface texture. They are overlapped by foreground information. They are situated higher in the picture plane and, their color variation is not as pronounced as nearby rocks. The perception of near and far can be triggered by a combination of visual devices.

Example 2. Joshua Adams, Lake Tahoe.
nov1628american-20th-centlate-1994joshua-adams-lake-tahoe

My shoreline rocks painting  is presented in steps one and two (examples 3 and 4).  Here the demonstration of near and far is compressed and exaggerated.  The bigger foreground rocks are quickly contrasted with a series of much smaller background shapes which quickly dissolve into uncertain forms curving into the distance. The only clue to the rocky identity of the distant rocks is that  they are blended and share a collective outline with a soft-focused saw-toothed irregularity. Furthermore, the distant rocks have less color variety and intensity which are two more perceptual cues that suggest distance.

Example 3. Step one of the Shoreline Rocks.
nov1628shoreline-rolling-rock-step-one24x24

Example 4. Step Two of the Shoreline Rocks.
nov1628shoreline-rolling-rock-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

With special emphasis on the chromatic strength of foreground elements and foreground color contrasts artists can stimulate a sensation of greater immanence especially, when the background is allowed to fade dramatically in color as well as serve as toward a pale complement the preceding area. Notice that the foreground (in example 5) relies on high value and  high color contrast while the background recedes as a pale gray-violet  resting above the yellow field.

Example 5.  Painting on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum, 24×48.
nov1628audubon-preserve-lake-oil-on-brushed-silver-laminated-aluminum24x48

Color and value can alone trigger a feeling of proximity. In example 6  observe how the hotter contrasting colors feel close-by while the distance is relegated to varying values of blue until we get to the sky territory whose pink atmosphere swallows the edge of the horizon.

Example 6. Waves, oil on brushed silver laminated aluminum, 24×24.
nov1628shoreline-spotlights-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 7. presents an image with an extremely compressed foreground (near) area while only suggesting a distance (far)  through the use of a high horizon and a few flecks of yellow interrupting the curtain of foreground grasses. This is the first step of this painting.

Example 7. Meadow Grass, oil on brushed silver laminated aluminum, 24×24.
nov1628-randalls-farm-meadow-early-stages-24x48

To compress the foreground even more forcefully against the picture plane I offer example 8.  Here the colors are intercut and interlaced with competing shapes. The effect is closer to fractured stained glass than flora.  The interstitial blue colored shapes can appear to jump from background to foreground.

Example 8.
nov1628forest-gardenstep-three-natural-stained-glass-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

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Bridges and Crossings

Arches, Passages, Portals and Bridges demonstrate and celebrate our greatest achievements in engineering and act as architectural protagonists in paintings.  They appear as commemorative monuments in the form of triumphal arches and spanning bridges. Artists used this celebration of bridges in their explorations of expressive perspectives.

For examples I begin in the mid-18th century with Canaletto.  While visiting London to satisfy a demand for commissions of his work he found the bridges over the Thames to be a suitably grandiose subject.  In example 1 you see a demonstration of his perspective skill as he places the viewer beneath the arch of the bridge which acts as a window onto the landscape of London and the Thames.

Example 1.  Canaletto’s bridge, 1746-47.
nov1621canaletto-london-on-the-thames1746

Countless artists have exploited the metaphorical and geometric possibilities of bridges. In the late 20th century artists like Yvonne Jacquette and Wayne Thiebaud (example 2) played with aerial views of interweaving highway bridges.

Example 2. Wayne Thiebaud, late 1970s.
nov1621thiebaudwayne-highways-and-bridges-1979

Wandering along the canals of Milwaukee gave me a chance to build and rearrange a landscape of bridges. My approach starts with lots of photos which I then merged, layered, distorted and exaggerated in an effort to make an almost inscrutable matrix of bridge forms.  All these forms collided and mixed with one another. This process allowed me to generate a chaos of forms which I could easily invent and depart from.  The confusion of the photographic chaos encouraged me to invent other forms in paint in a similar fashion.

Here’s a quick illustration of that process. I begin with a photo which I cropped and squeezed (example 3).  Next, I merged that image with other similar views while simultaneously exaggerating color, contrast and the forms (example 4). Then, I began the painting process feeling liberated from any notion of transcribing or copying the photo. Example 5 is step one of two. Example 6 is the second step with the painting.

Example 3.  Photo after some adjustments.
nov1621bridges-2ab
Example 4. Photo after layering and more adjustments.
nov1621water-street-canal-bridges1layered-copy-2

Example 5. Step one of Yellow and Blue.
nov1621bridges-in-yellow-and-bluestepone

Example 6. Step two, present state of Yellow and Blue Bridges.
nov1621bridges-in-yellow-and-bluesteptwo

In addition to the photo distortions acting as a muse I tried painting over old paintings incorporating some of their colors and forms into my bridge building.
Example 7 is the image I chose to over-paint.  It had too many shortcomings for me to want to continue with it. Example 8 represents an early stage in the process.  You can see how colors and textures of the substrate image are revealed and harvested in the example 9. Example 9 represents the image in its present state.

Example 7.  Image to be over-painted.
nov1621bridges-step-two

 

Example 8. Early stage in painting.
nov1621bridges-step-three

Example 9. Present state.
nov1621milwaukee-canal-bridges-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum36x36

Examples 10 and 11 were stimulated by not only the effects of Photoshop distortions but, physical (cut and paste) collage work as well.  Here, examples 9 and 10 present only the later painting portion of the process.

Example 10.  Step one of Stepped Bridges.
nov1621bridges-and-canal-step-one

Example 11.  Step two of Stepped Bridges, present state.
nov1621stepped-bridges-24x24-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-alum24x24

 

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Nets, Curves and Rectangles

Nets offer the gift of the veil with its the fog of mystery.  Nets offer enchantment by preventing full disclosure. The bride hides and hints at her beauty behind it.  We conversationally refer to the veil of mystery not, the blanket. Netting is curvaceous, flexible, and capable of motion and suggesting of form.  On the contrary, rectilinear forms are perceived as static, firm, and inorganic.

To invest an image with both rectilinear imagery versus fluid imagery as well as the tension between opacity versus semi-transparency  generates a feeling amplifying both qualities. Their contrasting qualities magnify one another. This phenomena of perceived contrast as the amplifier of experience holds true throughout the scope of human perception whether with color, value, size, or texture.

The rectilinear can be presented subtly, through fractured and blurred horizontals and verticals. Rigid horizontals and verticals can mutate into curves or, stand in contrast to a meshy net of curves.  The netting  helps imply soft forms. The netting  offers the sensation of space through its perforations.  Andrew Wyeth caught this tension with static verticals versus the windswept translucence of netting in his “Pentecost” (example 1).  In 1920, Man Ray photographed this image he called “Moving Sculpture” which gives the fragile fluttering of fabric a feeling of movement held in check by steel girders (example2).  Teruhide Kato overlaid a veil of cherry blossoms over architectural forms ((example 3).

Example 1. Andrew Wyeth, egg tempera,
nov167wyeth-andrew-pentecost-tempera

Example 2, Man Ray, silver gelatin photo print,
nov167photography-man-ray-1920-moving-sculpture-gelatin-silver-print-6x8-inches-approx

Example 3, Teruhide Kato, woodblock, 1992,
nov167japan20th-cent-teruhide-kato-1992woodcutskyoto-romance

Layering photographs can create a feeling of natural netting with a capacity for motion as you see in examples 4 and 5.

Example 4. Leaves float in layers, Photo.
nov167devils-den-oct302a

Example 5, Layers of grass float as a net on and in water, Photo.
nov167devils-den-nov1

While wandering through a Connecticut meadow I found a tumble of felled grasses. Their piling created the feeling of an armature for some invisible form beneath.  I present steps one and two of this image in examples 6 and 7.

Example 6. Step one, oil on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum, Omegabond.
nov167meadowfabric-of-autumn-step-1-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-aluminum24x24

Example 7. Step two, of the meadow grasses.
nov167meadowfabric-of-autumn-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-aluminum24x24

Neil Welliver’s study for a beaver lodge demonstrates a fractured net of  verticals can be composed into a soft form.  His structure makes an easy comparison with my example 7. Welliver’s use of contrasting verticals (trees) help to unify the image with a strong feeling of contrast.  See example  7a.

example 7a. Neil Welliver beaver lodge study.
nov167american-20th-cent-late-neil-welliver-beaver-dam-study

In example 8 observe the contrast of example 7’s soft grass built forms  against this rectilinear matrix which feels architectural. This example was presented in a previous blogpost but, this image demonstrates  later revisions and additions.

Example 8, Urban Matrix, oil.
nov167city-midtown-matrix-oilon-enameled-laminated-aluminum-24x24

Step-by-step image sequences can reveal how images are built in layers. Here is a sequence which begins by layering different colors beginning with yellow (example 9) to reds and deep blue (example 10) to mixed pastels and texturing (example 11) to adding a net of small shapes  across the surface (example 12).

Example 9, step one, yellow.
nov167-step-1-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 10, step two, reds and deep blue.
nov167-step-2-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 11, step three, mixed pastels and texturing.
nov167-step-4-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 12, step four, present state with net of small shapes.
nov167-step-5-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

The final example presents fractured horizontals colliding and blending to create a vibration of motion coupled to a feeling of surface (example 13).

Example 13, Autumn Pool, oil, on enameled laminated aluminum24x24.
nov167stream-autumn-patches-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

A reminder: This week I have a series of workshops at Jerry’s Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh Durham, N.C.  From Friday November 11 through Sunday November 13th.   The Friday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm, “Painting Reflections in Glass, Water and Other Surfaces”. The Saturday workshop is also 9am to 4 pm “New Trends: Merging Paint the Digital Photography”. The Sunday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm “Abstracting Nature, from Meadows to Flora”.  To register call: 800 827 8478 ext 156.

This April 20-23, 2017 the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach sponsors of workshop with me; two days on location and two days in the studio. Call Sara Bass at 904-280-0614 x 204 or register at www.ccpvb.org/programs/adult/adult-workshops .

 

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Finding Cezanne

While giving a demonstration which merged lyrical gestures  with closely observed  meadow foliage  I discovered I was channeling Paul Cezanne, Gerhard Richter and my own childhood memories beneath the Christmas tree  looking up at  glass balls suspended over me like luminous planets (example 1).  These metaphors appeared to me as I moved the paint about. I had begun with a series of close-ups of autumn porcelain berries.  I ended up as a time traveler through personal memory, astronomy and art history.

Example 1. Class Demonstration piece, oil,
oct1631-intimate-or-cosmic-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum12x12demo

In the two examples by Cezanne you will notice the free, translucent, and layered gestures of his brushwork in both his watercolor (example 2) and his oil (example 3).  His painting suggests forms reflecting and penetrated by light. As his brushwork aggregates he builds more volume without losing translucence. These late works by Cezanne demonstrate his interest in reflected planes of light, an interest later pursued by Braque and Picasso in Cubism .

Example 2.  Cezanne Watercolor, chateau Noir, circa 1900.
oct1631cezanne-chateau-noir-watercolor1897-to-1906

Example 3.  Cezanne oil, 1897.
oct1631cezanne-sous-bois1897

I noticed how the sphere shapes not only connoted holiday glass ornaments, marbles, porcelain berries, and planets but also served as markers defining volumetric space.  They made the picture-space deeper. The gestures with brushes and squeegees gave the space motion. I decided to try some larger pieces.

Example 4 began on sheet of clean, white, enameled, laminated aluminum, 24×24. It represents the first step.  Example 5 presents the second step. In step two the image has been layered with tinted glazes to vary and deepen the colors. I wanted more warmth to suggest the sensation of the changing patterns of sunlight as it fell upon foliage in a breeze. I also wanted to sustain the alternate sensations of the spheres appearing as marbles, berries, space makers, cosmic orbs and glass balls.

Example 4.  Pre-glazed step one.
oct1631meadow-with-porcelain-berries-stepone-oil-on-enameled-lam-alum24x24

Example 5. Post-glazed step two.
oct1631meadow-autumn-porcelain-berrystep-two-oil-on-enamled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Next, I moved to a larger format,  29×29. I  began with a substrate from an older painting which offered an array of blended blues, yellows and greens (example 6).  In the second step I covered the substrate and then selectively removed the covering paint to exploit the substrate’s textures and colors (example 7).

Example 6. Substrate for Example 7.
oct1631-step-one-substratemay-reflections-oil-on-aluminum28x286000_edited-1

Example 7. Step two, present state.
oct1631meadowmotion-of-the-planets-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum29x29

Example 7 demonstrates not only the wild porcelain berry metaphor but the motion of the planets as well. The orbs are arranged as if they formed astronomical shapes like the big or little dipper. They recede into the shadowy space, a space with the deep blue color associated with the cosmos.

My exhibit at the White Gallery in Lakeville, Ct continues. Please drop by check thewhitegalleryart.com for information or call 860 435 1029.

A reminder: In November I have a series of workshops at Jerry’s Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh Durham, N.C.  From Friday November 11 through Sunday November 13th.   The Friday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm, “Painting Reflections in Glass, Water and Other Surfaces”. The Saturday workshop is also 9am to 4 pm “New Trends: Merging Paint the Digital Photography”. The Sunday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm “Abstracting Nature, from Meadows to Flora”.  To register call: 800 827 8478 ext 156.

You are invited Saturday, November 5th from 4 to 6PM  to a reception and artist’s talk (by me) at the Drawing Room, 220 East Putnam Avenue in Cos Cob, and Ct. with selected works on view. 203 661 3737 or, info@thedrawingroom.cc .

This April 20-23, 2017 the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach sponsors of workshop with me; two days on location and two days in the studio. Call Sara Bass at 904-280-0614 x 204 or register at www.ccpvb.org/programs/adult/adult-workshops .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Influenced by Stained Glass & Cloisonne

By the 15th century stained glass artists like Antonio da Pisa experimented with lighter colors in glass with complex patterns (example 1).  They wanted more light to illuminate church interiors.  Earlier Mosaic artists had used reflective ceramics and polished semi-precious stones to cast reflected light. Even in smaller objects like reliquaries and ornamented book covers artists used reflective materials in intricate patterns to give the sensation that the object radiated its own light (example 2).  Here, the 11th Century book cover has the inscription, LUX MUNDI, meaning light of the world.  The choice of the reflective materials supported the theme of giving light.

Example 1. St Barnabas window, Florence, 1441.
oct1624stained-glassantonio-da-pisa-artist-for-st-marnabas-window-1441-florence

Example 2. LUX MUNDI, 11th century.
oct1624lux-mundi-11th-centurybook-cover-of-aribert

Since antiquity, artists had used the pictorial arrangements of enamels, semi-precious stones, polished gold and silver to create radiant effects (example 3). The cloisonné example from 625 CE from Suffolk,  England has been restored to reveal its original luster and colored patterns.

Example 3. Cloisonné Purse Cover, 625.
oct1624cloisonnegold-enamel-english620-ce-purse-cover-suffolk

Traditions stretching back thousands of years across Europe and the Middle East demonstrate varieties of vine and serpent curling, interwoven patterns  creating complex opportunities to place bright bits of stone, mosaic, glass, and jewels in strategically designed interstitial spaces.  This pattern building extended to functional ceramics, fabrics, and carvings. Contemporary artists like El Anatsui of Ghana extended and re-imagined these traditions using the found detritus of bottle caps, copper wire and tin cans (example 4).

Example 4. El Anatsui, metal curtain assemblage with drapery like folds.
oct1624el-anatsuighana-metal-capscans-copper-wire-full-view

Other artists used these techniques and patterning ideas in painting and photography. Earlier in the 20th century Georgia O’Keeffe arranged designs in paintings which reminded her of quilt patterns from childhood. In example 5 you see how she places the spots of blue sky between lyrical branches as if she were working in stained glass.

Example 5. Georgia O’Keeffe, Spring Tree.
oct1624okeeffe-spring-tree-no-1

In the mid 20th century Nicolas de Stael excised the standard floral information in this Flower still-life (example 6) and placed jewel-like colors along the edges of the forms treating the piece as if he were making abstract jewelry.

Example 6. Nicolas de Stael, Flowers.
oct1624french1963nicolas-de-staelflowers

Example 7 presents my nature photograph with heightened colors. The arrangement of patterns of gemlike colors surrounding a luminous center is taken from principles of jewelry design.

Example 7, photograph.
oct1624autumn-forest-reflections_edited-1-and-stonebridge-vertical-view-alt2

Borrowing principles of the flat pattern repetitions of wallpaper I began the flower painting in example 8. The limited colors, the flattened tonal effects and the mark-making were all designed to give an impression flowers in stylized repetition.  In Example 9 I added more atmospheric effects by blending and blurring edges.  I retained the cloisonné idea of high-contrast jewelry patterns at this stage.  The later blurring suggests motion and atmosphere while the patterning of flora behind the flowers suggests the intertwining patterns found in decorative jewelry, carpets, and other ornamented materials. Example 10 offers another example of using cloisonné patterns with sharp, isolated, color contrasts.

Example 8. Step one, floral patterns.
oct1624flowersstep-two-nybg

Example 9, Step two of floral patterns, present state.
oct1624flowersnybg-conservatory-pinks-oil-on-enameled-laminated-alum24x24

Example 10.  Berlin Garden, revised since the last blog post, 24×48.
oct1624flowers-berlin-roses-oil-on-enameled-laminated-alum-24x48-oct24

The next work is presented in two steps again. The first step (example 11) demonstrates the beginning of a scene along one of Milwaukee’s Canals with its variety of grass plantings and rows of bridges. The second step (example12) demonstrates how I invested threads of color in overlapping patterns suggestive of jewel like effects in the grasses before the bridges.

Example 11. Step one, Bridges and Grasses.
oct1624milwaukee-bridgesstepone

Example 12, Step two, present state, Bridges and Grasses.
oct1624milwaukee-bridges-step-three

The principle behind the patterns of the counterpoint rectangles which you saw in the previous stained-glass window example, the jeweled book cover, and El Anatsui’s  metal curtain were reworked and re-imagined in my last example #13. Here is a shoreline and sea grass landscape constructed with an eye to the abstract patterns described above.  Rectilinear shapes subdivide and cross the surface acting as a unifying matrix for the colors and textures.

Example 13. Shoreline Matrix, oil on enameled laminated aluminum.
oct1624shorelines-sparkle-patterns-oil-on-laminated-enameled-alum-36x36alt

This November I have a series of workshops at Jerry’s Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh Durham, N.C.  from Friday November 11 through Sunday November 13th.   The Friday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm, “Painting Reflections in Glass, Water and Other Surfaces”. The Saturday workshop is also 9am to 4 pm “New Trends: Merging Paint the Digital Photography”. The Sunday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm “Abstracting Nature, from Meadows to Flora”.  To register call: 800 827 8478 ext 156. These

The three different workshops are described on this website under classes and workshops.

I have an exhibition of my work at the White Gallery in Lakeville, Ct at 342 Main Street.  Friday through Sunday 11-5 PM. 860 435-1029. thewhitegalleryart.com

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