Anamario Hernández at the Mexican Cultural Institute.
Washington, DC (ends today)
I was taken by this statement as it relates to my work. Wet Plums, oil on linen
This piece is quiet. It and many other pieces were very calming. White SL, Oil on linen
I like the idea of the art being hidden. Something I try do do in my assemblages. Eyes, oil on linen
A sweet landscape. Amayuca Tryptich, oil on linen
Life, Death, Rebirth
video installation. The 2 figures cut from clear Plexiglas and hung from the ceiling. The projector reflects off the plexi and cast a darker shadow and a lighter one. The pieces twirl and the images move about the room reflecting off the wall and so forth. The waves in the video get stronger as the video and sound progresses.
In the beginning phase, I have drawn in the image I want to paint. I use graphite and sometimes brush the graphite around with turpentine.
I start to block in the background. I pull the graphite into the painting and use it to darken edges and grey them. This layer is thin and I allow the white of the board to reflect back through. This increases the intensity of the color and by brushing, scraping and rubbing, I can lighten the color.
You can see in the next photo, the lines are still visible in the painting. I have blocked in the object and am moving the paint around, grabbing some graphite from the edges. I may at this point redraw parts of the image with pencil to strengthen the line.
In the final stages, I add highlights and darken shadows. Some of the lines still come through. The paint layer is thin in some areas and thick in others. That depends on whether I want the lines and canvas to show thru or whether I want the paint to catch the light.
I like my paintings to be a bit rough, so I don’t obsess over the detail, at least not too much.
I recently viewed the Van Gogh show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I noticed that the commentators often referred to his mental state and talked about his ‘nervous’ brushwork. It was related to his condition, they claimed. In this hypothesis, he was excitable and thus the brushwork conveyed his agitation. Statements were made concerning the best works, which were portrayed as being done while he was in this state of anxiety.
I didn’t see this. In this show there were both strong and weak pieces. The strongest pieces were full of life, bright and with lots of vibrating strokes of paint. The weaker pieces were dull and lifeless. What I saw in the most active paintings were the workings of a rational and focused mind. I think that his most beautiful paintings were done at the times when his mind was sharp….on his ‘good’ days.
Concerning the strokes of paint. They all follow the form or its projected path. Horizontal hatchings are used for the surfaces of the ground and grass, with vertical and diagonal strokes indicating the trees and plants that emerge upwards. Even the negative space has been considered. If you took the negative space and made a 3-d shape or balloon from it, then proceeded to ‘shade’ the form with lines, you would have the skys and negative spaces that were so important in Van Gogh’s pieces. This is the work of a highly intelligent and rational mind. It is not the result of nervousness.
When observing these works, one can also see the underpainting. Some pieces are mostly underpainting with a few strokes added on top. This shows foresight and planning. The underpainting is flat and thin.
I believe that the weaker pieces were done when his mind wasn’t functioning correctly. These exhibit symptoms of a distracted and unfocused person.
There is no doubt that Van Gogh had mental problems. However, I think it is important to recognize his active role in producing these works. It is popular to explain his pieces as the result of his condition, and not the result of intense observation and a working theory of how he wanted to present these images.
The myth of the insane artist is fodder for another blog post.
A few days ago I hosted a drawing group at my home. There are seven guys who get together and draw each other or whoever else is around. Meeting is every 2 weeks. We have a little wine or beer and draw for 12 minute sessions. After the session, we have snacks, tea, or more wine, beer or whiskey.
The core group started together in the mid 80’s. I joined in the early 90’s and went intermittently. I quit after my second daughter was born and rejoined about 7 years ago.
Monday, one of the guys was modeling and his foot fell asleep. He stood up and promptly fell down. His ankle was sprained. We didn’t know this until the next day. The pain didn’t start right away as his foot was asleep. Soon he needed ice, wraps and pain killers.
This was the first “drawing” accident I have heard of. Or as Victor pointed out, it was really a modeling accident.
This is a drawing I did that night.
Here is a link to a show we had in 2006 at Digging Pitt Gallery. There are excerpts from Victor’s Journal.
Well… I started wordpress on April 12, 2009 and this is my first post!
I rented a studio in Lawrenceville this past year (March, 2011) and have begun producing artwork in some quantities again. So I decided to start using my blog (finally) and document my experiences and thoughts about all of that.
Lawrenceville is a neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. It is a neighborhood in transition. Parts of it have been converted to upscale living spaces. and parts are not. You may still encounter some drunks, addicts, whatever. There was a shooting last summer in the alley behind me, a block away. But I have always felt safe. I should say that the area that my studio is in, is the last area that is undergoing rehabilitation. Other parts of this neighborhood don’t see the things I have just described.
I enjoy my location. Lawrenceville has all of what I required for a studio location. Proximity to other artists, an art community, coffee shops, eateries and bars within walking distance.
I will try to upload a piece of mine for every post. Or one in progress.
This piece was one of the first ones I painted in my Lawrenceville studio. oil on paper. 5″ x 7″ April, 2011.