Monday, September 30, 2013

The Drawer Box

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 and I will put you in touch with my brother.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Contemporary or Old School

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.

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.

Henrik Uldalen
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

Comfort Zone II

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

Comfort Zone

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.