Friday, November 30, 2007

Comparing 2 Books on Color

This month life has gotten in the way and I do not see it easing with Christmas on the horizon. So I have decided to work on exercises to keep me painting. I have two books on color in my art library. "Exploring Color" by Nita Leland (listed in favorites on right) and "Painter's Guide to Color" by Stephan Quiller. Both are award winning and published artist. They each teach workshops on color and other topics. In Nita's introduction, she states that she wants you to play and have fun as learn about color. She uses exercises along the way to help you understand and use color. Nita feels color can be taught. She states what she wants you to learn from her books as: - Develop your appreciation of color, science, history and theory - Build your colors vocabulary - Explore strengths, limitations and idiosyncrasies of your paints or medium of choice - Make intelligent choices from basic and expanded palettes - Understand and use color schemes and designs - Experiment and develop distinctive ways of using color based on sound theory Using her book, Nita feels that you can "master basic color mixing, explore compatible triads and using expanded palettes you will build a solid foundation for creative color." Stephen Quiller's book is the second book he has written on color. In this book he feels that he has "refined techniques that will help painters understand color more thoroughly." Stephen created a round painter's palette to locate and mix colors. He feels that once you learn his method to organize your palette, mix colors and understand color relationships you will have a better understanding of color. Stephen's chapters (with exercises) are as follows: - Introduction of the Quiller color wheel. - Discusses value-intensity foundation - Color relationships and the mixing of harmonious color families - Describes how color can express moods and ideas - Demonstrates how the twelve color palette and expanded palette can be used on location - Devoted to master colorists throughout history By using his book, Stephen Quiller hopes the reader becomes more confident in their palette when they paint. So there it is...two artist with two different ways at explaining color. I plan on doing some of the exercises in each book over the next several weeks. My goal is to get a better understanding on mixing and using color in my paintings. I will post my exercises and findings on each of these methods as I go along. Wish me luck :-) Gaylynn

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for being with my family. My children are home from college and we are off to visit with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The best part of this holiday for me is tomorrow when my sisters and mom spend the day together. We use shopping to be together since we are all in town at one time. So I am thankful each year that we are able to spend this time together. I hope everyone is able to spend time with their loved ones today. Gaylynn

Monday, November 19, 2007

Vanishing Frontier: Rookwood, Farny and the American Indian

The Cincinnati Art Museum is having an exhibit showing area artists (around 1860-1900) depiction of the American Indian. They described the exhibit, "As the American Indian's traditional way of life was ending. Cincinnati's artists created legendary images that define how we view them today." Cincinnati is not now nor then anywhere near the West. So how did these area artist get their ideas of what an Indian was and how they lived? My friend and I went to this exhibit thinking we would see some paintings of lifestyle of Indians and vases with painted portraits of Indians. What we learned was that the Rookwood Pottery artist (after portrait lessons from Frank Duveneck) used photos from professional photographers. These photographers had gone to the many reservations throughout the US to take these portraits. The Rookwood artist kept the images close to the pictures they used to create the beautiful pottery. Carol Young, and a few others in this collection, seemed to be the premier pottery painter. These pieces of decorative pottery were exquisite. Not only were the portraits beautiful, the pieces were in mint condition. Henry Farny was and illustrator turned fine artist when he figured out that he could "sell" the American Indian persona. These paintings are fine paintings until you read the captions and learn that Farny created the Indian in the way the Government was portraying them which was that they were evil. Henry Farny did travel out west to see Indians up close, but as the historians note he placed items from different tribes together to create the image he wanted. One painting had an Indian sitting at dusk with a campfire, in snow, with his dogs and sled filled with items. The things a historian pointed out that was incorrect was the dogs would not have been near the fire, but snuggled together in a snow drift to conserve heat. The Indians snow shoes would not have been laying on the ground, but leaned against the tree to dry. One would think that because he had a sled that the dogs would have pulled it there. However, dogs did not pull sleds in this location of the US. Although we enjoyed the exhibit tremendously, we were surprised on how the historical aspect of the American Indian was so misrepresented. These stereotypes happened because the "white" man in the east thought that was how things were and paid to see the Indian like that. Our government wanted us to see them as the "bad" guy to they could take the land away from them. Buffalo Bill's show was how everyone in the east and around the world saw the Indian so that is what artist painted. We also learned that at our own zoo hired a tribe to put up a camp during the summer months to live and show the public that visited their dances, etc.. Artist, like Farny, hired Indians as models. I came away feeling sorry for my ancestors perpetuation of this myth of the American Indians being evil. I did not like learning that when I look at a painting about Indians they are probably all wrong from a historical aspect. The curators of this exhibit mingled in pieces that were props. Next to the paintings that Farny painted Indians with riffles in their hands was the Winchester he used. Their was a beautiful headdress displayed that Henry Farny used in a portrait. Other artifacts through out the exhibit were items decorated with beads like moccasins, pouches for flint, arrows, or to carry things and leggings; axes, a blanket, a basket and a hide of a buffalo with drawings all over it. Most of these items (or items similar) could be found in in the Rookwood and Farny paintings. Although I was surprised by the lack of historical value in these paintings, I was impressed on the execution of the work. I highly recommend seeing the exhibit. It will be at the CAM until January 20, 2008. Gaylynn

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Karin Jurick's video

One of my favorite painters (and blogger) listed to the right has begun doing videos on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt_E6RjH0CY). Her first one was about her palette. Karin's second time lapse video is a painting of a New York scene. While she paints you hear Dean Martin sing. The man walking down the street is Dustin Hoffman. It was so cool watching her lay her brush down and creating, as always, a wonderful painting. There are many other artist on Youtube doing the same thing. Robert Genn also has put some on Youtube or you can go to the link listed on the right and see them there. Each artist, that is showing you there skills, is amazing to watch. The best part is that you can learn something from each of them. I encourage everyone to check them out. Gaylynn

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Homer O Hacker, AWS at the Middletown Arts Center

"The Clan Chief" Watercolor "April at the Met" Watercolor Norm Leist and Homer at the opening of the Middletown Arts Center Annual Reunion Exhibit "A Family of Artists featuring Homer O. Hacker" Last night I met my parents at the Middeltown Arts Center Annual Reunion Exhibit featuring Homer O. Hacker and five of his family members. Sons, Thomas Hacker, FIFA (architecture); William W. Hacker (architecture); Jon Christopher Hacker, (architecture design), granddaughter Jenifer Hacker, fashion design, and grandson Kiran F. Hacker, designer. I went with my parents to the opening of this exhibit because my father, Norman Leist, knows Homer from the golf course where he works. Homer comes with his group (ages 88 to 93) to play and this summer, through conversation, they discovered a connection through my fathers uncle, Jim Harlan. Jim was a photographer at the Dayton Daily News back in the 50's and worked with Homer. Homer headed up the production department (i.e. commercial art) for the DDN. Homer is a member of the American Watercolor Society (if you go to www.americanwatercolorsociety.com, Homer wrote the history of the organization). He has been painting with watercolor since 1963. In the brochure, Homer stated, "I was attracted to paint watercolor because of its reputed difficulty. I accepted the challenge to try it. I found that it fit my personality better than oils or acrylics..." Homer's work can be described as pictorial realism. His commercial art background comes through in his strong design composition skills. Homer is 90 years old and still producing fabulous paintings. I especially enjoyed his portraits. The expressions and details in the faces were awe inspiring. Along with the pictures above, I also liked the painting when we entered the exhibit. It was of a Harley with a tarp blowing off. I could feel the wind taking the tarp and revealing the shiny motorcycle underneath. I was also fascinated with his signature on his paintings. If you click on one of the paintings above it will enlarge and you will see his signature on the right. Homer's signature is on the side with a firefly in a box. It is very oriental in its look. It reminded me of James McNeil Whistler in the way he signed his paintings with a butterfly. Homer's statement on why he began using watercolors resonated with me, because that is why I began using watercolors. I too, lean toward realism in my paintings. However, I am still working on the design skills. Homer is an inspiration and it was an honor to meet him and see his paintings. I hope everyone reading this lives to still enjoy their passions long into their nineties like Homer. Gaylynn

Sunday, November 4, 2007

19th Century German Art Exhibit at the Taft Museum

Today a friend and I went down to the Taft Museum (on the final day) to see the exhibit Romanticism to Post-Impressionism, 19th Century German Art from the Milwaukee Art Museum. The art was from the 1800's. There were 71 pen and ink drawings, watercolors, etchings and lithographs and oils depicting German literature, the Bible, landscapes and figures. They were not only dark in color, but dark in theme. Woman with Raven at the Abyss (1803) by Caspar David Friedrich (1740-1840) is an etching that shows a woman about ready to step off a ledge at the top of a mountain pass. A raven is flying in the distance while another is perched on a tree limb above her watching and waiting for her demise. And they called this the period of Romanticism! I know that the term and time was about expressing "feelings". These works were executed very well once you looked past the dark nature of most of them. An oil, by Christian L. Bokelman (1844-1894), The Peoples Bank before the Crash (1877), shows people lined up outside a building as if they are waiting to get in. A basket of ashes has been tossed on to the street. People are gossiping as they wait. The detail of the people and their dress is amazing. The artist shows so much detail in two ladies silk shawls they sparkle in the middle of all the other dark clothes and grim faces. Another exceptional piece was done by Max Libermann (1847-1935). The black crayon sketch, Dutch Orphan Girls (1885-90), showed three female children sitting outside sewing. I really loved this drawing because of the detail that was done with the crayon. This drawing was in a double sided frame because it had unfinished sketches on the back of a woman in four different spots on the page. As always the Taft Museum does a nice job on small shows and tying the work with other works found in the permanent collection. An example is of the Dutch Orphan Girls with a painting by Jozef Israels called Sewing School at Katwijik off the Taft dinning room. This painting shows a room full of girls learning stitches from an instructor. Lots of dark shadow on the walls behind the girls and with light from the large window behind the instructor. Like the Dutch Orphan Girls, their dress is dark with white aprons and bonnets. Both paintings show the girls concentrating on their sewing. Even though there are many great pieces at the Taft, we went to see three of my favorites. They are of Robert Louis Stevenson by John Singer Sargent, Working Boy by Duveneck and At the Piano by James McNeil Whistler that are featured in the same room. At the Piano is of a woman at a piano with a little girl watching intently. I am always impressed with these three artists brushwork. They make it look so easy. Like the exhibit, the clothes are dark, but the subjects and brushwork makes them come alive. Robert Louis Stevenson has this impish look on his face as he smokes. You feel like he just told the most amazing tale. In Working Boy I like how the young boy seems to be looking straight at you as he smokes his stogy. He almost reflects Robert Louis Stevenson in his casual manor of smoking. Obviously something that was normal for a working child in the 1800's, but would be out of place today. I could sit in here and look at these paintings all day. Gaylynn
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