Saturday, October 30, 2010

Life Drawing

On an impulse last Sunday, I went to a life-drawing session at Alan Emerson Hick's studio in the Ravenswood area of Chicago, with Judith Roth. To be honest, I have not drawn from a life model, indeed a life anything for a very, very long time, essentially since graduate school. I did not even have anything resembling a sketchbook in my studio.

My way of working for the longest time, my process, has been to work directly with the painting, with the drawing. The painting or drawing and I engage in a kind of dialogue or what used to be called worked organically. From those conversations I have made a lot of art for years.

My undergraduate art-education background is rooted in one of the American successors of the Bauhaus; design, photography were hailed as the modern forms, life-drawing and crafts were sneeringly derided as "beaux-arts" and "basket-weaving," respectively, by my professors.

Then in graduate school, having been admitted, a professor in my major group insisted that I did not have sufficient life-drawing classes, so I was shunted off to what was essentially a remedial class with the freshmen. Graduate school, even then, was expensive, those extra classes would have constituted a delay in graduation and extra dollars of tuition. Another professor poached me to his group and I never looked back at the need to do more life-drawing. I began the process of working directly as an abstract expressionist with my paintings and drawings.

I should add that it might be thought presumptuous to attend a life-drawing session with Judith, who is one of the best at looking at the human form and bringing it to life on canvas or paper.

I learned a valuable life-lesson in this life-drawing session. Amongst my conclusions, wow, it's really really hard, it takes time and patience to learn to reproduce relatively faithfully the illusion of the human form with your hand and eye. Really, really hard.

I learned that the observation of the model in front of me added a third kind of voice to the dialogue that existed between myself and the substrate. Looking at the model, at the drawing, at my hand, listening to my art-voice, the one that makes seemingly a thousand million decisions at once, slowed my head and hand almost to a crawl. I had to reconcile the visual space between the model and the drawing paper AND my need to make a meaningful image that made some sort of compositional sense, AND had some interest.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Want to See More of This

[caption id="attachment_491" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Frank Stella and kids, MoCA"]Frank Stella, MCA[/caption]

I want to see more of this at museums in my city. Much, much more. I want to see children enjoying art by making it in the museums. The top photo is from the MOCA in Los Angeles in front of a Frank Stella painting.

[caption id="attachment_492" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Picasso Museum, Paris"]Picasso Museum. Paris[/caption]

Above is one that I took in Paris at the Picasso Museum.

Sitting for a Portrait by Judith Roth

I served as Judith Roth's muse in a collaboration for the October ARC Gallery Members' Show, just past.

[gallery link="file" columns="4"]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Work at Sapere Gallery, Chicago

[caption id="attachment_134" align="alignleft" width="217" caption="Cri de Coeur, 18 x 24 x 2in., watercolor, prismacolor pencil, graphite pencil on birchwood panels. 2010"]Cri de Coeur, 18 x 24 x 2in., watercolor, prismacolor pencil, graphite pencil on birchwood panels. 2010[/caption]

With the help of Scott Simons, this painting, one of six, delivered to Gary Marr, gallerist of Sapere Gallery, 1579 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, last week.

I've been working with watercolor lately, for about a year (view recent work here). I find an immediacy and a brilliance that excite me in these pieces. To get the intense color I have been mixing the pigments myself and just flooding the surface with it. The substrate is just a birchwood panel, totally unprepared, no gesso, no ground, nothing between the paint and the wood.

The panels are hand made by Joel Fromer of Art Services.

There will be more pieces, I just obtained 35 additional panels for my next year's anticipated production.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Juried into the Art Loop Open--Counting Down

Counting down to Friday, October 15th at 5:00 pm. Today the Art Loop Open Facebook page sent out a video which literally displays all 191 of the pieces in the show in 1 minute 41 seconds.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Juried into Chicago Art Loop Open

Rainbow's End, 44x30in., pencil, prismacolor, charcoal, oil stick, oil wash on 90# white Stonehenge, 2009This is going to be an interesting set of experiences coming up in the next couple of weeks. My piece, "Rainbow's End," has been selected by the jurors of the Chicago Art Loop Open. The opening is Friday, October 15 at 5:00 pm. simultaneously at ten venues around the Chicago loop. My piece, "Rainbow's End," will be at Block 37.
The organizers have set up a system of voting via cellphone texting or an app downloaded to a smartphone. Visitors can vote for as many artists as they wish, but only once for each artist. The organizers clearly wish to avoid the likelihood that us artists would have encouraged all of our friends to vote over the internet, art-work sight unseen. The organizers want the public to come and see the art, to look at it all in person and make informed decisions and ultimately to show off good art.

Another part of what makes this interesting is that I personally know of a large number of very good artists who were not juried in; and yet, when I look at the list of acceptances, I'm delighted to be in such good company,Jason Messinger (at Palmer House), Renee McGinnis (at Merchandise Mart), Sandy Holubow (at Block 37), Jesse Howard (at Block 37), Pamela Johnson (at theWit Hotel), Beth Kamhi (at Hard Rock Hotel). My scan of the art pieces submitted via the artists list on the website signals the possibility that the jurors worked to select a wide range of art across the Chicago art-making spectrum. I'll know better about this as I work my way through all ten venues.

Shown: Rainbow's End, 44x30in., pencil, prismacolor, charcoal, oil stick, oil wash on 90# white Stonehenge, 2009