Saturday, October 3, 2015

Assisi, Italy: Painting the Via del Pozzo Della Mensa

As I mentioned in this post, the temperature was quite hot this summer in Assisi.  Therefore, we could not hang out all day in our beloved Comune.  We had to find alternative places to paint.  This turned out to be a good thing as we discovered a bunch of new places to paint and new restaurants to visit.

We quickly realized that for our afternoon painting sessions, we would have to find sites that were as cool as possible.  After a bit of walking around, we realized that we could paint in some of the many small tunnels that are all over Assisi.  Somehow we missed seeing these last year, but we were so lucky to have found them as having shade enabled us to paint during the crazy heat wave that was engulfing all of Europe.

This was the temp for most of our visit.  102 degrees every day!  It was insane.  Luckily, Assisi is very dry, so we did not have to deal with the crazy humidity that we have here in New York.  But we did have to be very careful to drink a lot of water and stay out of the sun.

We actually found our first tunnel because we saw a sign for an air conditioned restaurant and while walking out of there after lunch, we found ourselves on the Via del Pozzo Della Mensa.

It looks like a small alley, but this is actually a road with homes on each side.  The residents of the street were lovely and they were so excited to have artists painting outside their homes.  One of the many things I love about the people of Italy is how supportive they are of artists.

As you can see, this road is not very wide and we just assumed it was a pedestrian walkway that the residents on the block used.  We were wrong.  Cars, including an SUV and a small garbage truck, came down the street at least once or twice each painting session.   We had to grab our easels and jump into a doorway!  It was actually kind of fun and just one of those crazy things that happen when you are painting outside.  

We painted in this spot three afternoons.  I had no problem getting in the buildings, the tunnel and the shadows, but as you can see, getting the correct perspective of the road took some work.  It was not as simple as just having the lines meet at a vanishing point as the road had to take the viewer into the tunnel.  After a few tries and some help from Gregg, I got it done.

My finished study
This is my finished study.  I would love to turn this into a large painting at some point.  I have never tried that before, but I may with this one.

This was the view facing out of the tunnel.  You can see how hot it was, but we were so fortunate to have the shade.  We had a lovely time in this spot.  I hope I get to paint there again someday.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Brush Making Demonstration By Rosemary & Company

This past Tuesday evening I attended a very fun event.  Rosemary & Company brushes are now being sold at Jerry's International Palette here in New York, and Rosemary herself did a brush making demo in the store.

Rosemary and her daughter Symi came in for the demo, bringing with them a large selection of brushes.  I'm so excited that the brushes will now be sold in the US.  Their online ordering was great, but I like to see brushes before I buy them, so I'm happy to be able to do that now.

All Rosemary & Co. brushes are made by hand by Rosemary and her team.  She demonstrated how to make a few different kinds of brushes and showed us the whole process.  Rosemary said that filberts (the brushes that I use) are the most difficult to make.

Not only is Rosemary a very talented brush maker, she is also quite funny.  She told us that she started out tying flies for fly fishing because she wanted to hang around with her brother and his cute friend :) She realized she had a talent and turned that into brush making.

The white object on the right that looks like a water bottle is actually a big spool of white string.  All the brush makers use a different color string so if a defective brush gets sent back the company knows who made it.  When Rosemary remarried and took a two week vacation, she came back to find that her whole team used her white string while she was away!

Did you notice the Chanel No. 5 bottle on the left?  Rosemary uses talcum powder to keep her hands cool while making the brushes.  She said it's like making pastry.  Everything has to be cool.  I was laughing to myself about the Chanel, but Rosemary said anyone who gets a gift of talcum powder and does not use it passes it on to her, so she gets all kinds of posh powders.

We also learned about a new brush line, the Evergreens. They were artist tested and the response was great, so they made them available to everyone.  Personally, I'm thrilled with this new line.  I'm vegan and don't use animal hair brushes, so I was very happy to find out that there is now a second synthetic line available (the Ivory brushes are also synthetic).

Thanks to Rosemary, Symi and everyone at Jerry's for a fun and informative evening!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Still Life Workshop With Gregg Kreutz At The Art Guild Of Port Washington

If you're thinking that I have been spending a lot of time at The Art Guild lately, you would be right.
There have been a bunch of fun events happening, and this past weekend they held a still life workshop with my teacher, Gregg Kreutz.

 We had thirteen still life set ups to create, so we spent the day before the workshop getting everything ready.

This was a massive undertaking that required lots of time, schlepping, trips to the grocery store, and moving things around, but we got it done and everyone loved the set ups.

The workshop started off with Gregg giving a demo for us.

As you can see, he started by just getting the composition and then blocking in the shadows and color.  This was the painting after about 40 minutes (!).

After the demo it was time for everyone to get started.  The group ranged from beginners to experienced painters, but everyone did a great job.

This was my set up.

This was my painting at the end of the day.  I just managed to get it blocked in.

Day two began with a continuation of the demo.  Everyone was anxious to see how the painting would go on from the initial block in.  Many of the workshop participants also wanted to see how Gregg handled painting grapes as some people found them quite difficult.  Personally, I was in peach hell, but that is another saga all together.

This is the painting at the end of the demo.  All this done in about 90 minutes!

At the end of the workshop, everyone gathered outside with their paintings so we could all see what had been done.

As you can see, there were many beautiful paintings.  Do you know who did not have a beautiful painting to display?  Me.  My lighting was not great so that hampered me a bit, and for some inexplicable reason I chose to work on a 16x20 sized canvas.  Why I did that I will never know as I am the slowest painter in the world. I should have known there was no way I could finish, but it will be fine.  Luckily, all the objects I was painting belonged to me, so I will simply finish the painting on my own.

Everyone had such a good time that we are talking about having a second workshop in the spring.  Thanks to Gregg and The Art Guild for a great painting weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Still Life Show Reception, The Art Guild Of Port Washington

In my last post I told you guys that I had three paintings hanging in the still life show at The Art Guild Of Port Washington.  We had the reception Friday night and I'm very happy to say that I won honorable mention for my painting, White Pitcher With Fruit.  Artist Leah Lopez was the juror for the show, so this was quite an honor for me.  I have been an admirer of Leah's art for many years and it was great to see her at the show and hear her talk a bit about art and her thought process on choosing  the award winners.

My painting, White Pitcher With Fruit, 16x12, oil

Not sure what my deer in the headlights look is about, but I was thrilled to see the ribbon by my painting. 

We had a great time at the reception.  So many people came to see the show which always makes it a lot of fun.

The co-president and co-executive director of The Art Guild

Me getting my award!

Juror Leah Lopez speaking to the audience on her choices for the awards

This is Leah's painting, Peaches.  I took this photo, but it is difficult to get a good shot as the juror has their own space on the wall and there is a spotlight shining on the painting. But it is an incredible painting and I urge you to click over to Leah's site and have a look around.  Her paintings are amazing.

As usual, thank you to everyone at The Art Guild for putting on a great show and reception!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Still Life Show Tonight At The Art Guild Of Port Washington

Hi everyone.  Just  a quick note to let you know that I have three paintings in the still life show at The  Art Guild Of Port Washington.

Sunflowers In A Glass Vase, 18x14, oil

White Pitcher With Fruit, 12x16, oil

Blue And White Bowl With Fruit, 16x20, oil

The address is 200 Port Washington Blvd, Manhasset, NY  11030.  The opening reception and awards presentation is tonight from 6-8pm.  The show is being juried by the incredibly talented Leah Lopez and she will be there for the reception as well.   I saw the show Wednesday and it's really great.   If you are in the NYC/LI area, please drop by.  We would love to see you!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Metropolitan Museum Of Art, China: Through The Looking Glass Exhibition

Last night I had the most enjoyable evening I've had in quite some time.  I saw on Instagram that the Met was staying open until midnight last night to accommodate the hordes of people flocking to see the China: Through The Looking Glass exhibition before it closes on Monday.  The Met really hit it out of the park with this show.  Everything in it was absolutely amazing.

House Of Dior, John Galliano

John Galliano had many dresses in the exhibit and I loved every one of them.  He was interviewed by Andrew Bolton for a chapter in the exhibition catalog and it was great to read about his design process.  He was very interested in China because of the way the country was portrayed in the movies.  He later travelled there to find out about the country and culture for himself.

The headpieces were done by Stephen Jones and they were amazing.  I loved every single one.

Mixed in with the current fashions were Chinese robes from the 18th century that resembled the newer creations.  It was easy to see how Chinese fashion is still influencing designers today.

One of my favorite pieces in the show was this Ralph Lauren tuxedo jacket.  I took all of these photos in a very dark room through glass cases so it is a bit difficult to pick up on the amazing work that was put into these pieces, but take my word for it, this jacket is to die for.

Another John Galliano dress.  The dress was gorgeous and had the most amazing train.

This dress is by Balenciaga.  The detail work on this dress was unbelievable.  Just incredibly beautiful.

The piece above is a 19th century rubbing of a 10th century stone carving.  The print influenced Christian Dior in his design of the cocktail dress "Quiproquo"

Next we got to my favorite part of the show.  The blue and white room (of course).  So many unbelievable treasures in there.

This is a small sampling of the blue and white porcelain on display.  Of course I was thinking about how I would love to take them home to use in my paintings, but the truth is the designs and shapes of these vases, gourds and ginger jars are still in use today.  Some of these pieces are centuries old, and would work perfectly in any decor today.

Li Xiaofeng, The Weight Of The Millennium, 2015

This sculpture was insane.  I was not able to get a shot of the whole thing, but it was a dress made out of blue and white porcelain!

And now, on to the blue and white dresses.  They were amazingly beautiful.  The above photo is Valentino.

Giambattista Valli

John Galliano

Roberto Cavalli


House Of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld

I have MANY more photos to show you, so I think I'll continue this post tomorrow.  Hope you are enjoying this peek into the exhibition.  The show is closing tomorrow (Monday) so if you are in New York City, please go see it for yourself.  You won't regret it!