Monday, January 8, 2018

Notecards Of My Paintings Available At Blake And Taylor!

You may remember my post a few months ago announcing that prints and notecards of my florals are now available through the Blake and Taylor shop in Brisbane, Australia.

I had a few requests for a direct link for the notecards, so I wanted to post it here, along with a few photos.

Ellie kindly sent me a packet of the cards and they are beautiful.  Photos do not do them justice.  The cards are printed on heavy stock and are perfect to use for any notes you may need to send.  In these days of instant messages and texts, a hand written note is a special treat and these are perfect for any occasion.

They are also heavy enough to be framed, which is what I am doing with my set.  

Here are the photos of the original paintings. These are also available as prints with free, worldwide shipping.  (The cards have a small shipping fee).

Hope you'll take a look over at the Blake and Taylor website.  Let me know if you pick up the cards or prints!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New Still Life: Bread, Fruit and Wine

Greetings from the frozen tundra, aka, New York City.  After getting hit by the bomb cyclone and ten inches of snow, we are hoping for a warm up tomorrow.

I hope everyone is having a Happy New Year so far.  2017 was not great and I'm glad to see it left behind.  I was not able to paint as much as I usually do, but I do have some new things to show you.

I started this still life back in August and figured I would quickly be done with it.  Unfortunately, the complete opposite happened and I just finished it up last month.  One of my longer time frames, but I could not let it go until it was just right.

I wanted to paint an entry for a food themed show and I have a serious obsession with Dutch still lifes, so I figured this was a good opportunity to do a large painting.  That was probably my first mistake, but that was my vision so I went with it.

First up, a trip to the grocery store.  I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, so I bought a variety of fruit and grape juice to use as wine ( an artist friend gave me this tip years ago and it works very well.)  I knew I wanted to include a loaf of bread, so I picked one up from the French bakery near my house.

When I did my first set up, I was happy with it, but it did not look good on the canvas.  I switched out the wine decanter, took away the knife and added more grapes  If you are ever stuck on a still life, grapes are like a little black dress.  They hide a multitude of sins.

After some rearranging, this is the set up I decided on.

This was the end of the first day.  The composition and the block in went well, but this painting ended up going through a lot of changes before it was done.

This is where I knew things were going to go awry.  It was obvious that the wine decanter was off and no matter what I did I could not get the symmetry right.  After struggling with it a bit, I decided to leave it and work on the rest of the painting.

I concentrated on the fruit and the glass bowl.  The bowl took a bit of work as the glass had a design to it that was picking up a lot of light, but when I painted the bowl as I was actually seeing it, there was way too much going on.  After several tries, I got the main highlight and the smaller ones around it to behave.

When I got to this point, I was satisfied with the whole painting except for the wine decanter.  I had changed some other things around.  I shortened the green grapes in the bowl as they were too similar to the size of the red grapes and I added assorted grapes to the right side of the painting.  I wanted the green and red of the grapes to carry over to that side so it did not look like I had single areas of those colors.

I also did many incarnations of the background.  I went from too light to too dark and every other variable in between.

Between the background and the wine decanter, I was going nuts.  Only sheer stubbornness kept me from giving up on this thing.  A few times I was ready to throw in the towel, but I like the bread and the fruit bowl, so I just kept going.

Twice on Instagram I posted that I was done, but each time I arrived back to my studio, I took a look at the painting and I was not happy.

This was the second time I thought it was done.  It's not bad, but the bottle seemed a bit blah to me.  The rest of the painting has pretty dynamic color to it and I felt like the decanter was just fading into the background.

After many frustrating days painting this one thing, my friend across the hall said it needed a blast of color.  Of course, that is exactly what it needed.  I had been concentrating on this bottle for so long that I did not even see what was wrong with it.

I really blasted the highlight and that helped tremendously.  The morning after doing that I walked into the studio and didn't hate the decanter!  A sure sign I was finally on the right track.  I added even more light to the bottle and darkened up the background.  I did like the light behind the grapes, but it was competing with the light on the decanter and I wanted the decanter to be front and center.  By the way, if anyone had seen me doing this part of the painting, they would have thought I'd finally gone off the deep end.  We have had gray, dreary, snowy and just all around horrible weather here for the last few weeks and I have been painting with my light on as the studio is just too dark without it.  But in order to get the correct lights on the glass, I turned off my studio light, basically painted in the dark, and then turned the light back on to see what I had done.  It sounds nuts, but it worked.

Bread, Fruit and Wine, 18x24, oil

This is where I finally ended up.  This is a crappy iPhone pic, but it is going to be quite some time before this one is dry enough to varnish.  Now the light is flowing across the canvas and the whole thing is working together.  Even though this painting was beyond frustrating at times, I'm so glad I stuck it out.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

New York City Holiday Windows 2017

Hi Everyone.  I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season.  A few nights ago, on the spur of the moment, I decided to check out the holiday windows on Fifth Avenue.  It is usually jam packed and difficult to get photos, but I really lucked out and it was relatively quiet, or as quiet as things can be on Fifth and Fifty-Seventh streets.  I started at Cartier and worked my way up to Bergdorf's.

If you look at my Instagram Stories, there is a video of the leopard riding down the hill.  I always love the windows at Cartier and this year was no exception.

Across the street is Ferragamo, all wrapped up in a bow.

Continuing up the block, I got a great surprise in the windows of Dolce & Gabbana.  They had window displays that looked like massive Dutch still life paintings!  As you know, the Dutch still lifes are my favorite, so I really enjoyed looking at these windows.

Next up, Tiffany's.  I wasn't in love with the windows, but the outside of the building is beautifully decorated.

And across from Tiffany's, the piece de resistance, Bergdorf Goodman.  Bergdorf's always has the most amazing and creative windows.  Titled "To New York With Love" the exhibits are dedicated to the cultural institutions of New York.

First up, The New York Botanical Garden.

Next, The American Museum of Natural History.

The New York Historical Society

Museum of the Moving Image

The New York Philharmonic.

The people who do these windows are true artisans.  Planning for the windows goes on all year.  If you would like to see more about how the windows are done and see more of Bergdorf's, I watched a great movie on Netflix last year called "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's".

I have to say, the windows in the city this year are my favorite.  If you are local or visiting, please make time to go and see them.  If that is not possible, I hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of the holiday decor here.

Wishing all of you a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art

This past Sunday I spent the afternoon at the preview for the huge Michelangelo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art.  I'm a MetMember, so I was able to see the exhibit before it opened yesterday.  I'm so glad that the museum had this benefit available as it was packed with people even with the restricted admission.  The show opened to the public yesterday and I have to say it is one of the most incredible exhibitions I have ever seen.  

The exhibit runs from November 13, 2017 through February 12, 2018.  Included are:  133 of his drawings, three of his marble sculptures, his earliest painting, and his wood architectural model for a chapel vault.  There are also complimentary works by his teachers, associates, pupils and artists who worked in collaboration with him.  

Michelangelo, Studies for the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, Studies of a Standing Male Nude, and Head in Profile

Michelangelo, Young Archer (unfinished)

Michelangelo, Sketches of the Virgin, the Christ Child Reclining on a Cushion, and Other Infants

Piero D'Argenta, Virgin and Child with the Infant Saint John

Michelangelo, Study of a Standing Male Nude Seen from the Back

Michelangelo, Study of a Standing Male Nude Seen from the Back

Bastion (Aristotile) Da Sangallo, Record Drawing of the Elevation of the Tomb of Julius II, after Michaelangelo

Michelangelo, Designs for a Monumental Altar or Facade

Drawing for the Design of the Coffering on the Vault of Sacristy of San Lorenzo

Michelangelo, Sketch for Cleopatra

Finished Sketch of Cleopatra

Michelangelo, Young Man in Bust Length in Exotic Costume

Michelangelo, Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi

Michelangelo, Unfinished Cartoon of the Virgin and Child

Sebastiano Del Piombo, Study for God the Father

Recreation of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Michelangelo, Composition Sketches and Studies for Frescoes on the Sistine Ceiling

Andrea Di Pietro Di Marco Ferrucci, Bust of Julius Caesar

Michelangelo, Model of the Vault of the Chapel of the King of France

Closing Time

These photos are just a small amount of the exhibit.  If you are local or planning a trip to NYC, I urge you to visit this exhibition.  I don't know that all of these drawings will ever be together in one place again.  If an in person visit is not in the cards, you can order the catalog here.   The book is very well done.  I can't wait to get mine ( I ordered one. It is way too big to schlep on the subway.) so I can start copying the drawings of the master.  I've recently gotten back into drawing, so this came at just the right time for me to keep the momentum going.  You can also following along on social media using the hashtag #MetMichelangelo.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of this amazing exhibit.  Have you been yet? Planning a trip around it? Ordering the catalog?  Leave me a note in the comments.  I'd love to start a discussion!