Saturday, June 2, 2018

Gathered Realism at Muscoot Farm Manor House Gallery

Hi Friends,

This is a quick note to remind folks that our group art exhibit Gathered Realism begins TODAY at the Muscoot Farm Manor House Gallery.

This exhibition is a collection of realistic artwork by artists who have all studied classical methods of painting with Todd Casey. The goal in painting Realism is making paintings that realistically represent identifiable objects from life. So... painting stuff that actually looks like stuff!

Come by to see how our artists have interpreted their artistic interest in Realism. Each artist's personal touch adds a poetic individualism to their work, rather than creating hyper-realistic copies.

Subjects range from classical still life compositions to floral, landscape and portraiture. There's even a Death Star! (which can happen when you master painting spheres)

My paintings below were actually exercises in painting objects with a narrow range of chroma, in preparation for a white-on-white cast drawing (the one I seem to talk about more than work on).

1950s pottery, lamb planter, ceramic chick
Pottery Barn...Yard, ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze
sarcasm, gargoyles, oil painting
Seriously, I Can't Even, ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze
We all have an appreciation for the classical atelier method and would love to chat about it with you so come on by!

Lastly, we've been invited to open early on Sundays to coincide with the Farmer's Market shoppers. But, if you plan to come early on Sunday morning please email me to make sure we have been able to cover those hours. I will definitely be there at 10 tomorrow June 3.

Hope to see you!

Monday, May 21, 2018

New Paintings, new experiences

They say it's spring. And I guess we can tell by the torrents of rain, but other than that, signs of spring have been disappointing. Take heart: the real proof of spring is the art shows and fairs that are beginning to pop up.

I'm very pleased to have several paintings in recent and upcoming exhibits. My cheeky painting Chick Please was in the Salmagundi Club's Spring show in April & May.

vintage coffee pot, diner check
Chick Please ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze

Ticket to Ride was juried into the Allied Artists of America associates online exhibit. This painting, I'm happy, to say was purchased in the fall, so an online exhibit was a good way to show it. The entire exhibit can be seen here.
Ticket to Ride ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze

I've been playing with gargoyles lately and this new painting, A Congress of Characters, will be in the Hudson Valley Artists Association exhibit at the Lyme Art Center this June. It's only the second time I've had work accepted by this prestigious group (they seem to like my quirkier subjects). I'm looking forward to re-visiting beautiful Old Lyme.
gargoyle statues
A Congress of Characters ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze

Two paintings are on exhibit at Ridgefield Guild of Artists through June 24th: a small still life At the Opera and my classic trompe l'oeil painting Noteworthy. You can read more about this painting and trompe l'oeil in an earlier blog post.
trompe loeil, still life with notes, vintage glasses
Notreworthy ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
At the Opera ©2015

The most exciting and unusual place my work is hanging is in the historic home of artist Julian Alden Weir in Wilton, CT. Last May, as Artist in Residence, I painted six interior scenes of the artist's home. (read more about that here) After my residency, Weir Farm purchased all six paintings and I was thrilled to learn that they are now on display in Weir's house at this National Historic Site. 

I love that wild blue William Morris-esque wallpaper and one of my paintings is the view from that bedroom into the hall with a bust of Weir backlit in the window. The painting is now hanging over the bed and if you stand at the foot of the bed in front of the painting and look left, you see the same view. Very cool. 

Below left is the view from the bedroom. Center is the bedroom where my work is hanging and hanging over the bed is the view at left. On the right is my painting of that hallway view.

At right - Weir, Waiting in the Foyer ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Weir farm is a wonderful place to visit for nature and artistic inspiration. And now you can take a peak at my artwork when you tour the house (let me know what you hear, because I've never been part of a historic house tour before!!!)

And lastly... I'm pleased to announce a group exhibit that I'm helping to organize at Muscoot Farm this June featuring representational paintings by students of Todd Casey. All are studying traditional methods of painting to create realistic and poetic images of objects from life. The exhibit is open on weekends and I hope you will stop by during June to see what we are all up to.

Thank you for joining me on my artistic journey. Hope to see you at Muscoot!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Working through some classical exercises

I was born a few hundred years too late, or about 40 years too soon, because the classical art training I coveted wasn't available - or accessible to me, at any rate - in my college years. So I've set myself the task of working through some of the elements that might have been part of a more classical, fine art education.

This artful bucket-list includes painting genres that feel essential to an old world, fine art background. The most recent challenge pulled from the bucket was a vanitas painting. Vanitas paintings have to do with the transience of life. They are as old as Rembrandt and were very popular in the Netherlands in the 1700s. This one is by Karel van der Pluym, a student of Rembrandt's and it seems to fit his penchant for imbuing mystery and moodiness into his subjects.

by Karel van der Pluym, a student of Rembrandt
Vanitas paintings are not cheerful. Mortality is implied with symbolism galore - from skulls to snuffed candles - with a side helping of guilt-inducing luxury or sinful, secular pleasures. Fun times!

Still, I've felt compelled to tackle this genre. But vanitas motifs are almost exclusively male which didn't excite me and I didn't have a skull to paint (that's OK because they're super creepy tucked in a dark corner of the studio). So it was fortuitous - and a tad freaky - to find an old, peeling, babydoll's head to stand in for a skull. Thus, my "vanitas maternitas" was underway.

What was meant to be a generically female-themed vanitas became more personal as many of the objects either belonged to my mother or reminded me of her personal items from years past. Gloves, compact, pearls, playing cards - all brought this painting very close to home.

This piece was emotionally wrenching and took far longer to paint than any other. After the composition was underway, my mother's health began to fail and the theme of mortality was all too real. Eventually the composition became a personal touchstone to commemorate motherhood, as it included a photo of my mother before she married and me as the baby in the highchair. On the dice the numbers 5 and 2 represent my mother's five girls and two boys. (Coincidentally, the "5" is in shadow and the "2" in light - just a fact, no judgement). The book under the doll head is, I swear, a vintage Encyclopedia of Mother's Advice, chosen for size and color before noticing the title!

I don't know if this painting will resonate with anyone other than me. And it doesn't really matter. What started as a classical challenge became something of a soul searching journey. It sat for months, unfinished, in the studio after my mother died. I hoped, eventually it would feel right to work on it again and I'm glad I got to that point. When I look at it now, sometimes I sigh, sometimes I'm sort of proud and sometimes I just feel at peace.

vanitas still life, pearls, pocketwatch, queen of hearts painting, vintage gloves
Vanitas Maternitas ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze
"Painting is silent poetry and poetry is painting that speaks." 
- Plutarch

The next art bucket challenge is a cast drawing. My subject is the head of a bearded old man, purported to be Saint Andrew. Like all good challenges, it's kicking my butt. But I WILL get it done. More on that in a future newsletter.

Peace to you all, my friends.