Sunday, November 20, 2016

What's there to be thankful for...

Without getting political... let's just say it's been a stressful election season. So this Thanksgiving I intend to be thankful for every bit of kindness and artful beauty that humanity is capable of.

Every generous and gentle moment makes our world a better place and we need that. So I would just ask you to look for those ... and create a few gentle moments of your own.
stone house farm, plein air, barn, maple tree
Foggy Peaceful Morning ©2016 DL

Recently I wrote a post, What Good is Art, and it seems fitting today to be reminded of the visual and emotional beauty that art can invoke. Laughter might be the best medicine, but art is pretty good daily nourishment.

We can be thankful that throughout economic and political adversity there are still many vital and vibrant organizations supporting artists and recognizing the significance of artful beauty in our lives. Through their efforts, opportunities for artists and art lovers abound. There are lots of affordable art and craft sales going on at this time of year, so check them out and maybe give a unique gift of art to someone will truly appreciate a little beauty added to their world.

I'm personally pleased - and thankful - that three of my paintings have been accepted to the historic Salmagundi Club's 108th annual Thumb-Box exhibition and sale.

Interior painting, nostalgic still life

Salmagundi Club is a special place for artists. This historic association of representational painters, illustrators and sculptors is housed in a classic brownstone on 5th Ave. The walls and halls are bedecked with artwork by famous American painters throughout the Club's 145 year history. Such artists as N.C. Wyeth, Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, Howard Pyle, Dean Cornwell and Louis Tiffany have been members. Many still have work exhibited at the club!

While Salmagundi's home is a beautiful, art-filled building year round, holiday décor adds to the atmosphere and right now the Thumb Box exhibit and sale is also on view in both galleries. This popular show is described as The Biggest Little Art Show of the Year because there is so much beautiful, affordable art to bring home. As an artist, what's unique is that you get wall space for up to three paintings, but when a piece sells you can replace it with another. So, there is a rotating collection of affordable art through December 31st! How cool is that!

At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna, I'm choosing to focus on all the goodness we can muster this Thanksgiving. It should be pretty easy because we are fortunate to have the whole family gathering together this year. Parents, children, spouses, grandkids, grandbaby and pups! Enough to make anyone smile!

May your Thanksgiving be as FULL-filling as it is "filling"!

As always, my sincere thanks to you for following my artistic journey.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Recent Art Adventures & Recent Work

There's no end to the art adventures that are available locally, more or less.

In recent weeks my art exploring has taken me to Bennington, VT to see the American Women Artists National Exhibit and annual symposium. This wonderful exhibit features some of the finest female artists painting and sculpting today and is well worth the trip. Plus Bennington is the perfect destination for fall travel (more Bennington sights here). You can catch the AWA exhibit through November 14th. Here is a taste of what you will find -
Indigo by Cynthia Faustel

Two gems from this show are Cynthia Fauste's sweet painting, "Indigo" and local (Bedford, NY) artist Laurel Boeck's "Em in a Black Coat".
Em in a Black Coat by Laurel Boeck

Key speakers at the AWA symposium included artist Alia El Bermani, a co-founder of Women Painting Women. This movement started when Alia, Sadie Valeri and Diane Feissel discovered that an exhibit called "Women in Art" included NO artwork by women. They gathered a group of like-minded artists who decided it was high time to paint women from a women's perspective.

Since then, hundreds of women have participated in dozens of exhibits, to great acclaim. Currently RJD Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY has the latest WPW exhibit, running through November 20th. Day trip anyone? Eastern Long Island is lovely this time of year!

Most recently my artist friends and I were awed by the American Masters exhibit at Salmagundi Club in NY. It's proof that masterly representational art is alive and well, honored and carried forward by artists such as David Leffel, Max Ginsburg, Michael Klein and Joshua LaRock. One of my favorites was Joel Carson Jones' little trompe l'oeil, "Looking Forward Looking Back"
trompe l'oeil, still life, fool the eye
Looking Forward Looking Back by Joel Carson Jones
Salmagundi library Unfortunately the Club's dining room is not open for lunch but while we were there, we took a break in "my" library. That would be the member's library at Salmagundi. Hobnobbing with the spirits of some old art masters (N.C. Wyeth, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam...). I like to pretend it's my home away from home.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch/studio...
A cadre of serious, hardworking artists enjoyed a 3-day workshop with Todd Casey.  The next workshop will be Nov. 12 to 14. Contact Todd  asap if you are interested as space is limited. This is my little poster study (6x8") from that session.
Blue china teapot, copper tea kettle
East Meets West (study) ©2016 Dorothy Lorenze
Some recently completed works are below. The first is purple kohlrabi and a white pattypan squash. Totally bizarre veggies, hence "Alien Vegans". Below that is "Plum Line" with a line of plums on striped (lined) tea towels, with a rather striped spatter-ware bucket. "Never paint stripes" they told me. Oh well.
purple kohlrabi, pattypan squash, vintage chest, still life
Alien Vegans ©2016 Dorothy Lorenze
plums, vintage bucket, spatter-ware
Plum Line ©2016 Dorothy Lorenze
That's just a few of my art adventures for October. It's been wonderful to get out and about to so many art exhibits while the weather is crisp and inviting. Soon I'll be hunkering down in my cozy studio making more art. And on snowy days, maybe, watching movies featuring art and artists. Got recommendations? Send 'em on over... along with recipes for mulled wine, hot toddies and other chill-reducing concoctions!

Thanks for joining me on my art journey!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Grandma Moses Palette and Landscape Envy

When it comes to painting, my interest definitely is classical still life. Landscape might as well be moonscape. And I guess that's why I'm so intrigued (that... and the fact that's so damned difficult).

Recently, I saw the landscapes of Anna Mary Robertson Moses, aka Grandma Moses, at the Bennington Museum in VT. After trying my hand at plein air painting, I have a better appreciation for her landscapes. Although to be accurate, Moses did not paint out doors; she worked from printed images. Not to take anything away from the woman: she started painting at age 76! Arthritis had made it too difficult to create her scenes in needlework. You could say she settled on painting when the lady-like craft of needlework was no longer an option. I say she had determination as well as skill. A lesson for all artists.

The primitive style and casual busy-ness of her landscapes dotted with rural structures is what we generally admire. But on this day, as I took photos of my "favorite" paintings throughout the museum, the theme that emerged was about color.

Below are two landscapes with delicate palettes by Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses.
landscape, delicate palette

Vermont landscape, delicate palette
(My apologies for not noting the titles of Grandma Moses' works.)

This painting, "Old Mountain," is by another Vermont painter, Milton Avery, whose work is also shown at the Bennington Museum. It bears a striking similarity, palette-wise, to the snow scene by Grandma Moses above.
Vermont landscape, delicate palette
Old Mountain ©1943 Milton Avery
The painting immediately below is Grandma Moses, and below that, another Milton Avery which feels almost like an abstracted version of the Grandma Moses painting. So interesting that both drew me in!
Vermont landscape, delicate palette

Mountain Meadow ©1960 Milton Avery
The landscape below by Lorenzo Hatch also caught my attention. He captured this scene beautifully with a lovely, sensitive palette. If you think about what you actually see looking at a woodsy scene it can get really green very quickly - there is generally more depth of color. I love that this painting renders the environment so exquisitely without being overpowering in it's green-ness. And, of course, you have to admire his outstanding drawing skills.
Vermont landscape, delicate palette
Indian Summer ©1904 Lorenzo Hatch
These paintings were in different exhibits on different floors throughout the museum and I hadn't set out with an agenda in mind, just taking photos of images I liked. It was after reviewing the photos that evening that I noticed certain similarities seemed to have "spoken" to me. Most likely filling a need after my recent oh-so-green plein air attempts!

figure in landscape
May Palmer ©1901 Frederick MacMonnies
This painting by Frederick MacMonnies is a lovely Sargent-esque figure and the background landscape is very different from those above. It's boldness stands in contrast to (and reinforces) my preference for the sensitive palettes of the Avery and Moses landscapes.

The real reason I photographed this painting was that I admired how simply he indicated the glittery sparkle of her jewels. Not that I'm a figure painter, but the same effect is sometimes needed in still life.

Looking closely at the woman's white dress in the insert below, you can see how non-white it actually is.

I sampled the dress color in Photoshop and the square of taupe is the same color as her dress in that area. Totally grey-brown. And yet, looking at the figure, it still reads as a white dress. That darker background is what allows the pearls and gold to shine in contrast. Voilà!

close-up sargent style

This painting is in the Bennington Museum's Gilded Age of Vermont exhibit, a lovely room in their permanent collection that includes furnishings as well as sensitive portraits by William Morris Hunt and trompe l'oeil by William S. Reynolds. If you are heading north for "leaf peeping" this fall you should put the Bennington Museum on your list of destinations. It's worth a visit.

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey.