Sunday, June 29, 2014

Edward Hopper House - Artist of the Month

That would be me! July Artist of the Month at Edward Hopper House Museum Art Center in Nyack!!! Twelve of my paintings will be n exhibit!

If you've never been to the Hopper House, it's a sweet place to visit for art, art history, occasional musical events and, of course, a glimpse into the early life of American realist painter, Edward Hopper. The house was his birthplace and home for his early years and it stayed in the family, occupied by his sister through her lifetime.

Most of the home is a now gallery dedicated to promoting the arts and one room has Hopper memorabilia including some humorous sketches that illustrate the relationship he had with his wife, Josephine Nivison. Josephine was a successful artist when she met Hopper but she relegated her studio space to living quarters and abandoned her art to focus on Edward's career. (sound familiar, anyone?)

It's a fascinating story and a strong statement about the role of women in the arts. An article in The Guardian titled "Man and Muse" explains that when they met:
"Her [Josephine's] work had been shown alongside that of Modigliani and Picasso, Maurice Prendergast and Man Ray. ...Jo recommended Edward Hopper's work to the curators of that show [the Brooklyn Museum], and when they bought one of his paintings after the exhibition had ended, it was only the second he had sold in 10 years."

Supporting and promoting her husband's work became her full time occupation and she is basically responsible for his professional success. She, on the other hand, has been largely forgotten. Sigh.

Art history and gender politics aside, Nyack is a very cool town to visit for art, antiques and dining, as well as wonderful water views and beautiful old homes. So if you were thinking of a day trip this summer, why not visit Nyack in July! I hope you will stop by Edward Hopper House to see my work while you're there.

For a look at Edward Hopper's work, biography and more, follow this link to the Artsy website. 

Here are a few of the paintings that will be on exhibit:
Canning Season ©2012 Dorothy Lorenze
White Pitcher w Apricots ©2012 Dorothy Lorenze
Eeney, Meeny, Miny ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

Thanks joining me on my art journey!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Painting Old Crap has it's Rewards!

Last week I wrote about my Dad on Father's Day and this week I'm sharing a painting and news that I hope would have made him proud.

My painting Fuel Fossil has been accepted to the Hudson Valley Art Association's 82nd National Annual Art Exhibit. It's the first time one of my paintings has been accepted to a national exhibition and I'm excited and honored.
Fuel Fossil ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

Hudson Valley Art Association is a highly respected arts organization initially formed in 1924 by a group of New York artists meeting in the home of Jasper Cropsey, one of the first Hudson River School artists. This year the exhibit is at the beautiful Salmagundi Club, one of the oldest arts organizations in the United States. Founded in 1871, the Salmagundi Club resides in a gorgeous brownstone mansion in Greenwich Village New York; the entire building is full of art. Artists like  William Merritt Chase, Louis Comfort Tiffany, N.C. Wyeth and Childe Hassam gathered there! It's an awesome art-infused abode and an amazingly place to visit when you are in NYC.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

The gas pump in Fuel Fossil is from the apple orchard up the street. It's vintage 1950s, so it probably looks a lot like the pumps at Johnny Black's gas station in the '50s, where my Dad worked part time when his fledgling TWA schedule was rather sporadic. I can't actually remember seeing those pumps but the smell of gasoline still brings back memories of visiting my Dad at the gas station. It was always at thrill.
Go figure!

It feels a bit like balanced karma to be accepted to the Hudson Valley Art Association exhibit with a painting of a gas pump. As I mentioned in my last blog, art was not high on Dad's list of career choices. 

Oilcan Gothic ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze
 Bizarrely, another one of my "rusty" works of art, Oilcan Gothic, won Award of Excellence recently, so I'm just going to have to give credit to my Dad for inspiring my artwork, however unintentional it might have been! These paintings, I think,  Dad would have appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by to join me on m art journey. And apologies for re-posting these paintings. While the paintings are not totally new, the news it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Gift of Creative Curiosity

"You get that from your parents, right?" Usually that question is asked in reference to eye color, athletic ability, love of music or other family attribute. Sometimes the thing you get from a parent is harder to see. It requires a sideways glance.

I could envy folks who are lucky enough to be born into artistic families where the idea of making art is virtually a given. In communities like Monhegan Island artists have handed down talent, traditions and studio space to the next generation for over 100 years. Imagine having that kind of legacy!

In my family, making art wasn't seen as a particularly useful endeavor. Fun perhaps, but basically frivolous. Even so, my Dad was a very creative guy with a natural curiosity about nearly everything. He was a mechanic, a fighter pilot and airline captain, as well as a constant tinkerer and frequent inventor.
1Lt. Walter K. Byers, awarded Distinguished Flying Cross

And he could draw.
Really draw!
But that wasn't his passion. Drawing has to do with observing, and transposing three dimensions into two - which certainly helps with tinkering, creating, and inventing. For my Dad drawing was just a tool. He was skilled at illustrating ideas, but his passion was to be curious about everything.

Curiosity is the thing I got from my Dad that I believe has fueled my artistic creativity. Some pretty impressive folks have pointed out that kind of connection.

Like Albert Einstein, who said: "I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious."
Brilliant advertising exec Leo Burnett stated: "Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people."
And creative genius Leonardo da Vinci believed: "The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding."
But my favorite statement comes from Dorothy Parker: "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

My Dad was never bored because there was always something to take apart, explore, rebuild or design. Artists are the same - with endless experiments in color, value, line or texture to explore. Keeping up with all the images and ideas waiting to be brought to life is what I'm sorting out these days.

I'll always be grateful to my Dad for the gift of curiosity.

Happy Father's Day

Thanks for stopping by to join me on my art journey.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Scaling Artistic "Heights" in Maine

Maine is absolutely an artist's paradise - so many great artists have painted here: Edward Hopper, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, and Winslow Homer. And that's just the H's. Let's not forget three generations of Wyeths! It's exciting, exhilarating and humbling to be among the hills, cliffs and ocean views that inspired such brilliant artists.

Spectacular views are punctuated with simple cedar shake houses. It's a throwback in time. There are no cars at all (just a few trucks) so all travel is on foot, carrying gear! We scrambled along ... and up and over ... the rocky coast. I thought I was scoping out a place to paint, but... not so much. It was hard enough to manage a camera and small sketch book. I finally settled down to draw the amazing rocks and part of the cove below.

Above Lobser Cove, Monhegan ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze
This drawing was started on site but finished later from photos - so windy on those rocks! It felt great to sketch again. While we were in Rockland we had enjoyed a gallery walk and my vertical hatching was inspired by the graphite and ink drawings of Robert Pollien whose work we admired at Dowling Walsh Gallery.

Drawing was my toe in the water, so to speak, for making art on Monhegan. Plein air is not exactly my comfort zone - give me a studio where the objects are placed just so and the light doesn't move, and I'm happy! Outdoors with blowing winds, shifting light and moving water it's a whole different ball game. I was feeling a bit timid.

No excuses. You can't turn a corner on this island without bumping into an artist, so it's pretty hard to let yourself off the hook. People are painting everywhere! There are many welcoming artist's studios, as well. I had a long chat with seascape master Don Stone in his beautiful studio. He was such a generous and encouraging gentleman. I can understand why his students think so highly of him.

Monhegan exudes art and there's a lot to take in. So, after a day of blissful wandering, I settled down to paint. Now I'm working on finishing those plein air paintings (and gaining the courage to post them!) More to come!

Thanks for stopping by to see my artwork.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Daily Painting or Painting Daily

There's an ambitious movement in the world of painting that has inspired lots of painting "hobbyists" to become more serious about their artwork. It's called A Painting a Day or Daily Painting, etc., and the idea is to commit to making a painting everyday for a specified period of time. It can be a great motivator.

The practice apparently started with Duane Keiser around 2004 when he decided to challenge himself and to maximize the internet as a marketing tool by posting (and selling!) a new painting everyday. Duane explains it in an interview in Huffington Post.

I first heard of daily painting through Carol Marine's Daily Paintworks around 2009, about the time I was trying to establish a painting discipline of my own - and totally clueless. The idea of doing a painting each and every day was intriguing, inspiring and seemingly impossible!

So I tried to paint fast and loose... and I really do like those painterly, vibrant brushstrokes... but it turns out I like the details even more!

Although I know there is great benefit to rendering quick interpretation of a scene and simplifying images, the pressure to complete a painting a day is more than I can take. And I'm never satisfied with the results. So, instead of Daily Painting, my commitment is Painting Daily.

Establishing a routine to paint daily was hard enough. I once asked Karen O'Neil how she organizes her day to paint regularly. She said, "I put my son on the bus, go for a run and then I paint." That sounds simple enough.

Now it's working for me (minus the running!) And the more time I spend at the easel the more I observe the subtleties and details that excite me in a composition and I know that's what I want to master.
©2014 Dorothy Lorenze, 9x12" oil on panel
This is Dr. Haines Petit Déjuener. (Dr. Haines is the owner of the top hat - it says so, right inside!)

I'm proud to say that after working on this painting for days, and thinking it was "done" I felt the need to refine the silver butter server and knife, and it's so much better. Maybe someday I'll get it right the first time, but for now, I'll practice patience and perseverance.

Just for fun, a close-up of the before-and-after of the butter server:
Now the silver shines, the bell is rounder and the knife lies flat. 
I'm a happy camper. And this painting is on its way to Greene Gallery in Guilford, CT.

Thanks for stopping by to view my art!