Sunday, June 14, 2015

Transfixed by Translucency

Jacob Collins exhibit at Adelson Galleries, Inc., NYC
Lately I've been especially interested in the delicate transmission of light through objects. And last month I was totally transfixed by translucency, viewing the work of contemporary master  Jacob Collins at Adelson Gallery in New York.

I mean, just what happens to white paper when light goes through it. How are those subtle color changes and shadows created?

Check out the shadow and edge color in the enlarged insert of Jacob Collins' "Paper with Drawing Instruments" below. Incredible.

Using Photoshop's sampling tool, I compared the "white" on the left side (in brighter light) to the "white" near the pencil. Samples of those areas are shown in the two color boxes to the right of the detail, indicating the spectrum of "white" in his paper. Somehow, it's dramatic and subtle at the same time.

detail Paper with Drawing Instruments by Jacob Collins

In the full image below, looking from the brightest paper in full light at the left, to the paper farthest from the light source, you can really appreciate the range of value (light/shadow) and hue (color).
©2015 Jacob Collins, "Paper with Drawing Instruments," at Adelson Galleries Inc., NY

©2014 David Ligare at Hirschl & Adler Gallery

Another excellent example of painted translucency is David Ligare's "Telemachus and the Crow." Such intense, strong sunlight on the right side of the figure. And then the challenge is to intensify it to indicate the effect of that strong light on the translucent fabric drape.

So beautifully done, it glows.

Amram on Amram ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze oil on board 6x12"
So... with this "light painting" in mind, I went to the farmers market and bought some funky looking cheese to paint. 
This cheese is a product of the Bobolink Dairy & Bakery and they called it "Amram" in honor of their friend and music icon David Amram. Since I've been interested in painting paper, as well as cheese, this seemed the perfect combination of objets d'art. 
Amram cheese on Amram sheet music! 
The music sheet is actually a copy of David Amram's "Canción de Verano," which means "Song of Summer." Also perfect for the occasion since Amram is an early cheese from this wonderful, small, raw-milk, dairy farm making cheeses from grass-fed cows, aged in caves! The cheese, not the cows. 
You can check out their latest "vintage" (milkage? lactage?) at Pleasantville Farmers market on Saturday mornings.
My "Amram on Amram," complete with sheets of paper, that is foreshortened and somewhat translucent. The really tricky part was the curled paper edges. An exciting challenge over all!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hanging at Sorolla's Studio

One of the treats in Madrid was that our hotel was a two minute walk from the home and studio of Impressionist painter Joaquín Sorolla. It's a beautiful little villa with a garden courtyard in an elegant neighborhood in Madrid. And for a few days, we were neighbors!

We were traveling with a group of folks who were not familiar with the work of Sorolla but when I mentioned that he is considered the Spanish John Singer Sargent - they were hooked!

Once again, here is an artist whose volume of work inspires. He was prolific, often repeating a subject to explore different effects and creating hundreds of paintings each year, many quite large!

Viewing dozens of his studies together was exhilarating, not to mention paintings hanging all the way to the ceiling,

It's easy to see the love that Sorolla had for his family, frequent subjects in his paintings. His figures are painted with sensitivity and tenderness, without becoming cloyingly sweet.

My Wife and My Children, by Sorolla 1897
BTW, his home is gorgeous even without the artwork. Like Sargent, this artist actually thrived during his lifetime!

He surrounded himself with beautiful furnishings, object d'art and light (the ceilings must be 15-20ft!)

So, I'm thinking I could paint like a master if I just had some of that gorgeous crockery!
(employing the magical thinking of a young nephew who once cried, "I know I could make a rocket if I just had enough metal!!!" He is now a software designer for a major tech company.)
Still life, anyone?

If you want some Sorolla in your life - and who doesn't - you can have "Las Tres Hermanas en la Playa" at auction at Christie's London for about $4,000,000. Remember, it's an auction, so start bidding!

On Auction June 15 at Christie's 19th C European & Orientalist Art, London
Or you can visit the Hispanic Society of America in New York where there are 14 enormous Sorolla murals portraying regions of Spain. Or the Met... or the Prado, or nearly any major museum.

Sorolla once said, “Go to nature with no parti pris. You should not know what your picture is to look like until it is done. Just see the picture that is coming."

Fisherwomen from Valencia by Sorolla
I get that, although it's more a plein air mindset and just about opposite of how we still life-ers think. We tend to, first, envision the story we want the painting to tell. In the end, though, I think it's the same thing - don't paint what you see so much as what it says to you. 
Sorolla has also said, "As far as outdoor work is concerned, a studio is only a garage; a place in which to store pictures and repair them, never a place in which to paint them."

Hmmm, my studio literally is a garage. Oops.

Thanks for joining me on my art journey.