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.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Challenges, Inspiration, Growth & Workshops

First... a huge "thank you" to everyone who came to our art show Farm to Table: landscape, still ife and intimate interiors at Muscoot Farm Gallery in September. It was great fun to meet so many art lovers and see many old friends. And it was wonderful to share the space (and the work!) with Leslie Carone, a dedicated artist, cooperative exhibit-mate and supportive friend!

One of the side benefits of holding an art exhibit is that gallery-goers have lots of questions which presents an opportunity to think through what went into making our art.

brass, oil painting, vintage chalkboard, still life
First Bell ©2016 Dorothy Lorenze
And to think about the challenges that allow every painting to become an opportunity for artistic growth.

In my painting, First Bell, the challenge was rendering brass shadows and highlights in a believable way.

Luckily, painting brass is not quite as challenging for Todd Casey, my painting coach. So he did a demo resulting in this beautiful little pitcher and pear. Todd made it feel accessible.
painting Workshop
©2016 Todd M Casey courtesy Rehs Gallery

Brass is "brassy" and it's easy to overdo the shininess. Seeing Todd's depth of color helped me to realize that brass can still be brassy with less overall shine. In fact it's the contrast with the duller, darker colors that helps you see the shine.

I was also reminded that to round the form, the darks on the light side should appear lighter than the lights on the dark side. Word juggling! While it makes your brain hurt to think about it, in a demonstration, you can see it.

Tackling a painting challenge in a workshop with Todd is like doing it with a safety net. Todd has taught me how to see better, how to find the subtlest difference between colors and values. And how accurate drawing creates the structure for representational painting.

He's a master artist and master teacher, sharing all he's learned from experiences at Water Street Atelier, Grand Central Academy, San Francisco's Academy of Art, as well as working with with Warren Chang, Max Ginsburg, Jacob Collins and more.
Todd will be holding a workshop for a small group of serious painters at my studio in Granite Springs October 22-24th. If you are interested let him know right away because space is limited and filling quickly. More information is available here.

The quote below aptly expresses my belief about raising the bar for ourselves with each painting -
"One must have a high opinion of a work of art - not the work one is creating at the moment, but of that which one desires to achieve one day. Without this it is not worthwhile working." Edgar Degas

Painting workshops challenge, inspire and support us in raising our own painting levels. 
And helps us to see.

And just to show that even non-painters "get it" here's a poet and philosopher on the subject -
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey.