Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple Realist Original Antel Daily Oil Painting Day


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Okay, okay, I confess. I went out and bought a 6 hair brush after I painted this apple and could not make any brushes that I owned make the little tiny dots I wanted on the apple. I have always thought such tiny brushes ridiculous, but I now I know they are essential for tiny paintings with tiny details.

Have I succumbed to the disease of "The only thing keeping me from painting like ________ is that my brush is not as good as his?" Perry Acker disabused me of this idea years ago when he said that a really good watercolorist could make a good painting using a piece of rope for the brush, and then proceeded to show us the worst brush we had ever seen and proceeded to paint superbly with it. But I am a firm believer in good equipment and materials making life easier.

What is really bad is the price of a 6 hair brush is about the same as a 50 hair brush. You really don't get much for your money! But then maybe it takes special skill to make such a tiny brush.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Really Seeing an Organic Pear


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Another lesson from the Spanish Master is that organic fruit is more interesting. Fruit in his paintings show blemishes from surviving insect attacks. Why is this more interesting?

Imagine this same pear cast from plastic of a uniform color. The only variances in color and texture would be those created by the lighting. Then imagine that the pear was sitting on a highly polished block of metal, which in turn is posed in a setting of mechanical uniformity, such as machine made paper.

A painting of such uniformly featureless objects would need interesting reflections of the surrounding room to enliven their surfaces. The painting would become a very different statement, eliciting very different emotions from the viewer. It is all a matter of the artist's intent.

However, I regret that I did not include something highly polished in this painting, just for contrast. The wood is somewhat shiny, yet distressed, so I guess it will have to serve as the shiny element.

What do you think? I believe that a painting is completed in the viewer's mind, so I can never know exactly what this painting communicated to you. I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lemons, Still Learning After All These Years


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I just finished reading Luis Meléndez, Master of the Spanish Still Life, and it really excited me to see ordinary items painted in such a manner that were more real than a photo image appears. This is the catalog for a traveling exhibition that will be at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston January 31-May 9, 2010, if you should happen to be in the vicinity. I wish I could see it.

Making realist art is all about seeing, and this catalog has a wealth of high quality reproductions as well as photo macrographs and micrographs along with x-ray and IR images. It is very scholarly and informative covering the artist's life and methods of working. I learned that this artist specifically chose items for his still life subjects that were of varied and contrasting textures. So I chose a lemon, a tiny dish and a block of rock for a range of textures. I set them up on an old piece of wood with a fabric background.

This 6.5" x 4.5" work was an even more challenging subject as I had just finished a 30" x 40" painting of a fisherman in a river. Enjoy.