Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Argentum: Contemporary Silverpoint

Three Graces, 2019, silverpoint and watercolor highlights, on prepared toned paper, 12 x 6 inches

I am very happy to announce that this silverpoint drawing will be included in an exhibition next month alongside an incredible rosters of artists.  See details below!

Argentum: Contemporary Silverpoint
The Daughtrey Gallery, Hillsdale Colletge, Michigan
October 18 - November 20, 2019

Exhibiting artists: James Xavier Barbour, Dina Brodsky, Carol Broman, Noah Buchanan, Lauren Caldarola, Koos Chandler, Harvey Citron, Luis Colan, Diana Corvelle, Brad Davis, Joshua Henderson, Sam Knecht, Tom Mazzullo, Mary Anne McCarthy, Lauren Amalia Redding, Edward Schmidt, Darryl Smith, Jesse Stern, Dan Thompson

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Art Supplies ooh la la!

If you are an artist you can not be in Paris and not pay a visit to Magasin Sennelier, located at 3 Quai Voltaire, just a block or two down the street from the Musee D'Orsay and across the Seine from the Louvre.
This shop opened it's doors in 1887 and since then it has been the go to place for many of art history's biggest names like Gauguin, Bonnard, Soutine, Sisley, Degas, Vuillard, and Picasso.  The latter had some specific shades of gray pastels made for him which now form part of the color line of Sennelier pastels.
It was such a treat to rummage around the shelves and drawers of this shop, there were products that are very familiar to us in America, such as Gamblin and Caran d'Ache, but if you looked hard enough you could find some gems.

In my case the gems were these books made by Hahnemuhle (red and dark blue) and the Kunst & Papier (royal blue watercolor book).  I can not tell you how many sketchbooks I've collected over the years, and most have not been touched!  I think it's an artist thing, I've talked to some who have the same problem, we buy sketchbooks thinking about filling them in the future but never do.
Speaking of sketchbooks, I went a little crazy when I found this shop called Grim'Art, a stationary store with handmade leather bound books.
How can you choose one with so many choices?  Just box them all and ship them please...If only I had the space and money for all of them.
Instead of a leather bound book I settled for this beautiful leather and marbled paper sketchbook.  This one is made by an Italian company, Legatoria Koine, who specialize in leather journals, photo books and bags.  I have a nostalgic thing about marbled paper books, my grandfather used to use them for his accounting and note taking.  I'm sure he would love this book. 
It's hard to find a leather or any kind of handmade sketchbook with good paper.  Most manufacturers bind books with the journalist in mind, but a good heavy drawing or watercolor paper in these bindings is hard to find.  This book has a warm white, laid paper with deckle edges, total artist's porn...I had to get it!
I could stay for days in both of these stores, just lock me in and leave me a loaf of bread and I'll be a happy guy.  One place I did not get to visit is La Maison du Pastel (The House of Pastel), I wanted to see how hand made pastels are made, and yes perhaps shop a little.  There is always next trip my friends!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bonjour Mes Ami!

I'm finding it hard to believe that a month ago I was in Paris!  Yes, four weeks ago I crossed the Atlantic to spend three days in Paris and six in Provence, and till this day I'm still processing everything.  On the first night Paris gave us a beautiful welcome with this stunning sunset.  I thought I was walking inside the Janet Jackson music video Come Back to Me
Paris is a very large city with lots to do and see, the art alone requires many hours of attention, but we tried to cram it all, or at least most of it, in three days...YIKES!
We walked by Notre Dame a number of times but to our bad luck the area had been closed off, it was my understanding a day or two before our arrival the streets leading up to the cathedral were open.  We got to see her from across the Seine, and even though she's missing her spire, she still stands tall with grace. 
Why not take a picture of the metro sign, it's Paris after all and that sign is unlike any other in the world.  Wish our subway signs in NYC were as artistic and charming as this one.  Do you hear that MTA? 
Ah the cafes, there were endless amounts of them, and all buzzing with locals and tourists alike enjoying either coffee or wine.  Parisians take their cafes seriously, it's definitely a see and be seen lifestyle.  Chairs are set up facing the street so that those enjoying their drink and conversation can also people watch as they pass by. 
One of the things I noticed about Paris, and France in general is that it is a very social city.  Everyone is engaged in conversations paying attention to each other.  I rarely saw someone on their phone either texting or having one of those loud annoying conversations.  It is all about the here and now and who is across from you at the moment. 
A misconception about Paris is late dining.  I've been to Madrid and Barcelona, and small towns in Italy where late dining is the thing.  Not in Paris, here you dine early because most restaurants close at 10pm, if you are not requesting your table at 9pm then you may be turned away because kitchen closes soon.  We did find this eatery close to 10pm and had no problem ordering our dinner.  And if you're an American used to the "let's serve fast and turn tables" kind of service than you are in for a shock in Paris.  There is no quick service, no one is trying to rush you through your meal, the table is yours for as long as you want it.  It's nice to enjoy your dinner or lunch at a nice pace but sometimes these can take two hours maybe more. 
Daylight in France is glorious, sun is intense and the amount of hours of it is quite astonishing.  At 6 a.m. the sun is out at full force and it does not go down until 9 - 10pm.  If we had that sort of thing here in the East Coast I think I would get more done with my day. 
After a month I'm beginning to feel the need to go back and explore some more, hopefully the second time around I get the insider tour from a local.  I can imagine the little spots that only the people that live there know about.
More to come about my trip to France, in the meantime enjoy these photos. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Recent(ish) Paintings

Autumn, Composition in Gold, 2019, oil on line mounted on panel, 8 x 6 inches

These  paintings are not really recent since I finished them a while back, but they are the last paintings I've done.  Drawing and sketching has taken over my practice, something I'm trying to change this year.  I miss paint, the smell of it, the way it feels when I move it around with fingers, and mostly I miss painting outdoors.  This winter coming up with compositions in my sketchbook has kept me busy, but I'm happy to have taken that approach into painting.  The piece above is from imagination, very much like the sketches, the one challenging aspect though was dealing with color and imagining that.  I had fun creating this little landscape, so much so that I have begun three more.   
Nellie's Lawn, Rainy Day, 2018, oil on linen, 11 x 15 inches

These two paintings of Nellie's Lawn in Prospect Park are from the end of summer last year, and both were begun in Plein Air on the same day.  I'm looking forward to going back there this spring and summer, I have to make a bigger effort this year.  Last year my summer was overrun (no pun intended) by running.  I have been training for multiple races and half marathons, all which are leading to the full NYC Marathon this coming November.   
Nellie's Lawn, Rainy Day No. 2, 2018, oil on linen, 11 x 15 inches 

I figured running would take a good chunk of time away form my artwork, what I didn't know is that it was going to take over my whole life!  I'm not mad about it though, I set myself a goal and I'm finding a lot more about myself while going through this new phase of my life. 

Friday, March 01, 2019

Moleskine Sketchbook 5, Part 2

Recently I've been obsessing over fountain pens, and it isn't good since these beauties can cost you a pretty penny.  Unlike plastic disposable pens hanging in their carded packaging in drug stores or stationary stores, fountain pens come in a variety of materials, sizes and shapes.  There is a type for every personality or for whatever mood you may be in any given day of the year.  My favorite pen is this wood, cigar shaped Jean Pierre Lepine.  That touch of gold is also classic, and the walnut ink I chose for it makes this pen even more special.  I used this pen for this drawing of my favorite boots on the night before they were put out on the curb.  It was hard for me to part with these boots but they had seen better days, and for me to keep them with me I did a little portrait of them.
I have been mixing it up with my sketches, trying new pens, or mixing media.  For this drawing I thought it would be great to use to colors of pens.  I had something else in mind when I thought of  it, the final sketch turned out too dark, but I still like it.  There's something unsettling about this one, don't you think?

It's always better when you do it in the sheets...drawing that is!  Nothing beats a good morning drawing session in bed while the sun floods the room with light.  What else can top this?  A cup of coffee perhaps, or an aromatic tea?  Either one works, as long as I'm wrapped up in my covers and on fluffy that is living!

Out of bed and on the go, that's how this drawing came about.  This one is a little strange, maybe the density and darkness of the forest is what makes me feel uneasy when I look at it.

If a Micron pen and a gel pen got together and had a love child what would you get?  This Pentel Hybrid Technica would be that child and it will bring you so much joy.  Ok, maybe that was a little over dramatic, but this pen in all reality is great.  Love how it glides and that it comes in different points.  This sketch was created while I had another one, of a tree in Central Park, I had done.  Over the years I have explored the park in different ways, while doing plein air painting and recently as a runner.  Images of little pockets of the park keep coming to mind as I sketch.  It may not be an accurate representation of a specific place in Central Park but the idea of it finds it way into this drawing. 
More sketches and other works coming soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Drawing and More Drawing

Recently I have been busy drawing, finishing old stuff and starting new ones.  Shortly after taking the photo of this sanguine tree in progress it took a slight turn and looks a little different than what I anticipated.  Soon I will  be posting the finished drawing, so do come back and check it out.
I also worked on this small commission of a baby portrait with a fountain pen.  I must say I surprised myself as to how well it turned out.  Portraits can be hard and to do them with just pen, no pencil under drawing, can definitely make things more difficult.  I accepted the challenge and I'm very happy with it.
Not so long ago I was talking to a friend, and he thought that it would be a great idea to come up with a monochromatic watercolor palette that cold be used for sketching on the go.  He made his own with three or four colors by attaching them to an Altoids tin, I must say he is into something neat.  That left me with the desire to come up with my own set, of course found it hard to stick to just three colors, so I came up with my own watercolor box of twelve earth and neutral colors.
It didn't take long for me to put this new set to use.  I began laying some light gestural washes to get a sketch going.  At first I was not so sure as to what I had done, I thought I had ruined a couple of good pages of my sketchbook.
A day after the paper was completely dry I began doing some pen work on top of the watercolor.  I used some of the color puddle marks to create shapes and connect them.  The mix of the sepia and walnut tones together made sense and I began to envision what the final sketch might look like.
Recently I purchased a set of neutral color pencils that I thought might be a good thing for me to explore.  At first I thought they might be pastel pencils but as began working with them I could tell that they were something else.  There was a silkyness to them, and as I looked closely at the box and dug through all my drawing materials it turned out that they were colored pencils, and I already owned a much larger set which I've had with me since I was in high school.  I have not worked with colored pencils since then, I found them to be unforgiving.  Maybe I was pressing too hard, I may have been using them incorrectly.  This time I'm softly layering the color, letting the pencil barely caress the paper, which is the way I have been drawing in the last ten years.
I loved these pencils so much, especially this warm grey, that I began another drawing.  So far so good...I'm loving this misty effect I'm achieving.  I will be posting soon some of these finished drawings, so please do come back ya hear!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Recent(ish) Monotypes

A Stone Wall, 2018, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches

I have not done a lot of monotypes in recent months, reason why I consider these prints done in December as recent.  In all transparency, I began this blog post in January and left it as a draft because I was going to go back and edit it…yeah that worked out great.

A Stone Wall, 2018, monotype (ghost print), image 6 x 8 inches, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

I have mentioned in the past that my sketchbook is an important part of my monotype process.  Within the pages of my Moleskine you can see many thumbnail sketches of ideas that I may turn into prints.  Can you recognize the top sketch on the sketchbook page above?  That image is the print(s) at the top of this post…it's interesting to see the original idea next to it's final stage, and to see how different media can effect the feel of the same subject.   

Moonlight Reflection, 2018, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

Nocturnes have been a big part of my monotypes, perhaps because the color of the ink and the process of making these images lend themselves to the creation of dark and moody landscapes.  One of the things I learned long ago from a colleague is that you should never fight your materials, and that advice is wise and true.  

Moonlight Reflection, 2018, monotype (ghost print), image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

This ghost print came out nicely, it's almost like a foggy moon lit version of the first print.  Sometimes the ghost prints can take on their own personalities and make the same landscape feel like a different image all together.  

The sketch for the nocturne above is the one at the bottom of this sketchbook page.  Sometimes I'm able to replicate the sketches faithfully, sometimes the ink on the copper plate can cause things to change a little from the original idea, again it's all part of the process, you can't fight with your work too much.  They are like children, you can try to guide them as much as you can for them to become what you want them to be but in the end they will turn out as they are meant to.  This nocturne  on the other hand did not give me any problems during its upbringing and came out just as I intended.

Arbolado XVII, 2018, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

I always finish my printing session freestyling on the plate.   No I'm not rapping, I'm just going with the flow and let my hand do it's thing and let one move follow the other naturally.  These type of images area a great way to end my printing nights, especially if I have been working from a sketch.  Trying to follow my drawings and replicate them can add a small level of stress as well as slowing things down.

Arbolado XVII, 2018, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Free flowing allows me to release some of the tension and ends the printing session on a high note.  In the end, art making is supposed to be a happy thing, and this process brings the fun back into it.  

Monday, January 28, 2019

"Sketchbook Vol 1" the Opening, Part 2

Sketchbook by Guno Park

Happy Monday to you! Hope every one is having a great start to their week staying warm, and if you are somewhere warm then I'm very jealous.

I would like to share with you today some photos from opening night of Sketchbook Vol 1, which took place on Saturday Jan. 19.  Can't believe how fast time is flying by.  It was such a fun afternoon, and the crowd was steady during the full four hours. 

Sketchbook by Marshal Jones

There was so much to see within the pages of each sketchbook, and visitors were loving it all.  I had to wait until the very end of the evening to be able to go through some of the books and take some quick snap shots.

This young lady and a group of us were drooling over Vi Luong's sketches, the amount of detail and precision he can get in the small spaces he works in is jut incredible.  Each line was perfectly calculated, something that would make most of us go crazy while doing it, but it seem like for Vi this might just be the most relaxing thing he can do.

Sketchbook by Paul Heaston

I was also very happy to see Paul Heaston's sketchbook.  I have been following his work on Instagram for a long time and was very excited when I found out we would be in the same show together.  He really is phenomenal.

Sketchbook by Evan Kitson

Evan Kitson's sketchbook was like looking at da Vinci's notebooks with all of its' writing and anatomical drawings.  Sketchbooks are a very private thing to artists, and out of the lot on display at Sugarlift, this one is the most personal.

Sketchbook by Marshal Jones

Marshal Jones is another incredible artists who I have had the chance to see his work in New York at multiple shows.  Can this guy paint flesh or what? .

Sketchbook by Paul Heaston

Sketchbook by Guno Park

Anther very talented artist I have been following on Instagram for years is Guno Park, a draftsman like no other.  His sketchbooks are a treat, like the fold out books with continuous scenes of subway stations, trains, and riders (see the first image above).  Guno not only is capable of capturing the likeness of his NYC subjects with a few dashes of his pen, but he can also capture their soul and humanity, not a simple feat to do. 

Sketchbook by Vi Luong

I mentioned Vi Luong's sketchbook earlier, this image is a closer look at one of his drawings.  Now do you see what I was talking about?  Even his writing is precise!

Sketchbook by Ted Schmidt

Closing out this post with Ted Schmidt, who I have never had the chance to meet or even see his work in person.  I was aware of his paintings when I was in high school, back then Artists Magazine had done a story on him and I thought his work was extraordinary.  I wanted to study with him right then and there but I was only 16/17 and was confined to the walls of that school until graduation.  Also I was in Connecticut, which for a young person with no car or licence, NYC is worlds away.  It's nice to have come full circle though and to have been included in the same show with him has been an honor.

Sketchbook Vol 1 will view on view until Feb. 8 by appointment only.  Contact Sugarlift to see this exhibition.