Friday, December 25, 2015

Deuterbeanermann Farm

Deuterbeanermann Farm, 2015, oil on panel, 10 x 12 inches, Private Collection

Two months ago I was given a commission by a friend, one that would be presented as a Christmas gift to his lovely husband.  Since October I have been working on this small painting, and keeping it a secret, not being able to post anything about either here or on Instagram was very difficult.  As the painting developed I knew that I was doing something special, something I had not done in my work before.  The commission was to paint their home which is located in the Hudson Valley, a place full of beautiful views  that inspired, and still does, a great number of painters.  What is it about the Hudson Valley that painters are attracted to?  I think that's an easy answer, it's the light!  This became the main focus of the painting and I wanted to fill the small panel with it.  I had an idea of what this might look like in the end, but as the painting evolved it took on a live of it's own.  Things started happening, I was handling paint and color differently and for the first time in a long time I sensed growth in my skill.  For a painter to see this sort of thing happen before their eyes is major because we are our worst critic.
For the painting to feel airy and full of light the use of glazing was necessary.  I haven't worked with glazes for some time since most of my landscapes now are more immediate.  I knew that I needed to go back to lead white, and to be honest I forget how beautiful this color can be!  Not sure why I stopped using it in the first place, but I'm glad it's back on my palette.  From the beginning I kept telling myself "think Vermeer, think Vermeer," I began chasing Vermeer's clouds on his View of Delft, and to get more into that frame of mind I even watched a recent documentary on his work which was breathtaking.   If Vermeer inspired the clouds and light, then Inness was there for the reds and greens of the trees.  Both painters have inspired me greatly in the past, and this is the first time I was able to put what I learned from both into one painting.  Vermeer and Inness were not the only ones though, add to the mix another great painter, a man I had as a teacher once.  Stephen Pat Brown was incredible with what he could do with paint, and since I moved to NY and went back to representational painting I have always had his work in mind.  I can always hear him say to play with my warms and cools, and to glaze some blue here or there.
This commission came at the right time.  This year something was lost, I was no longer motivated to paint, I felt stuck.  The funny thing is that when I look back at the number of pieces I completed , this has been my most productive year, yet I can't shake the feeling that I could have done more!  Working on this painting presented a challenge. I had to create something new and different from the photos I was given as reference. I had to complete it under a certain timeline. I had to pull myself out of my rut and force myself to paint almost every night.  In the end this was the antidote I needed, I feel renewed again and my excitement for painting is at a new high and I'm back to my old self again.  What a great way to go into the new year don't you think?  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Monotypes

Untitled, 2015, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

These are the last monotypes of the year.  When I began attending the Salmagundi monotype parties in 2014 I had no idea that not only would my skill in the medium develop at such a fast pace, but I did not see this as permanent part of my artistic output.  These days I look forward to the monthly nights at the club when I could put my plate through the press and peel the paper away to reveal a new image.  

Approaching Rain, 2015, monotype, image 5 x 7 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

Days leading up to the monotype parties at the Salmagundi Club there is an air of excitement, the gears in my brain kick in and a thousand images, imagined and seen, start to roll like an old movie reel.  I make thumbnail sketches to work out ideas, I usually don't like to walk in to printing nights blindly.  Like most things in my life, especially in art, I like to prepare ahead of time.  I take what I do very seriously because in the end it is an extension of myself and it is what's left of me after I leave this world.  All these creative juices going round and round in my head can't be kept to myself, tis the season to share joy after all, and so last week I brought my friend, painter Robert Szot, to the club to give monotype a try.  By the end of the night he was hooked, and by the next day it was all he could talk and think about, and just like me he's trying to figure out how to get a press.  I think I created a monster!  

Approaching Rain, 2015, monotype (ghost print), image 5 x 7 inches, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

In the new year I plan to keep making prints, perhaps try etching, or go back to lithography, which I was exposed to for a semester in college.  Although the monotypes have been received very well by many different people, painting will still remain my main focus.  More to come.   

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Plein Air: Warm December Day

Warm December Day, 2015, oil on linen, 10 x 14 inches 

It has been unseasonably warm, this past weekend temperatures in New York reached the mid to high sixties. That's spring weather when you think about it, and when warm weather comes around you dust off the old portable easel and painting gear and head out to enjoy what global warming has to offer.  I wish I was built to withstand the cold, if that was the case I would spend most of the fall painting outdoors, even in winter I would go out and paint.  As a South American I am built for heat and sun, which is too bad because the fall can offer an amazing array of colors that can make some good paintings. That said, I enjoyed the sixty five degree weather on Saturday at Central Park. I was able to work with a different color palette of muted greys that forced me to see and work differently.  Toning down color and still making it sing is very difficult, and I hope that I achieved some of that in this painting.  Never the less, I'm happy with this one, and I am crossing my fingers for another warm weekend soon. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Prince Street Gallery Exhibition

Panoramic View, La Valdichiana, 2015, oil on linen, 6 x 20 inches

I'm happy and proud to announce that this painting was selected for Prince Street Gallery's Eighth National Juried Exhibition, juried by Graham Nickson.  Over seven hundred works were submitted for consideration, sixty four were selected which represent artists from twenty three states.  Exciting news to come home to on a cloudy day like today! Exhibition runs from Feb. 2 - 27, 2016. Opening reception on Saturday Feb. 6, 2016 from 3-6pm.  General gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11-6pm.  Prince Street Gallery is located at 530 West 25th Street, New York, NY.