Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The No Evil Series

The No Evil Series is a triptych that I worked on during my last stay in Italy. The idea actually came to me from a tattoo client. He wanted the typical monkey motif we all know. He being a client that I've tattooed for a number of years I was able to offered him an other perspective to his idea. I suggested that we come up with and alternative subject other than the monkeys and still keep with in the meaning of the piece. The best thing I came up with was an other typical tattoo image, the skull. We placed three skulls side by side with a red fabric and roses intertwined and holding together these heads. The fabric doubled as a device of unity and in covering the eyes, ears and mouth of the skulls instead of hands.
Ever since I made that tattoo I've wanted to reuse the essence of that image. As you will see I have again changed the objects but the meaning is still there. I hope that you enjoy the work and thank you for viewing.

Hear No Evil

See no Evil
Speak No Evil

Monday, October 4, 2010

GCA Drawing Competition Update

John, Pencil on Paper.

So here is my drawing for the  GCA competition. I had a wonderful time and learned a lot from the other competitors. It was a joy to watch how the other artist approached there drawing and each take them to a finish. I don't believe I had ever worked so intensely on a single drawing. We all started our days at 9 am and finished at 6 pm with only an hour break for lunch. This went on for five days and we were all tired by the end of the contest. My hat goes off to our model John for standing there and posing the whole time. John was really a trooper and not once did we need to crack the poseI hope to participate next year and work amongst those great artist another time. Thank you all who was following the event and encouraging me the whole way.

GCA Drawing Competition Awards Reception

Drawing Competition Awards Reception

Here are some photos from the reception on Friday night. I'm still waiting to receive photos of the drawings themselves, so keep checking back! I will post them as soon as possible. Meanwhile, American Painting Video Magazine posted a little video of the reception on their facebook page that briefly shows the winning drawings, so check it out.

The Judges: Michael Klein, Edward Minoff, and Scott Waddell

Edward Minoff shakes the hand of first place winner Darren Kingsley

the crowd goes wild!

The Winning Drawings

Here are the winners!
Drawing skills are the bedrock of good painting, and the foundation on which form and color can most truthfully be expressed. It is incumbent on the artist to routinely sharpen and develop these skills from life. The intent of this competition is to bring greater prestige and honor to those artists who have devoted time and energy to honing these abilities. It will be a pure test of drawing skills.
The draftsman who executes the most beautiful drawing will be awarded the Grand Prize accompanied by the title, Apelles. The second place prize includes the title, Protogenes. The winning draftsmen will hold these titles until the next annual competition.

by Darren Kingsley: Grand Prize, Apelles

by Will St. John: Second Prize, Protogenes

by Carla Crawford: Honorable Mention

Viewing the drawings at the awards reception

Camie "life of the party" Davis, we love you!

The Giust Gallery

I recently took a visit to The Giust Gallery in Woburn, MA. This Place is a real gem and I can't believe I hadn't heard of it sooner considering that I am from Massachusetts. I stumbled upon it on-line while looking for plaster cast to buy for my own studio. When I arrived I was greeted warmly and taken on a tour of there studio. I was amazed at the bulk of there collection. One could tell that The Giust Gallery really took pride in the work. They took time with me to thoroughly explain each step of  there working practices. Later they described a little about there history in the States and how they came to acquire all of these wonderful molds.

"The quality of a reproduction is of the greatest importance. In an original work of merit there is a subtleness of treatment- a certain feeling which, if captured in reproduction, places the finished piece within the realm of art itself."

- Pietro Caproni, 1911
Florentine master craftsman Pietro Caproni practiced the art of creating quality reproductions. During the last two decades of the 19th century, he traveled through Europe making molds directly from masterpieces in museums such as the Louvre, the National Museum in Athens, the Vatican, the Uffizi Gallery, and the British Museum. Considered the greatest craftsman of his time, Caproni was one of the last to be allowed the freedom of casting directly from museum pieces.
In 1900 Pietro Caproni constructed the Caproni Gallery building, at 1920 Washington Street in Boston, to cast and house his reproductions. He made them available to museums, schools, and private connoisseurs through an illustrated catalogue which listed over 2500 casts, including such extraordinary pieces as the full-size Winged Victory of Samothrace and Michelangelo's head of David. The Caproni Gallery became the leading art gallery of its kind in the world.

The Water Falls

The Water Falls finished painting
The Water Falls is an example of my work that is partly conceptual with references of nature. My main concern was to create  some sense of movement. I did not want to limit that movement to just the rush and thrashing of the water but a movement that drifted with the mist into the atmosphere of the background. The running water posed a problem to paint in the fact that it just doesn't stay still long enough. I also tried to take a few photographs to see if that would solve the problem which only made for poor results. All of the photos I took made for a very still and dead feeling. Using my imagination I tried to make a base of non-repetitive natural shapes to run through the whole painting. All of these shapes more or less going into the same direction over the edge of the cascade. It was also important for me to make the reflective parts of the water interesting. I knew I needed to have these little mirrors in the water to be influenced by there surroundings. With this in mind and the idea that as thing recede they may also become cooler ( lower in chroma ) came to mind. To solve that problem I was able to place a cooler green color in the back reflected from the background trees. I then placed a higher chroma color in the foreground to catch the eye and hopefully pop it forward. I am aware now in writing this that there are many schools of thought in making objects advance and recede by attention to edge, tone ect. At last I am not stating that there are better ways to paint. I am just describing my approach to this particular painting.

The Water Falls pre-sketch in pencil
The Water Falls pre-sketch in pencil

Here is a preliminary sketch to get my bearings on the composition and tonal relationships. This drawing was made three times smaller then the finished painting. Working in this manner I am able to get an idea of how things are working together. At this stage I will know to improve on the idea or scrap it completely.

The Water Falls oil sketch
The Water Falls oil sketch

The oil sketch or poster study works similarly to the pencil drawing. Because I was able to establish in a general way the composition and tones in the previous stage I am now able to embellish them more in color. Again this is a small painting, the same size as the preliminary drawing. For me this cuts out a lot of guess work in the finished painting. All of my experiments can be done here without fear. These studies are best done from life then taken back to the studio for referencing throughout the entire painting process.

The Water Falls finished painting
The Water Falls finished painting

Lastly we have the finished product. Here you can see minor changes in both color and tones from the oil sketch. In the oil sketch I left the upper right hand corner lighter in tone. As the painting progressed on a larger scale my eyes seemed to exit the corner every time I looked at it. To remedy this I decided to apply a sort of vignette to the corners to hold one's eyes in the painting a bit longer. There is much more a level of finish and detail added to the finished painting. Also in the lighter foreground area I added much impasto to emphasize the frothiness of the crashing water. I imagine with a coat of varnish and the gallery lights it will sparkle like a gem furthering the sense of movement.