Altered Art and Upcoming Show

October 13th, 2016

People often ask me how long it takes to make a painting. I’m fairly fast so often the answer I give can impress. On the other hand, sometimes a painting can take years to complete. That’s when I take another look at a piece long finished and think, “I could do that different.” So this blog will show a few examples of where that has happened lately.

Then, at the bottom is an announcement/invitation to our next show at the house. Get it on the calendar as it’s coming up the end of this month.

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Red Sun Hat, 36×24, oil. Click on titles for availability.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing the background color and maybe brightening up the colors a little. The original version was fine but simplifying the background heightens the contrast and gives a little more drama to the beautiful figure caught in time. (Click on pictures to enlarge.)

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Firefly, 28×19, oil

Speaking of adding drama, sometimes a strong color contrast is the ticket. Here was a piece I did years ago, out of my head as I remember. I came across it in my storeroom and started experimenting with it. I thought to take a picture after I’d begun with some red lines to reposition the arms. In the end I also turned her head, gave her a new garment, a new background, new hair and a new fitting title. Don’t remember what she was before, but now she’s a firefly.

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Living Wonder, 30×24, oil

Here’s one that changed dramatically. Actually I only used the earlier painting as a blank canvas for the new one. The risk of showing these is that some will say they liked the first one. But I’d reworked it a couple of times some years ago and was never particularly content so away it went. Actually the new painting at mid-point held a certain intrigue, but no, I was after a large and dramatic floral. A new wall flower? (Again, click the photo to enlarge.)

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Out and About became Still Water Night, 36×48, oil

Sometimes a “representative” painting can turn into an abstract, and sometimes it can go the other way around. I had the first one,  for some time, even showing it in a gallery, but when it came back I looked at anew and saw something else . . . like water, which then needed a boat to define it, and a few lights here and there that, though abstract, really do happen in nature what with reflections and all. Hope you like it; I do.

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(Top) Out of the Blue Golds, 30×30, oil and gold leaf, and (under)  Rose in Gold, 32×26, oil.

In the case of both of the two paintings above, the workmanship was fine, the statements were complete, but neither had gone anywhere so I decided to dress them up in gold. That’s gold leaf on their garments. Nothing like a new set of clothes to change ones whole outlook. Click to examine that gold leaf work.

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Walking Away iii, 47×28, oil

One more, just to illustrate again what a background can do to enhance the drama. I’d always liked the scumbling work on that sundress, paint over paint over paint to get a great texture. And I liked the simplicity of that hair, unlike with the dress, done in just a few strokes. It was a fine painting, but I was in the groove of refreshing paintings and altering background, so there she goes. (Click painting twice to better see that scumbling.)

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Here’s an invitation to our next show at the house. In addition to the pieces shown above will be an array of new work, by both Anne and myself. And again this time there’ll be a good selection of “entry level” small works, highly affordable and beautiful. And, of course, it’s just fun. So come. Its pre-Halloween weekend. Pie will be served. (Costumes optional :-)

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Vernon Adams, Typographer

August 29th, 2016

Last week our son-in-law Vernon died. It was after a two year and three month struggle following a motor scooter accident from which he never recovered. I described it last week in my other (writing) blog, Blank Slate. It was two days after that posting that he passed, his wife Allison by his side. I mention it here because many of you have known about all this, either by my mentioning, or being aware of Allison’s famous blogs documenting it. That long processing has in fact made the final outcome somehow more gentle, more ready to face. The name of her blog is Sans Oxygen. I recommend it to you.

But here I want to take a moment to introduce you to the late Vernon Adams as typographer. This is an art-focused blog and typography is an art.

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The irony is that Vernon was more of a fixer than a rider. He was good with his hands, and mind, at many things.

Vernon came into our lives a little over a decade ago. He and Allison met online through friends with mutual interests. The complication was that Vernon lived in England. How they overcame all that and married is an interesting story but not my focus here. They lived for the first several years of their marriage in England where Vernon pursued a master’s degree in typographical design at the University of Redding. Eventually they moved to America (San Clemente) as he found his way in the world of new type design and production. In fact, his business name was NewTypography.

As a freelancer, his main client was Google. His unique (and influencing) passion was “free typography,” making new fonts that anyone could download and use.

For the complete listing of his Google fonts (and access for use) go here.

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Here are 51 fonts.
Each was designed and produced by Vernon. A number of others were left unfinished, now being completed by other designers.

If you click around on the link you’ll see examples of all the letters, the rest of the font families (italic, bold, light, etc., etc.) as well as options to download.

You’ll be amused at the cleverness of sentences and paragraphs supplied to illustrate the fonts. To me they could all be the first lines of very intriguing short stories or novels. For the font named Oswald, for example, “My two natures had memory in common,” sounds like a great beginning for something.

Speaking of Oswald, it’s a typeface that’s seen millions of downloads and become one of the most popular Google fonts on the net. The same goes for Oxygen and a number of others. And Vernon was just getting going.

This video was just recently discovered. Vernon himself enjoyed watching it in his last weeks.

Take a few minutes to check him out holding forth at a conference of fellow type designers in Madrid (something he also did in Istanbul and San Francisco). You need not watch it all, but just a taste will give you an idea of the person, what he had to offer, and how he offered it.

Vernon was a different kind of artist. As both of us had beginnings as graphic designers, an appreciation for typography was one of the things we had in common (besides a love for Allison). We talked sometimes about Eric Gill, a type designer/philosopher of an earlier generation. A quote of his I’ve often used is: “An artist is not a different kind of person; every person is a different kind of artist.” I love that.

 

Today, as I write, Allison (with her mother) is picking up his ashes. His spirit, meantime, is with God.

And his memory, with us.

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New Book: Sketches of France

August 16th, 2016

We went to France, as last year we went to Italy, and once again it was an eye-opening, mind-expanding, foot-wearing experience . . . and beautiful in all aspects. No, we’d not been there before . . . except once passing through on a road trip to elsewhere. We were impressed by many things, not the least the friendliness of the people (regardless of my nil-knowledge of their language), the deep history (basically all through medieval times, and gothic, and contemporary), as well as the beautiful countryside. Then there was the art.

Being an art and art-history tour, with students and staff of Laguna College of Art and Design, we took in a lot of it. We toured museums, often at the rate of two a day, accompanied with on-site lectures by our own art scholars. We also toured towns and many sites with knowledge sprinkled in by local tour guides.

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A quick sketch in Dordogne, south of Sarlat. The map shows the extent and route of our tour, starting and ending in Paris.

Being a group of artists, on-site sketching and, for some, water color painting was a value. Once again I filled a book.  Without realizing it, I’d purchased a sketchbook that was thicker than the one I carried with me last year on the Italy trip. Instead of 120 pages, this one was over 160. With the trip being just under three weeks in duration, that meant a lot of sketching every day. You do the math.

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Le village au bord de la Dordogne.

Here’s where I was sketching when Anne snapped the above picture of me. You can see the same tower in the upper-middle.

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Here’s the result of the efforts, another in the series of my 8 1/4″ square books. Following are some sample spreads.

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As with all of these, click to enlarge.

A great many of the sketches were done in museums, like this detail of one by Paul Cezanne (left), from a life size photo of Claude Monet, and of one of his landscapes (seascapes?).

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I sketched what struck my fancy . . . like these big eyed caricature paintings by Chaim Soutine and this bronze bust by Picasso.

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Sometimes the sketches were of the environment, like this parked motorcycle (of which there were droves) or this Paris center scene with all of us hurrying through the rain.

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Some of these drawings really need color to show their beauty, particularly those of Monet, but I stayed with line, and their art still translates strong.

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Often the people in the museums are as interesting to watch as the art. The held up pocket camera was a scene as ubiquitous as . . . well, iPhones.

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Notre Dame was not to be missed, something Anne and I took in on a free day in Paris. On one page (not shown), I drew it while inching along the line to get in.

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Being a magazine and book designer in earlier days, my pages typically have some sort of unity. Those two chatting nuns, for example, were part of that Montmartre church, overlooking Paris.

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My drawing doesn’t do justice to this and other book illuminations we saw . . . books being a major carrier of the culture through the ages. I didn’t do much justice to the Reims Cathedral either, but hey, these are only sketches.

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As illustrated here, I used multiple drawing styles. I also used various media: pencil, ball point, felt tip and even “marker.” It was all to keep it interesting.

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The haiku came late. It was Charlie, one of the students, who mentioned that his mother is a poet of such. It’s the classic Japanese form of three lines and measured syllable count: five, seven, five. I don’t know if that’s Japanese syllables or English. No matter, mine were mostly close.

(Again, click on each image to read the poems.)

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One more, from a special exhibit of Van Gogh we saw in Arles, where he did most of his famous work. Once again, color is needed, particularly for that highly expressive self portrait at right. It was just a year earlier he’d done the more formal version of the left, dark and looking older. Then he changed. He saw new light. Got younger. Took more risks. Maybe there’s hope for all of us.

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Okay, one more. Anne and me as we traveled light, sketch book temporarily set aside, camera in pocket, i-pad in purse, on a cool day in front of the ever-being-restored Reims Cathedral.

How to love France? Take love with you.

We did.

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AVAILABLE NOW

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SKETCHES OF FRANCE

Impressions in Graphite and Ink, with Haiku

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An impressive little art book, 235 drawings in various styles and media, with thoughtful haiku to further arrest the mind. Cream paper, 8 1/4″ square, 166 pages. Great for the art enthusiast, the France fan, or anybody who likes beautiful and interesting things. Also great for gifts. Just $14.95.
For more information and how to order, click here. 

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Abstracted Figuratives at Laguna Show

August 3rd, 2016

Opening  tomorrow evening, during Art Walk and running for a month, the Sandstone Gallery in Laguna Beach will be featuring a show of my work. As Sandstone carries mostly abstract art, it’s that variety that I display there. The hours are 6:00 till 9:00, August 4, and every afternoon for the rest of the month (except Tuesdays).

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Red Repose, oil on canvas, 72×41

Here is a fairly new painting, just returned from a gallery in San Francisco. Viewers are intrigued with the honeycomb effect (paint applied with bubble wrap) as well as the drama of its large size, the expansive color areas, and the mood. For me it was a big experiment that worked.

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Dream Crossing, acrylic on canvas, 48×24

Among my figurative abstracts some lean further toward the latter. This one is all about design: strong shapes, strong direction, and strong color. The brushwork adds. Lately, one viewer who acted like a connoisseur stood in front of it for a long time and told me it was the best piece of art in Laguna. Always nice to here. But others will prefer another.

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Day Dreaming, acrylic on canvas, 48×24

Here’s another that’s been a favorite for some. I did the two “dreaming” paintings in series. Again this one is about design; though unlike the first, for this I had a photo reference. Don’t remember what, likely something in a fashion magazine. From there I took liberties.

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Simply Elegant, acrylic on canvas, 32×26

Here’s another that’s arrested the view of many. It’s my most understated figurative work. That blouse, for example, was done zen-like in three strokes (with a house painting brush). Any more detail would have changed the kind of painting I wanted. Note also hints of printmaking technique applied in the background. I also made a similar painting at the same time, but the other has been sold (at a gallery in Palm Desert).

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Blue Smock, acrylic and oil on canvas, 47×28

Here’s a piece I painted some time back with one of my students. She’s brought a photo and wanted to see how I’d approach it.  I used my technique of acrylic background first, complete with wonderful and random drips, then an oil painted face and figure. Some have said I was painting wife Anne but I wasn’t (at least not intentionally).

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Cool Fan, oil on canvas, 27×60

I originally painted this from a live model in a polkadot dress but I never particularly loved it. So recently, rummaging around for something to work on, I pulled it out of storage and hit it again. She now has evocative bare shoulders, a special white dress, and a whole new look on her face. And why not, women are so changeable.

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Firefly, oil on canvas, 28×19

Here’s another that I recently “refreshed” after having painted it some years back. In this case the figure was made up, not from a model. Now I don’t even remember what she was wearing, but not that brilliant yellow gown. Besides that, her face was in side view profile; now she’s looking away. It’s much more mysterious that way.

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Veiled in Mystery 2, oil on canvas, 30×24

Speaking of being mysterious, here’s one with that right in the title. I call it “Number 2” because “Number 1” was also painted over. That was also a figure coming out of an abstract background. Some people liked it, but I didn’t; so after a year or so I put back on the easel. It then went through a number of iterations, including being for a time completely abstract without a figure, and finally this. I like it now. (The bits of yellow just happened along the way, but there they stay.)

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California Vineyard 2, oil on canvas, 30×48
(click to enlarge)

Just to keep things from being too predictable, I’ve also included one landscape in the show. As you’ll see, it’s also done with an abstracted approach, with lots of thick paint, succumbed layers and palette knife work. Click on it for a larger view . . . though it’s really best in person. Come to the show (address below).

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All these works, with prices, are viewable on my website on the “Sandstone Gallery” page.

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Sandstone Gallery Show

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For the month of April my work will be featured at the Sandstone Gallery. The opening is during Laguna’s Art Walk, Thursday evening, April 7th, 6:00-9:00.

384 A North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.  One block north of the Laguna Art Museum, near the corner of Coast Highway and Jasmine.

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The Singularity of Anne’s Printmaking Work

July 21st, 2016

As Anne entered the Laguna Festival of Arts this summer, it occurred that we should have a brochure to support her. Basically, it’s a small “take away” for people to look through another time. Here’s how it came out.

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Here’s the cover. The emphasis on singularity is to address the misconception that her prints are multiples. Not so. Each of her pieces is one-of-a-kind. And, of course, so is she . . . (further adding to the meaning).

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The “in studio” photo, besides showing the artist, shows part of her press and, thus, something of the process.

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The quote was used by permission, of course. There were others, but this one was so succinct. That isn’t Diane Uke’s house, however, rather one of the rooms at our place.

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Here’s a “screen shot” of a page from Anne’s website. To see any of these, larger and uncropped, go to www.annesprints.com.

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Michele Corriel of Western Art and Architecture had so many insightful quotes it was hard to choose. And Anne’s book, Art Under Pressure, continues to enjoy exposure. (For more on that, and ordering info, go here.)

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Here’s Anne at her booth, the day we hung the art . . . then still a little bare without the flowers and guestbook and whatnot on the table . . . and, of course, without the many guests who have come by since.

Happily it has been a good summer for sales as people discover the beauty and intrigue of Anne’s singular art form.

The show runs through the summer.

Coming Events

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Special Reception for friends and fans of Anne Moore,
on the grounds of the Laguna Festival of Arts.
Sunday, August 21, 5:00-8:00.
The small admission at the gate will also give access to viewing the work of the 139 other artists showing, as well as the music concert of the evening.
But around booth #110 it’ll be celebration of Anne and her work, including a brief and interactive presentation of how she makes her art . . . plus wine and nibbles.
This will only happen once this summer.
A few free passes are available for entrance. (E-mail Anne for these at: anne@hyattmoore.com.)

Come if you can. You’ll love it and so will we.

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Upcoming Demo and Workshop

June 29th, 2016

Tomorrow evening (Thursday) I’ll give a brief demo on how to start a painting.

In two weeks I’ll be giving a workshop on how to start and finish a painting.

For details about both, see below.

Meantime, here’s a look at the stages of a painting of a barn I did recently, just to give an idea of how these things sometimes go.

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For the last year or so I’ve been working on barns for a client in Iowa. What they want are quick studies, all different, from photos they’ve supplied. Specific accuracy is not an issue. Here’s the first stage of one, in this case dispensing with a palette: I just put the paint directly on the “canvas.”

I used the three primaries: red, blue and yellow. Do you see the picture? It’s a barn with trees and grass.

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Actually, it wasn’t canvas I used but luan plywood, treated with shellac to seal it. For this second stage I used a palette knife to smear things around and start finding my shapes. Even the silo is starting to find its place.

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Next: sky and clouds. Once again I didn’t bother with a palette . . . just squirted the acrylic paint right out of the tube onto the painting. Saves the middle step.

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I’m not saying I always to it this way. But it’s “a” way. The point is, if you want a painting with a “loose” look, you have to start loose . . . then tighten as you go, stopping before it’s too tight. At least that’s my approach.

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Okay, now we’re getting a little more definition in the trees and the sky.

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We’re getting toward the final details here . . . the roof line on the barn, the roundedness on the silo, windows, shading, and hints of other structures among the trees.

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A little more detail for the clouds and I was done.  It all took about 45 minutes. If I’d wanted a more “realistic” piece I would have worked on it longer, maybe a lot longer. But I would have started the same way. It’s my approach.

Upcoming Lecture/Demo: “How to Start a Painting”

I’ll be doing a demonstration like this, though maybe of a face, at San Clemente Art Supply tomorrow evening (June 30). It’ll start promptly at 6:00. The cost is just $5.00. They’d like you to call to reserve a space: (949) 369-6603. It’ll be fun, and we’ll get a lot in in the hour and a half.

Upcoming Workshop: “Loosen Up”

Then, in two weeks I’ll be giving a full weekend workshop which will cover a lot more. And participants will be painting.  That will be all day, July 16 and 17. Cost: $225. Call the store at (949) 369-6603 to reserve a space for that too.

Address for both events: San Clemente Art Supply, 1531 N. El Camino Real.

Upcoming Shows

As a reminder, Anne will be among those featured at the summer-long Laguna Festival of Arts. That’ll be from July 5 through August 31, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Drop by and see her at booth #110.

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Artists in France

June 22nd, 2016

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We went to France for three weeks. We traveled with students, staff and other guests (like ourselves) of the Laguna College of Art and Design. As last year, when we did the same in Italy, it was an art and history tour . . . a perfect fit for us. Going around the whole country, we took lots of photos, made lots of sketches, and came back with heads full of impressions. On our return I wrote these down:

European culture values, or at least valued, art. The evidence is pervasive.

Great art lasts. It’s held up as a record of its time and testimony of the human spirit.

The great artists knew their talent. They were aware that they had great work to do.

Most made many works.

Some made money and fame, others not; it was beside the point.

Different periods produced different surges of creativity and styles.

Personally, my own preference of such is the French Impressionists, including pre- and post-Impressionists (the 1800’s).

Of these, Monet’s work stands out among all others in terms of beauty.

That I should let Monet influence my work, though not to copy.

That a legacy of life work comes from A CLEAR VISION, EXCELLENCE IN EXECUTION, and FOCUSED WORK.

I discovered again, by what I photographed most, that my preference for making paintings is the face and the figure.

That’s enough. There were more, and on other subjects besides painting . . . including religion (guided and misguided), current folklore (that keeps us culturally dull-witted), the limiting factors of my own vision, and etc. But those are all other topics. This is an art blog.

Among the hundreds of photos I took, a few are works of or about artists themselves. For your interest I’ll share them here.

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Henri Rousseau, Myself in Landscape, 1800’s

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Berthe Morisot, 1841-1895, of Paule Gobillard Peignant

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Jan van Beers, a sculpture of Le Peintre (my title), 1876

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Camile Corot,  Autoportait, 1825

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Edmond Aman-Jean, Portait du sculpteur Jean Dampt, 1894. (Great frame, no?)

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Auguste Rodin, Monument to (painter) Claude Lorrain, 1892

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Henri Matisse, a painter after my own heart, working big.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Claude Monet, 1875

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Finally, one of the museums (we were in two a day) even had a set-up of an artist’s easel from the beginning days of plein air painting. Notice the umbrella is for the art, not the artist. Necessary when the glare is too bright.

All for now. Hope you enjoyed the photos, and the reflections. Next will be more blogs on the France trip including, eventually, work from my sketchbook, and some of Anne’s creative photography.

Upcoming Shows

Once again Anne will be among those featured at the summer-long Laguna Festival of Arts. That’ll be from July 5 through August 31, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Drop by and see her at booth #110.

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180 Small Faces in Philadelphia

May 19th, 2016

I went to Philadelphia. It was my first time back. A little known fact is that I was born there. I never lived there but for the first ten days of my life. My parents lived, for a few years after their marriage, in New Jersey.

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From the 33rd floor of the Loews Hotel, home for the event and my lodgings.

The closest hospital of choice for my mother was across the bridge in Philadelphia. After she gave birth to me, she went back home and I went with her (I wanted to be close). So, for that brief stay, I became a native of the city and ever on was required to spell out that long word on every form wanting to know my beginnings.  Mine and Ben Franklin’s. That’s him at the top of a spire. (Click the photo twice to enlarge, as with all.)

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A child of Belarus, 8×10, acrylic (as are they all).

The event was a gathering of the United Bible Societies, a confederation of some 150 organizations around the world. It’s something they do every six years, this time with 500 men and women coming together for the sake of shared values, business and overall support.
The conference ran for five days, the first two of which I was set up in a rear corner of the proceedings, allowing me to listen in on the inspiration, challenges and intelligence while I painted.

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A daughter of Zimbabwe, in as few strokes as possible.

I’m finding it quite amazing the things this artistic gift gets me involved in. Of course, they’d never considered having a painter in their midst. But through some mutual contacts, some creative emails flying back and forth to England and Skype calls to Australia, it all came together.

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My choice for the child representing the multi-cultural U.S.A., a cowboy.

My goal (and my offer) was to make quick paintings of children for each member organization. That’s 150. Plus there were another 30 dignified guests visiting for the first two days, so there’d need to be paintings for them, too. That’s 180. I figured if I made 20 paintings per day, that would be 100 done in five days. Obviously I’d have to work ahead, and did.

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From Uzbekistan. Sometimes a pre-painted background provided the harmony.

My approach was to work in acrylic and try to get each painting done in 15 minutes. I had a schedule to meet. Then between paintings there was research for the next one. Thanks to Google, I was able to bring up computer images from a given country in a moment in time. I chose the best one, without very much thought at all, and got the brushes moving again.

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This and the following show the paintings as they came together. (Not shown are the 30 for the special guests, which were removed mid-conference.) I worked through a list alphabetically and put them up as I finished them. (Excuse the small shadow lines, cast by the push pins and overhead light.)
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I must say the quick research I did for each subject added to my sense of world geography, the distinctives of race and culture, and in some cases, the pathos of the particular country. The poverty in some places was disturbing, and worse, the trauma; or children in places like Congo carrying automatic rifles they could hardly lift. I didn’t paint them.

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There’s something about children that brings a smile. They’re little human beings, learning to be adults, trying to be happy as much as they can.

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As you’d expect, not all the paintings came out as good as others. I could have wished all were better, but, hey, 15 minutes! I couldn’t bog down.

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A rare moment with no one in the room, on the last day, almost all finished.

After the first two days, I was positioned in an ample “display area” where the delegates took their morning and afternoon breaks. Here I worked alone, though I had plenty of stimulation, including the company of people dropping by to watch and talk.

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At the end of the last day, representatives of the organizations came by to receive their gifts . . . for that’s what they were, little mementos for their offices. Of course, many wanted to be photographed with the artist and it was all great fun. (Again, double click to enlarge.)

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From Gabon and Cameroon.

I came across a frame store on the streets of Philly and picked up a couple just to show how a painting can look more complete when framed. The source photo from Gabon (left) was chosen by the delegate from there. I would have never tried a tongue-out expression like that, but now I like it . . . as does he.

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Here they are, minus a few, and less the first 30, as mentioned. (Click to see it better.)

Was I tired by the end? No more than any other day. These projects can be energizing, particularly when working right among the people they represent and who will be receiving them.

Through it all, new friends were made. As one thing always leads to another, who knows where the next venture will be? As usual, there are ideas.

Next, though, Anne and I are off to France for three weeks, taking in all the aesthetics and history of that art-abundant place.  Stay tuned.

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Van Gogh and Show

May 5th, 2016

This post is about the progression of a painting, or rather a number of paintings that finally became one. It’s also about our show coming up this weekend.

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Do you remember this one? I posted it a couple of years ago after our time in Tucson when we had the use of a beautiful house belonging to friends. Anne was doing her art on one side of the room and I was on the other. I made this large abstract at the request a gallery. When the gallery moved I got it back and decided to change it, turning it upright and giving it more splash (left). Then I changed my mind again (see below).

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The pieces on the floor are from practice sessions with models.

The “splash” effect didn’t satisfy so I reconceived it altogether and made it into this giant floral. I used much paint in the process, but in the end still wasn’t convinced.

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Happy painter, with both ears intact. Click twice for a larger view. (Same with all photos.)

I painted over it again, taking inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh. Among the differences between his and mine is the size, and the wonderful texture I got by painting over another painting. Now I’m happy. I’ll keep the painting. That is, until someone comes along who also greatly loves it. It’ll be part of our show this weekend. (Read on.)

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The art wall with steps to the loft.

Here’s a quick tour of how the show is shaping up. The house is the same but different art on display. (Well, the house keeps changing, too.)

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Beneath the loft.

Every piece of furniture has its story, as does the art. Here’s a small floral, a small landscape from an Idaho trip, and an abstracted landscape from impressions I got once descending into Buenos Aires.

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Down the hall.

Here, on the left is the beauty in the red skirt, new from the Crestline trip. She looks toward the stately Blue Cowboy, painted in Wyoming. Then on the right are a number of small still lifes with very low prices just for the weekend.

Dining

The dining room.

I brought a few of my Native Americans back from where they’ve been hanging, complete with their wonderful rustic frames of reclaimed wood. That Masai spear isn’t always there . . . in fact, I’m never quite sure where to put it.

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The downstairs guest room, and the backside of the Bali door.

Anne’s art, besides being distinguished from mine by both style and technique, is always framed under glass. Pieces not purchased this weekend will likely be part of her offering this summer at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts.

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The master bedroom.

Besides Anne’s framed work, she has many unframed pieces, just as handsome, in bins. For that matter, the same goes for me. Bargains can be found.

Hope you can join us. The show is both Saturday and Sunday, all afternoon and evening. Sunday’s Mother’s Day, yes, so take Mom to lunch and bring her over. Or come Saturday. Here’s the invitation, with the details.

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Hope to see you. Either way, keep loving art . . . and life.

 

 

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Prodigal Son

April 14th, 2016

On recent posts I’ve given a few excerpts from my new book, Our Lives Together, The Early Years. I’ve wondered if I’d share this one. Most know of my Christian persuasion; most probably don’t know how that came about. The book delivers the story, abbreviated, on one page. I’ve copied it here.
(Also, see below for a talk on the same topic, or click here.)

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One of the few photos extant from that time, me, either still questing or brand-new born and still stunned by it all. (I still am.)

During this period I realized I’d reached my goals. I was 27. I was an art director, I had a house, a great boat, a great car and, of course, a great wife. But for all this, I was empty. Setting new goals seemed futile. Once I took Anne for a walk to ask her who I was, as I had lost track.

Complicating it, I was often sick. I came to realize the illness was of a psychosomatic nature but still I couldn’t get a handle on it. There were fears. I didn’t think of myself as a fearful person, but something was eating away at my stomach and it would manifest in a most unruly way. I became more introspective, nurtured a clever cynicism, and was not at all hopeful about the future. I was wary of bringing children into such a world.

For about a year I slipped deeper and deeper into this darkness.

Without knowing anything about this, my dad gave me a book. I thanked him but had no intention of reading it, seeing it was Christian in nature.

Later, when he asked about it, I told him I’d lost it, to which he said, “Here, have another one.”

He’d bought a case of these books and was giving them to all his friends.

Right about then Anne and I were heading out for our second month-long trip to Mexico. This one, I’d determined, would be more of a reading and contemplation trip. I packed a number of books–about the future and some, more metaphysical (Eastern, New Age). I brought along my dad’s book as I knew he’d be asking me again. I determined to read it first.

I was reading it in Culiacan, our first major stop. We were visiting Carlos, who had first befriended me during the car mishap years earlier (page 40).We were staying in a tiny motel room and I was reading on the bed. Anne walked in and asked how it was, knowing I wouldn’t like it at all.

“It’s pretty good,” I said, “The guy agrees with me. The world is falling apart.”

The book, The Late, Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsay and Carole Carlson, long out of print now, was basically about biblical prophesy. Though I’d long since left it, I’d had a church background, so the references and stories were not unfamiliar to me. I just hadn’t considered that they could be relevant.

I don’t remember how many predictions cited in Old Testament history that pointed to Christ, but far too many to be coincidental. By evidence, the coming of Jesus to earth fulfilled them all.

Then, both in the Old Testament and the New, including statements by Jesus himself, there were predictions of how he would die, that he would resurrect, and that ultimately he would return, big time.

Also, while no one knows when it will be, the world will suffer an upheaval like it never has. The authors pointed to where the world was beginning to show signs of it all now. It made a certain sense.

Besides all that, there was another matter, more personal. The claim was that, in fact, Jesus was the son of God sent to earth–not only to teach us, but to pay the penalty we should be paying to a perfect and perfection-demanding God. I was told I needed to respond to this personally.

This was uncomfortable reading for me and I’d hurry on. Nor did I see how a personal decision had anything to do with anything . . . and certainly not “everything,” as the book claimed.

So, it wasn’t just history I was reading, as interesting as that was, or prophesy, as intriguing as that was, but there was suddenly a spotlight on my own life. That is, while Jesus carried out the death sentence that was on me, it would not have any positive effect if I didn’t accept it.

There was a logic to it, but it was beyond logic too. And there was great resistance. I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t deny it.

Finally, I put the book down and turned my head to the wall and started praying. I caught myself and almost stopped. Then I caught myself catching myself and continued on.

I turned myself in.

Nothing happened.

It was the next day, in Mazatlan, while Anne took a nap, I took a walk on the beach. I got to considering what I’d done, the new (old) information I’d just been exposed to and the decision I’d made. That’s when it hit.

Suddenly it all made sense. I saw everything with new eyes. A smile came over me so wide it almost broke my face. The tears started flowing.

I knew Anne would hardly be able to believe it. Or anybody else. I could hardly believe it. I was a new man, profoundly and permanently. I knew that.

Anne began to see it too, as we drove along, talking. She saw my change and in time she believed and was made new, too.

It was a life altering change in us . . . and for us.

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A year later–another new birth, our first child, Allison, born at home. (Click to enlarge.)

As it happens, last weekend I spoke on the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son, which was perfect as it’s my story. With apologies for the informality of it all, and some recording glitches, I offer the link here.

PS In the talk I refer to three paintings. They’re on an old blog, here: 2003-7

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Save the Dates:

Home and Studio Show, May 7-8

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Once again we’ll be showing and sharing lots of new work, and enjoying the company of guests and friends at our Studio Show and Sale. It will be the afternoons and evenings of May 7 and 8. That’s Mother’s Day weekend. Feel free to bring her, and any other friends. (Here’s a tour from a previous blog.)

33752 Big Sur, Dana Point, California.

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New Book:

Our Lives Together, Available Now

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Though the above story is the only of that particular experience, all are revealing, insightful, and entertaining. Everyone should have a book of their formative years. Here’s ours. Full of photos, all classic and candid. 140 pages.

For a taste of other topics, and for ordering info click here.

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