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Work Available at Michael LaConte Gallery

3goddesses
Three Goddesses, oil on linen, 40cm x 60cm

I have a variety of works available at the Michael LaConte Gallery via 1st Dibs.  There are drawings, paintings and sculptures.  Please follow the link here to see more.  Both above and below are a selection of the pieces.

Enrico
Boreas, oil on linen, 70cm x 110cm
lisianthus
Lisanthus and Holly, oil on linen, 40cm x 60cm

 

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A Brief Walk Through of a Dream Incarnate

Here is a video of a brief walk through of my show A Dream Incarnate: Italian Landscapes and Portraits at the Oak Park Public Library.  The show runs for the month of July.  Please stop by and take a look.

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A Dream Incarnate: Italian Landscapes and Portraits

 

This summer I will be having a show of my Italian landscapes and portraits. Kindy hosted by the Oak Park Public Library it will be up for the month of July.  Entitled The Dream Incarnate, the work represents my experience in Italy through a visual interpretation of the places and people that have inspired me.  It opens Saturday, July 8th.

For more information about the show please follow the link here.

Below is a selection from the works that will be represented.

Rhapso2

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Sacred Art Show in Livorno

Wanderer pastel
Saint John the Baptist, pastel on paper mounted on linen, 50cm x70cm

A couple of my paintings will be participating in the upcoming show “The Rebirth of Figurative Sacred Art” that will run from Sept. 7th until the 10th. at the Old Fortress in Livorno, Italy.

My pastel of Saint John the Baptist and oil of San Francesco da Paola will be exhibited.  Entrance is free and the show is part of the Miss Arte Moda Italia program.

sanfrancescopaola
San Francesco da Paola, oil on linen, 40cm x 55cm
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Solo Show at the Michael LaConte Gallery, Chicago in September

The Trickster, oil on linen, 70cm x 90cm. Awarded 1st place at the Oak Park Art League's Artist Member's show.
The Trickster, oil on linen, 70cm x 90cm. Awarded 1st place at the Oak Park Art League’s Artist Member’s show.

Mark your calenders!  Friday, September 25th my show at the Michael LaConte Gallery opens.  I am really looking forward to this and will explain more in my future posts.

A link the opening info can be found here.

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A Sight Size Head Study for Affresco

Il Risorto (The Ressurected Christ), pastel on paper, 50cm x 70cm
Il Risorto (The Resurrected Christ), pastel on paper, 50cm x 70cm

I am currently developing a couple of affresco projects for churches in Matera, Italy.  A lot of preparation is required: compositions sketches, presentation drawings, studies, cartoons etc; before the actually painting can begin.  Studies made from life are important not only for working out ideas but for creating the references that are used to complete the painting.

My pastels
My pastels

My medium of choice is pastel.  I make my own sticks using the same earth pigments that will be used in the affresco.  For the head study of Il Risorto that is shown above, I  used the sight size method.  An approach used by portrait painters for centuries, it is perfectly suited for head studies.

Model with study with a sight size set up.  There is a slight distortion from the camera.
Model with study with a sight size set up. There is a slight distortion from the camera.

Essentially a practical application of one point perspective, sight size is based upon the relationship of viewing point, model and picture plane.  Instead of looking through the ‘veil’ the picture plane is the canvas placed along side of the model.  The least amount of distortions and errors occur when the model and the picture plane are the same scale, thus the natural power of this method for life size portraiture.  However, for my project the head of Christ is to be over life size. To achieve the correct scale I placed my board roughly a meter behind the model.

Easel placement seen from the side
Easel placement seen from the side

In designing large, in situ wall decoration a lot of different factors come into play.  Compostion, visual corrections and varying viewing points all must be considered and orchestrated to create a successful painting.  Sight size, when used intelligently, is a fundamental and necessary tool for not only shapes and proportion but giving work the power of impact at a distance.

To learn more about my pastel approach there is a post here.  For an example of the affresco technique there is another post here.

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A Mention in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

The Monk, 50cm x 70cm, pastel on paper mounted on linen.
The Monk, 50cm x 70cm, pastel on paper mounted on linen.

In a previous post I spoke about the painting above participating in the 5th Nationwide Catholic Art Exhibtion at the St. Vincent Gallery in Latrobe, PA.  The Art Critic for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mary Thomas, also wrote a wonderful review of the show where my picture was discussed as well.  The link to the article can be found here.

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The 5th Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition

The Monk, 50cm x 70cm, pastel on paper mounted on linen.
The Monk, 50cm x 70cm, pastel on paper mounted on linen.

The 5th Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition hosted by the St. Vincent Gallery at the St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA opens today.  My painting pictured above ‘The Monk’ was selected to participate.  Sad news unfortunately accompanies this wonderful event.  Brother Nathan Cochran unexpectedly passed away this July.  He was the visionary and driving force behind the St. Vincent Gallery and this Exhibition.

Hopefully we can all learn from his positive attitude and carry forward his dream of reviving Catholic art.  To learn more about the exhibition the link can be found here.

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Cecil Open Studios

If you happen to be Florence, Italy this weekend, Charles Cecil Studios is having an open house.  You can find more information here.  Work will be shown and there will be a demonstration of the sight-size technique.  A couple of my more modest works will be on display as well.  Images of them are shown below.

The Young Architect, oil on linen, 50cm x 70cm
The Wanderer, pastel on paper mounted on board, 50cm x 70cm
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Investigating a Face

The Florentine, detail, oil on linen, 50cm x 70 cm

When you find an inspiring model, it is hard to stop at with one picture.  Danielle, the fellow that you see in the following images, is no exception.  One of the benefits of painting from life is that you not only become familiar with the anatomy of a particular face but you get to know the personality.  The work becomes a collaboration where the model’s inner life inspires and contributes to the direction of the painting.  Art is about communication.  Any artist that follows a too insular path is destined to repetition and simple decoration.  Interaction with life and Nature provides the stimulus necessary for creating profound works.   The obstacles and victories that we experience in the everyday connect us to the larger themes of our existence.  A model’s personal experience therefore becomes a metaphor upon which an artist expresses his/her vision.

Lay in for St. John the Baptist, detail, oil on linen, 70cm x 110

Danielle is an artist as well, studying at the Accademia di Belli Arti in Florence.  We have have some wonderful conversations that ranges from art technique to philosophy.   He has a distinctly biblical look about him(beard and all) and I envisioned him as a St. John the Baptist.  The picture above is a detail from a work that I am still developing.  Our conversations and interactions really set the tone for the sittings and the appropriate expression finally came out.  The first work I did with Danielle was the drawing below.

Suspicious, detail, charcoal

Then I did the pastel below.  It was very soon after I had first met him and the ‘St John the Baptist’ expression just did not come out.  However, the painting does capture the peaceful searcher on the spiritual path that Danielle definitely possesses.

The Wanderer, pastel on paper mounted on board, 50cm x 70cm

The first picture in the post, the Florentine, is a head study in the meantime.  When I get back to Florence, I am looking forward to finishing the St. John piece.

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A Couple of more Pastels

As a continuation of the last post.  Here are a couple more recent pastel projects.  They were both done from life.

Enrico, pastel on paper mounted on board, 50cm x 70cm

 

Enrico, detail

 

The Wanderer, pastel on paper mounted on board, 50cm x 70cm
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The Development of a Pastel Portrait

Portrait of Josephine, pastel on paper mounted on board

In a previous post I shared my pastel head work.   But how are they done?   The facture of any work of art is fascinating, even for the casual observer.  So in this post I would like to share the development of a portrait.  Working from life definitely enriches the final piece.  It enables a collaboration with the sitter that other methods intrinsically exclude.   Improvisation and the ever changing environment introduce unforeseen elements that only time can reveal.  It is the artist’s duty to select from this collection of observations and weave them into a cohesive piece.

The number of sittings vary depending upon the project.  The average piece requires 4 to 8.  This portrait was done from life with sittings that were completed over a 2 week period.  Josephine (or Giusy for her friends)  is a child psychologist that works the youth with severe mental problems.  She is a very strong person and that pretty much informed the initial head pose.  In our subsequent discussion we decided to introduce a little doll to symbolize the frailty of man’s mental condition.  The doll that she is holding comes from her personal collection.

I apologize for the quality of the photographs.   The colors are richer and deeper in nature.  Some of the images are a bit out of focus and the lighting conditions are variable.  The portrait was done under natural light.

Day 1, charcoal lay-in
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Final Portrait

Below is a photo of my pastels.  The majority are Matt-made.  Apart from saving a lot of money, home made pastels are much superior in quality.  The artist also has complete control over the colors and shape of the individual sticks.  The support is a sheet of heavy hand made italian paper mounted on a board.

My pastels
Detail
Detail of Doll