My painting shown above, Enchanted, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the traveling portrait show and competition, ModPortrait 2016. Sponsored by Galerie ArteLibre, the competition/show will first open at the Museo Pablo Serrano in Zaragoza, Spain on April 7th. It will then move the Museo MEAM in Barcelona where it opens on May 12th.
My work can now be seen online at Galeria ArteLibre. Founded in 1999, it is a virtual gallery that promotes quality figurative art through its site, exhibitions and competitions. It hosts the ModPortrait Contest and regularly collaborates with the MEAM museum in Barcelona.
This July I will be conducting a 2 day oil portrait workshop at the Oak Park Art League. It will address historical approaches to portrait painting, in particular the methods and materials of the 17th and 18th Masters of the British, Flemish and French schools. Process, visual philosophies and technique will be discussed as students develop a portrait sketch over 2 sessions using a limited palette and oleoresinous medium.
The specific dates are Saturday, 16th and Sunday the 17th. For more information the link to the OPAL workshop page.
My painting shown above, Boreas, was awarded the 3rd Honorable Mention at the Portrait Society of America’s Member’s Only Competition in the Non-Commissioned Portrait category.
The picture just returnd from Barcelona where it participated in the MEAM Figurativas 2015 competion. It is mentioned in the filming of the jury process at the 9 minutes 28 seconds. The link to the youtube video is here.
I will retouch the painting before sending it off again on its next adventure.
I just finished teaching another 4 week oil portrait course in Florence, Italy for the Cecil Studios. The students started out with a bit of cast drawing before working directly from models in charcoal and oil. The sight-size method, as it was originally intended, is used to create life-size portraits under natural light with a historical limited palette. The class size is limited to 10 students.
The great challenge is the ‘reprogramming’ of the student’s expectations of the portrait painting course. The goal is not to walk away with several pretty oil sketches. Ultimately, the emphasis is developing observation skills and the student’s ‘eye.’ The fundamentals of charcoal and oil technique are covered and explored. In this visual approach to image making the shapes are evolved directly on the canvas. The resulting work often lacks polish but honestly reveals a diligent study from nature. Hopefully one leaves with a basic knowledge of important principles that will guide them in their future work.
The above picture is of a model in a sight size set up with one of the completed demos that I did during the class. The one below shows one of the studio spaces. It was a great experience with a really nice group. Everyone really applied themselves and the results were excellent.
The images shown are from a recent painting that I completed. The title is Boreas, which is ancient greek for the north wind, or commonly known in Italian as the Tramontana. You can find more about the north wind here. To learn more specifically about Boreas, click here. One of the Anemoi, or wind gods, Boreas brings the cold winter. Enrico, the model, shares many of the characteristics of the north wind. He is dressed in a heavy leather jacket and holding a pipe that just went out.
A constant problem in sharing my oil paintings is the difficulty of taking a decent photographs. My technique, a distinctly 17th century visual approach, uses a lot of translucent glazes and scumbles that the camera simply doesn’t read. To capture some of the subtle halftones I am forced to F stop down to the point where all the darks melt together. As a result my oil paintings therefore are not very ‘photogenic.’ However the purpose of painting is to create unique objects/images that are experienced in person and enrich the viewer over time. The fact that my oil work rejects technological recognition is ultimately part of my purpose. The capability of human vision is much greater than the machines created to emulate them. The quality of art(figurative) should never be measured by the false paragon of the photograph. Otherwise we forfeit the stuff of poetry that it is made of.
Shown above is a recent portrait that I completed in January. The subject is an aspiring jazz singer Amore. She is very outgoing and extremely positive. In this picture I wanted to explore the idea a personal responsibility in relation to familial identity. Amore wanted to pose in her Grandmother’s velvet jacket. (Unfortunately, my work does not photograph very well with all the glazing that I use.) As a performer she is very conscious of her appearance and personae. I wanted to get across her inner determination(necessary for all creative paths) via her expression.
I just wrapped up my 4 week oil portrait painting course for the Charles Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy. It was a great group and everyone made a lot of progress. Above is a not so good photo of one of the two studios in action. Basically the course is a condensed experience of the normal full-time 2 year course. The students start out with a bit of cast drawing before working directly from models in charcoal and oil. The sight-size method ,as it was originally intended, is used create life-size portraits under natural light with a historical limited palette. The class size is limited to 10 students.
The great challenge is the ‘reprogramming’ of the student’s expectations of the portrait painting course. The goal is not to walk away with several pretty oil sketches. Ultimately, the emphasis is developing observation skills and the student’s ‘eye.’ The fundamentals of charcoal and oil technique are covered and explored. In this visual approach to image making the shapes are evolved directly on the canvas. The resulting work often lacks polish but honestly reveals a diligent study from nature. Hopefully the student leaves with a basic knowledge of important principles that will guide them in their future work.
Below is a progress shot of one of the paintings that I worked on during the course. It is a detail of the 50cm x 60cm. I hope to finish it this September.
Here is a not so high quality photo of a drawing that I completed over the weekend. It was done from life over 2 sittings. Gabriel is my favorite model at the moment for a variety of motives.
It is not easy to get a 3 year old to pose properly. A portable DVD player and Kung Fu Panda at least kept Gabriel in his chair. But he is pretty at home in the artist’s studio as one can see from photo below.
I recently finished running the Spring Oil Portrait short course for Charles Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy. Trying to teach life-size oil portraiture properly within in two weeks is nearly impossible. But this group did well and I am very proud of their results.
For those who want to know more below is brief explanation of what happens.
The short courses are essentially condensed versions of the regular training that occurs at Cecil Studios. The basic didactic philosophy is to provide a historically valid training that addresses the major principals, methods and materials utilized by great artists from the past. Projects are developed using the sight-size approach as it was originally intended: life-size portraiture. Working exclusively under natural light, the student begins with drawing in charcoal from the model. Over the first 3 days, two portrait drawings are created (morning and afternoon) for the transfer to canvas. The remaining sessions are dedicated to painting with a limited palette and olio-resinous medium. In addition to the discussion of the practical stages of picture making a museum visit to Palazzo Pitti and a lecture explore the evolution of Renaissance and Baroque portraiture, focusing on the Florentines, Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck.
My painting ‘Mattia’ is currently being acquired by MEAM in Barcelona, Spain. MEAM or the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern is a relatively new museum dedicated to contemporary figurative art. It is run by the Fondacio’ de les Arts i els Artistes (Foundation of the Arts and Artists). The site for the actual museum can be found here.
I explain a bit more about this painting in another post that can be found here.