Thursday, March 31, 2011

Somerville Open Studios April 31, May 1

Exactly one month from now I will be participating in my first ever Open Studios. This is because I finally have enough work AND I live in a town that has them. Somerville actually has quite the vibrant arts community. You can visit the Open Studios website here:

I have been racking my brain on how to display my paintings without putting a gazillion big screw holes in my rental apartment walls. I must admit everyone I asked came up with plenty of good and/or crazy contraptions to build, but I found these inexpensive self-standing wire grid racks that can fit 3 paintings on each side. I found them here: Gershel Brothers . This is a small company that sells displays for retail stores- and they actually called me back with answers to my questions even though I am not some large business. Blick art supplies has much nicer versions meant for art (such as the very refined art tree) but these solutions are not thrifty enough for me.

There will be at least one piece for sale: an oil painting of The Magdalene for around $400. The "studio" (a.k.a. the foyer of an apartment I share) is at 13 Spring Street and the hours are 12-6. Maps for all of the Somerville studios who are showing will be available all over town in colorful sidewalk stands, and will also be available on the website.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Backgroud painting for: Hypocondria

Here is the progress of a piece I got in my head possibly two years ago. Here I have two versions of the background, a natural scene with a tomb much like in the two Poussin paintings for Et in Arcadia Ego. My painting will have a single figure who is much more interested in himself than in the message on the tomb. The first version, started two years ago and abandoned twice thereafter, has a more yellow-green hue foliage and a pink and blue sky (and is a little further along). The second, started two weeks ago, started as a palette I created for it on (see previous blog). It also is the first painting I have started from scratch after my color class. Instead of yellow green and brown, the emphasis is on the bluish-green and toned-down red. To me, the second is more harmonious, even though it may not be as true to nature as, well, nature. The composition is also much more exciting.

I think I am going to try and complete both versions.

Very curious to hear your thoughts on the comparison.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Color Class

I have traced much of my painting frustrations lately to a particular suspect: color. I believe I do not naturally have a good sense of color and that it needs to be cultivated. So recently I took a Color Intensive at the Cambridge Center. The instructor was no color genius: I asked many of what I thought were basic questions for which he seemed to lack answers, but he directed exercises with the color wheel that I did learn a lot from. It turns out my color wheel education was severely limited- it is in fact a very useful tool and yes there is a science behind a good palette (even though some artists understand and apply this naturally). Also I have a new rule that I will never use simple bottled brown, grey or black again. Harmony is created by relating the colors on the palette together and subtle harmonious color goes a long way toward improving the painting. Brown grey and black are much more interested when created from complimentary colors.

I have also started using a new online tool which allows you to create and save color pallets online. It is called Colourlovers, and while most people use it for graphic design or just for fun, I was able to successfully apply a saved palette to a newly started painting today. When I strayed away from the palette, I quickly noticed the disaster it was creating and cleaned it back up.