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Showing posts from June, 2011

One Year of Sketching in the Park - More or Less

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'The sketch hunter has delightful days of drifting about among people, in and out of the city, going anywhere, everywhere, stopping as long as he likes- no need to reach any point, moving in any direction following the call of interests. He moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook, a box of oils with a few panels, the fit of his pocket, or on his drawing pad. Like any hunter he hits or misses. He is looking for what he loves, he tries to capture it. It's found anywhere, everywhere. Those who are not hunters do not see these things. The hunter is learning to see and to understand- to enjoy.' Robert Henri, (The Art Spirit, pg. 17)




It’s been about a year now that I started sketching in Battery Park on my lunch hour. It started off as a few days out of the week and turned into an everyday thing, (weather permitting and an occasional errand as well)…

RIP Peter Falk / Gene Colan

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Actor Peter Falk and cartoonist Gene Colan both passed away this week. I was only a kid when Columbo aired in the 70's. It was probably about the third season that I began watching it. I remember that I really liked this character that always appeared lost in thought, forgetful, a little sloppy and not to bright, but he fooled everyone. It was like he always pretended to be less than the clever and intelligent police detective that he was. He was so likable. Peter Falk was also an artist, his work can be seen on his website .
Funny thing was that two weeks ago I had picked up the first season of Columbo. I haven't had time to watch it since, this morning I made the time to do so and it was every bit as fun to watch as I remembered.
 Gene Colan  drew some of the best comics I have in my collection. I especially liked his work when he was paired with Tom Palmer as his inker. I remember when I was a kid visiting my cousin's house, his mother, my aunt,  used to get rid of stac…

The Sketching Habit / Lifeline

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“Draw everywhere and all the time. An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached.”
Irwin Greenberg

Sometimes I have to remember to tell myself not to try and do to much. I’ve gone through a couple of weeks where sketching is all I can really get done because there’s not enough time to do anything beyond that.
Some day’s that hour lunch break was the only time I had to get anything done. Its important for me to do something everyday, to learn something, to continually strive to be better.  Some weeks are easier
than others to find the time, some nights I stay up late and pay for it the next day and because of fatigue I wind up not doing my best work anyway.
I made up my mind a long time ago to hoard my time, to decide what I absolutely must give away and to who and the remaining time belongs to painting, drawing and reading, doing whatever I can to advance what I know. For that reason  I do very little visiting or spending time with friends, (I’m not antisocial. I make friends and m…

Watercolor Sketches and Video Demos

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Decided to use my imagination a bit hear. I took one of the sketches I made in Battery Park and used a tree as reference for the exercise on the left. Felt a little more relax doing this since it was mostly playing with the brush. I used an Isabey squirrel hair brush. The brush holds a lot of paint and water and makes beautiful broad washes, lines and marks. I did a video recording of the sketch in progress.


I had so much fun doing that one I couldn't stop there so I did another. I think I should have given a little more care to how I painted the house and fence on this one, but I was happy with the Broad washes of paint on this one and the marks made with a loaded brush.





Painting Outdoors

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I purchased a french folding easel a couple of weeks ago and put to use recently at City Island in the Bronx. Best thing to do with my free time is to paint outdoors. I use my lunch hour to go to the park near work, on my return trip home I stop at the parkway near home and spend sometime painting, and then on the weekend I can take the french easel and paint in oils like in the picture at left.
Now the thing that I have to challenge my self to do is use this data I collected from painting outdoors and transfer that to making finished paintings.
The painting on the upper left is the one that I painted recently. The one on the right is from a trip to City Island I made last year. They are from the same spot the boats are either different or in a different order. I can't wait to go back and pick a different spot. These were fun to do but I guess I'm still looking for something in that area to do that would be less of a sketch, more of a finished piece. The other two are watercolo…

Painting Loose or Tight

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Two of these paintings were done outdoors the other one at home, (I don't have a studio, just a little corner in my living room where I keep a drawing table and supplies).
The one I did at home, (left), is a lot tighter, I had the time to render the painting and as a result learn how to handle the medium a little better, (I hope). I also learned about the paper I was using which was Saunders cold press 140lbs. The painting was a lot of fun to do but took a few days to complete because I could only work on it in the mornings before going to work and sometimes in the evening as well.
The other paintings were done more quickly the one on the left middle being done in my sketchbook and took less than an hour.  It was done on my lunch hour as I sat in Battery Park. That one is of course a lot loser. I actually spent a few more minutes on that one as I added some touches after I came home, but most of it was painted on the spot. This was a lot of fun too, maybe more fun because of the ex…

The Habit Of Great Painters /John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer

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“Habit is stronger than will.”.(Irwin Greenberg) I like to read accounts of how certain artist worked. I like to get an idea of their intensity and their habits when they paint. On Watercolor: The following are some observations that were made of the painter John Singer Sargent. His only piece of painting equipment was a folding tin box of colors. “I find box color very useful and I use a great many different brushes, keeping my fist full when I work.’
(Richard Ormond, Sargent, Harper and Row 1970)


To see one of Sargent's water colours in the making always reminded me of the first chapter of Genesis, when the evening and the morning were the first day, order developed from chaos, and one thing after another was created of its kind. Having chosen his subject and settled himself with the sunshade, hat and paraphernalia all to his liking, he would make moan over the difficulty of the subject and say, "I can't do it," or "It's unpaintable," and finally, "…

On Being Self Critical

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As a student a t the High School of Art and Design, in Irwin (Greeny) Greenberg’s class, I was introduced to a lot of artist from the past and the present. Inbetween the model posing in Greeny’s paint class he would give a short lecture on some artist using a book of that artist work for illustration. At the time Burt Silverman and Harvey Dinnerstein had books out on their methods of work . I remember Greeny talking about how one of the most important things to note about Silverman’s commentary on his work method was how he critiqued and evaluated his work as he went a long, or as Greeny would put it, “be your own toughest critic”.In Robert Henri’s “The Art Spirit” he tells his students,
“ Get up and walk back and judge your drawing. Put the drawing over near the model, or on the wall, return to your place and judge it. Take it out in the next room, or put it along side something  you know is good. If it is a painting put it in a frame on the wall. See how it looks. Judge it. Keep doin…