Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC

William Bouguereau

After so long an absence I finally took the trip to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. I remember as an art student it was a trip I made almost every weekend and sometimes I would even skip school to spend the day at the Met.

There is no substitute for the experience of seeing the actual works of art. The best reproductions never do the work any justice (and I have tons of art books). A good example of this is the painting Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau. I have often seen images of the painting in books, magazines and on the internet but I saw the actual painting for the first time on this museum visit. The color, the way the paint is laid on, the size, there was so much that could not translate in a reproduction of the thing. Only going there to actually see the painting could give you a full appreciation of the work and become an experience of deep appreciation for the work and the incredible talent of the artist. The very same thing can be said of Rembrandt. I’ve been buying art books since high school and I have found that it is very hard to find a book on Rembrandt with excellent reproductions of his work, to get a full appreciation of him you would have to see the work in person- there is no substitute for it.

Giambattista Tiepolo

John Singer Sargent

I spent about four hours in the museum visiting Tiepolo, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer, (the areas with Rubens, Van Dyck and Holbein were closed off that day), then I went on to the American Wing to visit Sargent, Eakins and Homer. I also stopped to enjoy a lot of the works in between.

I view it as almost equal in importance, if not equal, to view art that I can learn from and be inspired by. It is the very same way that Rembrandt, Rubens, Velazquez, Sargent, etc. learned. They were inspired by the work of those who came before them as well as the work of their contemporaries. In fact the two things that help me the most with my own work are looking at art and going outside and painting from nature. Spring is finally here so I will be taking my paints outdoors soon enough.

Thomas Moran

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Digital Sketchbook


There was a time when I was concerned that the way I worked, with traditional materials like paper, pencil, paint etc., was going the way of the dinosaur. Computers were going to take over and anyone can become an artist without having to work at it or have any talent whatsoever. I was so wrong and so ignorant. Traditional materials are still valid and probably always will be and the computer it turns out was just another medium- you still need to hone your skills as an artist (as well as have something to say) to use it properly. 

Now I am just as comfortable working digitally as I am with working with traditional mediums. When I was in school I wanted to try so many things, Pen and Ink, Watercolor, Oils, Pastels, Acrylics, Gouache, etc. Whatever I could get my hands on I wanted to try. I do the same thing with software, Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Sketchbook Pro. I’ve played with animation programs as well, its fun.

There is no better example of how the computer is another medium than the progression at left. I worked in the exact same way as I would have if I were using Oils or Gouache.

The other drawings are basically doodles, warm up sketches or just  sketching whatever comes to mind- play.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Watercolor Sketches And A video Tutorial Using Sketchbook Pro 6

I read once that an artist kept a folder of photos in his studio. In the morning he would just put his hand in the envelope and whatever photo he pulled out would be what he used for his warm up that morning. I liked this idea and I have tons of photos that I have taken using my digital camera. When I paint outdoors I would usually take a few pictures so that I could have reference to finish the painting at home if I wanted to. I also would take pictures of whatever I found interesting that I may add to the painting. 

Passers by would of course wind up being photographed and sometimes I would use these photos to warm up. That is the case with these sketches from my sketchbook where I took 5 different photos as reference. 

These are just practice until I can find a good block of time to paint the things I want.

I have also been working on Video tutorials using Sketchbook Pro 6. The video bellow is from my YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why I Do So Many Self Portraits

I've done a lot of self portraits over the years the main reason being I am my most available model. My wife will pose for me sometimes, its like pulling teeth but my children will pose occasionally. Beyond that I have to rely on my camera and the train ride where I get to sketch my fellow passengers on my way to and from work.

Doing  self portraits does not always have to be a straight forward portrayal. Rembrandt cast himself as biblical characters and also made a series of etchings displaying different emotions. Sometimes I paint myself looking very angry or serious or laughing, etc.

As funny as this might sound, I've never owned a denim jacket and always wanted one as a teenager. When I finally purchased one for myself I painted  a self portrait wearing it. I did the same when my wife gave me a leather jacket as a gift.

 Adding props, particular clothing, even making faces make it fun and it also keeps my hand moving as I strive to paint daily.