Monday, November 24, 2014

From Hyperallergic, an excellent read about windows in painting

Finding Refuge in Wyeth’s Windows

"Wind from the Sea," 1947, tempera on hardboard © Andrew Wyeth. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Charles H. Morgan
Andrew Wyeth, “Wind from the Sea” (1947), tempera on hardboard (© Andrew Wyeth. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Charles H. Morgan)
Over the course of his career, the 20th century American artist Andrew Wyeth created 300 drawings and paintings of windows that are more about the people looking out them than the views they depict. Sixty of these meticulously crafted studies are on view through the end of November in the National Gallery of Art’s Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In— the first show ever exclusively devoted to them.
The works in the show are marked by the characteristically pale light, gray skies, harsh winds, and yellowed grass that was Wyeth’s visual language. “I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter,” he once told Richard Meryman in a 1965 Life magazine interview. “Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.”
Wyeth’s windows brim with the quiet strength of the people absent from their frames. That’s especially true of “Wind from the Sea,” painted in 1947 at his wife’s friend Christina Olson’s farmhouse. The artist had been staring out an open third-floor window in an abandoned room when a wind shook the tattered curtains. He later described the crocheted birds on them, which he captured so carefully, as being “as delicate as the real Christina,” a woman who weathered polio but resolutely shunned the use of a wheelchair (she is the subject of Wyeth’s 1948 painting “Christina’s World”).
Seen together, the paintings are themselves windows into Wyeth’s poetic mind, reflecting the dual preoccupations of a largely misunderstood artist. Though critics chided Wyeth for his conservative realism, he always insisted he was an abstract painter, pointing to the same kind of thoughtful, underlying design at work in these images. “I can’t work completely out of my imagination,” he once explained. “I must put my foot in a bit of truth, and then I can fly free.”
"Off at Sea," 1972, tempera on panel © Andrew Wyeth. Private Collection
“Off at Sea” (1972), tempera on panel (© Andrew Wyeth. Private Collection)
"Spring Fed," 1967, tempera on masonite © Andrew Wyeth. Collection of Bill and Robin Weiss
“Spring Fed” (1967), tempera on masonite (© Andrew Wyeth. Collection of Bill and Robin Weiss)
"Frostbitten," 1962, watercolor on paper, Private Collection. © Andrew Wyeth
“Frostbitten” (1962), watercolor on paper (Private Collection. © Andrew Wyeth)
"Evening at Kuerners," 1970, drybrush watercolor on paper © Andrew Wyeth. Private CollectionFrostbitten, 1962, watercolor on paper © Andrew Wyeth. Private Collection
“Evening at Kuerners” (1970), drybrush watercolor on paper (© Andrew Wyeth. Private Collection.)
"Room in the Mirror Study," 1948, watercolor on paper © Andrew Wyeth. Private Collection.
“Room in the Mirror Study” (1948), watercolor on paper (© Andrew Wyeth. Private Collection.)
"The Pikes," 1965, watercolor on paper © Andrew Wyeth. The San Diego Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge
“The Pikes” (1965), watercolor on paper (© Andrew Wyeth. The San Diego Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge)
Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In continues at the National Gallery of Art (6th and Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC) through November 30.

Lady Agnew of Lochnaw- John Singer Sargent

So John Singer Sargent painted this portrait from life, alla prima (wet-on-wet) in six sessions. 

"Without even preliminary drawings, this is the alla prima technique of a showman, risking everything in the moment..." More here :

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New Paintings

Blue Gift on Black Velvet Coat with Satin Lining
oil on canvas
14in x 18in

Blue Gift on Red Velvet Coat
oil on canvas
14in x 18in

Gift on Wool Coat with Pink Satin Lining
oil on canvas
20in x 24in

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Gift by Lewis Hyde

I'm reading The Gift right now and it's great. So many artist friends recommended it to me and it's so perfect for my painting I can't even tell you. Don't be fooled by the extremely lame cover, which unfortunately makes it look like some kind of terrible self-help book. 

Bloomingdale Trail construction

is happening right outside my window. They are really getting somewhere now. Learn more here:

Monday, November 03, 2014

New Studio!

I've got a new studio on Ashland near Cortland and it's by far the nicest one in the nicest neighborhood that I've ever had. 

And I'm sharing it with two of the nicest artists! Here's a new painting in the new space:

Sunday, November 02, 2014


My sister and I went as Jane and Blanche Hudson from "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

None of the youngins knew who we were. 

a great piece on Catherine Murphy

       Catherine Murphy, “Cathy” (2001), oil on canvas, 54 1/2 x 64 3/4 inches

My favorite bits of Catherine Murphy Looks Ahead by John Yau

" In his groundbreaking essay, “The Painter of Modern Life” (1864), Charles Baudelaire coined the term “modernity” (modernitĂ©) to define his belief that the modern artist’s responsibility was to make work that joined together the fleeting, impermanent experience of life in an urban environment with that of the eternal. Edouard Manet was the first artist to truly understand what Baudelaire called for. In his depictions of ordinary urban moments such as “The Railway” (1872-73) and “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère” (1881-82), he focused on anonymous encounters in which the viewer was both a witness and participant. But what has the artist’s responsibility become in a postmodern world where anonymous encounters can take place on the Internet and the eternal is largely regarded as obsolete? How do we confront the unavoidable situation of our mortality, in which there is no salvation, without resorting to producing objects of distraction or entertainment, which constitutes much of what is called art these days? This is the question that I think Murphy arrives at in her paintings and drawings."

"“Snowflakes (For Joyce Robins)” measures 52 x 52 inches, a perfect square. The scale of the painting underscores that it is a fiction based on direct observation. Here, it seems to me, is proof of what Murphy has never said about herself, which is that she is an observational painter with a philosophical outlook, who understands that abstraction and representation have become interchangeable, and to make work that focuses on their supposed difference is to avert one’s eyes. Her paintings are prolonged meditations on mortality. Her cut-paper snowflake is an enlarged version of a familiar decoration that we made as children and have seen as adults, particularly on the windows of elementary schools. We are also likely to remember that, as children, we learned that no two snowflakes are alike, and that our cut-paper versions were proof of both the snowflakes’ individuality and our own: no two of the snowflakes were ever exactly alike either."

Read the whole thing here: