Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Faith, Hope and Charity

I recently completed a new painting that I've been working on since December.  Titled "Faith, Hope and Charity," it is a representation of these principles of action.

The figure of Faith planted the seed and is seen watering and caring for the plant.  Hope waits patiently for the fruit the tree will bring while Charity, the greatest of all, provides the light.

As I see it, faith is a belief in something so strong that it causes you to act.  For example, you believe that flipping your light switch will provide light, so you actually walk over to the wall and flip the switch.  Your hope is that the light in the room will turn on - therefore, hope is the focus on the result.  Charity is more than alms, it is another word for love.  I believe love undergirds all good.  In this example, charity would probably be akin to the live electrical grid.

I'm currently reading former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's wonderful (but unfortunately premature) book, "The Age of Turbulence".  One of his points is that a free market economy functions on the basis of trust.  Without it, commerce would dwindle and the free market would die.  Just think what would happen if every contract were litigated (assuming you could trust the lawyers and the law enforcement).

Just as trust is necessary for transactual obligations to be assumed and fulfilled, love (or charity) undergirds a civilized society - as civility is simply charity at a really low intensity.  As charity increases, so does the power, richness, and productivity of our relationships.  As Christ teaches in the Bible - the law, and the teachings of the prophets, hang on love.  Matthew 22: 36-40.  Without this love, there would be bareness.

"Faith, Hope and Charity" currently hangs in a show at the Springville Museum of Art.

Prints and Posters of "Faith, Hope and Charity" are available on the WebShop.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Art Quotes

"Spiritual Jubilation" • 22" x 30" • Mixed Media on Paper 

"The aim of art
is to represent not the outward appearance of things,
but their inward significance."


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dedicated to All Literalists

A friend of mine from NJ sent this Dilbert cartoon to me.  Enjoy.  

While this cartoon can apply to many aspects of life, I do remember the first time a teacher ever told me that I didn't have to paint exactly what was in front of me.  This advice was extremely freeing, as my eight-year-old fingers were having a really hard time painting 5 rows on the base of the goblet in my still-life.  She said - just put three in - later explaining that every realist painting is both selective and an abbreviation.  Thanks Helen.

PS - I bet this guy could do a 7 minute painting no sweat.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

20 minutes? Try 7!

Twenty minutes is enough time for me to sit down, get my drawing supplies out, and contemplate the lighting on a form while making a couple of thumbnail sketches.  It is generally not the time limit for a completed portrait drawing.  I say generally, because every once in a while it is (see here).

Soon after the Western Family Picnic, I participated in a local cable art program.  "We want to do a 7 minute program and we want you to demo a drawing during the interview."  All of a sudden 20 minutes seemed luxuriously undemanding.  I'm wondering if some people don't realize that this is timelapse. . .

Thankfully, Judy was a great model and the drawing went rather smoothly.  As soon as it began, it was over.  I really wish I could write more about the experience, but that pretty much covers it.  I guess if you're trying to hold your breath, or listening to certain music, 7 minutes can seem like a long time, but for drawing a portrait it's practically a singularity.  Thankfully, I do have 2 photos to prove that it happened.

On set with the two-toned 7-minute pastel drawing.

I gave it to Judy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Diplomatic Drawings

I don't do drawings in 20 minutes - gesture sketches yes - but 20 minutes for a recognizable portrait drawing is one arrow that I haven't had in my quiver.

However, several weeks ago I was invited to participate in a goodwill "western-style" picnic held for ambassadors to the US and their staff in the beautiful Shenandoahs of Northern Virginia.  I was asked to do 20 minute drawings of the diplomats as mementos of the event.  Around forty embassies were represented.

I have demonstrated drawing and painting techniques in front of large crowds before - it's actually kind of fun - but at first I was so nervous trying to capture these diplomats' visages that it was painful.  Being that this was a goodwill picnic, the last thing I wanted to do was offend an ambassador with an errant pastel interpretation (be an asset, not a liability) . . . but one thing I should have remembered is that ambassadors are exceedingly diplomatic.

The diplomats were very gracious, seemed excited to have the drawings, and were very interesting to talk with.  Having lived in Chile for two years, the opportunity to brush up on my Castellano with the Chilean ambassador's wife was a definite highlight.  Overall, the event went off well and for my part, I'm just glad I didn't trip and go cascading off the cliff edge that trying to do a 20 minute portrait drawing is.

Her Excellency the Ambassador from Croatia and her husband.

His Excellency the Ambassador from Laos and his wife. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Session 1 Demo

During Session 1 of my new Theory & Practice classes, we studied the theory and use of color in oils and then spent five weeks working on individual paintings.  As an ongoing demo I worked on a head and shoulders painting of Rita, our fabulous model, for one to two 20 min. sittings per class.  These are some snapshots of the various stages each week (minus stage 4).

Session 2 begins tonight and there are still a few spots available.  We will be studying how to depict our 3D world on a 2D surface (covering such things as measurements, proportions, perspective, and such.)  In a nutshell, we will observe nature as though looking through a sheet of glass a la Leonardo daVinci's description of 'perspective'.  "Perspective is nothing else than the seeing of an object through a sheet of glass, on the surface of which may be marked all the things that are behind the glass."