Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jeremy Lipking, Enchanting Depths, and the California Art Club


Enchanting Depths
40" X 70"


If you haven't seen it already, Jeremy Lipking's recent painting Enchanting Depths is one of the featured works in the California Art Club's 100th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition.  The painting, which is nearly six feet long, is full of impasto rarely seen in Lipking's smaller works, but unfortunately, such textural details are lost when the image is reduced online.  Thankfully, Lipking has provided a high resolution zoomable image where those of us who were not lucky enough to see the painting in person can get an idea of the work he put into the piece.


Enchanting Depths (detail)

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Congratulations are also due Lipking, whose beautiful painting, Skylar in Blue (16" X 12") is one of the 20 finalists in this year's Portrait Society of America's International Portrait Competition being held the last weekend of April in Atlanta.


Skylar in Blue
16" X 12"

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The nearly 200 artworks juried into the California Art Club's 100th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition will be on view at the Pasadena Museum of California Art from April 3rd until the 24th, but if you are unable to visit the museum, those works are also available online.  Congratulations to all that made the show, and best of luck to you in the upcoming judging.


Waiting  28" X 22"
Mian Situ


Lone Pine Vista  18" X 24"
Simon Lok


Amalfi  24" X 36"
Lynn Gertenbach


The Young Sitter  36" X 24"
Joseph Todorovitch


Paris Sous la Pluie  16" X 12"
Alexander Orlov


Song of the Sea - Adagio  40" X 30"
Sharon Burkett Kaiser


Cypress and Fog, Point Lobos  30" X 36"
Jesse Powell


Pasadena Orange Harvest  36" X 24"
Dennis Ziemienski


Morning, The Minarets  9" X 12"
Armand Cabrera


Sailing in San Diego Tall Ship Festival  20" X2 4"
Calvin Liang


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Words of Wisdom: James Jackson Jarves

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James Jackson Jarves reading.


James Jackson Jarves was a newspaper editor and art critic who was among the first Americans to see the value in collecting the paintings of the Italian Renaissance and the drawings of the Old Masters.   Though he apparently had a good eye for art, his tastes were ahead of his time, and when he encountered financial difficulties, he was forced to sell his personal art collection.  Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased Jarves' assembled drawings, which included  nine Michelangelos, two Raphaels, nine Rembrandts, and several other works by Titian, Tintoretto, and Leonardo da Vinci, a collection significant enough to earn Vanderbilt a place on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  His painting collection, however, was harder to dispose of;  the Met declined to purchase the works when they were offered for sale.  Yale University eventually took possession of a large portion of the Italian paintings for only $22,000 when Jarves defaulted on a loan from the school, and much of the remainder of the collection was purchased by Liberty Holden, who donated the works to the Cleveland Museum of Art.  Of course, today, such works are considered treasures, and museums count themselves lucky to have them in their possession.

Jarves' writings on art, beginning with his primer, Art Hints, published in 1855, helped influence the formation of American art collections, develop a national art-taste, and foster a popular interest in art history among his countrymen.  In his books, he defined art as an "increasingly-naturalistic progression of objects which edify and re-enforce morality,"¹ and was dismayed by works such as Manet's Olympia, whose flat treatment of the figure represented a regression in aesthetics.  To him, art served a higher purpose, and, like fellow critic John Ruskin, felt that it deserved state support.

Though out-of-date now, Jarves' writings are still interesting for learning the point of view of a 19th century critic.

Art has much to hope in her future from England and the United States.  Their political institutions, diffused education, wealth and mental activity, are so many guarantees for its rapid development.  On the other hand, in the zeal of commercial activity, the haste of production, the impatience of realization, and the despotism of fashion, there is danger to Art.²

... on man alone is bestowed the genius which gives birth to Art.³

Art is universal.  It unites mankind in common brotherhood.  As a missionary of civilization, its message is both to heart and mind.  Distinctions of tongue or boundary lines disappear before the power of truths, which, like the rainbow, charm by the beauty of variegated hues, or, combined with light, illumine the universe.
Moreover, Art is the connecting link in the chain of great minds.  Through its language, thought appeals to thought, and sympathy echoes feeling.⁴

True Art has two legitimate divisions, high Art and common Art.  The former includes all work which renders the spirit ; which appeals for its interpretation to the soul.  The latter comprises merely the faithful representation of natural objects.  Genius guides the first ; for the second, industry and clever imitation are sufficient.⁵


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¹ Dictionary of Art Historians.  Retrieved March 28, 2011 from www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/jarvesj.htm.
² James Jackson Jarves,  Art Hints.  Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting, (Harper and Brothers, Publishers, New York, 1855), p. viii.
³ ibid., p. ix.
⁴ ibid., p. x.
⁵ ibid., p. 66.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Portrait Artists and the Limited Palette

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Self-Portrait
Vladimir Egorovich Makovsky (Russian, 1846-1920)


"It is evident from the study of the work of the early and mediavel masters of painting that some of the greatest achievements have been attained by very simple means and by a palette far more limited in range than our own.

Many painters of to-day and of recent times, to whom the whole modern range has been available, have deliberately limited their palette to a small group of pigments which they have habitually used, finding more freedom in that limitation than in the use of a fuller range.  Portrait painters have especially practised this limiting of the colour range.  The necessities of their work, in which character and form are more essential than elaboration of colour, have conduced to simplification of the colour problem.  The fact that the portrait painters' work is done mostly indoors under a North light also tends to limit the range both of colour and tone.

If one examines critically the recorded methods of any of the masters of painting one finds, both in craft-methods and in the selection of the pigments used, a continuous tradition of simplification and economy.

The methods of the masters of portraiture have perhaps tended to simplification and directness more than other kinds of painting, owing to the necessities of the work, which must be done with speed.

In earlier days, when the available range of colour in pigments was far smaller than that provided by modern chemistry, the limitation of the palette was determined by the smallness of the available supply.  What was then a necessity is not so now.

Velasquez and Rembrandt had six or seven available colours where we have a bewildering list of dozens offered by the colour makers.

It is obvious that in the art of portrait-painting, where the range of colour is limited and the work comparatively simple in design, many of the new powers of colour could be ignored or rejected without much loss."¹


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¹ Frank Morley Fletcher, Colour-Control:  The Organization and Control of the Artist's Palette, (Faber & Faber, Ltd., London, 1936), pp. 16-18.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Color Palettes: Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823)


"... he never fails in giving a likeness, at once vivd, unmistakable, and pleasing.  He paints the truth, and he paints it in love."¹  ~  Dr. John Brown speaking of Sir Henry Raeburn

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It should come as no surprise that Scottish portrait artist Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) employed a very limited palette.  All one must do is look at a collection of his works and it will be quite obvious that the same few colors appear in every one of his paintings.   His colors, which consisted of white, black, vermilion, burnt sienna, raw sienna, and Prussian blue, were not uncommon choices among all painters of the period, and yet, in a roomful of late eighteenth century portraits, Raeburn's stand out.




"It is impossible," says Timothy Cole in the book Masters of Art, "not to be instantly impressed with (Raeburn's) force and superiority as a portrait painter."²  Undoubtedly, Sir Henry Raeburn stands among the greatest painters in Great Britain's history.  Though largely self-taught, he mastered an approach which has often been compared to that great master Velázquez, whose work was likely not even known to Raeburn.  Using sight-size, sure and bold square brushstrokes, and an unerring dedication to nature, the over-six-hundred likenesses he painted in his lifetime express a vitality seldom seen before his debut. He was, as Richard Muther said in The History of Modern Painting, "a born painter," whose figures were "informed by a startling intensity of life."³




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Of Raeburn's working practices:


He spoke a few words to me in his usual brief and kindly way - evidently to put me into an agreeable mood ; and then having placed me in a chair on a platform at the end of his painting-room, in the posture required, set up his easel beside me with the canvass ready to receive the colour.  When he saw all was right, he took his palette and his brush, retreated back step by step, with his face towards me, till he was nigh the other end of his room ;  he stood and studied for a minute more, then came up to the canvass, and, without looking at me, wrought upon it with colour for some time.  Having done this, he retreated in the same manner, studied my looks at that distance for about another minute, then came hastily up to the canvass and painted a few minutes more.  I had sat to other artists ;  their way was quite different - they made an outline carefully in chalk, measured it with compasses, placed the canvass close to me, and looking me almost without ceasing in the face, proceeded to fill up the outline with colour.  They succeeded best in the minute detail - Raeburn best in the general result of the expression ;  they obtained by means a multitude of little touches what he found by broader masses ;  they gave more of the man - he gave most of the mind.⁴

Raeburn was in love with his daily task. He used to declare portrait-painting to be the most delightful thing in the world, for every one, he said, came to him in the happiest of moods and with the pleasantest of faces. It is significant, too, of the generous temper he showed to his brother-artists that he described his profession as one that leads neither to discords nor disputes. Of his habits Allan Cunningham gives an interesting account: 'The movements of the artist were as regular as those of a clock. He rose at seven during summer, took breakfast about eight with his wife and children, walked into George Street, and was ready for a sitter by nine; and of sitters he generally had for many years not fewer than three or four a day. To these he gave an hour and a half each. He seldom kept a sitter more than two hours, unless the person happened—and that was often the case—to be gifted with more than common talents. He then felt himself happy, and never failed to detain the one client till the arrival of another intimated that he must be gone. For a head size he generally required four or five sittings; and he preferred painting the head and hands to any other part of the body, assigning as a reason that they required least consideration. A fold of drapery or the natural ease which the casting of a mantle over the shoulder demanded occasioned him more perplexing study than a head full of thought and imagination. Such was the intuition with which he penetrated at once to the mind that the first sitting rarely came to a close without his having seized strongly on the character and disposition of the individual. He never drew in his heads, or indeed any part of the body, with chalk—a system pursued successfully by Lawrence—but began with the brush at once. The forehead, chin, nose, and mouth were his first touches. He always painted standing, and never used a stick for resting his hand on; for such was his accurateness of eye and steadiness of nerve that he could introduce the most delicate touches, or the most mechanical regularity of line, without aid or other contrivance than fair, off-hand dexterity. He remained in his painting-room till a little after five o'clock, when he walked home, and dined at six.' The picture is well completed by Scott's description: 'His manly stride backwards, as he went to contemplate his work at a proper distance, and, when resolved on the necessary point to be touched, his step forward, were magnificent. I see him in my mind's eye, with his hand under his chin, contemplating his picture, which position always brought me in mind of a figure of Jupiter which I have somewhere seen.'⁵

His practice of painting very directly with moderately thin paint on a white linen twill canvas of the kind called 'ticken' (showing a diagonal line in the weave), and primed to a luminous white surface, made it possible to obtain a high power of color with Raw Sienna, which is slightly translucent.⁶

Raeburn's method stands in no need of further explanation.  His intention was to be absolutely true to nature, and to reach that aim he was compelled to treat details as they actually came into his vision relatively to his sitter.  His vision, that is, was concentrated on his model;  of anything else he had only an indistinct impression.  He never, therefore, obtruded accessories to the division of attention with his principal subject.⁷
Even beyond the play of light and its transformations of color and surface Raeburn sought vitality, the inner life which includes character and temperament, or sentiment individuality.  In that also he followed nature, followed her into the inmost recesses of humanity.  Only by adhering to nature did he secure variety.  He did not pass all his sitters through one mechanical process, or turn them out of a common mold.  He differentiated them not less in mental characteristics than in physical form.⁸

His method may... be reduced to a formula:  (1) He posed his sitters upon a raised platform;  (2) he placed his easel either beside or behind his model, and did not copy a face by constant reference to the original, but laid it down by a series of swift impressions committed to memory;  (3) he used only unprepared blank canvas;  (4) he painted with a free hand, without a mahlstick or other support;  (5) he made no preliminary drawing, but began at once to model with the brush in colour;  (6) he made no measurements;  (7) he did not tire his sitters, but kept them only from an hour and a half to two hours;  (8) the number of sittings ranged between four and six;  (9) he aimed his conversation at bringing out character and living interest;  (10) the forehead, chin, nose, and mouth were his first touches;  (11) a fold of drapery, or the disposal of a mantle, cost him more study than a head. He made a pleasure of every sitting, a friend of every sitter. He did not treat his subjects as lay-figures, but reached truth by freeing them from self-consciousness and constraint, and infusing into them something of his own animation.
The difficulties of such a method are more obvious than its advantages, and yet the latter are great. Its simple directness made for naturalistic truth. Neither was time thrown away upon preliminaries, nor was the painter's first fresh enthusiasm allowed to evaporate while they were being performed. Having read as well as posed his sitter, he did not allow the first sitting to pass without stating the conception he had formed of his subject-model, and indicating the general artistic effect he intended to work out of the facts before him.⁹


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¹ Edward Pinnington, Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1904),  p. 129.
² Timothy Cole, Masters in Art:  A Series of Illustrated Monographs:  Old English Masters, (Bates & Guild Company, 1905), p. 454.
³ Richard Muther, Masters in Art:  A Series of Illustrated Monographs:  The History of Modern Painting, (Bates & Guild Company, 1905), pp. 455.
⁴ Allan Cunningham, The Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Vol. II, (George Bell and Sons, London, 1879), pp. 268-269.
⁵ Walter Armstrong, Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, vol. 47, as retrieved from www.en.wikisource.org/wiki/Raeburn,_Henry_(DNB00),  on March 23, 2011.
⁶ Frank Morley Fletcher, Colour-Control:  The Organization and Control of the Artist's Palette, (Faber & Faber Limited, London, 1936),  pp. 17-18.
⁷ Pinnington, p. 204.
⁸ Pinnington, p. 205.
⁹ Pinnington, pp. 125-126.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Random Inspiration: Alma Erdmann (1872- c.1930)

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The Letter, oil on canvas, 96 X 134 cm



The Letter, a Naturalist painting by German artist Alma Erdmann (1872 - c. 1930).  This painting is currently at Dorotheum Auctions as part of an upcoming auction of 19th Century artworks.  There is currently very little information available on this artist.


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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Frank Morley Fletcher

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One permutation of Fletcher's suggested palette organization with the fundamental triad of the key being
  Y-B-VR (Yellow - Blue - Violet-Red).  In this example of a high-chroma arrangement, Y= cadmium yellow,
 B= cerulean, BV= ultramarine blue, VR=alizarin crimson, RO= orange vermilion,
OY= cadmium yellow deep, and G= emerald green.



Knowing how much I enjoy historic color palettes, Underpaintings reader Helen O'Connor contacted me and recommended the 1936 book, Colour-Control:  The Organization and Control of the Artist's Palette by Frank Morley Fletcher.  When O'Connor studied at the Barnestone Studios in Copley, Pennsylvania, this book formed the backbone of the school's teaching on color, and O'Connor thought I might find it interesting.  I am only a few pages into the book, but the Introduction alone was so insightful, that I am very tempted to record it here in its entirety, but I will do my best to limit myself to the most salient of Flethcer's observations.

Looking back on the pilgrimage which every art student must make, one imagines that the journey might have been shortened, if, at certain points, a sign-post had been placed by some former traveller in order to save long, wasteful and useless detours.

... there is one special obstacle which stands to-day in the way of all students who have a love of colour and the desire to use and control it.

The difficulty is in the great increase of the range and power of the pigments which modern chemistry has provided for the artists, while the tradition which might guide a student in their use is obscure or entirely lost.  No adequate technology has yet taken its place, nor has any clear indication been given that might serve in organizing and directing the new powers.  At no time in the history of painting has the way of the art student been so uncertain.

Compared with the technology of other arts, with music for example, the science which should control the artist's palette of to-day is fragmentary and incoherent...

There are those who believe that the modern confusion in the use of paint, and the lack of consistent teaching as to the organization and control of the palette, the lack also of agreement among individual artists, are advantages;  that each artist should make his own experiments, should find his own style.  (Employing an orderly approach to colour) does not restrain, but gives an increase of freedom and a certainty of workmanship in place of the present wasteful and anarchical disorder of the palette.

(The modern palette) has become greatly enriched in its range, (and) to place this instrument with its intricate resources in the hands of an uninstructed student, however talented, is unreasonable.  (It) condemn(s) him to years of wasteful  experiment in order to discover initial facts and principles which should be preliminary to any profitable study.  Such a course would be absurd as to tell a student of music to make his own experiments without help or any instruction in the practical tradition of his instrument, or in musical harmony.¹


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¹ Frank Morley Fletcher, Colour-Control:  The Organization and Control of the Artist's Palette, (Faber & Faber, Ltd., London, 1936), pp. 9-10.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Review for the Upcoming Issue of APVM

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I met today with Michael Klein at the historic Salmagundi Art Club in New York City to film my segment for the upcoming Spring Issue of American Painting Video Magazine.  In previous issues, I have had the opportunity to critique art instructional videos, but today we added another dimension to my role by offering a review of the William Bouguereau Catalog Raisonné book set.  Sitting in the library of the Club, surrounded by art-related books dating back to the 1500s was such a great feeling, and made this review the most enjoyable yet.


Boucles d'oreilles  1891
From page 269 of Volume II of the Catalog Raisonné




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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We Know What We Like, and it's Not Modern Art!

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While visitors to the Tate Britain spent fewer than 5 seconds examining works of Modern Art, several
museum-goers spent as long as 30 minutes regarding Sir John Everett Millais' Ophelia (above).


In the March 13th edition of the Daily Mail, author Philip Hensher writes about an experiment the British newspaper conducted at the Tate Britain.  Hensher was curious to see if visitors spent less time examining traditional works of art as compared to the more highly publicized pieces of Modern Art recently added to the museum's collection, so he set about monitoring viewers as they stood before certain key artworks and recording his observations.  The results, published in an article titled, "We Know What We Like, and it's Not Modern Art!  How Gallery Visitors Only Viewed  Work by Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin for Less than 5 Seconds," confirm what contemporary representational artists have said for years:  to interest museum-goers, these institutions need to rethink their bias against realist art.

To read Henshers full article, visit the Daily Mail's website.


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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Salon International 2011

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Susan Carlin Wide World  11X14 in.


The 2011 Salon International Exhibit, a project of the International Museum of Contemporary Masters, will not go on view at the Greenhouse Gallery until April, but for those wishing to make an early perusal of the works accepted into the show, all 415 paintings have been posted online.  In previous years, the paintings selected by the jury were not made available through Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art's website until the opening night of the exhibition, but this year, possibly because of the high number of online submissions, images of the works were posted two months earlier.  This has led to the greatest number of advance sales the gallery has yet seen for the competition.


Susan Driscoll  Voyeur  24X30 in.


Gregory Mortenson  Self-Portrait  10X9 in.


Elizabeth Weiss  Butterflies  14X16 in.


Jonathan Hardesty  Marie  14X20 in.


Linda Lucas Hardy  Pretty in Pink  18X24 in.


This year's presiding judge is artist and teacher Daniel Greene.  He will have the responsibility of deciding the award-winners in several categories, the results of which will be announced April 1st.  In total, nearly $30,000 in prize money will be bestowed upon the winning contestants, with an eight thousand dollar grand prize given for the painting chosen Best-in-Show.


Peter Yesis  Top Shelf  20X20 in.


Lea Colie Wight  Molly in Her Mother's Jacket  24X18 in.


Teresa Fischer  Rocket Chalk  18X24 in.


Roger Dale Brown  Autumn Brook  22X28 in.


Bjorn Thorkelson  Lavender  12X12 in.


Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art is located in San Antonio, Texas.  The Salon International exhibit will be on view in the gallery from April 2nd until the 22nd, and can be seen online by clicking here.


Cesar Santos  Drawing at the MOMA  30X21 in.


Peggy Chang  Sunset, Santa Barbara Harbor  20X30 in.


Ignat Ignatov  Fiery Light  20X16 in.


Trish Beckham Breaking Wave 16X20 in.


Kristy Gordon  Armour at the Bardini  12X8 in.


Travis Seymour  Gloria  20X16

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On a purely personal note, my painting, Lael's Promise, a portrait of the young woman who is godmother to all three of my children, was one of the paintings chosen for the 2011 Salon International.  The title of the work is intentionally ambiguous.  Does "Promise" refer to an oath;  did the young woman pledge to wait for her love, and does she hear him approaching?  Or does "Promise" refer to potential, and is she a young woman about to embark upon her adult life, full of possibility?  I hope the painting tells a story, though I imagine the narrative a viewer discerns in the work will be particular to their own life circumstances, but that is fine, and as it should be.  It was, in truth, the latter scenario that occupied my mind as I painted the work.

At the time she modeled for me, Lael's life was in transition.  She had recently graduated from a performing arts high school in New York City, and, though she already had some impressive credits to her name, the spotlight had not fully found her yet.  She was and is an extremely talented performer,  a true triple-threat, skilled in acting, singing, and dancing.  It was just a matter of time before all of her hard work bore fruit, though I suspect at the time she felt caught in limbo.

Lael is now beginning to realize her promise.  This coming season, she is part of the original Broadway cast of the musical Sister Act.  The arts can be such a difficult field, and I am so happy to see her achieving success.  Of course, I'm now down a very good model but I couldn't think of a better way to lose her.  Congratulations Lael!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Burdick & Lyon Online Tutorials

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Artists Scott Burdick and Susan Lyon, in an attempt to make their teachings more affordable, have added a new section to their website featuring downloadable tutorials.  By offering these lessons online, Burdick and Lyon are now able to save students 50%, or more, over the price of DVDs.  Downloading the viewing software and lessons is easy, but should buyers have any concerns, Burdick has also provided a detailed description of the process, including a troubleshooting section, should the random problem occur (eg. The power goes out halfway through a download...).  The videos are compatible with both PCs and Macs (including iPads), and once downloaded, can be watched as many times as desired, but they cannot copied or burned to a disc;  only the computer on which the download was originally made is authorized to view the lessons.   To date, the pair have posted five tutorials to their website.




The most recent instructional video available for purchase is Burdick's Photoshop Lessons for Artists, a title which immediately caught my eye.  Adobe Photoshop CS3 is probably the application I use most after my web browser and mail applications, but I haven't taken a course in the subject since 1992 when version 2.5 was introduced;  considering the improvements made in the software since then, I figured I could use a refresher.




In the over-two-hour-long lesson, Burdick covers a variety of topics geared specifically to the artist trying to make the most of their photo reference.  The information, though presented on a PC running Photoshop CS4, is applicable to recent Photoshop software releases, whether they are used on a Mac or a PC.  Subjects in the video include:


  • Transferring photos from the digital camera to the computer
  • Organizing images
  • Backing up files
  • Levels (lightening and darkening)
  • Curves
  • Shadows/Highlight adjuster
  • History Palette
  • History Brush
  • Resizing images for the web
  • Color Balance
  • Hue/Saturation
  • Clone Stamp
  • Printing Photos
  • Using the Actions feature
  • Using Layers and Layer Masks to combine photos
  • Overview of Photoshop tools
  • Posterizing
  • Brightness/Contrast
  • Creating a Black and White image
  • Cropping
  • Fixing skewed perspective in a photo
  • Correcting White Balance with the White Point Eye Dropper
  • Stitching multiple photos together with Photomerge
  • ... and more.


The lesson begins slowly, with the first ten to fifteen minutes devoted to very basic procedures, but after that, Burdick gets into more complicated issues like Curves and Levels.  I would have liked the images of the computer monitor in this particular lesson to have been clearer - the monitor looks like it was filmed directly with the camera rather than through a screen capture program such as Screenflow (Mac only) - but the sound is excellent and there is absolutely no information lost because of the manner of filming.  Burdick's transitions through the topics are smooth, and he delivers a lot of information during the video.




When I began watching the tutorial, which I was able to easily transfer from my laptop to my iPad, I was worried that I had purchased a lesson for which my Photoshop skills were already beyond the lessons contained, but to my enjoyment, I picked a lot of new information.  For some aspects of the explanation, I had different methods for achieving the same end results as Burdick, but some of those, like using the Dodge and Burn Tool, were methods that are a bit antique, and are probably included for the people who moved to Photoshop after years of physically printing their own film.  (Considering my last lesson in Photoshop was seventeen years ago, it's not surprising that I was using out-of-date techniques).  Other features explained, like the Action Palette, I had never used before, and I was amazed to learn about this powerful and time-saving tool in Photoshop's arsenal.




Though I could have picked up a current Photoshop manual and taught myself the same information, I am, like most artists, someone who learns best through hands-on activity, or through watching visual demonstrations.  In fact, I do have a pretty recent guide to the application, but haven't the time to explore the book fully;  when I do open the book up, it is to search for specific directions to do an action which may or may not even be possible through Photoshop.  Often, I miss information as I flip through the manual trying to reach the topic I think will help me.  Burdick has made it easier for artists wishing to improve their Photoshop skills by isolating those tools best suited to a traditional painter's needs, and presenting their use in a clear-cut manner.




The demonstration, which runs for over 135 minutes, has a purchase price of only $20.00 USD.  In comparison to the excellent, full-length videos Scott Burdick has done through Lilledahl Productions, which range in price from $75.00 to $195.00, these online tutorials, albeit shorter in duration, are much more accessible.  I am likely to purchase and download another lesson in the near future, as I liked what I saw, and hope to help fund more of these such videos from Scott and Susan.


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sparhawk-Jones Lecture at the PAFA

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Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones, Shoe Shop, c. 1911, oil on canvas


Author Barbara Lehman Smith recently gave a lecture about the subject of her book, Elizabeth-Sparhawk Jones: The Artist Who Lived Twice, during the highly-successful Art-at-Lunch series of talks hosted by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Thankfully, PAFA has uploaded the speech to their website so that everyone can hear more about the life of this talented but troubled artist (the speech, broken into two segments, can be heard by clicking on the play button of the appropriate clips in the right-hand column of the page). Around seven-and-a-half minutes into the first clip, Ms. Smith was even kind enough to mention this blog, and the previous article I had written on Sparhawk-Jones!



Woman with Fish, 1936-37, Oil on canvas.





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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exhibition Catalogs

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Although I wish I were able to travel to see all of the shows in my current What's on View list (March 2011), the unfortunate truth is that I am unlikely to visit more than a couple of the events I've posted.  Luckily, several of the exhibits have catalogs which were published to coincide with the displays, and that is of some consolation.  I have two of the books listed, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera and Illusions of Reality, but I have yet to look through any of the other books.  There are two available that I am more likely to purchase before the others, though, and those are the Gérôme book, and The Orient Expressed:  the first because I love Gérôme's work, and until I stumble across an affordable copy of the English version of Gerald Ackerman's catalog raisonné on the artist, I hope that this will be a decent runner-up;  and the latter because I am a fan of Gabriel Weisberg, and I have always been pleased with every book I've purchased by the author.





Jean-Léon Gérôme by Laurence des Cars, Dominique de Font-Relaux, and Edouard Papet
$52.50 at Amazon.com (paperback)

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Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) - Spanish edition
$48.39 at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Giftshop

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The Orient Expressed: Japan's Influence on Western Art, 1854-1918  by Gabriel P. Weisberg
$23.07 at Amazon.com (hardcover)

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Pre-Raphaelite Drawing by Colin Cruise
$30.00 at Amazon.com (hardcover)

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by Cassandra Albinson, Peter Funnell, and Lucy Pelz
$44.10 at Amazon.com (hardcover)

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Gabriel Metsu  by Adriaan Walboer
$40.95 at Amazon.com (hardcover)

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The American Impressionists in the Garden by May Brawley Hill
$26.97 at Amazon.com (paperback)


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by Anne L. Poulet, Colin B. Bailey, Peter Jay Sharp, Esmée Quodbach, Louisa Wood Ruby, 
Margaret Iacono, and Joanna Sheers
$20.00 at the Frick Museum Shop (paperback)


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George Inness in Italy by Mark D. Mitchell and Judy Dion
Available for a pre-order price of $10.80 at Amazon.com (paperback)


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$26.40 at Amazon.com (hardcover)

This is a great book showing the behind-the-scenes working habits of Norman Rockwell.  While a few other books on the artist go into depth on his process, little attention was paid to the photography used in his work.  In Behind the Camera, readers have the opportunity to study the images from which Rockwell drew and painted, and see where and how Rockwell manipulated his reference photos, and to what lengths he went to get his models in the right poses.


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Illusions of Reality by Gabriel P. Weisberg, Edwin Becker, David Jackson, and Willa Silverman
$29.66 at Amazon.com! (hardcover)

Though this book by Weisberg is not as good as his Beyond Impressionism:  The Naturalist Impulse, it is still a good book to own.  All of the paintings from the exhibit are reproduced in color, and the black and white images are limited to period photographs and movie stills.  I could always hope for larger color plates, but the size of the reproductions are not bad, and several are shown in detail in the first half of the book.

Since there are few modern books dedicated to Naturalism, and Beyond Impressionism is out-of-print and a costly used purchase, this is a nice alternative.  During the first two stops of this exhibit's tour, the book was available at a very limited number of booksellers.  Now that is has come to Amazon.com, the price has really dropped;  I paid $68.00 last year to purchase it from the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands, and now with only a few months left of the tour, the book is under $30.00.


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