Sunday, July 31, 2011

3 Part Post


As a practicing artist, I receive several calls-to-artists every week. Last week I saw a particularly interesting call for book artists. I am not a book artist, and I am involved in several other projects at the moment, so I do not have time to explore this. However, I think it is extremely interesting. So if you would like to do this, I heartily encourage you to do so. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is a museum and library devoted to books bound in unique formats. Among these include designs by Margaret Armstrong, Olive Grover and the studio artists of Decorative Designers. Using these designs as inspiration, the museum is asking for participation in the creation of new items. The full call for participation can be read here. If you do decide to participate please comment here, so we can see what you are doing.

Part II

Last week while traveling I stopped in Jamestown, NY. This is a unique community in Western New York, that among other things, features locally produced art works on the exterior walls of the buildings downtown. This is a group effort organized by the Jamestown High School, Jamestown Civic Organization, and Jamestown Community College. The images below illustrate this concept.

I think this is a fabulous idea. It showcases local artists, communicates unique ideas, and helps build a sense of community. This takes the gallery concept and brings it outdoors, where more people could potentially see it. If you are worried about damage to the art, this has been addressed and all pieces are protected from the elements by plexiglass. I would love to see this develop in other communities.

Part III

My last posting addressed the issue of scale. As I read through my post, I realized I forgot to include examples of the watercolor moving across the page. So for this post I am including two extreme art close-ups detailing the way aqueous media work. In the image below, a larger scale has been used, and the water has more room to run and drip.

In this second image, a smaller size paper was used and the water had less room to run down the page. This resulted in more color blending.

Another factor of this effect which I feel I must add, is the finish of the paper used. A smoother paper finish will also allow for more water to run. If you are using a rough watercolor paper, more blending will occur. These are things to consider if you decide to use this technique. That's it for now. Please leave your comments for next time, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This week I thought I would post a little about scale. Scale, or the size that an artist decides to work with, is one of the first choices he/she will make when beginning a work.

Of course the image above is just for fun, because we are clearly not talking about that kind of scale.

In a recent discussion with a friend, my acquaintance mentioned one of my works and described it as large. The dimensions of the piece in question is 30" X 22". This is by no means small, but compared to my other works it is significantly smaller. I didn't say anything, but in the back of my mind I was thinking "Hmm...that's actually a smaller image." This got me thinking about my works, the sizes they are, and why I generally paint in large scales.

To answer these questions I think it's important to understand the way I work. For the most part I paint in watercolor. I like the freedom and ease of the medium, but I also like the nature of using water to paint. I like the drippy, sloppy, runny quality of the brush and paint. Frequently I will intentionally hang my paper on the wall as I work in order to get the drips of water to flow more fluidly. This effect is enhanced in larger scales. I have done this with smaller works, but often the paint just blends together. With a smaller scale the resulting image still contains the free flow of water, but lacks individual droplets.

This explains a little of why I like to paint on large surfaces. I think there are other factors, but I don't want this post to be overly long. I will therefore stop with what I have said. What do you think? What scales do you work in? What are the scales of some of your favorite works of art? Do you think they would still be effective if they were created smaller or larger?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Art News: Theft and Death

I have been in the process of moving. This has meant that there was not a lot of time to think about the blog. So, for this posting I'm going to direct you to two recent news items involving the art world.

On Tuesday July 5, 2011 a Picasso drawing was stolen from a gallery in San Francisco. The full story can be read here. I'm not sure what can be done about art theft. It seems to be an ongoing problem. One of my favorite paintings (The Scream) was stolen a few years ago, and was eventually recovered. This is often the end result. I'm not sure why people would want to steal these items, as there is virtually no re-sale option, and it also robs the public of an opportunity to see art, but it does seem to be an ongoing issue.

This week also saw the death of artist Cy Twombly. I was not a fan of his work, and I often used it my "Is it Art?" game when teaching. However, his contribution to the art world has been recognized, and it is sad to see another artist go. The full story can be read here.

I welcome your comments, which could be used for future blog entries. So feel free to discuss these items, or even previous posts. I'll see you next time.