New Small Works (Summer, 2014)

I decided to do another page of the Small Works Progress Administration. The other has a lot of work on it already and has fallen pretty far down the page as new posts have been added on the blog. These are all small studies I have done, on paper or cardboard, designed to be sold for $15 – $25. As an artist, I want people to think of original art as something that is available personally to them –not as something unaffordable that hangs in galleries or museums.

 

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Edgar 1, acrylic on card-board. 4″ x 7 1/2″ $25

I did one of the Edgars today (I will probably do several more, especially if people express interest. Plus I find painting them fun and whimsical) If you don’t know Edgar’s story, I explain in the sketches blog (II).

Secondly, I did a very small image of a single wine glass:

Wine glass, 3"x5", acrylic on gessoed card board

Wine glass, 3″x5″, acrylic on gessoed card board $15

 

Lastly, there’s an image of “The Peak House,” a (now demolished) farmhouse in Saratoga County that was near the home I grew up in. The image is based on a picture I took with a Pentax 35mm SLR I learned photography on as a teenager.

The Peak House, acrylic on card board, 5" x 7 1/2" $20

The Peak House, acrylic on card board, 4″ x 8″ $20

 

[older]

 

The pieces shown here were done yesterday. While visiting with my son, I set up my easel near the park playground (Washington Park, in Albany, NY, where he usually plays). There are little color-studies of some of the stately old trees there, and a few subjects a little more whimsical.

 

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Washington Park tree, water color on paper. 7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ approximate.$15

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Washington Park tree # 2, watercolor on paper. 7 1/2″ by 9 1/2″ approximate. $15

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Pencil on paper sketch of an espresso (demitasse) cup. From my sketch book. (make offer)

 

To see my original post about the NWPA, go here: http://elevenimages.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/the-small-works-progress-administration/

A couple more whimsical images:

 

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Child on bicycle, watercolor and pencil on paper, 8 1/2″ by 11″. $15

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“RAWR!” (children’s playground equipment) Washington Park, Albany NY. Watercolor on paper, 7 1/2″ by 9″ approximate. $15

 

If you are interested in any of the works shown there, or in any of the images following, please use the e-mail listed by clicking “about Eleven Images.”

This Week (give or take) in the Class.

I’m going to try to break up the posts to progress every couple weeks. I’m still waiting to iron out the issues surrounding HIPPA (confidentiality) and showing student work (many students are doing fine work in the class). Until then, I will continue posting in class demonstrations.


In the past week,(6/29-7/7) I’ve continued to focus on the use of color. Here are some more of the in-class demonstrations. I have based my lessons on a book I have borrowed from the library, “Understanding Color” by Marcia Moses. I’ve been using a couple of images by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch as out in-class examples, because Munch’s use of color is so striking of an example of the use of a limited palette.

Continuing the class discussion on color theory. I have been making art my whole life, and I’m picking up what I might of missed in my informal education, from what I take out at the library. My degree is not in art, so I am learning as my students learn.

We were doing split complimentary color schemes this week (complimentary pairs, pus an adjacent color on the color wheel).

My in-class demonstrations:

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Vincent Van Gogh, “Peach Tree in Bloom” reproduction. OIl pastel on paper.

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Color study. I gave my student the prompt: “Locals say, if you go you will still find her there waiting” Oil pastel on paper.

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Oil Pastel on paper, reproduction of one of my photographs, looking south from the Rennselaer train station.

 

Before our discussion of color, I did a simple exercise I feel is helpful for training the eye. I began the week by bringing in a bag of dried leaves from my yard. I had intended to encourage students to develop their eye for detail. This was an exercise I found useful, early on, as I was developing my own abilities:

 

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Leaf, charcoal on paper.

Shifting the discussion to color, I started with a simple geometric abstract, and encouraged students to use a limited palette in their own drawing.

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Abstract, oil pastel on paper. Students were encourage to use a limited palette. My example is dominated by the complimentary colors blue and orange, and green.

 

The next two examples are explorations/reproductions of Munch’s work. His general color palette and strong use of color worked well to illustrate aspects of color theory for my students.

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Oil Pastel on paper, Based on Edvard Munch’s “White Night.”

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Oil pastel on paper, based on Edvard Munch’s mural at the University at Aula, “The Sun.”

 

 

Over the past week, the class focused (mostly) on using perspective. In most of the classes over the past couple weeks I have also been teaching students to mix color and have been teaching the to work in water color.

 

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From pictures I took as an adolescent at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA. Water color on paper.

(Explanation of caption under the painted image: I wanted students to think of their lives before they were ill, and the kind of person they were –or might be, if they recovered from their mental illness. I had brought in photos I took of the Grand Canyon when I was an adolescent, before I was diagnosed and before I knew I had a mental illness. I had all the students caption their image with something about themselves. My caption reads before I was ill, I was creative and adventurous.”)

 

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Barn, water color on paper. From the book “The Welsh Hills of Waukeska County” by Pat Byrne

 

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Charcoal and Water-color on paper, reproduction of Paul Klee’s “The Conquerer”.

 

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Tree-lined path/road. Based on a photo from the Welsh Hills (Byrne) again).

 

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Original image, water color on paper. Based on the house where I currently rent, Albany, NY. Perspective lesson

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Charcoal on paper, study/review of face and facial features. My students ask that I draw and older man.

 

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Perspective study, based on an image by Gustave Caillebotte, (“Paris, a Rainy Day”).

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Figure study, “Officer in Riot Gear” oil pastel and charcoal on paper.

My Current Favorite Tree. My Pet Tree

I’ve always had a great fondness for trees. There was a plot of land behind my father’s house that was more or less my playground as a kid. It was a woods was filled with stately old trees. That plot of land (much to my father’s chagrin) sold and now has a house built on it. Still, a fondness for trees, and especially urban trees that live out their lives more or less paying little attention to what humans are doing below them, endured. The landlord has told me that the house I’m living in was built in 1910. It’s reasonable that the tree has stood about as long as the house has, and was part of the original landscaping of the lot. There is a large stump in the middle of the back yard, –a sister tree that must have been a match for size of its brother that is still standing. I am not one for new-agey/spiritual beliefs, but I do find the presence of a venerable old tree in my backyard to be calming. Frequently when I am at home I can be found perched under it.

I am often noted to be a sort of whimsical human. I do talk to trees, –who in turn don’t say anything, but simply listen.

This spring, when the weather changed, I took a series of photos of my pet tree as it began to leaf out. The photos were taken with an Olympus OM-1 35 mm camera, and Fuji 400 film.

I hadn’t intended these for sale, it was more a project of selfishly documenting something meaningful to me. Still, if someone made an offer for a print, or even the whole series, I’d be more than happy do that for those who asked. There’s many way I can think of that these photos as a series together would make a very beautiful piece framed imaginatively.

 

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Quick Lesson, 5/14/14

So, this past week I stumbled upon a lesson idea I used in class. I thought I might share for people that teach students that may have limited or highly varied proficiency. Readers could also try this lesson on their own. Generally, I aim to create lesson ideas that challenge my students who came into my class with a set of fine art skills, but do not loose my students that may be thinking of themselves as artists for the first time. This lesson is intended for a group of adults with mixed skill levels. My students are adults hospitalized for a mental illness.

This lesson I drew inspiration from one of my favorite abstract artists, Paul Klee’s “Drawn One” (1935). See here:

 

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(Image from the website, friendsofart.net)

The simplicity of the drawing was possible to recreate for less advanced students. I encouraged my students who are advancing to draw a more realistic face.

Because I am working with adults with mental illness, I entitled the exercise “Fractured Self.” Many students used the exercise to explore their own emotional state at class time. I we were working, I talked about how the choice of colors, thickness of lines, and other things may influence the emotional content of a drawing.

I had students working in charcoal (the lines) and oil pastel. I also encouraged students to limit their color pallette to three or fewer colors.

The first step was  to have each student draw a grid of irregular lines that intersect. After creating the grid of lines, students who had been in my class for some time applied what they have been learning about drawing faces, and drew a bust (head and shoulders) in the grid of lines. The last step was to color in the segments of paper created by the grid.

My students responded well to the exercise. The assignment moved quickly, but is possible in a forty-five minute class. I am still working out with my employer the consent and privacy laws under HIPPA to be able to show any student work. Each class I find it helpful to demonstrate the activity on an easel in front of the room. So, I have included two images of my in-class demonstration.

I hope this may give you some of your own ideas. If you do try this in your own classroom, or on your own, I would love to hear feed back from people.

Sample 1

Sample 1

 

Sample 2

Sample 2

New works, spring 2014

 

Mission complete. I don’t have a firm title for this, but “To Love a Falling Object,” so far,  is the working title.

It’s done, for sale, and I hope to be exhibiting it when the right opportunity arises. Trying to put those pportunities together now. Interested parties see the contact in my about section. Here’s a couple images:

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On the easel, “To Love a Falling Object” 24″ x 36″ oil on canvas.

 

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Detail, “To Love a Falling Object” 24″ x 36″ oil on canvas.

[more images as I worked on the piece, and other new work continue below]

 

I’ve started new works for upcoming shows, and so on. This one is oil on canvas, 24” x 36”.

Photos show how I blocked areas of the canvas into light and dark and started building up the sections.

 

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Starting…

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Detail…

 

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The work so far, (first sitting).

[update: second sitting]

Working on the new oil. It is yet untitled. Here it is after a couple hours this morning:

Oil on canvas, work in progress, untiltled, 24" x 36"

Oil on canvas, work in progress, untiltled, 24″ x 36″

 

Tonight I did a third sitting with the large (yet untitled) oil.

I may still do another sitting, but lightening the highlights and deepening the contrasts are bringing the piece together nicely, in my mind:

Photo on 7-13-14 at 8.40 PM Photo on 7-13-14 at 8.43 PM Photo on 7-13-14 at 8.58 PM Photo on 7-13-14 at 9.05 PM

Second (as yet, untitled work):

The idea for this was developed from the Tumblr.com blog Fuck-ton of Anatomy References Reborn (see here: http://fucktonofanatomyreferencesreborn.tumblr.com/post/85055323385/artists-subject-prompt-1). I began with using a sketch I had done previously, the source material for that was The Northampton Historical Society’s book: “The Life and Death of a State Hospital.” Here is the sketch (original photo by Sherer)

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Hospital Ward hallway, pencil on paper, based on the photo by Tom Sherer.

 

I adjusted the storyline to suit the back-drop I was creating, and made a few modification on the sketch image I had drawn. The piece is nearly done. The over-all effect is very much what I wanted. There’s a lot of detail work, and since I had some tubes of incandescent paint, I decided to experiment with incandescent copper (Golden acrylics) and incandescent gold. This afternoon I worked on it again (after this picture was taken) and the walls and foreground are much darker and look less washed out. Aside for bringing more light at the back of the hall and around the figure, I am mostly pleased with today’s progress. Also, the discarded item is another detail I intend to work on when next I sit down to finish this.

Here’s an image, from this morning:

Acrylic on Canvas, my work based on prompt 1 from the blog Fuck-ton of Anatomy References, it's a really great blog and you should probably follow it.

Acrylic on Canvas, my work based on prompt 1 from the blog Fuck-ton of Anatomy References Reborn, it’s a really great blog and you should probably follow it.

Hope to be able to post either one of these as finished pieces within the next couple days. Morning sunlight tends to give me the best light for painting. I try not to resort to spot lights in my room in the middle of the night –as I did when I was a kid.
Worked on this piece, again, this morning. It’s getting there, there’s mostly details left. Also, it has a working title:

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Acrylic on canvas, “Found Where Her Tormentors Never Rested.” For sale, inquire.

 

 

Commissions Progress Page

On the SWPA page, I put out there I was doing commissions. A friend asked that I do one of the small works of Albany’s long-time alternative music hang-out, the Fuze Box.

The Fuze Box was a rescued Art Deco building and one-time White Tower Hamburgers location. White Tower was a Wisconsin-based competitor of White Castle, the first store opened and the company peaked in the 1950’s. Most of the original details in the building are still present: the molded glass and chrome, as well as signs advertising the buildings history before it was reused as a night-club. Long-time Albany scenesters still remember the days when the club was the QE2, and hosted live all-ages shows, as well as alternative dance nights.

So, a venerable historic structure in its own right, the Fuze Box/QE2 has been an anchor of Albany’s nightlife as long as pretty much anyone cares to recall. My friend, James, wanted an image to commemorate the Fuze Box and commissioned the work. I started doing preliminary sketches this morning.

A bit about my process: any commissioned work, or a serious work I do generally involves a few sketches. The sketching allows me to work out problems and practice the image before I start the actual work. I encourage my students to practice their ideas with sketches on paper before they truly start a piece. In this case, this is a mixed media color study and architectural study of the White Tower building (as it was in 2006, this image is from my own collection, taken with one of my many digital cameras I have owned over the years).

The sketch:

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The original image I am working from is below:

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I’ll include images, with the permission of the buyer, of the full work when it is done. If you’re interested in commissioning a work, use the contact information in the about page.

[update]

Working on an architectural drawing of a highly symmetrical Art Deco building is proving to be a challenge (not an unwelcome challenge, by any means, but still a challenge). Hopefully, I am not trying the patience of my buyer by taking my time and doing a score of preliminary sketches to get the end product right.

Last weekend, I went out with my point and shoot and took a couple night-time images to make a composite image for the final product. Today, I am working off pencil sketches of the various angles.

here’s today’s sketch (pencil on paper):

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I have permission from the buyer to include the work, which he just picked up today, on my blogs here. I did two versions of the Fuze Box image, and James, in turn, wanted both images.

So here they are drying on my easel (the source images I used are above):

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Thanks James, and I hope you enjoy the images!

 

 

 

The Class

For those that didn’t know, I have spent the last several weeks teaching an art class within the Capital District Psychiatric Center. My goal is to get funding to expand a program that makes fine art classes a part of mental health treatment both inside and outside the hospital in the city I live in: Albany, NY.

Again for those who didn’t know: this is a goal for me, because I know when I was inpatient in CDPC, art groups were important to me as a way to rebuild my life in the hard times I was having. The art groups were something I looked forward to each day when I was inpatient. As  teacher, I want to use art to help troubled people do what I did: get out of the hospital and live better lives outside of the mental health system. Mentally ill people can live full lives, hold jobs, and stay well. We can and do recover. I feel like art can help mentally ill people do that, and I am not alone in that belief.

In that spirit, I’d like to show some of the in-class demonstrations I have done. These are sketches and things I did during the class, demonstrating for my students, art techniques and skills.

It’s my hope that my students not only develop their own skill, but find ways to make art a part of thier lives once they are back living in the community –professionally, or non-professionally.

Art is important. I know from looking around my classroom, art is important to helping struggling people heal.

Some images:

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Bulletin board of my student’s work

 

[update] 5/21

This past week the class has been working with mannikins (croquis) I was able to purchase with the grant money I received. The class has really latched on to drawing with croquis. This past week, I have been encourage students to pose the croquis and talk about an incident in their lives. The class has a two-fold purpose of not only teaching art, but as an informal part of the students therapy and recover from significant mental illness (all students are currently admitted on an in-patient basis). There are two images from this (my in-class demonstrations):

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

 

The first sketch: a student described a family member who had overcome addiction.

 

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

 

The pose is meant to describe a student’s experience during a recent depressive episode.

 

[update]

Adding some new works, older sketches and works are towards the bottom of the post.

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Acrylic on paper, student prompt was to represent what “trouble” meant to them, based on a podcast from “This Modern Life”. Related to a San Francisco cafe whose proprietor struggles with Schizo-effective disorder.

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Fayette Michigan, abandoned town and now a historical site. Watercolor on paper.

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Lake Michigan, near Escanaba, Michigan. Watercolor on paper.

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Sketch, charcoal on paper. Portraits.

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Oil Pastel on paper. Prompt for this was encouraging students to depict “Safe Spaces”

[...]

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Sketching architecture, reproduction of Van Gogh’s House at Arles.

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Architectural study, perspective example. In this case a very quick study of the corner of Clinton and N. Pearl St. In-class example.

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Study, landscape, another Van Gogh reproduction.

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Study of Paul Klee’s “The Red Balloon,” from a lesson on using color and abstraction/ non-representational drawing.

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Architectural study, from the book “Hudson Valley Ruins.”

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Portrait, study. From a lesson about composition and placement of facial features.

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Studies: faces and facial features.

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Study, portraiture, faces and facial features.

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Placement of facial features and composition.

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Manet’s work “The Old Musician” has been a recurrent theme in my sketching. In this case, the “dread-locked cow-girl” is based off a figure in the Manet piece, and swaps the gender of a figure from Manet’s work.

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Study, dog

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Study, infant.

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Study, tree trunk.

First, a figure study. Study of a child playing, including an illustrated armature (left). In class demonstration.

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Reproduction, Paul Cezanne. Working on landscapes, explanation of horizon line. Oil pastel on paper.

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