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Eleven Images: New Work, 2016

First post of the new year. So, hey!

The older, recent works can all still be seen here. http://wp.me/p2c9SR-a9

Find my e-mail in the about section and contact for details.

To finish off the last of old business, the last image I started in 2015 was a little canvas I shortened the name to “Starvation.” After a second sitting, it came off a little too flat and blended. So, I darkened the image up slightly with some Burnt Sienna, and I think this one’s ready to take off the easel and let dry.

Here is the final image:

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“Starvation” 11″ x 14″ oil on canvas, Was $60, now $45

 

I had a wood panel left from a bunch of wood I scavenged last summer. I really enjoyed this one:

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“The Window,” graphite and acrylic paint on gessoed wood panel, first sitting.

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“The Window,” graphite and acrylic paint on gessoed wood board, 9″ x 19″ (approximate) (SOLD)

 

Been working lately with graphite in my painted oil and acrylic works, I am liking the effect thus for of working more mixed media:

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“Dissolve/Dissolute” 16″ x 20 inches, graphite and oil on canvas. second sitting.

 

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“Dissolve/Dissolute” graphite and oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ Was $135, now $115.

Getting back on top of the pieces I have been working on, I may have some pictures of this in process, and I will try to get them up eventually. Here is the finished product:

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“Uneasy Chair” oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ Was $115, now, $95

 

 

Began color-blocking a new piece today, this one already ended up with a name. The end result will likely be much less representational, also, the panels will be suspended in a manner similar to “There is No Gentle Way Down from Here.”

Began color-blocking a new piece, so far, untitled:

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“No One Got Left Here” color blocking, acrylic on 2 8″ x 10″ canvas panels.

 

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“No One Got Left” acrylic pain on two 8″ x 10 canvases $125. (SOLD)

 

New work, did this one quickly. In acrylic, which is unusual for me.

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“Irreconcilable Indifferences” acrylic paint on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $75

Started two new canvases, but these are begin with unusual (for me) ideas.

This one is called “sleep” or “rest.”

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“At Rest” color blocking, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″

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“At Rest” second sitting, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″

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“At Rest” third sitting, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ It’s close, but this is going to need another sitting.

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Body at Rest, 12″ x 12″ oil on canvas, Was $205, now $185.

And this thing, I just have no idea at all:

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“The Quiet Area,” oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ first sitting

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“The Quiet Area,” oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ second sitting.

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“The Quiet Area” third sitting, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″

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“The Quiet Area” final, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ was $250, now $200

 

Both these pieces are going to need further work. I am challenging myself and varying my technique more.These are different pieces for me, so I am using a mix of under-painting/glazing, and some palette knife. Keeping on working I suppose.
[update, but have final versions, both took a good deal more hours than I anticipated]

I’ll have to start tallying up to see how close I came to hitting my goal over the past couple months, (I’ll do so when I photograph all my new works for my catalog and put wires in the back). It’s now a new year, and I don’t see any reason to slow down on what I am doing. With that in mind I did some color blocking on two new, yet untitled canvases.

Began color-blocking a new piece this morning:

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Color blocking, first sitting, oil on canvas, 8″ x 1o”

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“Something like Purity,” First sitting, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

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“Something Like Purity”oil on canvas, 8″ x 10” $45

Touched this last on up a little as well.

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“Something Like Purity” oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ final $75

Some new pieces, drying:

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An entirely new piece, this came together in a single sitting:

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“An Appearance of the Apparition,” oil on gessoed wood panel, 11″ x 16″ $195

Second sitting, Still not quite closing on what I want with is image:

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Untitled, (second sitting) oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

Done:

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“An Elemental”final, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10” $60

Began color-blocking a new piece, after I finished the last one (Vine), here is it after a first sitting:

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Untitled, first sitting, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

The newest finished work. This is going to be another installation, like “There is No Gentle Way Down From Here” (see below).

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Dead on the Vine, finished panels, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″

The idea I have for this piece will incorporate two metal sheets, one attached to each canvas, and suspended in a manner like the weights in old grandfather clocks.

I need to buy supplies to realize this. A purchase of one of the works for sale would help me get that done.

Color-blocking this morning:

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“Dead on the Vine” oil on canvas, 2 12″ x 12″ panels, first sitting.

5.23: color-blocking on two new pieces

(the triptych I have talked about)

The Triptych is done!

Here are some images of the finished piece:

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As as I was working on it, I got the idea to suspend the panels by eye-hooks and chain, so the triptych would hang together as a single installation. Here I am cutting the chain and assembling the parts.

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Finished work, “There is No Gentle Way Down From Here,” Oil on canvas, (3 8″ x 10″ panels, total dimensions: 10″W  x 48″H) chain and brass eye-hooks.  $275

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A close shot of the chain and eye-hooks.

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Panel 1

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Panel 2

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Panel 3

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New work, color blocking, oil on canvas, 3 vertically stacked 8″ x 10″ panels.

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Untitled work, second sitting, oil on canvas, 3 vertically stacked 8″ x 10″ canvases.

…and

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New piece, color blocking, 12″ x 12″ oil on canvas, first sitting.

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Untitled work, second sitting, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″

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“No Lover isn’t a Noose in Time” oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ was $60, now $45

First sitting with two new pieces:

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Untitled, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ first sitting.

Worked for a bit on both these pieces (8, May):

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Untitled canvas, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″, second sitting

Two images of the finished work:

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Lullaby for a Cast-away, (finished) oil on canvas  8″ x 10″, $70

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Second image, drying on my wall, “Lullaby for a Cast-away” $75.

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Untitled, oil on canvas 16″ x 20″ first sitting.

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Untitled, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ second sitting

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Untitled, 3rd sitting, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″

Done:

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“Either a Swan-dive, or an Invitation?” (drying on the wall) oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $205

First sitting with two new pieces:

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Untitled work, first sitting, 10″ x 14″ oil on canvas

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“Tendrils, rivulets”oil on canvas, 10″ x 14” $105

With the both of these pieces I am experimenting with working a little differently. The second image here, I aimed to do this one with very thin washes of paint over each other, slowly building up the color’s intensity.  I also plan to use a very limited pallete, I may eventually involve a shade (to create more contrast) but so far, this images is using only Yellow Ochre, Medium Yellow, and Permenant Green Light.

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“Prozac Listening Party” oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ first sitting

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“Prozac Listening Party” oil on canvas 8″ x 10″ was $75, now $55

 

 

Life got real busy with other things, but I briefly got back to my easel today. This is the second sitting on this piece, I had blocked out shapes and colors previously. Where the yet untitled piece stands now:

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Untitled, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″, second sitting

Sat down and worked (third sitting) on the newest canvas. I may revisit it in the morning, but I think it is done:

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“Flesh Cathedrals”oil on canvas, “18 x 24”, third sitting, final was $245. now $215

 

Started another canvas too, not very interesting yet, just blocked color.

2/2016

Started new pieces (one is a commission, so I will share images of that when it is delivered). When the commission was done, I used some paint that was left on my pallette to start a new small piece.

New work, this one likewise came together quickly and in two sittings (I did not photograph the original sitting/color blocking for whatever reason):

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“Schism” oil on canvas, 11″ x 14,” $125

First, there was this image:

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“A Rest for Troubled Waters” first sitting, color blocking. oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″

Third sitting (normally, I am better about photographing my progress, but I worked on this piece of and on a couple days ago. I did not get a photo at the intermediate stage. Here is the final piece, however:

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“A Rest for Troubled Water” oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″, $205

And, I blocked color (with a palette knife) on a new small piece:

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Untitled, first sitting/color blocking, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ work in progress.

Second sitting. I would still like to have one more go at this:

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Untitled work, oil on canvas, 8″  10″, second sitting.

Worked on this piece again. I set it aside to develop it more, but I decided I like it as is. Sometimes, I don’t know:

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“A Close Reading of Tea Leaves” (final), oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ $60

Another image of the same:

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A Close Reading of Tea Leaves, oil on canvas, was $70, now $60

New piece:

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“for this moment, everything is mine” oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″ $135

Came together in one sitting, but I had a very specific idea about it.

These two with be the first pieces this year.

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Untitled canvas, 11″ x 14,” oil on canvas, first sitting.

Second sitting:

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Lick the Wound (Until My Tongue is Gone), oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″ $125

And the other:

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Second untitled canvas, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ first sitting.

Second sitting:

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“A Masque is for Truth-telling”, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″, $65.

Will be updating with more images as the pieces and others come together.

Best wishes to my readers for the new year!

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Quick Lessons: Get Some Perspective!!!

One of my current students has expressed an interest in architectural drawing. I am probably going to be bringing several source images to class for architectural studies. One thing I have not been shy about in my career as an art teacher, is directly addressing where I find gaps or a weakness in my own knowledge of my craft. I am primarily a figure/portrait and color guy, so this morning I busied myself finding, and then doing, a basic study in perspective. While my result today is by no means flawless, I did find the work relatively natural, and I remember more than I think I do. It’s been years since I’ve done many exercises in perspective, even if in my work it gets applied frequently.

The simplest exercise is multiple-point perspective is a cube. I found this image on a web-forum for game design, and you can see the image I used here.

I find it helpful with these studies to give yourself space to work. The largest paper I have readily at the moment is 11″ x 14,” so to create my horizon line, I worked with two pieces of paper taped together.

The original image is here (on the forum, scroll down) is here:   http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=16420.0

My study is here:

Study, cubes, exercise in perspective

Study, cubes, exercise in perspective

Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to add to this in coming days. If you do your own study, you can share your results in the comments. As this page gets rolling we’ll be taking on perspective studies of more complex architectural drawing and buildings. If you line a series of cubes up, larger and smaller, all meeting at 2 points relatively close on the horizon, you start to get what looks like a city street, that may be one of the places I choose to go in the coming class. Space them at far ends of the horizon, like in the cube exercise, that’s the basis for blue-printing a structure. Try it, see how yours comes out.

Wednesdays and Thursday afternoons I usually take my son to one of Albany’s public libraries. Today, I took off the shelf a book quite familiar to me (I’m sure I have checked it out multiple times by now) “Albany: The and Now” by local historian and author Don Rittner.

I have something of a fondness for art deco commercial buildings and design. The image I am using here was formerly the 1928 facade of the South East Corner of State Street and Pearl Street –then a restaurant and jewelry store. There currently sits in that corner a high-rise tower which is presently occupied by an M&T Bank on the ground floor.

Here is a 2-point perspective rendering of the 1928 building:

architectural study, Pearl Street and State Street Albany, from the book, Albany, by Don Rittner, used with permission.

architectural study, Pearl Street and State Street Albany, reproduced from the book, Albany, by Don Rittner, used with permission.

I have alternatively heard small-scale art-deco commercial buildings of similar style called “Moderne,” so that term may be more appropriate, but there does seem to be areas of overlap within the two design schools. This structure also is much larger than most examples I have heard described that way apparently without a great deal of the the decorative chrome heavily associated with the style. (An example is the former White Tower building on Central Avenue I have described in the commissions blog).

In coming days I will hopefully be adding a few more examples of particular buildings, and perhaps moving into street scenes.
Happy sketching.

Cultivating the Sketching Habit (IV): Figure Studies & Loosening up

Not everybody has access to a subject for figure study. Figure study is one of those bedrock artistic practices you should always revisit. You simply are never too experienced. You’ll always need to keep the skill sharp –with practice.

I managed –somehow– to not only land a musical collaborator living with me. But also an experienced alternative and plus-size model. (Contact and other info: http://www.modelmayhem.com/325517). Of course I jumped at the chance when she agreed to a few poses for me to use in sketching. She’s always a lovely subject.

This morning I pulled up the photo files I had taken, and began sketching. (Common wisdom is that you shouldn’t draw from photos, I’ve always done so. I take a lot of photos with a couple cameras I own, so it keeps me in subject matter that interests me. I have had many people tell me it’s not the same, but photos from a good camera are convenient and can be available whenever you get the urge to practice).

The first sketch was in pencil. It feels less than perfect, but adequate…

The first image:

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Muse, figure study, pencil on paper

Muse’s pose (she was posed lying on the bed, gazing up at the camera) is really lovely, and there’s a lot of challenges in her poses –foreshortening the legs and abdomen. The harder part was capturing her really quizzical facial expression. I felt I pulled it off in this little sketch.

However, the next sketch I botched. I was starting to get frustrated and getting ready to put pencils down until another day. One thing that helps when a subject is challenging me for whatever reason is to loosen up.

I frequently warned my students about the dangers of becoming to tight and getting stuck just getting details right. When I find myself doing this I back off and do simpler line and gesture drawings. I don’t need to focus heavily on details, and turn my attention to proportion, gesture, and the pose. Get the pose right first, and do it over and over. So, that’s precisely what I did.

Some of the sketches were rather abstracted, others are slightly more detailed. All of them were done in a few minutes a piece, the way one would do in a 5 minute life drawing pose. There’s something I like in pretty much all of them.

Changing my focused work. I turned my attention to some problem areas, and worked them over and over:

working on problem areas, charcoal on paper

working on problem areas, charcoal on paper

In the end, I made several more simplified sketches I was happy with. More sketches to come as I work on them.

figure study, Muse, charcoal on paper

figure study, Muse, charcoal on paper

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Muse, figure studies, charcoal on paper.

It took a while to loosen up my sketching until I was seeing results I was happy with, but it got there. So, snatching a small victory out of an earlier attitude that was pretty defeated.

[update, 9/13]

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female figure, study, upper body

I secured a commission with a client that has requested life drawing/portraiture, in charcoal on paper. So, pretty fortuitous I published this blog less than a month ago. Not to beat a dead horse, but when I spoke in the original post about bed-rock artistic practices, and keeping your skills sharp, I was very serious. The opportunity to do this commission came at a good time, as my teaching of the class is on hold at the moment.

The following images include both male and female figures, in charcoal on paper.

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Male figure, charcoal on paper

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female figure, charcoal on paper

At one point I focused on a a face (my partners).

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study, face.

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figure study, charcoal

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Male figure, charcoal on paper

Angelspit and The Gothsicles with Man Woman Machine, The Fuze Box, Albany, NY.

I still have a lot more photos to add. Hopefully, the photos speak for themselves. This will be a hard bill to top for me.

First, Man Woman Machine is an electronic/Synth Pop band hailing from Rochester, NY and Massachusetts.

[all photos Robert B. Eaton/Rahb Eleven/Eleven Images, it’s not as though I make money for this, so just give me credit if you share these images anywhere else]

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Brian (The Gothsicles) has been coming back to Albany a lot these days. We couldn’t be more pleased to have him here in Albany. He’s coming back in an upcoming ExHuman event, appearing as his scaly alter-ego, DJ Fishdick.

From The Gothsicles set:

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This counts as the first time I’ve gotten to see Angelspit live. The set ranged through tracks spanning Angelspit’s discography, quite a few tracks off the latest release “The Product.” The set also included a track by Hardcore Pong, the side project of Karl (Zoog Von Rock/Angelspit) and Brian (The Gothsicles) with Brian joining Zoog and Matt (who did double duty with his hand-held midi-controller) onstage. Needless to say, the set did not disappoint.

Perhaps the best part of the night (for me personally) was the ten or so minutes I spent picking Karl’s brain about the stage clothes he custom-made for the tour. Super cool guy, and just massively creative, it was really cool to finally meet him after all the years following Angelspit’s career.

Anyway, this is the photos with (with camera 1) that I took. All the photos Aperture priority 1600 ISO, with flash. Edited in iPhoto.

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Near to the end of Angelspit’s set, my main camera’s battery went dead, and I shot the rest of the set with another camera. I will be including those photos, plus some crowd and behind the scenes nonsense, when I have a chance to update.

Update on the class, April 2015

I’m adding a couple images of a few quick painting studies I have done recently in the class. The core of students I have working now are making great strides in some of the things I have talked about in my previous updates. Among my artists now, one young woman is now doing large works on an easel –often abstract works or heavily stylized representational drawings. Another young woman is really taken to images of animals and people in watercolor, and another artist continues to draw in ink and oil pastel of things she describes as being from her dreams.

This was a primary goal of mine: that my classes be more lie an open artists studio where peer artists produce what they are interest are, and choose their own topics and medium. So, success in that realm.

Finally, here are a couple images of works that came off my easel during class. Both of these sketches are based on photos by Stan Sherer from the book “The Life and Death of Northampton State Hospital.” The book is produced by that city’s historical society.

Long-time Hospital Librarian from North Hampton State Hospital

Long-time Hospital Librarian from Northampton State Hospital

Employee of North Hampton State Hospital, in his former office, after the hospital closed.

Employee of Northampton State Hospital, in his former office, after the hospital closed.

[update 4.28.15]

[also, disclaimer: the author is an educator teaching a peer-led art class at a local psychiatric hospital and a consumer of mental health services. The views express here are my own.]

I am adding a couple images of images I have been working on in the class. I have been trying to motivate students to revisit images they have created and develop them further, or in another medium. I am encouraging students to embrace sketches and developing their ideas into more fully realized and finished works. I find that getting to a finished work is a series of false starts, correcting errors in second or third (or, possibly more) treatments of the same image.

To that end, I have been working in acrylic on images I have done in charcoal or pencil or oil pastel before. The first image (of the angel) was a suggestion from a student. I began with a figure study in charcoal (not pictured) before moving on to paint. The second and third images are of a sketch in oil pastel and (a yet unfinished) portrait of the same subject. The image comes for the book “Suitcases From the Hospital Attic,” –which I have drawn from extensively and talked about in other blogs.

Enjoy:

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Portrait, acrylic on paper

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figure study, winged figure

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acrylic portrait next to oil pastel study of the same subject.

[…]

There’s not a lot to report. The ideas I talked about in the last class blog are more or less implemented, –insomuch as I have followed the recommendations of leaders in my field in peer-run art therapy programs to change how the class is taught. I have been working with the transition to a student-directed classroom in which the students choose and direct their own assignments. I’m looking for student to take a larger role in the direction of the class, making it more directed to suit their needs and interests. I choose topics and demonstrate them still, but encourage each student to choose their own projects, and many of my sketches address student questions directly.

The following images are my in class demonstrations going back over the past couple of months.

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Richardson-Olmstead Complex, oil pastel

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figure study, oil pastel

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angel, oil pastel

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sketch, charcoal

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Basil plant, water color paint and charcoal

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Portrait, oil pastel

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portrait, oil pastel and charcoal

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figure study, oil pastel

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portrait, oil pastel

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figure study, water color

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Portrait, oil pastel, Manet reproduction

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sif the cat, (kitten) Pencil

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fall or rise, oil pastel

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figure study, oil pastel

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figure study, oil pastel

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study, Worcester church, pencil

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figure studies, pencil

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figures, in a hall (perspective lesson) charcoal

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abstract, water color

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heart, sketch (unfinished) (often I jump from topic to topic and class participants ask questions, in this case, I began drawing a human heart and didn’t finish as the discussion changed topics)

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portrait, charcoal and oil pastel

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figure study, charcoal and oil pastel

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figures, charcoal

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portrait, charcoal

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Hudson church, sketch

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abstract, charcoal and acrylic paint

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Richardson-Olmstead complex

Thanks for looking in. I am hoping to begin to look for the donations, I am working on getting away from the class being “institutional,” and more like an artists studio outside a psychiatric hospital. To this end, I need supplies, beyond what the hospitals budget usually pays for. We have paint, pencils, and paper galore. I was able to get a lightbox and a couple croquios through a grant. What I am really looking for are things like canvas, easels, and other item that might be able to be donated, so students have opportunities to work bigger dream bigger and in in more durable mediums. Almost anything will help my students. If you are interested in helping make for a more realized program here, use my e-mail contact in the about section of the Eleven Images blog.

Photo Set: Rockland Psychiatric Center

Yesterday, I posted about my visit to The Living Museum at Rockland Psychiatric Center. It was an unexpected surprise when my OMH colleagues arrived at Rockland with enough time ahead of their meeting that we spent about twenty minutes driving through the sprawling campus. Rockland opened in 1931 –when it accepted 60 male patients– to ease overcrowding at Manhattan State Hospital. At it’s peak, Rockland may have had as many as 9,000 patients and 2,000 staff. (Asylum Projects website, aylumprojects.org).

Post-deinstitutionalization, Rockland seems to have been abandoned in stages. Closest to the road, many of the buildings are so overgrown as to be difficult to photograph through brush. Closer to the administration building (and the modern hospital complex) the buildings are abandoned, and derelict, but covered with ivy of vivid color –since it seems my trip to Rockland coincided with the areas peak time for fall foliage.
Since it is so expensive to knock down the large, old buildings, they are allowed to stand and decay. Closer to the administration building, however, it appears some some of the older campus is being re-purposed for out-patient, vocational and other therapeutic purposes. A walking path goes right through the abandoned parts of the campus. None of the buildings are fenced off from the rest of the campus –which still hosts a variety of patient services and hospital/rehabilitation services. When I had finished my meeting and tour with the director of the Living Museum, I spent about an hour walking the grounds and taking pictures.  Some of the photos were taken from the car as I first arrived.

[click on the photos to view them full sized]

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Currently, Rockland serves a patient (historically speaking) small population between various programs. They are some of the regions most severely ill. A large part of their current population is also deaf. Nonetheless, I felt quite welcome in the cafe and other patients areas. I chatted briefly with patients and peer mentors. One woman who I spoke to was deaf. I explained with a mix of gesture and spoken language (since many deaf can lip-read to an extent) that I was interested in the art and visting because of that. As it turned out, I later saw her working away in the Living Museum (art therapy studio at Rockland) doing a reproduction of an impressionist piece.

[I want to present a brief afterword: I hope in my presentation here, people find respect and sensitivity to my subject matter. Remember these are places where the mentally ill lived a part of their lives, where people worked. There are, I found after my return home, two cemeteries (one contemporary, and one older) on the grounds of the hospital.  May they all rest in peace.]

Cultivating the Sketching Habit (III)

I’ve started taking around graphite and torn-up sheets of paper around with me wherever I go tucked into my day-planner. The other day, headed to a talented young friend’s gallery show I sketched this out of some trees in Washington Park (Albany, NY)

Graphite on paper.

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Today, when I took my son to the library, I did a little sketching with graphite the Molotow Acrylic Paint Markers. The paint markers were part of a recent donation of supplies I received. I have enjoyed using them, and I am learning a bit how to get the most out of them. I know a few artists who use acrylic paint markers heavily in their work, so I have been playing and experimenting with them.

Both images from the book “Digital Photography Masterclass” by Tom Ang. The book itself is a wonderful and comprehensive text for learning digital photography. I gravitate to it because it is full of exceptionally good photography and makes for good sketches and studies.

6.28.16, last sketch in this sketchbook, Form a book of National Geographic Photos, Yemeni Women in a line to Vote, photo by Steve McCurry

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From a photo by Steve McCurry, Yemen Women at an Election, Graphite on paper, from a book put out by National Geographic.

 

A couple more sketches from when I was in the park with my son today.

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Study, Tree, Washington Park, Albany, N.Y.. Graphite on paper.

 

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Study, Corning Tower, veiwed From Washington Park. Graphite on paper.

 

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As the weather has gotten nicer, I have been taking a sketchbook with me to nearby Washington Park, here in Albany. The other day, I did a couple quick images of things I saw. (Graphite on paper, all)

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I decided to do some sketching out of library books. On Wednesdays, I am always bringing my son to the library, –so, I either catch up on e-mail and web-surf, or I draw for an hour or so.

Today I did the latter

[2/24/16]

Been doing a bit more sketching while I help my son with his home work. This is again from Tom Ang’s book (see below for full source info)

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Older man, from Ang’s book, Digital Photography Masterclass, pencil on paper.

 

The next several images are from a books on local history including  “Heldeberg Hilltowns,” (by Eberfeld & McLean).

 

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Schenectady Dayline trolley car, pencil on paper, From the book “Adirondak Trail,” by Donalf R. Williams. It is a reproduction of a photographic image.

 

 

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One-room school house, Rennsylaerville, NY, pencil on paper.

 

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Old Snyder Sawmill, Westerlo, pencil on paper.

 

The last image caught my fancy, because prior to going into a business of landscaping and selling Christmas trees, my grandfather ran a sawmill, and when I was younger, I remember when that building stood on the property of the business my father –then– ran.

 

 

The first piece was drawn from the book “Digital Photography Masterclass” by  Tom Ang. It’s a book about digital photography, butI love to draw from it because Ang’s photos are really good. The really lovely part of this sketch is the model’s face is almost entirely black in the photograph (illustrates using a distant room flash). The sketch was a lot of shading. And I do mean a lot.

I switched between a 2b and 4b to get the shading right. A challenge but fun.

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Portrait, Pencil on paper, from Tom Ang’s book “Digital Photography Masterclass”

 

 

The second image is from the same book. Admittedly, I have only had occasion to draw a person’s pet once. I have not drawn animals frequently. So, of course, I took it on myself to practice with another image from the book:

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Dog, pencil on paper, from the mentioned book.

 

In the photo, the dog is looking around a corner through a door frame, which is why he/she seems to be missing an ear. Not a great first go, but this is why sketching is important. I have been making more from commissions lately. I’d rather not pass on a commission because I wasn’t comfortable with the work. It is important to vary your work and keep working at those areas that are weaker.

Lastly, I had ten minutes left before it was time to take my son home. I pulled a local history book off the shelves and based this mage off a 1909 sketch by S. Hollyer of Henry Hudson’s ship –that Halfmoon– arriving at the current location of  my home-city, Albany NY.

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The Halfmoon, pencil on paper, based on an image by S. Hollyer.

The sketch is very whimsical and very loose. This brings me to an important point: experiment stylistically!!! If you are really tight, do something very quick and loose and with a few lines. If your work is busy, –try something minimalist. For my students that are very young: you are still discovering how you like to create. Experimenting allows you to find your style, to find your own unique artistic voice. There is never just one way to create an arresting image. Goof off. Work fast. But always, always experiment.

Cheers!

A recent sketch I did waiting for my class to start. (6/2015)

Quick sketch before class. Rear of Buffalo State Psychiatric Center (Richardson-Olmstead complex) pencil on paper.

Quick sketch before class. Rear of Buffalo State Psychiatric Center (Richardson-Olmstead complex)
pencil on paper.

Update, 4/10/15 I take my son to the library a couple days a week. He lives with his mother. Between helping him with long division and fractions I sometimes sketch from photography books in the library. These sketches are from a book by Tom Ang that I have drawn from before. Pencil on paper: IMG_0243 IMG_0244 … Update: 3/22/15 Prior to the beginning of class, I did these three studies of people walking in the hall. IMG_0116 IMG_0117 IMG_0118 … Update: 2/28/15 I am adding some more sketches from my sketch book. First some simple studies:

Basil plant, (left) pencil, and brown banana, pencil and charcoal.

Basil plant, (left) pencil, and brown banana, pencil and charcoal.

Figure studies, club dancers, pencil

Figure studies, club dancers, pencil

Edgar, skeleton decoration, w/sash. to the right, Sif the cat, my friend Seamus' cat.

Edgar, skeleton decoration, w/sash. to the right, Sif the cat, my friend Seamus’ cat.

study, figures at a bar

study, figures at a bar

study, park bench with balloon.

study, park bench with balloon.

Finally, I began earlier in the month drawing images from the book “The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from the State Hospital Attic.” It’s been a book I have returned to again and again, some of the photos are archived photos of patients from the New York State Department of Health, and some are photos done for this book by photographer Lisa Rinsler. The photos make exceptional studies, and since I do peer work in psychiatric hospitals, and have been in and out of psychiatric care for much of my adult life, the subject is a meaningful one to me personally. I did these studies (of patients who lived in Willard State Hospital during the twentieth century) with what I hope is a great deal of sensitivity. Also, I hope I am not miss-attributing any images that I have used as source material in these sketches: All sketches are pencil on paper: DSCF0006 A better image of Lawrence, who was a patient and Willard hospital’s long-time grave digger. DSCF0010 Another patient, Dymitre, an artist who painted images of his home village while at Willard. DSCF0011 Sister Marie, who was a nun before coming into psychiatric care. DSCF0012  Ethel, at an advanced age by the time this picture was taken. All of the first names used in the book were the patient’s actual names, the last names used in the book were pseudonyms to protect the confidentiality of the patients. This last image is a study of a window in an endangered historic building, in Hudson, NY. This is a window in the First Presbyterian Church, on Warren Street –Hudson’s main commercial thoroughfare. The sketch is in charcoal and pencil:

First Presbyterian Church, Hudson, New York. Charcoal and pencil on paper.

First Presbyterian Church, Hudson, New York. Charcoal and pencil on paper.

[…] Update: 2-9-15 I have been doing a lot of sketching over the last couple days. Most of these are simple studies which I am developing for small works. This sketch though, is one of the more complete renderings i have done over the last couple days.

Pencil on paper, Lawrence Marek, Willard Psychiatric Hospital's (Willard Lunatic Asylum/Hospital for Incurables) long-time grave-digger. photo credit Lisa Rinsler

Pencil on paper, Lawrence Marek, Willard Psychiatric Hospital’s (Willard Lunatic Asylum/Hospital for Incurables) long-time grave-digger. photo credit Lisa Rinsler

The image comes from the book “The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from the State Hospital Attic” by Darby Penny and Peter Statsny (photographs by Lisa Rinsler). It was a museum exhibit based on the compiled information in this book that launched my interest in State Psychiatric Hospitals and the patients that lived there. I periodically borrow this book from my local library to read it again. The image here is Lawrence Marek, who was a patient and worked in the hospital’s cemetery from 1937 until his death in 1968 at age 90. This blog by John Crispin talk more about the suitcase project: http://joncrispinposts.com/ After this sketch, I am, of course, working on new works for myself, and for the small paintings I have been doing. I wanted to share this sketch though, as well as it’s excellent source material (worth checking out –very much– on its own). Sorry that the image is not the best quality, but I am still without a proper digital camera to take pictures of new works. Hoping some of the work I have currently exhibited sells, so I have an opportunity to replace my digital. Because, there rally are a lot of new works lately. […] Lately, I have been feeling slightly barren of ideas for new works. So, I have returned to sketching a few ideas out in my sketchbook. Two ideas I am developing, today: I am fortunate enough to have my own still model. At times when she is not too busy, she’s offered to pose for me, and I haven’t taken advantage of that nearly so much as I should. In the past she has done art modeling and still modeling. KODAK Digital Still CameraI have just done a simple line drawing. I needed to make sure I can capture the pose. The main struggle here is getting the line of the spine correct when the body is reclined to the side, and since the legs are brought forward, they must be fore-shortened. It is possible I have foreshortened them too much here. I am going to keep working with this pose, there’s probably a larger work coming out of this in acrylic or oil.  The other piece is a simple sketch of an old church in Hudson. The church is currently endangered and there is a strong sentiment in the city to restore and preserve the church. So far as I know, the work is ongoing, both to raise the funds needed, and do stabilization work. KODAK Digital Still Camera There were several other pieces I have done in my sketch book. This first one is of a church that –quite regrettably– met with the wrecking ball locally. This is an image of St. Patrick’s Church, which was recently demolished to make for a new grocery store in Watervliet, NY. KODAK Digital Still Camera There’s a lot of smaller sketches I have been doing, usually during my down times at work. (Get time to sketch when you can take it, is fantastic advice –applies here). A lot of the sketching I have been doing at lately, I have been doing at work while I’m waiting for the class to start. The sketches tend to be of plants in the common areas. There’s also a sketch in here from a book I took out of the library on digital photography, “Digital Photography Masterclass” by Tom Ang. KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still Camera

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