A call went out to all artists and 66 responded. The new wing of the gallery fearures work in all mediums by artists from 10 states in a show titled "10". Among the early entries are encaustic works by Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso of Washington State, rainbows by James Reed of New Jersey, woven watercolors by Barbara Ernst of Vermont, pastels by Rebecca Yates Shorb of Maine & Pennsylvania and acrylics by Jeanette Steele Esposito of Massachusetts. The show was not juried and each artist was allowed to enter up to three pieces 10" x 10". Ten artists from Mars Hall are participating in the show which includes a 10' x10' sculpture by Brian Read.
John Read Ronald Frontin & Class Cali Veilleux & Becky Shorb
Nancy Geehan Elaine Niemi John Read
Dancing Lions by Brian Read
Participating Artists are Angela Anderson, Barbara Deem Anderson, Jeannine Anderson, Shirley Anderson, Lise Becu,
Geoff Bladon, David Blanchard, Phoebe Bly, Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso, Darlene Cocke, Teddi-Jann Covell, Gil Coyle, Priscilla Cross, Jeanne Dawson, Sherry Holden Dec, Barbara Ernst, Jeanette Steele Esposito, Penne Fontanez, Annadeene K. Fowler, Greg Francis, Ann Marie French, Ronald Frontin, Valerie Garrigan, Nancy Geehan, Lauren Gill, Alicia Hammett, Kay Hansell, Marilyn Harrington, Dave Hastings, Diane Green-Hebert, Jay Hoagland, Marie Ilvonen, Kris Johnson, Lydia Kaeyer, Roger Kirby, Anne Klapfish, Maurice Klapfish, Judith B. Kohn, Roslyn Marcopulos, Ken Martin, Otty Merrill, Ed Moffit, Don Moore, Jenifer Mumford, Hannah Nelsbach, Elaine Niemi, Ann O'Hara, Elizabeth Owen, Chuck Paine, Thomas Peabody, Elaine Pew, Victoria Pittman, Brian Read, Dorothy Read, John Read, Elaine Reed, James Reed, Mimo Gordon Riley, Pat Ryan, Rebecca Yates Shorb, Holly Smith, Beverly St. Clair, Pam Swing, Marianne M. Swittlinger, Cali Veilleux, Nancy Warren, Beth West, Jamie Wiggin, John Wood, Carmelia Yager and Eleanor Zuccola. Many thanks to all of the artists that made "10" a GREAT show.
Otty Merrill has recently been chosen to participate in two major National Shows. Three of her sculptures have been selected by the
San Juan Islands Museum of ART in Friday Harbor, Washington state. Only 10 Encaustic Artists where invited to participate each for their own individual contribution to the medium. The show titled "Waxed @ IMA" opens September 14th and runs thru November 9th.
Merrill's painting, "Monastery at Jasna Gora", has been selected to be part of the "2012 National Juried Encaustic Show" at the Encaustic ART Institute in Carrillos, New Mexico. She is one of 43 Encaustic Artists from across the country to have been juried into the show that opens September 22nd and runs thru October 21st, 2012. For more information on the Encaustic ART Institute and Show visit www.eainm.com.
"Lost & Found" features the 3-D ART of Edward Mackenzie & William Cook. Both artists work with everyday found or discarded objects or parts there of, but their constructions are very different. Mackenzies' work has a strong design element with references to humor, allegory, or history where Cook creates with playful experimentation using a minimal approach. Their work is displayed amongst a backdrop of abstract paintings by Roger Kirby, Russell Smith and Carl Sublett.
I'd like to disucuss some of the techniques I use in my work. Though I do paint realistically, I like to add "texture" to my paintings when possible. This is a relatively new approach for me. An artist friend suggested adding texture a couple of years ago and I had been thinking that way. But the one thing I didn't want to do was make the paint look like paint simply because it is paint. I'm not an impressionist painter, so that didn't seem like an approach I wanted to take. So how do you add "texture" to a very realistic painting and make it "work"?
Brush and Knife?
There are "purists" who would never introduce a palette knife to a painting that is mainly done with a brush. That's fine, but I have seen some beautiful paintings that incorporate both knife and brush techniques very well. The full online image doesn't really show it well, but in "Winter Storm" I have relied on both quite heavily. First the brush was used to lay the ground work and then I brought the knife in to "finish" it off.
If you have a snow covered road, you're going to have "ruts," right? I applied paint in the road quite heavily to simulate the tracks in the snow. The car in the upper left of the painting was parked at a gas station and the tracks in the snow lead to it.
Some of the snow ruts in the road were first painted with a brush but then enhanced by heavier applications with a palette knife. I also built up texture quite heavily in the snow bank.
I also added heavy texture where the snow is churning from the snow plow.
A note about the headlights...
Yes, they do appear to be turned on (illuminated) when the painting is viewed in person. I discovered a trick many years ago that I still use today. I washed in the entire painting when I started it but I left the headlight area of the canvas bare. Then I built up my middle tones, etc., all around, and at the very end, added my yellowish washes to the bare white canvas. I feel I get a greater inetnsity this way. There are other ways to paint "illuminated" lights, but this is my preferred method for depicting bright "white" light. The orange lights are an example of another way as they were painted with mostly pure, undilluted, "unmixed" color. I mixed very little color here while the rest of the painting is toned down with a mixed, almost "monochromatic" color scheme. This makes these painted lights appear more "luminous" as their intense orange color is worked against the painting's more subdued arrangement. So without working overly "dark" in the painting, I was able to get this kind of "illuminated" look. Adding to all of this is the fact that, compositionally, the headlights are the only part of the painting that carries this kind of intensity. If I had lights all over the place, they could appear to be quite "luminous," yes... but the impact would be lessened.
The "icing" on the cake...
After I felt the rest of the painting was more or less "finished," I came back to the road and laid in some very smooth strokes of fresh paint with the palette knife. As you walk around the "dried" painting, you can see what's going on and why the knife worked so well here as it gives the paint application on the road surface the shiny appearance of "ice."
Is this the only way one should paint? No, I wouldn't say that. But I've discovered some fun and interesting tricks by adding texture. I've been able to make paint's inherent qualities stand out and work to my advantage. In the end, I feel I've brought more of my own personality to the work. Perhaps someday I will work in an even more "painterly" fashion, I don't know. I expect that I will. But for now, I'm satisifed to add some texture in selective measure to highlight the nature of certain aspects of the scene I'm working on.
One of our artists, Brian Kliewer, offered to write a guest blog about his newest painting, "From the Stern." We hope you enjoy reading about its development and the thought process that went into the making of this magnificent painting, which will be on display this summer at the gallery. MH
Over the years I've struggled with the idea of subject matter and the notion of being a "landscape artist." I much prefer the thought of just being an artist as opposed to being locked in to any one specific genre. To me, it's more important to paint what you know and feel or experience. This is what I want to do most and have often tried to add that "flavor" to my work, no matter what the subject. If I can somehow include what I was feeling at the time, then I feel I've created a successful painting. That's what I tried to do with this painting...to push myself to a different level...a different view...and get that feeling into the work, if possible.
This is the schooner, "Heritage," as she's passing the Rockland Breakwater. Another can be seen in the distance. I had a good reference photo of the schooners on hand for a while (minus the gulls) and I knew I wanted to use it for a painting, but wasn't sure how to approach things. One thing I did know, the feeling it gave me was not one of being on the breakwater but more like being on a boat myself. However, as I was working on it, I kept thinking it looked more like a background than a finished painting. I wasn't sure I wanted to do anything to it, or how it would work as a "background." I just knew it felt like one.
A tough decision...
With most of the painting laid out and many parts actually "finished," I reached a crossroads in its design. The more the painting developed, the more everything was weighted to the left. I needed something for the rght side and I didn't know what it would be. Then it hit me to add the gulls. I've thought of "overlaying" a subject in the past but had never tried it before...at least not to this extent. It was risky. I resisted the urge for a few days. Compositionally, it was a challenge anyway. But coming back and adding seagulls in a painting where they were not originally planned really turned up the heat at the easel! Then I thought to myself..."I can leave it and end up with a 'nice' painting, or I can be bold and end up with a 'dynamic' painting." And the whole time I was fully aware that I could just end up ruining the damn thing. So it was an daunting choice to have to make....but I went with it.
A "sternman's view"
I once worked as a sternman on a lobster boat. It was just a temporary job...I was filling in for a friend. But as I was working on the painting, it struck me to change my focus...to place it on the viewer, instead. The schooners are passing by as the gulls start to go into a frenzy behind the boat, which is out of view here. I took this approach because I wanted to put the vewer into the boat....to bring the viewer into the painting. So in that sense, the viewer is the subject.
An "orchestrated chaos"
Working out the composition, deciding where to place the gulls became sort of a game...a chess match. It was challenging and I was constantly concerned about overdoing it. But at the same time, I knew the nature of the gulls would have them flying about in a very "chaotic" manner, overlapping each other and obscuring views...
So I wanted at least some of that in the painting, though not a complete "visual cacophony". Instead, I opted for more of a ballet or dance structure in the compositional rythm. I tried to set up a rhythm...thinking of a pattern that might resemble notes on a sheet of music. From that approach, I got this "waltz in the air" effect...
(Also in this view you can see the schooner crew - and some of its passengers, I believe - hoisting the "pushboat" into its storage position behind the ship. And... yes, that wing on the right was in this upright position. So I chose to place this particular gull here to keep the action onboard the schooner in view without unobstruction.)
I wrestled with the idea of "obscuring" the distant schooner. I even thought of removing it completely and letting the gull just hang in the air free and clear. But this painting is meant to be more of a 'working man's" view, a "sternman's" view rather than a pretty postcard. So I went with this "natural frame" that formed around it instead. Seagulls with their wings, feet and bills often do create these "windows" when flocking.
A little Maine humor
If you look around the painting you see things that may surprise. A friend asked about the feet danglling in the upper right portion of the canvas. In fact, she objected to them. She felt they had no relevance to the rest of the painting and wondered why I added them. So I suggested she take a look around. At the bottom of the painting you see a gull that is cut off. I had fun with this as it became sort of a gag on the old magician's trick of "cutting a lady in half." The difference here is, I didn't cut a "lady" in half... I cut a "gull" in half. His/her bottom half (feet) are at the top of the painting, while the top half is at the bottom. I thought about removing them after adding them but it just stuck in my mind that this IS one common sight when gulls are flying over head. I've seen many webbed feet out of the corner of my eye in situations like this. So besides adding a little humor to the painting, I felt it lent some authenticity as well.
How do you get seagulls to pose?
I went to the beach and took a couple of loaves of bread with me. After about 10-15 minutes, I had over 100 photos. But that wasn't enough since I still wasn't getting the views I wanted. The winds the first day were quite strong, and the gulls were positioned mostly at angles that didn't work for me. So I went again the following day. Two more loaves were gone in about 10 minutes. So they devoured four loaves of bread in a total of about 30 minutes. But for those four loaves, I had about 50-60 "models" posing in all sorts of positions. I got the "frenzy" I was looking for. In all, nearly two dozen specific reference photos were used for the gulls.
In the end, I didn't really paint one of those seagull "frenzies" but perhaps the beginning of one. The gulls are gathering rather than obliterating the view. If you've ever seen a lobster boats under "attack" or being chased by hungry gulls, then you know what I mean. As I was tossing those pieces of bread into the air, I got that experience. At least to some degree, I was able to"re-create" it. The gulls were going crazy. It was more of a melee than a "waltz."