Vermont Studio Center -- the obligatory group photo

Here's the obligatory group photo of the August 2013 Vermont Studio Center "class." I had a great time at the residency, worked a lot, and learned even more. I'm in the front - one of the three people who are wearing bright green. We thought it wd be conspicuous if the three of us (Justin Hoekstra  and Jonathon I-can't-spell-his-last-name clumped together).

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Progress

I'm making slow and steady progress. We have less than a week here at the Vermont Studio Center. The main problem-- if it is a problem-- is that there are so many interesting people here doing a myriad of things which I want to talk to them about. For instance, this morning I spoke with Florence Neal of Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Cindy Kim who just graduated from RISD with her BFA and is returning to Toronto to decompress. Florence is doing a lot of beautiful Japanese woodcut printing, and Cindy works across mediums, but mostly is a painter and videographer.

Here is what I've got so far. My goal is to finish a painting a day and then start a new experiment on Monday. I basically have until Wednesday and then I leave Friday morning, hopefully with paintings dry:) I don't know if these goals will be achieved, but for good reason, since I'll be heading over to Nick Anger's studio to see some mold castings (he makes exquisite knives) and then to Erika Adams' undercover office hours in the Wolf Kahn building.

Another landscape

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I'm mostly done with my third cemetery painting - the winter one. I had the most fun with this one so far because of the smaller dimensions which took the pressure off. I usually paint the sky first, building up from the background to the mid-ground and then finishing off in the foreground, following the phenomenal experience we have in landscape. However, this time I treated the painting in a more "flat" way- that is, I began with mapping out the tree (and other objects such as the gravestones) and then painted the sky around the branches, which was a lot of fun and the inverse of how I usually work when I'm painting landscapes.

Experimentation, Going Big and Cemetery Paintings

I've been working on three biggish paintings in my studio here in Vermont. They are all of cemeteries. The one below is about 23" x 32" and is a cemetery in the winter.

I've been experimenting with oil sticks, which I really like, and mushing them about also with bristle brushes, which I don't normally use very much. The application is much thicker than I'm used to creating, but I'm also keeping areas thin and transparent.

Below is the second cemetery painting which is 28" x 46".  That's not a house but a chapel. The important thing about this painting for me is the atmosphere and mood. It's painted very softly with a lot of gamsol in a watercolor-y way. It was fun to do the tone with acrylic.  Because these paintings are for me and for my own experimentation and enjoyment, I've been using a little bit of a cheaper canvas, and gesso-ing myself to save money and to lower the pressure for myself in the inevitable cases I screw up or end up not liking the finished product.

Made it to Vermont

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I have a fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, for the month of August. Toby and I made it to Morrisville, a little town nearby, on Saturday night without too much mishap, though we did run out of gas about 40 miles out while we were listening to Game of Thrones. Yesterday, Sunday, was orientation. I'll be working in Barbara White building (above). Here's a photo of the interior of my studio and the view from the windows.

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Cemetery study

I spent yesterday doing this 15 in. x 30 in. study in the studio. It's not technically a study because I invented the atmosphere and the statuary, etc. I am leaving in a couple of days for the Vermont Studio Center for the rest of the month, and I was trying to see if this kind of painting would be interesting to do a larger version of when I'm there.

Sarah, Part Deux

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I decided to restart Sarah Deaner's portrait. Usually I'm against chucking and restarting, so I repaint often and try to persevere when things go badly. There seems to be a bias against doing this-- somehow reworking too much takes away the painting's "freshness"?  I don't know if I agree with that, and certainly x-ray studies of paintings reveal that artists reworked things quite a bit.  The problem with reworking, however, is that with every subsequent layer of paint, the values get darker, so if you want to end up with something that is light in value, reworking might not be the best strategy. In the painting of Sarah, I wanted to blow out the value spectrum and exploit the range as much as possible, but the range was shrinking with every subsequent rework.  Why did I need to rework? I wasn't very happy with the drawing, and I wasn't working from the model at the painting stage, but rather working on colors from my imagination, and I rushed in without a good conception of what I wanted the colors to look like (a color study would have been useful before diving in), which meant I wasted a lot of time pfaffing and rethinking. Anyway, here is the new underpainting, which I started also in a different way which I hope will be more interesting than what I was trying to do before.

Contact Zone exhibit

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My Elements of Visual Thinking Course showed their final projects over at City Arts Gallery in the Station North neighborhood in Baltimore last night. Despite the rain, the show was a success and looked beautiful. Here are some pictures.

The name of the show

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DURING SET-UP:  Daphne Hung eating the largest burrito ever made.

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Antonius dances like a beautiful butterfly during set-up, proving that people are having WAAAY too much fun.

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Jia Wei is found on the streets of Baltimore and is transported to the gallery to put together her magical piece

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People love Morgan so much that they'll help scrub her tub.

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Sarah Bolton is VERY present.

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Lisa decided to turn her painting upside down from the first time she'd shown it in class.  The Fetal Pig is now flying.

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Sarah Bolton and her flowers....Becky Basner and her dandelion weeds...

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THE RECEPTION BEGINS: Ladies in LBDs.

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Friends of the artists arrive.

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    A man, in Lotus-Land.

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Frankie and I are very sad.

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And Cole Quinlan enters delta-sleep.

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Morgan's sister Kim and the Incomparable Hannah Brancato at the opening reception.

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Diana describing her artwork.

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Claudia Heitner talks about her process with a visitor.

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The Koreans being, you know, Korean.....Sanskruta wow-ing the visitors.

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Darling Devinator and Beautiful Bomin....

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Morgan's Mermaid Tank....

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Yena discussing her work with a physicist.

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Diana Lin as she sings Cole to sleep.

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Adrienne and her work, and a visitor.

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Jia-Wei's "Untitled".

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Antonius' spiritual work makes everyone who sees it dance like a butterfly.

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THE ARTISTS! 

Tarek

This is part of the portrait I did of Tarek which I started last July but never got back to.  It is one of my goals this week to complete it, and I think I'll be able to do that, even though Life seems to be getting busier after the past three months of not being able to do much in the studio.  All these Artist as Subject portraits are supposed to include some high chroma element... I still don't know what I'm going to do about Tarek's portrait, but he comes for dinner tonight with his friend Jack who is a photographer, so I'll talk to him about it then.