Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
DOUG’S TRAVELLIN' SET-UP
Attached are some pics of my set-up. I'm sure that you will have questions but just know that so much is personal. I like to hike, so I TRY to keep it lite. I carry more colors than most- cause I like to push it...and explore various combos..hard. We're so lucky to have had good sound color classes at Art Center College of Design as a springboard for personal expression. TRULY. so here goes.
I use the MBox 9x12: I paint up to 14x14 on it. It's compact and longer to fit in my pack. My 9/12 came in a black plastic waterproof, bullet proof box......i've forgotten the name of the box...Pelican Box! Doesn't matter because it doesn't work in the pack. My pack is made by Eagle Creek but Kelty makes one too. One main pouch for my paints and brush box, paper towels, my uber lite hat with neck protection, bug hat, (weather changes all this), poncho to cover everthing in a flash and thin two panel 11x14 wet box. Although most of the time I carry my wet box with my camera. I DO take a camera but use it for details if the painting wants to become a bigger studio painting. More on that later. Stick to small stuff outside because, otherwise you will be chasing the light, shadows and shifting color. The mid pouch holds the easel that "quick Releases" onto the tripod. The outside pouch holds my sketchbook, pencil, Ziplock of Walgreens powdered latex gloves, ziplock of Gamblin Titanium Zinc, tiny sunscreen, a shot of mace, a mirror, a collapsable tool with tiny pliers for opening stubborn shit in the freezing cold, a red glass lens cover to measure value and a gray scale cropper. YES, I still use all that shit because I get lost all the time. There are two small pockets on each side of the pack. One I use for my turps can (Holbien is best and the China ones break instantly. The irony is that Holbien is probably made in China too! What isn't?? Fuuuuuu. MY one of a kind paintings AREN'T!)) and the other is for the tripod that sit in the bottom and straps at the top. Probably this feature is used for the tent poles.
My Colors for OUTDOORS:
sap grn perm.
cad grn lt.
cad lem yell
cad red lt
aliz crmsn perm
I went to bed late last night and I was thinking....If you decide that this set-up sounds good, you should also get the optional MBox brass brush holder and side tray for potential extra mixing, wet brushes or sketchbook holder. The MBox peops can also set you up with the quick release for the head of the tripod. I LOVE my tripod. I got it online. It's carbon fiber and a lot lighter than Manifroto
Lastly, You DON'T have to go big! If money is an issue? Spent your cash on paints and brushes. For years, I used a simple Julian 1/2 box French Easel modified into a backpack, with a camera bag for my sundries and turps (Gamsol BTW) and my wet panel box. I finally gave in for the comfort and extra space of a pack with a waist belt, chest belt and D rings for water.
Paint: SO personal. BUT paint, as the late great Dwight Harmon @ ACCD taught us, is jammed with fillers meaning LESS extenders or....value$$. I believe that You do pay for what you get. I use Old Holland, Williamsburg, Gamblin (because they sell cans too) and W&N Cad. Grn. light. My Pal, GordonSmedt.com uses caulk tubes of paint!! (in the studio)
Brushes: Also personal. You don't have to get fancy. I have a bunch because I don't want to be washing them every minute. A variety of sizes and a couples of cheap chip brushes for quick simple lay-in of the Graphic shapes ( Recommended by SkipWhitcomb.com, my friend, mentor and hero. Look him up!!)
Workshops and books: It's all inspiration for DOING. There is NO education better than regularly scheduling to go out a do it. Start small, make sketches, learning all the subtle possibilities of your palette, EXPERIMENT, make mistakes, make a lot of mistakes, re-work, lose the freshness, find the freshness again, re-visit, turn it upside down, ask a friend, meditate, WALK without your paints and look at beauty or "subject matter" as if it were hanging paint. "Pieces of paint held together with beautiful edges." THAT'S my quote!
Remember. If you have any questions? Ask me. Ask someone. Ask yourself.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I’ve always loved the American school of Abstract Expressionism. The appearance of freedom and most of the movements’ Tenets- deconstruction of the past, yet paying homage to it, art for arts sake, gesture, the artists’ hand and automatic writing. All the reasons a child loves to finger paint.
Willem DeKooning was the grandpa. He came to America with NOTHING but craftsmanship, passion and a will to strike into a new honesty- a modern honesty without giving up the past. He had his heroes. Picasso, for his seemingly boundless ingenuity and Ingres for his long sinuous line and spacial solutions.
So, this last weekend, I got on a plane to my favorite city-Manhatten, to stand before and pay tribute to a man who gave up EVERYTHING for his art, Willem Dekooning (1904-1997)
The show was behemeth and spanned the artist’s entire career. From the depression and the slow rise of Modernist painting, across the building of surface scraped down and rebuilt to the last years of an artists life where his painting surface was sanded smooth in order to “pull” the most beautiful at times, sinuously sexy line that became one of his signatures.
Quick note: get the catalogue from the Museum of Modern Art, New York-but also get Dekooning, An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. There’s nothing better than reading a biography supported by pictures!
Anyway, the show hits all the marks and key points about his artistic life with the exception of his deep, rich and competitive friendship with artists Ashille Gorky and John Graham and most of his muses. Maybe too Personal? Yes, but in my opinion, influential. Stylistically, I was moved by the artists’ color, line, drawing, scale, craft and hi reverence for the greats that pressed on before him
I felt a strong sense of Color Theory (something I lean on at every nanosecond). DeKooning seemed to lean on complimentaries, splits and analogous relationships between shapes. He often painted with a limited palette or a palette of similar values. Throughout his various periods and moods. His early works reflected his search for meaning, using the metaphor of a man set within the earthy, muted and ashen colors of the depression with edges blurred then revealed-searching. Then he meets LOVE and Elaine, a gorgeous redhead. His palette seems to explode with sensuous pinks and reds. After the artist became a bit more of an institution; moving to the country his palette became pastel and light filled with vibrant yellows edged up to tinted ‘big sky’ blues until his last years, where his palette became primary and relied on more line and negation with white.
With the exception of the sixties, he kept his Ingres-like line. Refining it until it became his own signature. To me, DeKoonings line is his complete synthesis and deconstruction of the figure. The fast and slow turns of the form which only a poetic observer understands. YES, there is some wonderful qualities to the “coat hanger” line but not the elegance.
DeKooning was, first, a craftsman, a builder, and a commercial artist earning solid wage creating displays and interiors. He even tried to do fashion illustration! ALL of this training he brought to the game. When I looked closely at this HUGE body of work, I saw evidence of all sorts of scapers, squeegees and “happy accidents” with unlikely tools. He was known to have boiled down synthetic brushes to create tools for a unique effects. For his line he used his sign painters brushes-one called a stripper. His experimentation was notable but he did not live in a vacuum. He new the younger artists and the new movements around him. So when he discovered that his news papers used to cover and keep his paint viscous left an impression or ghost print, he probably reveled in the newness. Like every good artist, one HAS to stay open to possibility and risk.
Finally, every great teacher that I’ve ever had has said, look to the past and Copy. Copy your copy. Then copy THAT copy. Soon you will find yourself. Never forget who you are and where you came from. I know that W.D. left Holland to forget, to reinvent. But, unconsciously, he never forgot. In order to find something new one must push off something old. Thus paying homage to what was.
Thanks for hanging in there.