David Hickey’s Air Guitar

Do you like to read?  Me, I’ve always been a voracious reader.  Like other autodidacts, I let my interests take me where it will–I read what I damn well please.  Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of art theory  (Foucault, Panofsky, Derrida, Johnson) and criticism, which brings me to Hickey.  I recently finished two of…

Carl Gaertner

Yesterday was a lucky day–I discovered an artist new to me: Carl Gaertner (1898-1952).  Gaertner’s reputation is almost entirely local  to Cleveland, as  Robert Smith‘s is confined to Dayton. Gaertner was born in Cleveland and lived in and around there until his death.  He taught for many years at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  The Bonfoey Gallery…

Love Everything About It

I love everything about art making.   This has always been the case for me, but when I was young I was more impatient.  I also had an elevated view about the role of artistes.  As a consequence, I was sometimes careless with my equipment.  Brushes could remain brush-down in turpentine for days–horror!–until I got around…

Thomas Frontini at the William Busta Gallery

Yes, the Frontini show really is at the Busta Gallery.  Frontini is not listed online among their stable, but I was there–I saw the show with my own eyes.  Apparently Busta has given up on its online persona; their Flash-encrusted Web material is haphazard and their blog hasn’t been updated since 2011. Anyway, according to the…

Aside

I missed the Toledo Art Museum’s Manet exhibition.  As consultation I am reading Foucault’s “Manet and the Object of Painting.”

On the Easel 1/6/13

“The Gift” (large painting on the right) and several smaller paintings.  “The Gift” is 48″ x 48″.  The smaller ones are from a batch of new canvases I stretched and prepared during the holidays. The ground is snow covered but the light is good for January.  Over the past several days Lake Erie started its…

White Paint–in Praise of Lead

The most important color–by far–is white.  White oil paint comes in three flavors: Zinc white (zinc oxide, PW4, usually called Chinese White when used in watercolors).  Although known from ancient times, its common usage is relatively modern, dating from the 18th century when it was developed as a replacement for lead white, which was long known to be…

Thumbs-up: Bonnard; Thumbs-sideways:Vuillard

Vuillard Have you dated someone whose online profile scored highly, only to be disappointed upon meeting her/him?  I’ve never used an online dating service (my wife has strong opinions on this subject), but my relationship with Vuillard feels like a disappointing blind date.  At different times I’ve studied him closely.  He has a beguiling profile filled with attributes I admire: he’s…

Oil Paint Brands

I’ve used oils paints from almost every producer known to man, or at least those known in the US.  This photo shows my two paint cabinets.  The one on the left has tubes of blue, green, yellow, and earth red.  The top-drawer, for example, contains only yellows.  The barely-visible cabinet on the right contains reds, whites,…

In the Studio 12.16.12

For a Sunday during December in NE Ohio the light is good. Here’s a photo taken in the studio today.  I’ve been painting since 7:00 and now it’s time for lunch and the Brown’s game on T.V. The large painting on the right “Garth and Jane” was finished yesterday. The portrait on the left–“Garth in…

Painting: Mother Nursing Infant

This is an older painting from the gallery. Working on a painting, I get it to a certain point then put it aside.  I rarely finish a painting, even a small one, in a single sitting.  The task is to remain objective without becoming over critical of oneself, which can ruin a painting. This is…

Timothy Callaghan—Life Slow Still

I recently paid my second visit to the William Busta Gallery.  Busta is one of those cafeteria-style spaces where several shows—about 6 in this case—run concurrently.  The artists shown represent, no doubt, an attempt to cast the widest possible net.  Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find a Corot, a Philip Pearlstein, or even a…

George Mauersberger at Bonfoey

I walked into the George Mauersberger exhibit at Bonfoey expecting to see a passel of prints.  Nope.  While a few prints are on display, drawings and watercolors make up the lion’s share of the show.  Even so, Mauersberger has a printmaker’s personality—a love of process and fondness for drawing. Most of the pieces on display are tromp…

Mary Cassatt and the Feminine Ideal in 19th-Century Paris

Claude Monet maintained (I’m paraphrasing) that caricature was the soul of art.  Not a surprising statement coming from a master caricaturist.  I agree with Monet wholeheartedly. The exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art—Mary Cassatt and the Feminine Ideal in 19th-Century Paris—provides a great opportunity to examine some drawing and prints by Cassatt and her…

Dayton Art Institute—Fail

The Dayton Art Institute is handsomely situated on a hill above the Great Miami River.  The museum’s beautiful Italianate main wing provides a remarkable view of the Dayton skyline.  Travelers along I-75 passing beneath the museum’s imposing facade can’t help but be intrigued by the marvelous piece of architecture. The museum’s collection, while not as large…

Robert Smith

Robert Smith was an American artist who died in 1985.  When I knew him, he already was an elderly man.  He lived with his teenage son in Kettering, Ohio in a French chateau-type building that seemed the height of romance to a high school kid, which was what I was when we met. Smith was…

Thumbs-up: van Ruisdael; Thumbs-down: Renoir

I’ve loved art as far back as I can remember.  During the summer before First Grade we moved to a farm, and while exploring the barn loft (true story), I was thrilled to discover a bunch of painting gear—half-empty paint cans, rags, and stiff brushes.  I loved it!  I loved the smell of turpentine! That…

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy came our way and mixed with the Nor’easter that was already pounding our shores.  This video was shot as I walked across our backyard.  Towards the end of the video, you can see the siding torn off a neighbor’s house.   Hurricane Sandy Pounding my Backyard

In the Studio—10/28/12

The winds from a furious Nor’easter pound against the studio windows. Whitecaps crash against the shore one after the other with ceaseless regularity, their white froth nearlty reaching the studio door. They say this storm will join with hurricane Sandy in the next day or so. Inside it’s comfy-cozy. The only thing to complain of…

Smooth Move—Smooth Painting Surfaces

All artists are self-taught today. It doesn’t matter if you have a masters degree or never set foot in an art school–everyone is on their own. The most important piece of painting gear my last professor had was a pair of fishing boots. His technique was to cover the studio floor with huge canvases, and pour…

Cleveland Museum of Art Staff Exhibition

Ever since a significant part of the museum’s renovations was opened (as discussed in this post), it’s a hop, skip, and jump to the main galleries from the parking garage. Before the atrium was opened, visitors had to meander past a small snack counter (primarily a break area for museum staff) then navigate a bewildering maze of…