aesthetics

Turpentine diaries 3/3/19

Bah! I am grinding my way (trying to anyway) through a volume of Clement Greenberg’s essays. In case you haven’t heard of him, Greenberg was once considered the preeminent writer on post-war American art. Greenberg’s writings are filled with hilarious pronouncements hurled from the Marxist Olympian heights. As a champion of the Abstract Expressionists, he…

Fat over lean

So you’ve embraced the two related studio aphorisms I discussed in this recent post: fat over lean, and make the lights thick but keep the darks thin. In practical terms what does this mean? Oil paint, tube paint, is stiff and unmalleable. Adding oils and solvents to the paint makes it manageable. But these additions…

Turpentine diaries 12/31/2018

Art is filled with aphorisms. Fat over lean, for instance, is a famous adage. The meaning for this old saw that is the most straightforward is to paint thickly-applied paint over thinly-applied paint. Why this distinction? Well, if you paint in layers, that is, if you paint over previously painted areas, you ignore this practice…

Turpentine diaries 12/16/2018

I finished Bench by the Lake in a short session yesterday. I hadn’t looked at the painting for months before yesterday’s session. It’s not unusual for a painting to be in-hand for a long time, and then–boom–I finish quickly. The top painting in the photo, Keep Talking, is still raw. I am keeping it simple…

Turpentine diaries 8/19/18

For today’s session with Lunch Alone, in addition to my usual medium, I used ‘flavored’ turpentine for my solvent: turpentine with some homemade drying oil, plus drops of Courtrai siccative. Readers of my blog know I post a lot about mediums and other arcane elements of art making. If you want to start experimenting with mediums,…

Review: Eyewitness Views

The Cleveland Museums of Art’s Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe is the best show I’ve seen at the museum since I started my near-weekly visits six years ago.  As good as the show is, however, the theme–artists as eyewitnesses to history–is a stretch.  The paintings are souvenirs of public events in (equally important)…

Destroy that painting!

At the Whitney Biennal last spring, protestors made headlines when they demanded that the museum destroy an artwork they found offensive.  The protesters didn’t want the painting removed from the Biennial, they wanted it destroyed.  The painting by Dana Schutz, Open Casket, is based on a well-known photograph of Emmett Till in his coffin. Till was an African American…

Turpentine diaries 10/1/2017

Terrible photo but it’s dark and I’m tired so it will have to do. Man With a Baby Carriage is in the final stage–the fun stage.  If the drawing is strong, it will take you to finish line.  Drawing, like writing, can fill up with useless details that don’t advance the project when you’re tired. …