Thumbs Down: Sargent; Thumbs Up: Bouguereau

John Singer Sargent and William-Adolphe Bouguereau are not normally considered together, yet their careers overlapped for several decades. In the ‘Undergrad’s Giant Book of Art History’ Sargent is counted among the progressives, while Bouguereau is thrown in with the anti-progressives–history’s losers (according to the Giant Book). Indeed, in many fables in the ‘Undergrad’s Giant Book of…

Non Reviews

I was going to title this post ‘negative reviews’ referring to non-reviews—shows I’ve visited that did not speak to me, and so no reviews were forthcoming. Silence as a review, so to speak. But, of course, readers have no way of knowing what exhibitions I attend and pass by without comment. Visiting an exhibition without…

In the Studio 4/7/2013

Here is a batch of some recent work. The large painting–‘The Conversation’–is 66″ high. It’s not far from being finished (knock wood). The smaller paintings are Betty Jane paintings, that is, paintings of people aboard my boat–The Betty Jane. They are also examples of paintings on canvas board. Treated properly, canvas board can be as…

Lost Secrets of the Masters Part I

We are in the midst of a surging revival of interest in historical painting methods. More is written on the topic each day. Many authors point to received experts (Eastlake and Doerner to name just two—my own threadbare copies are much-thumbed) and claim to have rediscovered or reinvented long-lost methods. The pursuit of the ‘lost…

The 42nd Student Show at The Galleries at CSU

I enjoy student shows and attend them whenever I’ve a chance. While most student shows are filled with, well, student-grade work, I almost always find a gem or two. So I wasn’t disappointed when the bill of fare for this exhibition at the Galleries at Cleveland State U. proved to be bog-standard stuff, which is to say most pieces…

Update to Oil Paint Brands

I’ve updated the Oil Paint Brands material to reflect the recent quality decline of several brands: LeFranc, Rembrandt, and Daniel Smith. All three have fallen from the ‘mid-range, good value’ category to student grade. Avoid except for sketches or grounds. One consequence is that Windsor-Newton has tightened its grip on the all-important mid-range category. The others…

Easter 2013

I got a little work done this morning (got up at 5:00) then again after church at St. Mary’s. Worked on the three in this photo, plus one or two others. All have the cheap lawn chair I frequently use. Its shape is always fun to paint. The larger is 36″ x 48″. Started the…

Lake Erie Comes Alive

Lake Erie came alive this week; Spring is finally here. The first private boats were spotted–what a cheery sight! One brave soul was night fishing, his running lights moving slowly through the night. Soon boat lights will be as numerous as stars. I also saw the first commercial boat of the season.

Poem: For Penny

With the broken-hearted language of the abandoned,
the orphan spoke into the rising smoke
above the campfire.

Her voice carried through the smoke and sparks
into the night beyond
where everything is sky.

The spirits conjured there
were kind and full of yearning,
like her.

Every word was clear.
Across these many years I remember them still.
“We all find love, right, Tommy?”

The hard laughter of the others
choked the answer in my throat.

In the silence
the night grew chill
and stole her away.

“Yes, Penny.”

Jason Milburn at William Busta Gallery

Jason Milburn, who has maintained a studio in NE Ohio since graduating from the Cleveland Art Institute 10 years ago, is showing a passel of large drawings at the William Busta Gallery. The cartoon-inspired ink drawings are populated by vaguely familiar figures in suburban scenarios that are awash with anxiety and menace–‘High School Art Teacher in Hell,’ so to speak. The drawings…

In the Studio 3/24/2013

Except for one nice weekend, this has been The Winter That Never Ends. It’s below freezing and overcast with high winds–grrr. A good day to stay inside and work on paintings, right? Here’s a shot of recent efforts. The big painting, ‘The Gift,’ was finished this morning. None of the others shown are near being…

Thumbs Down: Oz the Great and Powerful (sic)

Oz the Great and Powerful, which is in theaters now, is a modern prequel to the original Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum. The original book, published in 1900, was the first of what turned out to be nearly 20 books Baum wrote about Oz. The events in this movie are modern inventions that attempt…