Archive for November 2011
After a lifetime of practicing art, Jim Strong paints what he sees. Even then, the subject doesn’t always agree with his vision.
Strong related one example of the viewer’s subjectivity of art:
Andy Towle, Roundup staff photographer snapped a memorable photo of a cowboy in the Payson Rodeo parade one year. Strong, intrigued by Towle’s photo, asked if he could use it as a model for a painting.
“He was a great face,” said Strong.
Towle gave him the photo. The finished piece pleased Strong.
“That is one of my better paintings,” said Strong.
Strong showed the painting in various shows, always giving Towle credit for the photo, but neither he nor Towle knew the identity of the cowboy.
A few years later, a woman attending the GCC art show recognized the cowboy as her husband. When she brought him in to see the painting, he said,
“Doesn’t look like me at all.”
That illustrates the mystery of painting. The artist infuses each piece with his own personality and perspective to create a vision wholly his own. Sometimes, as in the case of the cowboy, even the subject of the painting does not recognize himself. Although his wife knew who it was, the cowboy could not or did not want to see him represented the way Strong saw him.
The challenge for the painter is to capture the essence of the subject, infuse the piece with light, texture and contrast to create depth that captures the viewer’s interest.
On top of the artistic interpretation, each painter must ensure any image they use for inspiration is their own — or they have permission from the photographer to use the photo. Strong teaches his students that paintings must have original content or acknowledgement from the creator.
“Don’t take from another artist,” he said.
When reading the history of painting from the time of the cave painters to modern times, it is clear artists have tried to capture the essence of their subject.
Yet, how can the aspiring painter learn to go from concept to finished piece? A blank white canvass seems overwhelmingly empty.
Enter Strong. He has taught oil painting at the community college for the past seven years. Previous to joining the staff at the college, he and his wife ran the Jim Strong Art School at 68th and McDowell in Phoenix for 35 years. He sold the business to move to the Rim Country and retire, but soon came back to the classroom because he loves teaching painting.
His students love him too.
Laurel Corley, Strong’s neighbor has taken his painting class since he started teaching.
“When I learned he was an artist, I said, if you give classes — I’ll take them,” she said.
The intensity of her painting assaults the eye when opening the door to Strong’s painting class. Her canvass glows with a yellow moon in a blue and purple evening sky. The moon reflects off a lake. A boat lies moored near the moon shadow on the water. The colors provoke an emotional response. The difference between the moon and the sky, the shadows of the rocks and trees adds drama telling the story of an evening in nature next to water.
Strong explained that Corley has painted for many years. He started out by instructing her in color and perspective. With the painting she works on, he told her to start with the largest area of dark then add the light colors in the end.
“It’s like many layers and takes practice and the right tools. A good sketchbook, fine brushes and pallet knives, and mixing the paint to get the color right,” said Strong.
In the original photo, clouds surrounded the moon, but Corley just couldn’t get the clouds to work in the picture, so she painted them out.
“A mistake is a happy accident,” said Corley.
As students gain skill with the basics, their style emerges.
Strong loves Western art with bold landscapes, horses, cowboys and Native Americans.
“Style comes as you paint. You settle in on a style of painting,” said Strong.
In his class, Pat Sessions has a style of painting popular enough that she has a regular clientele.
Ann Christianson paints haunting faces.
One table of students has gravitated toward painting animals including cranes, sea turtles and wolves.
Before any paint touches the canvass, Strong’s students have hours of prep work.
Judy Fox has taken Strong’s class every semester for the past three years. She pulled out her sketchbook and flipped through pages with penciled sketches and swatches of paint.
After deciding how to compose the painting, she draws her artwork onto tracing paper. Using carbon paper, she then transfers the image to the canvass. Her next step includes mixing paints.
Strong has new students spend a day with the color wheel to understand color. Every shade a student uses on a canvass comes from blue, red or yellow.
Fox used to mix paint for a print shop that gave her a leg up understanding color. Still, she admits, “Once you get your colors, you have a lot to do.”
As Fox explained the preparation process, Strong had moved across the room to answer questions for another student stuck on how to proceed with her painting. She wanted to combine two pictures, one of a baby in a basket and the other of a door sitting on a tile floor. The perspective didn’t work for her.
Strong listened to her concerns, asked a few questions and analyzed the original photos to understand what she wanted to accomplish.
“The first thing I would do to get her in there — draw the figure bigger. Then I would put in the floor this way,” he said as he penciled in tiles behind the basket.
“Did I get you going?” he asked the student.
She nodded in agreement, sitting down refocused on her work.
“You can learn a lot following him around the room,” said Fox.
“His trail maps are as much a part of the sport as snow,” said Greg Ditrinco, executive editor of Ski Magazine.
That’s high praise for a fellow whose formal art training consisted of a “learn to draw” mail-order course, taken in ninth grade while home sick from school.
Niehues always wanted to find a job that “had a little art.” After the Army, he worked as an offset pressman, an ad layout artist and a designer before contacting Bill Brown, who painted the majority of the ski maps in the 1970s and 1980s.
Niehues went to Brown looking for some encouragement, but left with a commission. Brown was moving away from maps and into video, and asked Niehues to take over painting an inset for a Winter Park, Colo., trail map.
From his start in 1987 until today, Niehues has painted about 300 panoramas, mostly of ski resorts, but also of golf courses, hiking trails, resort property and tourist regions.
His style is distinctive. He paints from an aerial perspective, distorted if necessary to bring a labyrinth of runs and mountain faces into a single plane.
“That’s why I’ve lasted so long doing what I do,” explained Niehues. “Every ski slope is a puzzle to me; to turn all those slopes so you can get the best view. “
Niehues works out of a well-organized basement studio in the modest house he shares in Loveland Park, Colo., with his wife, Dora, who handles the business end of things.
To craft a map, Niehues researches his subject, checking satellite images on Google Earth, existing maps, blueprints and photographs. Then, whenever possible, he visits the resort, taking photographs from the air while being flown over at various altitudes.
“By the time I get down from the flight I know what perspective I can get to represent the mountain,” he said. If he can’t make the flight personally, he asks the resort to supply aerial photographs.
Niehues starts by providing the client with a couple of small sketches, followed by a large pencil on vellum drawing. The sketch time can take from a day to a week, depending on the size of the resort.
Once he gets the client’s approval, he begins painting in gouache, an opaque watercolor, on a 30-by-40 inch prepared illustration board. This method allows him to lift the color and update sections as resorts change over the years.
Small ski areas might require three days of painting, while large resorts require 10, depending on the number of trees. Regional representations can take up to three weeks.
Niehues licenses the image to the client, but he maintains the copyright. His most lucrative job was $13,500 for a regional map, six years ago.
“If there were two really good artists in this business, we’d both starve,” he said.
26 November 2011
Last updated at 13:53
The bridge was painted yellow instead of duchess blue with a gold trim
Shopkeepers in Worcestershire fear they will lose thousands of pounds in trade due to a council bridge painting error.
The county council held a six-week public consultation in August and asked people which colours they wanted the Upton-upon-Severn bridge to be painted.
The chosen colour scheme was duchess blue with a gold trim, but it was mistakenly painted yellow.
The council plans to repaint it but traders fear they will lose revenue due to partial bridge closures.
Worcestershire County Council said the work should not cause any extra disruption.
The authority took the opportunity to paint the bridge while it was carrying out scheduled reinforcement work in the autumn.
Three-way traffic lights were installed in October for the works and the bridge only fully reopened on Friday.
Bob Kay, owner of the Spar shop in the high street, said he lost £6,000 per week during the bridge work.
He said: “Passing trade fell off you see because it took about five to 10 minutes to get into Upton.
“The traffic was all backed up. It was horrendous and people just didn’t bother coming into town if they didn’t have to.”
As a result of the disruption, local shopkeepers held two emergency meetings about the bridge work and have now decided to form a local traders’ association, of which Mr Kay is a member.
‘Leave it alone’
He said: “The council should have known the bridge was being painted the wrong colour. They should have sent someone out to inspect it as we had all assumed it was just an undercoat.”
The council said the yellow did “not meet expectations”.
It said it would have the bridge repainted in the new year to coincide with planned resurfacing works, originally scheduled for December but postponed to avoid disruption to businesses during the festive shopping period.
Jon Fraser, the council’s community manager, said repainting should not cause any extra disruption for traders.
Mr Kay said traders strongly doubted repainting could be carried out at the same time as resurfacing.
“They made a mistake didn’t they? They should just leave it alone now. What is done is done. Better that than prolonged closures and more disruption to trade,” he added.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-15902507
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VICTORIA â€” The artistic prowess of a parrot knows no bounds, but there is a problem with paintbrushes.
“They pick them up and, in no time, crunch. They don’t eat them, they just break them,” said Wendy Huntbatch, president of the World Parrot Refuge in Coombs, B.C.
Parrot art is the latest fundraising venture for the cash-strapped refuge, which is home to more than 800 birds discarded or mistreated by former owners.
“Every painting will be different. They are so imaginative,” Huntbatch said enthusiastically after the first art trial.
“I think the cockatoos are going to be the best artists.”
The paintings, on stretched canvas, will be sold at the Parrot Refuge and each one will be personally signed, with a footprint, by the bird artist.
“They will be the ‘footprints on your heart collection,’ ” Huntbatch said.
Group painting sessions tended to get a little hairy â€” or feathery â€” with paint splattering in all directions and no defined artist for each piece, so staff are restricting art classes to two birds at a time.
“They are doing amazing work,” said supervisor-turned-art-teacher Stephanie Martin Thursday.
Bailey and Peaches, umbrella cockatoos, favoured reds and yellows with impressionist influences.
“Bailey is using her tail so her paintings feature a sweeping effect â€” sort of feathering. Then she slides on it,” Martin said.
“Peaches uses the brushes to throw the paint on the canvas.”
Nicky and Sidney, Moluccan cockatoos with pink feathers, preferred the blue and green combinations.
“Most of it is finger painting, rather than brushwork. It is pretty abstract and everyone has their own version of what they see,” Martin said.
Volunteers are looking forward to exploring the individual talents of their favourite birds and there are great hopes for the abilities of the African greys, she said.
Baths have to follow painting lessons, even though the paint is non-toxic, Martin said.
“And after bath time they like to be blow-dried. They want the full salon treatment,” she said.
Huntbatch is desperately hoping the artwork sales will get the refuge out of the red.
“I have enough for payroll this weekend, but the one in two weeks, not a chance,” said Huntbatch, who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, which interrupted fundraising efforts.
“Normally I spend every day up there speaking to people, but this summer I couldn’t stand up for long,” she said.
Problems are compounded by the poor financial climate as more owners abandon parrots when they cannot afford to feed them, Huntbatch said.
“And we are the only place in North America that does this,” she said.
Victoria Times Colonist
Jean Paul Lemieux’s canvas Nineteen Ten Remembered sold at auction Thursday for $2 million — $2.34 million with buyer’s premium — setting a new record for a contemporary work of Canadian art.
The much-reproduced work shows the Quebec artist as a child, standing between his parents in front of a cold, barren landscape.
It sold to a telephone bidder at Heffel Fine Art auction house in Toronto after spirited bidding. It was expected to be the most valuable offering at Heffel’s auction of Canadian post-war and contemporary art.
“Jean Paul Lemieux was just on fire…We shattered the previous world record for work at auction by a contemporary Canadian artist,” David Heffel said after the sale.
The previous record for a Canadian contemporary artwork sold in Canada was $1.6 million, set during the 2006 sale of Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Il était une fois une ville. An untitled Riopelle sold for $1.89 million in 2008 at Christie’s in New York.
Lemieux’s paintings of landscapes and figures are popular in Quebec and many people raised in Quebec recall growing up with a poster or print of Nineteen Ten Remembered on their wall, Robert Heffel said.
The artist, who died in 1990, was often at odds with his artistic contemporaries, who embraced abstract art and Automatism.
The painting has never been displayed in a public gallery. Lemieux gave Nineteen Ten Remembered to his daughters, who sold it to a member of the Archambault family, who sold it to a neighbour who consigned it to the auction.
Another notable sale was Emily Carr’s War Canoe, Alert Bay. The 1908 water-colour sold for $1.05 million — or $1.22 million with buyer’s premium — making it the most valuable Canadian water-colour.
The auction house said that Lawren Stewart Harris’s Rocky Mountain Sketch CXXI (Mount Robson) was another highlight, selling for well above asking.
“After an intense bidding war, the notable piece exceeded the estimate, selling for $1.81 million,” the auction house said in a statement released Thursday night. “This was one of two works for which the consignee generously agreed to donate the proceeds to Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital.”
Also on offer Thursday were paintings that once belonged to French hotelier François Dupré, an avid collector who took ownership of Montreal’s Ritz-Carleton in the late 1940s.
The whereabouts of his collection was unknown until his heirs recently came forward and revealed the works had been stored in a Montreal bank vault for the past 24 years.
Dupré bought works by Canadian impressionists such as Clarence Alphonse Gagnon, James Wilson Morrice and Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté for display at the hotel.
The auction house said the Dupré collection “surpassed estimates” and sold for $2.27 million.
Heffel said Thursday’s auction resulted in $16.73 million in sales. The company said three of the 190 lots sold for more than $1 million.
22 November 2011
Last updated at 13:13
The ‘Battle of the Bogside’ painting of Bernadette Devlin was created by Robert Ballagh in 1999.
A selection of paintings depicting the seven signatories of the 1916 proclamation are to be auctioned off by a golf club in the Irish Republic.
The portraits have graced the stairway of the Druids Glen Golf Resort in County Wicklow since it opened in 1995.
But the current owners have decided that the paintings no longer suit the “ambience” of the clubhouse and are planning to sell them.
Artist Robert Ballagh, who was commissioned to create the pencil drawings by the club’s previous owner Hugh ‘Hugo’ Flinn, told the Irish Independent he was disappointed by the decision.
Continue reading the main story
Robert Ballagh is very well respected and his paintings are very sought after”
Ian Whyte, auctioneer
“Sadly, Hugo is no longer with us and it seems the new management have decided to divest the house of these proudly nationalist emblems,” he added.
“The portraits of the 1916 signatories have been there since Druids Glen opened and I believe they should remain there,” he added.
Mr Flinn died last year and the Druids Glen Resort is now headed by chief executive Richard Collins.
Mr Ballagh said he was “shocked” at the 8-10,000 euros (£7-8,500) guide price for the set of seven portraits.
Other lots in the sale, also created by Mr Ballagh, include portraits of Eamon de Valera and John Costello with a guide price of between 1,500 euros and 2,000 euros each (£1,200-1,700), and an oil painting of Bernadette Devlin which has an estimate of 8-10,000 euros (£7-8,500).
“I liked Hugo. I did all of this work at very, very cheap rates but if you look at estimates in the catalogue for the exhibition, they are not selling at cheap rates,” said Mr Ballagh.
The works will go under the hammer in Whyte’s “Important Irish Art” auction which takes place in the RDS in Dublin on 28 November.
Ian Whyte, managing director of the auctioneers, defended the guide prices for the paintings.
The pencil drawing of James Connolly and six other signatories of the 1916 proclamation are up for grabs
“There has been good interest so far. Robert Ballagh is very well respected and his paintings are very sought after,” he said.
“So they should sell well.”
Mr Whyte said the current management of the resort felt it needed to reduce its collection of 30 very similar nationalist portraits.
“They are retaining some of the art in one of the rooms. In the drawing room they have two very large paintings of Edward Carson and Michael Collins.
“Those will stay, along with portraits of Wolfe Tone and Charles Stuart Parnell. There are a lot of sculptures on the grounds, and they are staying too. So it is not like they are throwing everything out.”
The money raised will be used to fund a refurbishment of the golf club.
Mr Whyte said the works had been replaced by a temporary exhibition showcasing contemporary Irish artists.
Mr Ballagh’s work will be on display for at the RDS in Dublin this weekend ahead of the auction on 28 November.
Stow painting sells for thousands at Christie’s sale
8:30am Wednesday 23rd November 2011
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A PAINTING of the market square in Stow created by L.S.Lowry in 1947 was sold to a private collector for £481,350 when it went under the hammer last week.
The evening sale of 20th Century British and Irish Art, held at Christie’s in London on November 16, saw five works sell for over £1million each.
The painting of Stow was one of 14 paintings which formerly belonged to restaurateur and hotelier Charles Forte and was estimated to sell for up to £350,000.
Lowry created the work after he visited the Cotswolds and celebrated the local area by producing four works depicting winter street views in Moreton, Bourton, Stow and Northleach.
Director at Christie’s Rachel Hidderley said that the work depicts St Edward’s Hall and Market Square in Stow.
She said: “The majority of the artist’s works are imaginary landscapes, but here he depicts a real place at a real time.
“The group represented an unprecedented opportunity for Lowry collectors to acquire a work of the highest quality from this highly important collection.”
The evening’s top price was paid for Lowry’s Piccadilly Circus, London which sold for £5,641,250 matching the record set at Christie’s in May when Lowry’s The Football Match sold for £5.6 million.
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Among the challenges humanity sets for itself—climbing Everest, going to the moon, writing the great American novel—is there really anything more difficult than choosing paint? Actually, I don’t mean choosing it. That’s the fun, easy part. Indeed, there are few chores more life-affirming than reporting to your local Home Depot or Janovic and getting the color that best matches your home and personality from the thousands available along the visible light spectrum.
Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal
Christine Klotz, who manages three Farrow Ball locations, with some of the shades of color available.
The hard part is applying the paint to your wall and having the finished job remotely resemble the dramatic burnt umbers, the flirtatious pinks, the forest greens that you thought were going to change your life, deliver a whole new you, make your friends realize that somewhere behind that bland façade lies a raging Michelangelo, or at least someone who could have been a successful interior decorator if you’d chosen that career path.
I’m a great believer in self-determination, only not when it comes to paint. I was looking for an expert to hold my hand, and as soon as I met Christine Klotz I was more than happy to put my fate, or at least my apartment’s, in hers.
Perhaps a little background is in order. I happened to be visiting Farrow Ball, which I understood to be a wallpaper store, because I heard they’d hung lotus wall paper on the façade of their new East 73rd Street brownstone in celebration—the way other businesses string multi-colored “Grand Opening” flags across their storefronts. It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized they also sell paint.
As fate would have it, we were embarking on the odyssey of painting our apartment at that very moment. Our landlord had generously offered to paint the apartment any color, or combination of colors, we liked. Just as long as it was white. Anything more exotic, we had to supply the paint ourselves.
We’re not a white family. We’re a Navajo white family. But on our walls it looks buttercream yellow. Our daughters’ rooms are a little more risqué: They dip their toes into the occasional apple green or chosen-in-haste orange. But when we’ve attempted anything even slightly more adventurous in the past—say, a teal in our bedroom or salmon on the corridor outside—we’ve been doomed to disappointment. Or if not quite disappointment, the knowledge that the result will look nothing like the color did in the store or even the brush stroke on our wall when we brought the sample size home.
I bonded immediately with Ms. Klotz, who manages Farrow Ball’s East Side store, as well as one in SoHo and another that just opened on the Upper West Side. That was mostly because she agreed that the process of painting your apartment is an unalloyed crap shoot. “The paint was the hardest thing in my renovation,” she confided, even though she said she’s great with other people’s residences. “It paralyzes you. I had to consult the doorman, pretty much. I couldn’t trust my own eye. Color is a deeply psychological thing for people.”
She even suggested you first paint a piece of poster board rather than a corner of the wall itself. “Something that looks great when you leave for work in the morning may not look great when you get home from work at night and it’s dark outside,” she conceded. “It may not read the same.”
Ms. Klotz, who also functions as the store’s in-house designer, said that one of the things she likes about the paint offered by Farrow Ball, a British company established in the Forties as suppliers to the British Admiralty, is that “there’s a lot of behavior to it.”
That’s the last thing I needed to hear. Behavior is precisely the problem. I don’t want paint with attitude. I want it to be obedient, to play dead, to do what it promised back at the store. She assured me it would, even attributing mystical properties to it. “We have 30% more pigment,” she said. “There’s this three-dimensionality. It might almost look like you could pass your hand through the wall.”
We went around the store, me describing our apartment and her offering suggestions. I quickly realized we may as well have been walking around in the dark, and asked her whether she’d consider visiting our apartment—as much an experiment in human nature as anything else, and also because when it came to painting our apartment I wasn’t first among equals; I was fourth.
Ms. Klotz agreed, showing up on a recent morning and pronouncing our abode as being possessed of “beautiful pre-war sophistication” and “a relaxed environment,” the latter perhaps trumping the former.
In the living and dining rooms we wanted to pretty much stick with what we had—the Navaho white that read yellow. But we were somewhat more open to experimentation in the kitchen and especially in the book-lined hallway.
In the kitchen, we were thinking of light gray; indeed, back at the showroom Ms. Klotz had pronounced gray the new black. She suggested “Skimming Stone,” an off-white with mineral properties. For the hallway, she floated the idea of a dark, lead-colored gray paint called “Downpipe,” describing it as “daring.”
My wife and I exchanged apprehensive glances. Neither of us would call ourselves, or each other, daring.
“Daring-ish,” Ms. Klotz said.
She basically described paint and its effects as counterintuitive. “If I put white in my kitchen with no windows or natural light, it isn’t going to make it look bigger,” she explained. “It’s going to make it look like a white kitchen with no windows.”
On the other hand, dramatic color, such as the Downpipe she was recommending for our hall, “might actually open it up because it’s unexpected. Hallways, powder rooms, are great places to do experiments.” Guests don’t spend too much time there, but when they do she said they are free to tell themselves, “‘I can’t believe they did this,’ and then they go out.”
I’m not sure flight was the reaction we were looking for. But Ms. Klotz was so ebullient, so up on us and our apartment, and on the transportative effects of Farrow Ball paint, that we were mostly willing to defer to her judgment. Except in Lucy’s room, where her first choice was “India Yellow.” Described in the inimitably British Farrow Ball color pamphlet as first becoming available in England in the 18th century, it went on: “This pigment was produced by reducing the bright yellow urine of cows fed on a special diet of mango leaves.”
They may not manufacture the paint that way these days, but we decided to go with pink instead.
So how does it look? We’re only half finished painting as I write this, so I can’t say for sure. But the paint does look deeper, richer, more light-absorbent than anything we had before. I almost feel as if I’m living the dream on Park Avenue. The Skimming Stone in the kitchen is a game changer, allowing us to pat ourselves on the back for our good taste, or rather Ms. Klotz’s. And the Downpipe is looking excellent, too. We may never be daring, but our friends and neighbors will never think of us as meek again.