|Slow going or going too fast? I suspect the latter.|
I like my art in small doses and usually in doses that are specific: the Rauchenberg Show; the Picasso Show; the Drawings of Michaelangelo. Before the Venetian Technique class started, I dragged Ellis to the DIA for a quick look at The European Art. I wanted to see the Venetian School up close--in particular, two Titians. After contemplating them for half an hour, we went to lunch; I had gotten what I needed. Oddly enough as much as I like painting, I don't like looking at paintings, UNLESS they apply to what I am doing at the easel. Perhaps that's why I was struck by the four giant, ultra realistic 2D finalists in Grand Rapids' Art Prize?
SO? DID ONE OF THEM WIN?
Yes, but not the big money. Outcry, an oil portrait of a girl who had been dragged into the sex slave market, (you had to read the girl's incredibly sad story to get the sad picture), by Greychyn Lauer, won $20,000. This painting was not one I favored. I don't think a painting needs text attached to attract interest.
A hair design, photographed and woven on canvas, The Haircraft Project by Sonia Clark, won $100,000.
And the big money of the ArtPrize, $300,000, went to an installation titled Intersections, by Anila Quayyum Agha. The installation won both the public and the Jurors' vote, a first in the competition's six year history. It looks spectacular, but this photo is missing what put it over the top: the shadows of the spectators interacting against the walls, ceiling and floor; The shadows of the viewing public brought Intersection to life and made it a popular piece. Everybody likes getting into the act.
The ArtPrize iPad app saved me a lot of walking around. It was the lazy man's way of seeing the exhibit, I confess, but it may get me to actually go next year. It taught me how to cut the art happening down to a size my rebellious knees can tolerate pounding pavement. I now know the locations of the must see venues. I suspect there is some pre voting judging going on in determining where pieces are installed.
A WORD ABOUT PHOTO REALISM
Before taking this class on the Venetian Technique, I looked down my nose at photo realism too. With five sessions under my belt plus hours at my studio easel, I'm relenting a little. It's a technique to know if portraiture is your genre of choice. If still lifes or landscapes turn you on, forget it!
Photography has been and still is an important tool for insuring a good likeness in a more romantic medium than hp photo paper. The Venetian Technique, pulled from the 16th century, guarantees an excellent likeness with the added bonus of an obvious high skill finish. Back then one didn't want to lose their head over an unflattering sketchy portrait of the King; and today, no portrait artist wants to lose a portrait client willing to pay a kingly price for a keepsake portrait of their dead mom. Photorealism is just a modern label for a very old method of painting, a method worth having in the portrait artist's repertoire if commissions are important. Both kings and the masses admire skill they understand. They don't give a damn about the artist's impressions, emotions or her need to express them. They just want a painting of their dear mom, child, father or dowager aunt.
December 1st this educational stint will be over for me. After that, I hope to digest what I experienced, while I splash watercolors freely under my blue umbrella. By the sea, the info will percolate. Back home, it will become just one more way to tackle a painting.
PS: I only see this technique as being good for portraiture. Others in the class are painting large still life's, florals and landscapes. I look down my nose at these subjects done super large, super realistically. Done in that manner, they are more decoration Better to have a good time wielding your brush on paintings, people can actually carry home without hiring a truck.
Unless something else strikes me, hugs for a great painting week.