Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: The Man Who Made Vermeers

The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van MeegerenThe Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren by Jonathan Lopez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It appears that Han van Meergeren was in a sense his own greatest forgery.

In this work, the author deconstructs the legend, and reveals a character on the borderline of sociopathy, albeit socially charming, but far more of a collaborator, Nazi sympathizer and hardened crook than the art world Robin Hood legend represents.

Rather than a loss, this results in a story I found far more fascinating, and far more coherent. What is somewhat puzzling to the contemporary reader is the mystery of how the images that finally lead to van Meergeren's arrest could ever have been mistaken for those of Vermeer.

The author has done a very good analysis of how the expectations of an era or an art historian can determine what forgeries are invisible to it, or cater to its whims. And of course, as soon as one forgery is admitted as genuine, the oddities of its style start to be attributed to its purported maker.

(None of the above is really a spoiler, there is a wealth of detail that I have left out.)

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Review: Lee Krasner

Lee KrasnerLee Krasner by Robert Hobbs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really 3 and a half stars, but you read art books often for the illustrations, and these are copious. The writing is somewhat cobbled together, and attempting to shoehorn Krasner into critical categories.

Lee Krasner, for the general reader who does not know this, was the wife of Jackson Pollock, as well as being an excellent abstract expressionist painter in her own right. That being said, will totally ignore that aspect, other than to note that examination of her work seems to indicate that influence went in both directions, Pollock's Easter and the Totem, a less typical work of his, seems to bear similarities to some of Krasner's earlier work. (I didn't really get that from the text, my own impression.)

Krasner had several interesting styles, and they are well illustrated and discussed: the "little image" paintings, which involved many many units, that are writing like and of modest scale, large bold abstract expressionist paintings, large paintings with extremely bold color combinations that fuse minimalism with abstract expressionism (some of these are among my favorites), and her collage/paintings.

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Paintcation: Fit The Sixth


I am on the sixth day of what Julie Torres calls a "paintcation"  Tomorrow, I will take it easy, more or less.  Monday back to work,

Previously:  >> Fit the First  >>Fit the Second   >>Fit the Third   >>Fit the Fourth   >>Fit the Fifth

I completed two paintings today, one 18"w X 24"h, that was very complex, because it had xerox transfer on top of acrylic skin transfer, and the number of lines and rhythms got very involved.

I think I finally figured out how to make it work.

The second, a larger one, 30"h X 24"w, I toned it over all with an Indian yellow hue glaze, then worked it in a pretty painterly way with cadmium red, titanium white and ultramarine blue.  Have to say that I like the M.       
Graham acrylic tube colors a lot.  (I used their Indian Yellow Hue, Ultramarine Blue, and Cadmium Red).

I asked Art Graham, when he was in Santa Cruz, if they'd consider making fluid colors.  The handling is great 
as a tube color, but my way of working, I usually add a few drops of airbrush medium to it.

By the way the colors are kickass, I can't get them as intense here, but this should give you some idea.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Paintcation, Fit the Fifth

I am on the fifthday of what Julie Torres calls a "paintcation".

Previously:              >> Fit the First       >>Fit the Second      >>Fit the Third      >>Fit the Fourth

Well, I was feeling a little burned out on painting, so I got stared a little late.  I decided to do a couple of large 36" X 36" drawings.  It's nice working on this scale, as it transitions between working with the wrist, working with the forearm and working with the whole arm. 

Working large in wide pieces of charcoal is great too in that you can work very directly and not overthink things, as you can make and change marks very quickly.

I am now downing a much deserved Corona and relaxing my sore muscles,

The drawings.  They made me think of chapters of Ulysses/The Odyssey:

Don't know quite what to call this.  Looks like I am going into a phase of electric color:

 I wasn't able to do the colors justice in the photo; this is the closest I could get. It's 24"W X18"H.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paintcation, Fit the Fourth

I am on the fourth day of what Julie Torres calls a "paintcation".

Previously:              >> Fit the First       >>Fit the Second      >>Fit the Third

So I finished up three of my paintings today, one 30"hX24"w, and two little 9"X12".

I was dissatisfied with the angles of the diagonals in the 30"X24" so here you can see me taping out and painting a slightly adjusted edge on two of them.

I then proceeded to make a few minor adjustments and complete a 45 degree diagonal in the upper left before I signed it:

This one has no transfer whatsoever, but I spent a good while adjusting the different shades of green and the rhythmic lines, with my new Fibonacci brush with the extremely long bristles.

This one has a few bits of colored newspaper transfer from some ads, the color seems to float a little.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Paintcation, Fit the Third


Previously:              >> Fit the First       >>Fit the Second

Where we last left off:  here the paintings cleaned of the paper, and an isolation coat of acrylic medium applied:

I reviewed all the pieces, rotating each one in my outdoor "studio", a bower in the garden. I sat and put up each piece and sipped my coffee.
I worked on three pieces.  These are not finished yet, these are just state photos of the way they currently look.

This one, 18"X24", in addition to acrylic underpainting, had arcylic skin transferred onto it.  I do this by saving slick paper pallets with dried paint on them, I then cut out parts and apply acrylic gel and press them onto the canvas. Unlike xerox transfer, the paper just peels off when it is dry.  Over that I did xerox transfers. I then proceeded to tie everything together with acrylic paint. Or tried to.  Still needs some work.

I also worked on two larger pieces, 24" X30". This one I had roughed in the golden-orange areas with painters tape, and did the transfers in the remaining areas. The color is very vivid.

This one was done in somewhat the same way.  However, I used enlarged images, so I was able to get some very large wavy shapes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paintcation, Fit the Second

Previously:      >> Fit the First

Today, I took these paintings, laid them on the deck, and misted them with a garden sprayer.

The story thus far.

Paintings dried in the sun....


...removing some of the paper...


I scrubbed using various soft scrub brushes, tooth brushes and my fingers until I could get the paint off.
Here you can see the setup.

I also did a little work in the sink, too.

Here I used acrylic transfer over a highly rough surface of paint, and earlier transfers of acrylic skin. In this case I scraped with a painting knife to get a highly worried surface.

With as much paper cleaned off as possible, the color will remain rather dull.  

Ready to paint.

I'll take this stage and start to add paint back in again.

I applied a coat of gloss medium and varnish to bring back the color, protect the thin xerox transfer surface by embedding it in an acrylic matrix.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Paintcation, Fit the First

Since there is now a staycation, where one does not leave home, why not a paintcation, a staycation where you take time off from your day job and just paint?  My youngest is off to Hawaii with her mom, so I have nothing to distract me.

I varnished off two paintings I had been working on this weekend, and I got several paintings started today.

 Here you see some paintings I started on Sunday.  All acrylic on canvas, pretty straightforward.
Next, I went down to FedEx/Kinkos with some small paintings and ran of some distorted scans. (By moving them as they were scanned.)

I then started placing pieces onto the canvases using painters tape.

In some cases I pieced a block of several different pieces using painters tape.

 Here you see everything pretty much set up the way I want it,

I then took them outside and marked the positions of the pieces and blocks with chalk or pencil, applied gloss gel or tar gel and positioned them.
Now you see the transfers drying in the sun.

Tomorrow I will remove the paper by moistening it and gently scrubbing it away, and then I will start painting on them again.