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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot Speaks

"Beauty in art is truth bathed in an impression received from nature. I am struck upon seeing a certain place. While I strive for a conscientious imitation, I yet never for an instant lose the emotion that has taken hold of me. Reality is one part of art, feeling completes it. Before any site and any object, abandon yourself to your first impression. If you have really been touched, you will convey to others the sincerity of your emotion."
Ville dAvray  -  21.7"x 32"  -  Oil  -  1873

"I have learned from experience that it is useful to begin by drawing one's picture clearly on a virgin canvas, first having noted the desired effect on a white or gray paper, and then to do the picture section by section, as immediately finished as one can, so that when it has all been covered there is very little to retouch. I have noticed that whatever is finished at one sitting is fresher, better drawn, and profits more from many lucky accidents, while when one retouches, this initial harmonious glow is lost. I think that this method is particularly good for foliage, which needs a good deal of freedom."
Mantes: The Cathredal and the City Seen through the Trees - 20.5"x 13"  -  Oil - 1869

"The first two things to study are form and values. For me, these are the bases of what is serious art. Color and finish put charm into one's work. It seems to me very important to begin by an indication of the darkest values and to continue in order to the lightest value. From the darkest to the lightest I would establish twenty shades. Never lose sight of that first impression by which you were moved. Begin by determining your composition, then the values...the relation of the forms to the values...these are the basis...then the color, and finally the finish."
La Cervara, the Roman Compagna  -  38.25"x 53.25"  -  Oil  -  1831

"While aiming at truth and accuracy, let us never forget to clothe it with the appearance of what has touched us. Let us trust our first impression."

"When making a sketch, keep as close as possible to the tone, then go over with a glaze of poppy-seed oil. Upon this glaze lay in the impasto, after blocking out all the masses."

"Draw firmly and faithfully, then record the real color as you see it, right away without a thought for any subsequent painting. There is always time for that when you're in the studio."
Farnese Gardens, Morning  -  9"x 15"  -  Oil  -  1826
A Shady Resting Place  -  18.5"x 15"  -  Oil  -  1873
Meadow with Two Large Trees  -  Oil  -  1870

"We must always keep in view the mass, the whole that has caught our eye, and never lose the first impression which quickened our emotion. The design's the first thing to get, next come the values...relations of forms and values. These are our starting point, then come the colors and, lastly, the execution. I am never in a hurry to get down to details; it's the masses and the general structure of the picture that interest me primarily. Only when I've seen it clearly as a whole do I turn my mind to subtleties of form and color. I go back to it again and again, without letting anything stop me, and without any system."
The Roman Campagna  -  11.68" x 17.12"  -  Oil  -  1827

"Study nature and be true to it. Concern yourself with values."

"To my mind the two things of most importance are to make a concentrated study of the drawing and the values."

"Always in a picture there is a speck of vivid light, but there must be only one. You can place it anywhere you a cloud, in a broken gleam of water, in a hat...but there should be only one tone having this value in the picture."

"Let your feelings be your only guide. The real is but a part of art; feelings are needed to complete it."
Evening Landscape  -  20.68"x 40.25"  -  Oil  -  1839

Wooded Peninsula  -  Oil  -  1868

"Don't imitate, don't follow the others, or else you will lag behind them."

"Listen to the advice of others, but follow only what you understand and can unite in your own feeling. Be firm, be meek, but follow your own convictions. It is better to be nothing than an echo of other painters."

"Art is nature as seen through a temperament."
The Church at Lormes  - 13.5"x 18.25"  -   Oil  -  1842

"If my time has come I shall have nothing to complain of. For fifty-three years I have been painting; so I have been able to devote myself entirely to what I loved best in the world. I had never suffered poverty; I had good parents and excellent friends; I can only thank God."

"I hope with all my heart there will be painting in heaven."

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Next week: an outstanding interview with Joel Carson Jones


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Monterey's Amazing Peninsula

It was 40 years ago that I left California to begin a new life in Texas. I had just been discharged from the Air Force, had been married for only seven months, and was about to see if I could make it as a freelance illustrator in Dallas. My wife was already there, so the non-stop drive from Los Angeles, in my little Datsun, didn't seem like a big deal.
I remember arriving in California. It was June 1968. An exciting, wonderful adventure was about to unfold. I had just graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. A few days earlier, gold bars had been attached to my ROTC uniform and I was to report for duty at SAMSO, the Space and Missile Systems Organization, in El Segundo. 
I was fortunate to get this assignment. Information Officer was the title and the responsibilities covered public and internal information...and community relations. Being an athlete and a wanna-be illustrator, California was the place for me. Attending Art Center College at night and competing with some of the best cyclists in the United States was a dream come true.
Climbing a hill during a Rose Bowl race...on right (PAA jersy)

Even though Air Force duties were structured, California represented freedom, sunny beaches, pretty girls, neat cars, carefree living, fun, and excitement. The Beach Boys seemed to express best the emotions I felt about the state. California was the place to be in the 60's...and I had made it. When I arrived it was sunny, it was beautiful, and I saw palm trees lining the streets.
Now, 40 years later, my wife and I returned. While making the drive down the coast on Highway 1 to our destination in Monterey, many of the same emotions and memories of 40 years ago swept over me. It was so good to be back. It was sunny, it was beautiful and palm trees still lined the streets.

Rapidly fluctuating light.  To paint or not to paint...that is the question

The beautiful Monterey coastline
Just waiting for the slightest crumb to be dropped

Now I was returning, not as an athlete, nor a wanna-be illustrator, but as a seasoned fine artist hoping to capture the "essence" of what makes California, California.
Our destination was the Jabberwock Inn in Monterey...a seven-room B&B up on a hill overlooking Monterey Bay. By the way, I seriously recommend staying at this Inn when you're visiting Monterey.

The Jabberwock Inn

View of Monterey Bay from the Jabberwock Inn

Painting at Fisherman's Wharf

Our base remained the same for all nine days. That's the way I like it. It takes time to really get the feeling of an area, and I'm not sure I did. Only time will tell as paintings are created from the trip.

Seals galore
The mysterious wilds of Point Lobos State Reserve

A solitary profession

The enticing Carmel valley

We took the famous 17-mile Monterey Peninsula drive which included, Pacific Grove, Carmel, and Pebble Beach... all awesomely beautiful. Another day was spent at the Point Lobos State Reserve, a magnificent area that at times can even be eerie in its wildness,  displaying a sense of other worldliness. We visited many Carmel art galleries. The place was packed with people the day we visited, and we had to park many blocks away from the town's core. Beautiful work in many of the galleries, but far and away my favorite gallery was the Dawson Cole. co-owned and designed by internationally renowned sculptor, Richard MacDonald, the gallery is a testament to his exquisite taste and genius.

The sketch
The painting in process

Other points of interest, and wonderful painting opportunities, were found in the Carmel Valley, the Fisherman's Wharf area of Monterey...and in the variety of street scenes and architecture found throughout the peninsula.

Fisherman's Wharf
The elegant Dawson Cole Gallery of sculptor Richard MacDonald

Beginnings of a Monterey street scene

Finally, when in Monterey, be sure to take in the Monterey Bay Aquarium...$35 bucks a head but worth it.

Scene from the amazing Monterey Bay Aquarium

And now, it's back to the studio, hopefully to create some inspired works.

Upcoming Workshops
22-24 March 2013  -  Carthage, MO
26-28 April 2013  -  Oil Painting Workshop ($395.00) - "Deconstructing the Landscape"  -  Dot Courson Workshops, Pontotoc, MS  -  -
3-5 May 2013  -  Oil Painting Workshop ($425.00) - "Deconstructing the Landscape"  -  The Art School in Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA  -  -

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