A New Awareness: Part II

Continued from Part I

by Margaret Kruger

I find the parallels in today’s food experience: people who regularly only eat prepared chemically-infused non-nutritious fast food take one trip to a farmer’s market and view its fresh bounty, or eat one lovingly and skillfully prepared free range organic heirloom breed chicken dinner change their expectation and desires dramatically.

"Sorceress," by David Gluck Oil on Canvas 24 x 18

The layers of consequence regarding what happens to your soul and aesthetic well-being on a diet of visual fast food are very similar to what happens to your body when it is fed garbage. It decays and becomes numb.  Like most, our souls crave nutritious delights as opposed to empty debauchery.  And frankly, museums touting pickled dead sheep as art are about as empty and debauched as one can get.

I find it useful to explore the blogs our painters write, (all that have blogs are listed next to their bios on our website) as it helps me look at the historical context of the works we display, as well as the technical expertise behind their master work.

For instance, David Gluck’s Sorceress, a painting of his frequently used model Lucie, and draws on the foundation of William Bouguereau, John William Waterhouse,  Kramskoy, Repin, and Shishkin.  He shows Lucie as a woman of power who grew out of his relationship with his wife.

He often begins his work with drawings (several are shown on his blog) then moves into layers of paint. You can view his palette and hear his inner dialog as he progresses through his work. He allows you to glimpse the tortuous path required virtually all of our painters. The intense training to see, then record accurately, then interpret into a beautiful masterwork, is detailed in the daily life of David’s heartfelt blog entries.

Sadie Valeri gives great glimpses of her technical prowess by posting the dialog she has within her mind’s eye on her blog:

"Friends of a Feather," by Sadie Valeri Oil on Canvas 12 x 16

“You might not be able to see much “color” in this stage of the painting versus the previous monochromatic underpainting stage. But now I am mixing my neutrals values with a palette of color, instead of just grays.

The main difference between painting with monochromatic values and painting is color is in the transitions between light and shadow. In monochrome, you can just mix a bit of the ‘light” puddle with a bit of the “shadow” puddle to make the halftone between.

When painting in color, the “halftones” is where all the most saturated color is. So each step between the light and shadow must be analyzed and mixed to match a hue/color, in addition to the value. This is very subtle when painting a monochromatic subject in color, because all the hues are relatively desaturated. But it’s what makes even a monochromatic subject look like it is “in color”.

Also, even in sharp edges, like where the edges of the white seashell touch the black background of the pot, the paint will look chalky and clunky. The tiny seam where the white meets the black must be knit together with a deeply saturated, dark orange or red. Otherwise the white seashell will look like a cookie-cutter shape pasted over the background, instead of a believable object sharing the same reality as the jug.

To do this, I use a small brush to push rich, saturated mixtures into the edges of the shell, and then back-fill the seashell with white, leaving a tiny thread of color between the light edge and the black background.

Since this technique is subtle and microscopic, it’s impossible to see the effect in this photo. But careful attention to the reality of the edges will make the painting look believable in person.”

For questions regarding this blog or inquiries about the work, please call 843.727.4500 or email cquinn@mgalleryoffineart.com.

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About mgalleryoffineart

Owner of M Gallery of Fine Art in historic Charleston, SC
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