Kate Stone and David Gluck

December’s show features husband and wife artists: Kate Stone and David Gluck. They are both extremely talented painters and we are so honored to be able to show their work here at M Gallery of Fine Art.

Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, David Gluck currently resides on Vancouver Island with his wife, where he works as a full time artist and part time instructor. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Art Education from Penn State University in 2006, following which he immigrated to Canada to continue his career as an artist. His artwork is in both private and public collections around the world.

Kate Stone was born in Maine in 1986 and is a dual citizen of Canada and the States. Her approach to art is traditional with an emphasis on technique and fine craftsmanship. She began painting at the young age of 13, and in the past few years has won First Place and the People’s Choice awards in the biannual Portrait Society of Canada Portrait Competition, First Place in the Still Life Category in the International ARC Salon, and has placed in half a dozen international art competitions. Kate has also appeared in an episode of Star Portraits, a show produced by Bravo! and PTV Productions.

In preparation for the upcoming show, we have compiled interviews with both Kate and David in order to get to know what goes on in the minds of these artists.

First up is Kate Stone:

M Gallery:   How long have you been painting?

KS:            I’ve been painting since I was thirteen, when I began private studies with a local oil painter.

M Gallery:  How do you choose your subject matter?

KS:            I usually develop an idea for a still life painting and then engage in an extensive search to find the props for it.  In the process, I wind up with extra props that I found along the way, and they often inspire paintings that I hadn’t planned for.  It’s the same for my figurative work.  I often put a lot of work into constructing a narrative piece, like “The Pair,” and, in the process, wind up with hundreds of extra photo references that wind up in spontaneous paintings like “Pond’s Edge.”

M Gallery:    Who had the most influence on your career and why?

KS:            My husband David Gluck has had the most influence on my career and on my voice as an artist.  Being married to another artist is the single most effective thing an artist can do to ensure that they won’t ever have to compromise their passion for art.  I never have to explain to Dave why it’s necessary for me to stay up till 3am to paint, why I have to bail on a social engagement to paint, why I need to spend hundreds of dollars on a very particular costume item, why I’d rather not get a job that pays more money.  On the contrary, he’s right there with me all the way.  It takes away some of the doubt that comes with being an artist, to see someone else walking down the same path with you.

M Gallery:  How does your work reflect your personality?

KS:            My work is often very detail oriented, and so am I.  I’m also very stubborn and tend to push right through projects no matter how tedious and long, which suits this style of painting very well.  “Vanitas with Shells” took over 120 hours.

M Gallery:   What techniques do you use?

KS:            When painting I like to play around with paint texture to a certain extent.  This can involve adding various mediums to my paint, or using different types of brushes (I even have a skunk hair brush), or even applying paint with a knife, a rag, or my fingers.  I work tightly detailed areas with tiny little brushes finer than a pencil lead.  I do whatever I need to, to get the best effect.

M Gallery:   What types of materials do you prefer?

KS:            These days I have drifted towards more traditional oil paints that are made using very old-fashioned practices by a company called Natural Pigments in California that specializes in all natural earth pigments, instead of synthesized ones, which are more common.  There is a subtle but important difference in the look of these materials.

M Gallery:  Describe your process.

KS:            After developing a concept, I usually take a number of photos or do a number of sketches to try to solidify my mental concept into something visual.  Still life is very easy in this regard, because it is easy to move around objects and play with light until a tableau looks right.  It’s more difficult with figurative pieces, where I have to direct models, come up with costumes, pray the weather cooperates, and so on.  My figurative pieces are often the result of hundreds of reference photos, from which I pick out the best parts.  This photo for the face, this one for the right hand, this one for the tree, etc.  It’s a lot of work to piece everything together.  I prefer to use photos instead of working from life, because I tend to place my models outside, and often in lousy weather.  Not only would it be impossible to get my paint to flow in sub-zero temperatures, my models would most likely protest being asked to stand still in the snow for six hours.

M Gallery:   What colors are most often found on your palette?

KS:            Lead white, yellow ochre pale, various earth reds, various umbers, transparent red oxide, ultramarine blue, black.

M Gallery:   What is your major consideration when composing a painting?

KS:            It is important to balance clarity of message with visual beauty.  The tableau must sing on its own, but, on closer inspection, tell the story clearly.  It’s easy to do either one, but doing both requires a lot of thought.

M Gallery:  What is your definition of art?

KS:            Anything can be art these days, but personally I feel that good art should succeed in at least two of the following: it affects the viewer, either with positive emotions or unsettling ones; it inspires respect for its technical execution; it is beautiful, either in a conventional or sublime way; and it resonates with the time period and culture that produced it.

Next is our interview with David Gluck. We asked him the same questions to get his individual point of view.

M Gallery:     How long have you been painting?

DG:     I started oil painting in High School at around age 15.  Even from an early age, I was always fascinated with this particular medium.

M Gallery:     How do you choose your subject matter?

DG:     I am largely inspired by the environment in which I live.  Most of my subjects are objects collected locally or even found for my still life items.  The same is true for my figurative work.  They are people I know and are familiar with, many who I interact with regularly.  I rarely hire models.

M Gallery:     Who had the most influence on your career and why?

DG:          My wife.  She is my primary influence being a fellow realist and is the main contributor in inspiring my work.

M Gallery:     How does your work reflect your personality?

DG:     Since moving to the country I’ve come into contact with many salt of the earth type people, people who know how to live off the land in a way that their grandparents and great grandparents did before them.  I admire these people, and they remind me of a lost generation of survivors, the fighters, the pioneers of the past.  For the most part in North America, living memory no longer exists of the days when man was pitted against nature, when the early settlers were scattered scarcely across a great wilderness and had to use their resourcefulness and determination to survive, but for me it is a theme that continues to inspire.

M Gallery:     What techniques do you use?

DG:     I paint in a very traditional manner.  My approach isn’t varied or complicated, but I do put an emphasis on textural qualities.  I think one thing that always has and always should distinguish a painting from a photograph is the tactile quality of paint.

M Gallery:     What types of materials do you prefer?

DG:     I almost entirely limit myself to a very special boutique brand of oil paint called “Rublev.”  It is made by a modern day expert in oil paint who is recognized by top off-the-field art restorers for his expansive knowledge of the medium.  I have a lot of faith in the quality and longevity of the paints he sells me.  In addition, I hold the same standards of my supports, which I create from high quality, lead primed linens back with Baltic birch or Di-bond.

M Gallery:       Describe your process.

DG:         I would say at least half of a piece is in the planning.  I always do a series of studies starting with thumbnails and preliminary drawings for tone and composition.  I end with colors studies before beginning on the final canvas.  I try to leave very little to chance.

M Gallery:     What colors are most often found on your palette?

DG:     My flesh tone palette is Yellow Ochre Pale, Vermillion, Ivory Black, Lead white, and raw umber. Using a limited palette makes it quite simple to harmonize your colors.  I feel the color key is often picked in accordance to the mood I am trying to portray.

M Gallery:     What is your major consideration when composing a painting?

DG:     Broad tonal relations are my primary consideration.  I am a tonalist as opposed to a colorist, which means light and dark relationships are the crux of my work.  I spend a lot of time working out a perfect shadow pattern, especially in my model’s face.  It is important to have the features illuminated in just the right way to suggest a certain mood and psychology.

M Gallery:     What is your definition of art?

DG:     Not touching that with a ten foot pole.

About mgalleryoffineart

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