Colored Pencil Magazine features E.P. Lewandowski

ervlew copy

As printed in the December 2012 Issue of COLORED PENCIL Magazine  – www.coloredpencilmag.com

E.P. Lewandowski

Contemporary Realism

I purchased my first set of colored pencils in 2004 and immediately took them for a test run through a mix of available drawing papers in my studio. Years of working exclusively with graphite pencils and pigment pens abruptly ended as I began shifting all of my energy into mastering the new medium. Colored pencils have proven to be the perfect fit for my artistic style (contemporary realism) as my career unfolds.

     My third journey into the river systems along the eastern shoreline of Minnesota was amply rewarded with a spectacular display of scenery along the Gooseberry and Temperance Rivers. Unseasonably dry conditions  set the stage for a unique mix of fall landscape colors, massive colored rock formations along the river bed, and hundreds of river pools of every size, shape, and description with a river current low on volume but exquisite in movement and flow.  My creative side, filled visually to capacity, longed  for time and space to begin sketching and documenting this outstanding collection of images.

Every artist aspires to find that unique subject that excites the soul, inspires the creative process, and challenges his or her skills. In my case, I’ve been fortunate to find a comfortable venue that is priceless and available throughout the world. There is a magical feeling in finally putting together  a medium, a subject, and a style that fits my personality and talent.

Creating a new image is a time-consuming and ever-changing process for me. Prior to the start of a study, a timely review of all existing available subjects and settings of current interest is explored and evaluated.  This selection process includes areas of focus or interest, composition strengths, and my mood and personal feelings at the time.

In recent years, I’ve begun adding an additional challenge to the selection process by often incorporating two or more subjects into a final composition. This approach has the added value of pushing the creative process along and setting a format for experimentation and risk. My goal as an artist is to create drawings that are unique in style, meticulously rendered in detail, and visually appealing in form, content, and composition.

Once a composition has been selected, I begin with a rough gestural sketch to frame in the image. This first step, developed over years of training and practice, provides me with a primitive map that will be used for the study.  I usually start working at the focal point of the image and work outward from there. This allows me to direct my energy in a productive way as my interest level changes from session to session.

As an image  develops, my emphasis is  on details and foundation planning. Areas of special interest, highlights, and negative spacing are reserved for later stages. My color treatment typically begins after line patterns and shapes are sketched into the paper. I use a progression of color overlays that moves from light to dark with the noted exception of dark burnished colors often developed early in the study foundation. The middle stages are spent restating alignments (e.g. shapes, textural areas, etc…) and adding secondary and primary layers of color.

I view the initial stage and closing stage as critical in the life of a study for several reasons. Early planning basically provides the mapping structure for the work, while the closing stage is responsible for pulling all of the elements together into the completed composition.

Once the drawing is finished, the image is documented [digital camera], catalogued, prepped for framing, and sent to an agent for scanning and Giclee printing. I’m a firm believer in the Giclee printing system and support the comments raised by marketing consultant Calvin J. Goodman that the Giclee process is a good value for the consumer [“Art Marketing in the 21st Century” by Goodman – 7th Edition].

I consider myself to be a professional artist who embraces the fundamentals of sound business practices. Time is continuously allocated for business planning, marketing, inventory control, finances, correspondence, and creation.

My studio environment includes two drawing stations with Verilux Natural Lighting, several supporting bases for my equipment, storage areas for supplies, business reference files,  a sizeable pencil storage rack, and a sound system. A secondary area is reserved for framing supplies, shrink wrapping equipment, packaging materials for transportation/shipping, two matboard cutters, and a large working station. My base equipment includes a large inventory of Prismacolor colored pencils, Strathmore Bristol 300 and 400 Smooth Finish Papers, and a cast of supporting materials from electric sharpeners to General Miser pencil extenders.

Drawing sessions vary for me through the day and New Age music often provides a backdrop while working in the studio.  I learned to take regular breaks and include jigsaw puzzle time, computer work, reading, cooking, jogging and marsh walks for time out periods. I’m generally the juror and judge for my studies and will spend as much time as needed to finalize a drawing. My reward for finishing a study is to sign my name. This simple act symbolizes  acceptance, closure, and the opportunity to move toward the next project.

As an artist, I’m involved in a number of activities supporting my profession that includes limited teaching experiences, seminar training, speaking engagements, selected commission assignments, juror duties, solo and group exhibits, and consultation services. I’m a graduate of the Fine Arts Department at Central Michigan University and a former MFA student at Eastern Michigan University.

My professional memberships include the Colored Pencil Society of America, the Colored Pencil Society of Detroit, and the INTERNATIONAL Guild of Realism. A typical year has me competing in 3 to 4 national competitions and exploring marketing and representation opportunities in new markets, and traveling to various regions of North America for research material.

The internet is quickly becoming the vehicle of choice for society and I wholeheartedly support this venue for my art business. Correspondence, submissions, artist domain web publishing, image exchanges, Facebook business activity, are just a  few of the internet activities that now engage my time.

I’m currently represented nationally by … the M Gallery of Fine Art in Charleston, South Carolina…

     I currently reside with my wife, Mary,  in a studio/residence along the shoreline of Lake Huron in Northern Lower Michigan.

-E.P. Lewandowski

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Maggie is headed to the Christmas Parade

Maggie is headed to the Christmas Parade in Downtown Boykin to Raise Awareness of ArtFields !

On December 16th, the ArtFields cultural development board will assist local community leaders and business owners in their staging of the annual Boykin Christmas parade. Taking place from 2-6 p.m. along Highway 268, the 2012 Christmas parade will feature floats constructed and piloted by South Carolina residents, as well nationally-recognized artists, including Bill Davidson, Georgia-based landscape painter.
ArtFields, the largest arts festival in the history of the Southeast, will hold its inaugural run in April of 2013 in Lake City, SC, and will bring artists from twelve Southeastern states to the heart of the Pee Dee for a chance to win $100,000 in prize money. This event, open to the public and taking place over nine days within locally-owned businesses and galleries in the walkable center of Lake City, will allow regional artists the chance to display their works, build awareness of their art, and create art within a historic town in the midst of an economic revitalization. The revitalization efforts in Lake City stem from the dedication of Darla Moore, whose vision for a sustainable Pee Dee focuses on cultural, educational, and infrastructure improvement. As Ms. Moore stated, “ArtFields will become the flagship art event in the Southeast. We are creating an exciting new opportunity for artists to enter our one-of-a-kind art competition and take part in an incredibly fun, festive, and inspiring celebration.”
Come experience the holiday season in a charming South Carolina town and engage with the ArtFields team, as they share the ArtFields vision and planning process, and enjoy the sight of two communities working to develop the spirit of regional collaboration that will breathe new life into South Carolina’s economy and its local culture.

For more information, please contact ArtFields at (843)374-0180.
ArtFields
110 East Main Street
Lake City, SC 29560
http://ht.ly/g70QU

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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.

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Heading to Boston

 We are headed to Boston. Or at least I am headed to Boston: Loading up a crazy U-Haul van Saturday, stopping over night up at Camden with dear friends to spend Sunday and emotionally gear up for what may prove to be a grueling drive. Then a stop at a favorite collector’s house in Winston-Salem, dropping off “The Reader” by Thomas Reis and meandering my way to Karen Cunningham our CFO and George’s house to spend the night before a quick dash to deliver an antique table in Rhode Island, then load in and hang the show on Wednesday afternoon at the Cyclorama in Boston.

 

We have a Gala Preview to attend Thursday evening. Our seascape and  landscape painters, Sergio Roffo and Bill Davidson both promised to meet me and Karen at the event and share a glass of champagne and perhaps a dance with a few of our collectors. Sculptors, Lori Shorin and Matthew Collins will be attending the show as well. We are so looking forward to seeing all our friends in the Northeast and strutting our stuff. The works we are taking are simply divine. I am so excited. The show offers the following in addition to the great works on display:

 

Special Programs – Free with Show Admission

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17

2:00pm – “Art of the White Mountains”

Be transported to the northern reaches of New Hampshire and its famous mountain range which inspired a “who’s who” of American artists from Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer and George Inness to early modernism of William Zorach.

The works illustrate both the allure of New Hampshire’s natural wonders and the significance of the region in the American landscape tradition.   Presented by Karen Quinn, Kristin and Roger Servison Curator of Paintings, Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in conjunction with the exhibition by the same name on view in the MFA’s Art of the Americas Wing through July 7, 2013.

3:00pm Panel – “What is it Worth? Establishing Fine Art Values”

In an art world awash in multi-million dollar works of fine art, how are art values established?  How do contemporary artists set their asking prices? How are prices determined in the secondary art market?  How do professional appraisers find a value for a work of art?  How can we find value in art in non-monetary ways? Moderated by Joshua Rose, editor of American Art Collector and American Fine Art magazines, with Michelle DuBois, Associate Director, New England, Winston Art Group; Elizabeth Ives Hunter, former director of the Cape Cod Museum of Art ; and Lou Salerno, owner of Questroyal Fine Art, New York.  Bring your questions for a lively exchange of ideas and opinions!

 

 

 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18

2:00pm – “Saving Venice: Art Restoration in the World’s Most Fragile City”

To date Save Venice, Inc., has raised more than $20 million dollars and restored more than 400 works of art. Current restorations funded by the Boston chapter include: frescoes by Veronese in the church of San Sebastiano; Titian’s monumental painting of the “Presentation of the Virgin” in the Sala dell’Albergo in the Gallerie dell’Accademia; the quincentenary of the Venetian Ghetto; and numerous others.  Presented by Christopher Carlsmith, Assoc. Professor of History, UMass Lowell, and Chair of Lecture Committee, Save Venice Boston Chapter, and Anne-Marie Eze, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Chair of Young Friends for the Boston Chapter.

 

 

The Galleries showing at this venue are some of the finest in the world. We are in great company and one of only two dealers selected from the Southeast. Our friends at American Art Collector invited us to attend and the organizers from Fusco and Four couldn’t have been more accommodating.

 

I also am a little intimidated by the cold. I haven’t done cold weather for an extended period in a long time (over a decade) and do not tolerate it well. I rummaged around and found some warmer clothes, bought socks! Etc. The thought of the 2 blocks from the hotel to the Cyclorama sends me into shivers. I know I should quit whining, but having grown up in Minnesota, spent most of my life in Wisconsin, I understand cold well, have had enough of it and dread the thought of an icy wind, driving sleet and slippery sidewalks.  Sigh.

 

Enough of my whining. I am sure the show will be fantastic, the art work amazing, the company delightful. I hope to see you all there, and share the love we all have of great art. 

 

The Cyclorama

November 15-18

BOOTH # 38

At The Boston Center for The Arts, 539 Tremont Street, in the South End

New England’s Premier Show and Sale
of Contemporary and Traditional Fine Art

 

Image

Sergio Roffo

Through the Fog, Opera Cup; Oil on Belgian Linen, 24″x36″

 

Image

Bill Davidson

Emerging Light, Oil on Belgian Linen, 40″x38″

Image

Lori Shorin

Male Torso, Bronze Sculpture, 16″ x 9″ x 5.5″

 

Image

Matthew Collins

Ceres, Bronze Sculpture, 16″ x 9″ x 9″

 

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Interview with Lynn Sanguedolce

Introspection
Oil on canvas 22in H x 30in W

As we approach our Star Studded Art Extravaganza in just under two weeks, we thought it would be fun to interview our participating artists, and share with you some of their thoughts about their work.

Our first artist is Lynn Sanguedolce. Her thoughtful answers are fascinating and insightful.

 Most of your work is figurative, how did that come about?

 In my early childhood, I learned that drawing was a form of play and something to enjoy.  When we were very young children, my mother frequently handed my sister and me a set of pencils and paper so that we could entertain ourselves.  In those days, I drew many pictures of my family members and friends and I enjoyed projects such as writing and illustrating stories about people. Since my father was a professional artist and my mother and sister both enjoyed doing artwork, I had wonderful art teachers to guide me. It was through my mother, who studied fashion illustration, and my older sister Lorry, that I focused on the gesture of poses, rhythm and learned the beauty of line. I was especially lucky in that I had access to really great supplies in my dad’s studio—special papers, paints, pastel pencils, pen and ink, and all kinds of pencils and erasers.  As a young girl, my parents shared their anatomy book, by George Bridgman, with me and I enjoyed copying the drawings.  In those days when I drew faces, what was more apparent on the drawings then the actual features, were the structural lines indicating where the centerline of the face was, or marking the proportions of the head. (I deliberately left these in my finished drawings using very bold, crude lines thinking I was doing a very good job.)  I clearly remember my grammar school classmates being puzzled about the “grids” on the faces I drew and asking me why they were there.  But this was what was “normal” for me.  Later on, in Junior High School, I had fun drawing my girlfriends and classmates, sometimes at their request, portraying how I imagined they would look when they grew up.  I was surprised to learn recently, that some of my friends have saved those early drawings.

Seated Nude
Charcoal, 18in H x 24in W

From the beginning, the challenge of drawing and painting figures was “play” in my mind, yet it created a life long interest in trying to understand and depict human structure. As I grew into adulthood, I maintained studying figurative art through life drawing, art classes, workshops, and private instruction.  It’s a never-ending journey and I continue learning and exploring my love for painting and drawing figures today.  I find it to be the ultimate challenge, and it is an area in which every one of my skills as an artist is brought to bear, and it is ultimately the most rewarding to me as well. 

 Who has had the most influence on your career and why?

 There are many people who were important to my career…so this is a very difficult question to answer. With regard to being an artist, John Phillip Osborne has had the greatest influence on me.  In terms of important emotional support and career guidance, my husband, Joe, has had the greatest influence.  Both are necessary.

 I have had many wonderful teachers and mentors over the past 35 years, but John Osborne is an artist who made such a deep impression on me.  He taught crucial painting principles, was a role model for artistic integrity, and added greatly to this sense of wonder I feel for nature.  In short, he inspired me to be better and delve deeper.  To this day, I keep a picture of him at his easel with the words “Paint The Truth” over it, in my studio.  It reminds me of what is important to keep in your heart, where true inspiration lies and exactly what it means to be an artist.

 My husband Joe, with his background in Electrical Engineering, and careers in working for scientific instrumentation companies, might sound like an unlikely influence on my ART career, but he has been a major force propelling me forward and encouraging me to take risks that didn’t come naturally to me.  It has been though his love, optimism and belief in me that I have taken great strides.  He is the “behind the scenes” guy who has stretched miles and miles of canvas, dragged large and cumbersome paintings to photography studios, accompanied me to countless art exhibits, art museums and galleries, and patiently listened to me talk about every new, exciting art revelation I discovered (even when he was tired.).  He has been “the wind beneath my wings”, sharing this amazing art journey with me, for nearly 25 years.

 How does your work reflect your personality?

 My paintings express my personality by reflecting my introspective nature and my sensitivity to my surroundings.  The subjects are often quiet and deep in thought, reading or daydreaming.  Places give me feelings, so I pay careful attention to the background and lighting and environment or landscape that surrounds a figure. 

Idle Hours
Oil on Canvas, 40in H x 46in W

I have an interest in both classic and romantic art, so my work hopefully shows a mix of careful observation, appreciation for the beauty of nature and passion for experiencing life fully. I love both feeling and evoking a sense of freedom and mystery in my paintings.  By using gestural brushstrokes and leaving some areas of the painting left to the viewer’s imagination, I think I am revealing those aspects of my temperament as well.

 How do you select models – do you let the subject determine the concept of the work, or is the concept determined before the model is selected?

 I enjoy both ways of working.  For portraiture, the subject determines the concept as I try to best express that person’s character through clothing choices, background, lighting, etc… However in other figurative work, the idea for the painting precedes finding the model and developing the work. 

 In addition, I find there are certain models that I just have a special rapport with.  I tend to use certain models repeatedly as they are able to express my ideas, in poses and movement, so well.  Sometimes there are elements to their personalities that resonate with me. 

Day Dreaming
Charcoal and White Chalk, 16in H x 17in W

What is your major consideration when composing a painting?

My major consideration when composing a painting is in asking myself:  What am I trying to say and Why am I drawn to this particular subject?  I then can move on to thinking about how to compose the painting with mood, light effects, designing shapes, paint technique, etc…

Describe your process a bit. 

I usually begin with the idea, develop thumbnail sketches in pencil, paint the subject from life, take photo reference and draw additional sketches (in pencil or charcoal) for the purpose of designing the composition and to better understand the physical structure, complete a small value study and then start the finished piece.  Many times when I begin the finished painting, I start with an under painting.

What colors are most often found on your palette?

The colors I most often use are:  Titanium White, Cad Yellow Light or Cad Lemon, Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Orange, Cad Red, Terra Rosa, Transparent Oxide Red, Alizarin Crimson or Madder Lake, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian and Ivory Black.  In addition to those, I might add:  Lead White, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Mars Brown, Vermillion and Green Umber.

(I should add that I like to experiment and have fun trying new colors all the time.)

Opalescence
Oil on Canvas, 40in H x 30in W

What is your definition of art?

I like the definition of art in Harold Speed’s book, “The Practice & Science of Drawing”.  He defines art as:  “The rhythmic expression of feeling”.

If you could spend the day with any three artists, who would they be and why?

The artists that I would choose to spend a day with would be:  John Singer Sargent (because he is a man of mystery to me and I never lose my complete and utter fascination with him!), Robert Henri (because of his deep spiritual wisdom for artists) and Cecilia Beaux (because I admire her work tremendously and would love to hear all she might have to tell me about her experiences as an artist).

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Interview with Jeffrey Hargreaves

Vanilla Bottle, Oil on Linen 18in H x 24in W

I had the opportunity to sit down with the delightful Jeff Hargreaves while he was in Charleston for the opening of his beautiful show, “Workbench”. We had a great chat about all things art, as he answered some, at times probing, questions about his work, and the nature of his creative process.

JM: Jeff, let me start by asking what your definition of art is.

JH: Art comes in all forms, but if we’re speaking of painting, art for me is representational art.  It is as much about the craft as it is the idea behind it.  I want to see the creative skill involved, that the work has a degree of execution, that it is more than just an idea.

JMDo you feel that as an artist you have a role in society, and if so what would it be?

JH:  I think society needs art and artists, and this may sound a bit self-centered, but I have to admit that I do what I do for myself.  It’s something I need to do.  It’s the process that I really love. It’s not about fitting in to someone else’s concept of what a “real artist” is.

Anvil, Oil on LInen, 18in H x 24in W

JM: Let’s talk about process a bit, can you describe yours and its importance in your work?

JH: I enjoy the process of painting, it’s extremely important in my work.  I love getting into the painting and the subject.  I like to spend time making decisions.  It not something I want to rush.   Painting is a journey.  For me it’s about finding a better way, of having the “AHA” moment, when the light goes on and the realization of the application of a rule becomes clear, and I say to myself, “that’s what they mean…”

JM: When you begin a new painting, do you start with the concept first or the subject?

JH:A painting begins with the concept first, though it can often be simultaneous with the subject.  For Workbench, I did have a collection of these tools, and had been thinking about the series for a while.  But each painting started with a concept, often the story I wanted to tell, or maybe the subject itself dictated how I conceived of the painting.  For example in “Stanley 150”, I knew the painting needed two areas of light to showcase the  vertical detail on the piece itself, but I wanted the strong horizontal light in the cloth and wood to be the primary light.  As the painting developed, though, I realized that the light on the Stanley itself became important and interesting, yet it is balanced by the horizontal light.  Balance plays a big role in my compositions.  Concept is always something I’m thinking about, so often, when I’m browsing at the flea market, I will find the piece that satisfies the concept.

Stanley 150, Oil on Linen, 18in H x 24in W

JM:  That’s interesting, so after you have the concept and have found the great object that will express it, what is the major consideration in your compositions?

JH:  Balance in design.  I use the Golden Mean when thinking about a composition, and always keep thinking of the design within the framework of the canvas format.

JM:  Does photography play a role in your work?

JH:  I paint from life, though I always photograph the set up and sometimes refer to it later if I need to take down the setup, but still want to do some work on the piece.  I never set up a subject, take a photograph and paint from that.  All my work is started from life.

JM: Do you think your work reflects your personality?

JH:  I always feel that if I can paint something meaningful for me, someone else will have the same feeling.  I like to paint things I find beautiful and create a thing a beauty.  It’s something I never tire of.

JM:  This leads me to my next question, how as an artist, do you find your individuality?

JH: I don’t know that it’s something you can plan to do.  I don’t think you can be anything other than who you are.  The more you are in the painting process – the more you are in it because it is who you are – the more you figure out your individual voice.

JM: Would you say your work is more intellectual or emotional?

JH:  I would say the concept is always emotional, but the process needs to be intellectual.  I have to concentrate, and the execution needs to be controlled.

Monkey Wrench, Oil on LInen, 48in H x 36in W

JM: I have a question about the painting “Monkey Wrench” which is 48 x 36.  It is much larger than your other work, and the wrench is painted larger than life.  We are told that in fine art, objects can be painted life-size or smaller, but never larger.  Why the “big red wrench”?

JH: Originally, I did an 8×10 study.  I brought it to a critique group I belong to, and one of the artists there said, “That red wrench is really striking, wouldn’t it be great as a really large painting?”  I decided to go with it, and what a learning experience it turned out to be!  All the familiarity of painting in my typical sizes of 18 x 24, or 20 x 24 was out the window.  I had to approach it in a completely different manner, from the size brushes I used, to the amount of paint – I had to be much more generous – to the brushstrokes themselves.  It became a real challenge and an opportunity to grow as a painter, there was an entirely new group of problems to solve.

JM: Well, you certainly solved them!  The piece is gorgeous and it is so striking.  Will you be painting in a larger format again?

JH: Yes, absolutely when I have the right concept.

JM: What is your next project on the easel?

JH: Well, I’m still involved with tool objects.  I feel I still have more stories to tell with them, but I’m also thinking of doing a series based on women.  It is something I’ve been thinking about for a while.  I’m not sure yet just what form it will take, other than it will be more figurative, but it will definitely tell stories.  That’s the reason I paint, to tell a story with my paintings.

Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your thoughts with us.  It has been a pleasure and we look forward to seeing more of your work here in the gallery.

Jeff Enjoying HIs First Oyster Roast

It wasn’t all art talk for Jeffrey while he was in Charleston.  He and his lovely wife, Ruth, had the opportunity to tour the city and here he is enjoying some fresh off the boat local oysters at his first ever oyster roast.

By Julie Messerschmidt

Posted in Oil Painting, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Workbench by Jeffery D.Hargreaves

M Gallery of Fine Art is pleased to present “Workbench,” an entirely new collection of oil paintings by Jeffrey D. Hargreaves.  “Workbench” was conceptualized by Hargreaves several years ago after his father passed away.  After Hargreaves inherited his father’s tools, he wanted to paint them as a series of still life paintings to commemorate and honor his father.  As this body of work developed, Hargreaves also incorporated tools which belonged to his father-in-law, grandfather, and other objects that have special significance for himself and his family. 

Anvil, Oil on Belgian Linen, 18″x24″

For Hargreaves, this series is about family stories and making connections to the past.  Each painting in the collection is meaningful to the artist, and his attachment to these old tools is apparent in every work.  The paintings are sensitive renderings of items that most of us would overlook, or consider too humdrum or pedestrian to paint.  In Hargreaves deft hands, however, they take on an exquisite beauty, and we are compelled to take a closer look. He has bathed the tools with beautiful, warm, glowing light, which serves to highlight the myriad colors he sees in the rusty metal and scarred wood.

“When I paint, I try to showcase reality in a beautiful and eloquent way.  It’s about paint, color, brushstrokes, economy, harmony, and atmosphere.”

Carpenter’s Rule, Oil on Belgian Linen, 18″x36″

Together with the M Gallery Team, Jeffrey has put together a lovely book of this incredible body of work, including some of his thoughts and reminiscences about these special objects.  It may be purchased at Blurb.com.

This amazing collection will be on view from October 1st through 31st at M Gallery of Fine Art on 11 Broad Street, with the opening reception held on Friday, October 5th from 5 to 8 pm.  The artist will be present, and signed copies of the hard cover exhibition book will be available. 

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