Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Break From Being On The Road.

My son Pierce and his partner Maggi and daughter Diver and Pokey the Band Dog pulled into Philly last Saturday.  

Gypsies that they are, they were returning home from being out on the road for the past three months,
touring the U. S. with their band, "Hymn For Her".

Their thousands of fans across the country know them as " Wayne Waxing and Lucy Tight."

As usual they were welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd of hometown friends at the "Grape Room," in Philly's Manayunk section of town.

Here's a drawing I did of the Doorman and the Sound Guy while H4H were doing their sound check.

A few nights later son Mason also performed at the "Grape," in a debut performance of his Raggae band "Tree Rats."
This morning they packed up their van and once again headed down route 95 south, where they'll be spending the holidays in their little Airstream Trailer in Sarasota, Florida. Here's a drawing Diver did yesterday showing her and me (I'm the guy in the shorts and turtleneck) romping on the beach.

She assures me a great time will be had by all. Happy Holidaaaaze everyone.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Artist's Homage To His Daughter.

I just finished a very unique commission for two longtime friends.

It was a portrait of a beautiful woman, and she was the daughter of this very focused man, William S. Gault. Bill Gault was a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a respected illustrator and painter in Philadelphia during his long career.

Bill started this portrait of his daughter Lynn, but unfortunately died before he could complete it.
I hesitated only briefly before agreeing to bring the painting to completion for Lynn and her husband Morris.

Lynn's father worked in oils and water color, as I do, and we shared the same approach to painting.
Here is one of his water colors.

I used the same small, but now faded and scratchy photo Bill had based his "start" on, for reference.
But unlike him, I had access to good old Photoshop, to clean and blow up the image.

After laying out my palette, I began what would end up being about a two week job.

I always tell my students to begin with the obvious, which in this case was laying in the initial flesh tones. With oils you must consider "drying times," so I work all over the painting.

The most challenging part of this painting was Lynn's beautiful smile. I had to come up with just the right neutral colors to imply "white teeth in shadow." 

Bringing the portrait to completion was the result of much back and forth and trial and error.

I'm often asked, "How do you know when a painting is finished?" My answer: "Same as knowing when a conversation is over; there's nothing left to say." Happily, my friends Lynn and Morris liked the finished portrait; a "collaboration" between Bill Gault, and Bill Ternay.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Norman Rockwell Would Have Loved It.

Two weeks ago I taught my last class for the fall at the Barn Studio, in Millville, N.J.

Every morning before class, I had breakfast in the heart of town at a wonderful eatery, "Jim's Lunch." Although more of a Cafe, Jim's embodies all that I enjoyed when eating at Diners, as a kid in South Jersey.

Jim's has been around since 1922. Here are founders Jim Arnes and his wife Dorothy, looking down from the wall at Jim's to make sure customers are still well taken care of by today's family members.

I can assure them they need not worry. This is a drawing I did of current co-owner Jim Maul, at the back grill piling homefries on the plate of a hungry regular.

Overseeing business at the front of the house is owner Rochelle, Jim's wife, and their daughter Nicki.

Here is Nicki's brother Jim, Jr., making me a pancake as he looks out on his early morning view of
downtown Millville.

And oh my what a great pancake it was, accompanied by Italian sausage, and lots of hot coffee.
When classes at the Barn resume in January, the folks at Jim's will once again see my face, at breakfast.

And by the way; did I mention that on the last day of class, I just had to go back for Jim's Lunch?

Norman Rockwell; where are you when we need you?!


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Peek Into My Sketchbook.

I'm often asked if I draw and write in my sketchbook every day?

I definitely write in it every day, and on average do a drawing every other day. Last Friday I did this drawing in the cafeteria of a nearby hospital. Happily I was only visiting. 

That evening I had an urge for Chinese take-out, so while waiting, I did this pile of images of other
patrons, with some of their overheard comments.

Saturday night my harmonica teacher, Seth, was playing about an hour away, with his Blues band.

Sunday morning I went to a local Deli, where I've done many drawings over the years.

Later in the week, lunchtime at Hymie's Deli.

And on another night, I drew this woman sitting at the bar at Olive Garden.

My one rule when sketching; make sure my subjects don't know I'm drawing them.
You know what they say about "Idle hands."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Portraits In New York City.

A few Tuesdays ago my son Mason and I went to New York City to see some Art.

We caught an early 6:30 a.m. Bolt Bus.

The plan was to go to the Museum Of Modern Art to see a big show of Willem de Kooning.
But it seems the Modern is closed on Tuesdays. Poor planning on my part.

Undeterred, we walked the almost 50 short blocks up to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, to see
an exhibition of the works of the the Dutch Master, Frans Hals. Everyone was out and enjoying the beauty of Central Park.  

It was a warm  fall day, and we were looking forward to seeing some wonderful portraiture at the MET.

But it seems the Hals show had closed on Sunday, two days earlier! OH NO! This was as close as we got to seeing the exhibition.

If I'd been in charge heads would have rolled! 

But we were at the MET; where there is TONS of wonderful Art to see, on any day. Here, paintings by Chuck Close, on the left, and Andy Warhol on the right.

This big image was comprised of close ups of President Lincoln's image...

...on the penny.

Here; two very early Roman portraits; one sculpted, the other painted in encaustic. (wax.)

We ended our day by walking back downtown to Times Square.
That's us on the upper right of the girl's shoulder doing the "tourist-bit" on the big screen.

And finally, catching the Bolt Bus back to Philly. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

American Impressionists In Allentown, PA.

Last Saturday I took advantage of the beautiful sunny fall day and drove up to Allentown, PA, to visit the cities' Art Museum.  

This gem of a museum sits on the East end of an expansive grassy mall and park. On one corner is a
powerful bronze re-creation, by Nina Akamu, of the fabled horse envisioned, but never cast, by
Leonardo da Vinci.

At the Western end of the mall is a huge mural by my friend and neighbor, Michael Webb.
Mike has created some of the most elegant and complex murals in the city of Philadelphia.

In the early stages of this mural Mike asked me to work on the design and placement of many of the figures in the lower part of the composition. Mike is a Master at "Fool-The-Eye." 

At the museum I'd specifically wanted to see a new exhibition of American Impressionists. Unfortunately on this day, the gallery was closed as caterers prepared for an evening event for members. Oh woe!

Undaunted, I spent the afternoon drawing these two obviously powerful men who were hanging-out
next to each other in the Renaissance Gallery.

One; the pompous and pouty Pope Clement XIII.

The other; a "manly-man" of the world, no doubt. Drawn with a Uni-Ball Micro pen, in black ink.
I will return to see that Impressionist show.