18 April 2013

Monterey Plein Air Convention. Finale.

Point Lobos Study #3

We had a routine down by day three. The smartest thing we were doing, obviously,  was going to the  pub and yapping till 1 am just to have to wake up at 6 for ... bootcamp! So I was pretty groggy for "How to approach a gallery": Patricia Terwilliger from  Jones & Terwilliger and Elaine Adams from American Legacy in Pasadena made the case for a proper approach to galleries. Hint: no emails, no CD's...more artist, peer-to-peer  recommendations) .

Point Lobos study #4
 Another embarrassment of riches followed in subsequent demos.  With Ken Auster making a 50x50 painting in 45 minutes, which was certainly a bit gimmicky if you ask me but people loved it and he is a phenomenal painter anyway.
 There were other demos that made an impact on me. I'll just mention briefly Bryan Mark Taylor. This painter is not only very good but is a model of what one might call a career standard. Often a whiff of bohemian and inner turmoil  emanates from the word "artists" even when most professional artists are just that, professional. B.M.Taylor's career has been not only meteoric but he gives a bad name to "focus". He was both a vendor (designed the STRADA easel) and an excellent demonstrator.  When his time was up, he simply moved to the hall and continued until satisfied. His brush stroke is sensitive and parsimonious and he has a great eye for wide scope scenes.

Mark Bryan Taylor poses with his piece.

Mark Bryan Taylor demo. With the STRADA easel.

Brian Blood is an excellent painter as well. He did  a beautiful job working on a piece to demonstrate how a painting can "sing" even in a foggy overcast day. Looking at his website one can perceive he is attracted by  the mood of scenes and tries to enhance it with unusual lighting conditions.

Brian Blood.
One of the longest demos belonged to Jeremy Lipking and Michelle Dunaway.  May be Jeremy's demos was the one that impacted me the most. Skip Whitcomb said in his presentation that he didn't understand people that bragged about making 8 or more paintings a day. "It's not a race. How many of those paintings are good?" Well, here is an artist that takes his time and long as the demo was, it was very refreshing. Jeremy didn't speak much, Michelle seemed to carry the Richard Schmid
philosophy talk points. A philosophy which has won over so many artists. Daniel Keys was in the audience too! The audio in the second demonstration hall was pretty awful but seeing Jeremy paint was a thrill.
It was said several times that the artist career is forever because the image in the painter's head is always behind the painter's skill.  Jeremy Lipking certainly has skill for miles and is one of those painters whose images inspire to wade whatever gaps in draftsmanship, brush work and color use one might have. Now, that doesn't mean everybody should paint like him, far from it. But watching his careful measuring, observing the delicate use of the brush and how his artwork reflects the visual truths of loose areas and lost edges against crisp and rich focal points...well, it is humbling.

Mian Situ, when presented with his accomplishment award also referred to the fact that "anyone can throw painting on a canvas and make it look good."  A finished artwork, which is what Mian and Jeremy usually accomplish, requires a lot more though and subtlety.  Again, this is not to say that everyone should paint like them, that would be stupid. But the ability to dominate a large canvas at the level of nuance of effectiveness of these masters sets a sort of "gold standard", at least for those who aspire to dominate the classic atelier tradition . This is not opposite to a loose plein-air style. As a matter of fact,  looking closely to a Mina Situ painting or a Lipking painting, one might be forgiven for thinking you are  looking into a miniature landscape with just as much variety and freshness.  I know it's not just a question of scale but it's still a point to consider.

Lipking's portrait of Vanessa.
It bears repeating.

Lipking and Dunaway.

The last day, Saturday, buses departed for Asilomar. I decided to do my own thing and go paint lupine meadows. I think I enjoyed the solitude and trying to calm the chatter in my head, the doubts about my career, the unemployment situation, all the good advice pending over me.  On Sunday, I painted a bit more, this time in Point Lobos. I was about to leave when I met up with Ray Roberts who encouraged me paint one more. "Armando (my partner) will understand if you are late" he said. Ok. You don't refuse such an invitation. So I did paint. And he painted right in front of me too after I found I view I liked. He has done in no time but I took my time. And then I left for my 6 hour drive home.

Before I forget: Value Viewer.

Cows near Gorda.

San Simeon rookery.

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