Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Philly's phinest pheatures.

So, I think every time I have friends or family in town to visit, I need to take a photo of them in front of the Shepard Fairey mural near our house, on the exterior of Rocket Cat Cafe, like so:

The other option, of course, is to take them all over to the newly-minted Lenfest Plaza, next to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), just north of City Hall in our phair city of Philadelphia. As you may have heard, artist Claes Oldenburg - he of the giant clothespin (also here in Philly) and other delights - has installed a giant paintbrush on this plaza. Aaaaaaand here it is:

I still think that paint blob on the ground is highly suspect. Not sure it "works." Really not sure the whole thing "works," actually... please come to Philly to visit and give us your honest critique on our latest public art product. 

Crossing the (state line over to) Delaware.

Hey Internet! Just wanted to share with you that I had a fantastic time last week trading portrait poses with a really great person and fellow painter, PAFA grad David Shevlino. I hopped on the train (thank goodness for SEPTA! When it shows up on time, that is) to travel down to David's studio in Wilmington, Delware, and we had a great time painting - here's what we came up with:

David Shevlino's painting of me
My painting of David Shevlino

This was totally fun! And challenging! I so rarely get the chance to paint a portrait from life these days, so that was a definite treat.

It's always a pleasure to hang out with other artists, and the Philadelphia/NJ/Delaware area has a lot of them. David's work is particularly gorgeous - you can see some more of his work on his website, of course; also, he has two great videos outlining his painting approach - you can find them at this link on his website. You can get a preview of these videos on his YouTube channel, at this link.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Viva Nueva York.

Hey there Internet! Long time no see. I wanted to let you know: I had a really lovely day in NYC this past Thursday started with a trip to the Met – always a good way to start any day, in my opinion. In addition to visiting some old favorites - such as Jules Bastien-Lepage’s “Joan of Arc”, Franz von Lenbach’s “Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria” and Eugene Carriere's self-portrait - I found a few gems I had somehow missed on my past visits. Particularly because I missed the recent show of his work at the Neue Galerie, I was thrilled to find one of Messerschmidt’s crazy head studies:
 Sculpture head in tin alloy by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

In the process of trying to hunt down another old favorite – Sargent’s Madame X (which was not actually on view, sadly) – I found some Thomas Wilmer Dewing pieces, and these two Sargent sketches in the compressed mezzanine space where they were housing the American collection during construction on the 2nd floor:

Sargent painting

 Sargent painting of the same subject

Also: I really liked seeing this painting from Irish painter William Orpen: 

Self-portrait by William Orpen

Next: on to the main reason for the trip northward to NY: two really great shows of contemporary painters! First, I met up with some friends from PAFA and we headed up to see the Jenny Saville show at GagosianGallery. Our posse - consisting of Mike Manley, David Campbell Wilson, Lexi Thomas, Will Sentman, Alina Osipov and myself -  made our way uptown from Chelsea and were lucky enough to arrive at the opening early and have some quiet, up-close time with some of the drawings and paintings. Also: Chuck Close was at the opening! How exciting. Anyway, here are some photos from the opening, bravely taken by othermembers of our posse other than myself:

Paintings by Jenny Saville at Gagosian in NYC

Last was the Vincent Desiderio show at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea. It was PACKED. But, it was also amazing. Absolutely gorgeous, compelling pieces – the magic combination of technical skill and depth of content. Hurray. I was brave enough to sneak a few shots at this opening, so here are some photos… you should really go see them in person yourself, though!

Painting: Dumb Mouths by Vincent Desiderio - Marlborough Gallery, Chelea, NYC

Painting: Sink by Vincent Desiderio - Marlborough Gallery, Chelea, NYC

Afterwards we refueled and headed back to Philly. Good times! Here's Lexi sketching Alina in the burger joint we stopped at for dinner:

PAFA students never rest.

For more recap on the day (and more photos), please visit Will Sentman's blog over here, and Mike Manley's blog over here.