Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I’m not usually star-struck or celebrity conscious, but when I read about FACE, the first art convention focusing on figurative and representational art, with its line up of contemporary, master artists - I was hooked.

The roster of the amazing included-
FACE 2017, Max GInsburg
Max Ginsburg's portrait demo at FACE 2017
  • Juliette Aristedes 
  • Daniel Graves 
  • Daniel Gerhartz 
  • Sherrie McGraw 
  • David Leffel 
  • Jordan Sokol
  • Max Ginsburg 
  • Patricia Watwood 
  • Michael Mentler
  • Steven Assael 
  • Jacob Collins 
  • John Coleman
  • Graydon Parrish 
  • Gregory Mortenson
Some demonstrated, some spoke. All were there to promote representational art as a source of soulful beauty in a world where Modern Art has come to mean just about anything. Well, anything except skillful rendering and execution (in my humble opinion).

FACE2017, Steven AssaelBelow is an example of classical drawing technique by Steven Assael from his talk, Evolution. Steven said an artist should first "respond" to the subject and then plan the artwork. He told artists,
"develop an awareness of your world - what matters, how you absorb and make use of the past - to find your subject."
(Hmm, maybe that's why I'm always painting old crap! But I do like the sentiment)

Several talks included discussions on upholding the value of skilled representational painting. Shannon Robinson of Collectors for Connoisseurship described visual art as providing personal expression, social function, spirituality, aesthetic expression and more. Artist and art educator Virgil Elliot stated,
“To create compelling visual imagery, I maintain, is itself an intellectually challenging endeavor worthy of the utmost respect.” And “The best artwork ever done has the power to inspire, all by itself. It needs … only to be seen, to work its magic”
Artists and art lovers were challenged to help the work to be seen, to foster and honor the classical traditions of representational art. Ideally realism goes beyond the skill of “painting things to look like things” and captures the spirit and emotion of the subject, as in this self portrait by Daniel Graves, aptly titled, Surviving Modern Art.
FACE 2017, Daniel Graves
Surviving Modern Art, ©2014 Daniel Graves
Publisher and marketing expert Eric Rhoads and magazine editor Peter Trippi discussed the art market today including the role of galleries and social media. They emphasized that even if an artist is working with a gallery, it’s important to have a website and to maintain a presence on social media. We have to be our own best advocates in order to be seen above the busy-ness of our media-driven world.

If you’re reading this I already know that you appreciate representational art. So I challenge you to spread the word, promote the artists whose work you admire and perhaps bestow a bit of beauty in the form of original artwork to those you love this season. Being a Patron of the Arts sounds like a lofty term but it really applies to all who support artists and fine art. Your support will be appreciated more than you know by the artists whose work you collect as well as those who get to enjoy work you admire. More beauty for everyone.

Studio session at FACE 2017 in Miami
For me the convention culminated with artist/professor Brian Curtis’ presentation entitled Beauty, Quality and the Good: Art as a Material Reflection of a Spiritual Reality. That’s a daunting topic. My takeaway is this quote, which sums up the “why” of appreciating representational art:
“Art is an implicit, intuitive, metaphorical, spirit-enhancing sensory experience that nurtures the soul and drives life’s evolutionary arrow forward.”
Who doesn’t want more of that in the world!

In the spirit of Thankfulness for your ongoing interest and support, here are some links of other artist friends whose work you will enjoy… and perhaps collect! I know I'm forgetting some and others don't have a website yet (don't worry, I won't tell Eric) but I'll be happy to share when they do!

Cindy Sacks
Chrissanth Gross
Peggy Davidson Post
Rich Alexander
Laura Gould
Sally Franklin
Lori McQueeney
Jamie Grossman
Johanne Morin
Paula Wittlin
Todd M. Casey
Happy Thanksgiving
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer
Or, in other words -
"... we get by with a little help from our friends."John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Workshop in my studio with Todd Casey and friends, old and new.

Thank you for joining me on my art journey.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happiness and trepidation

Earlier this month I had the honor of receiving Best in Show at a Putnam Arts Council exhibit for my painting Cabinet of Basketry. It was my first "best in show" but the honor was tempered by concern for the subject of the painting.
antique cupboard, dusty blue paint, baskets
Cabinet of Basketry ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze

This painting shows the interior of a colonial house that was moved to California wine country and lovingly restored and rebuilt on a mountainside vineyard... which last month was surrounded by raging fires. The house belongs to a friend of a friend and when we visited, I fell in love with the place. Each room is a gem, with intimate nooks and crannies full of authentic antiques and furnishings. I was thrilled to be able to take photos for future paintings.

Then, for a very long week, voracious California fires approached the area. Looking at maps and reports it was impossible to tell if the house had been spared, but I'm happy to say that all is well. The home owner and her critters were safely evacuated and the house survived!

The fires were devastating and heartbreaking for so many, so it's wonderful to be able to report this happy outcome.

In other good news, two of my paintings, Gentleman Caller and If Wishes Were Horses sold after a collector in Colorado saw my work in Southwest Art magazine, which led him to check out my website! Many thanks to this new curious collector, to Southwest Art and to American Women Artists because receiving an award in their online exhibit is how my work was brought to the attention of Southwest Art.

Everything's connected on the internet!

Gentleman Caller ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
If Wishes Were Horses ©2017 Lorenze
And lastly, I participated in an exhibition at the Carriage Barn Art Center in Darien, CT which was a benefit for the Alzheimers Association of CT. I'm happy to say both of my paintings sold, supporting a cause that is especially important to me since my mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimers. 

Daffodil Launch ©2017 Lorenze
Ranunculus in Crystal ©2017 Lorenze
Thanks to all for your encouragement and kind comments. I hope to have more new work to show soon. Plus, there are a few art adventures coming up, so more on those later.

Happy Halloween!

Hope your day is full of treats!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Loss and creativity

Dear Friends,

As you know, this newsletter/blog is where I write about art, what inspires me, my painting process, upcoming events and all things art-wise. And although it’s not so much about family, sometimes that’s inescapable. I will try to stay focused on the art-side of life.

For most artists creativity seems to ebb and flow rather rhythmically and we know how to reignite the creative fire when it smolders. Sometimes it’s only a matter of going through the motions and being in your creative space to get back into that rhythm. Generally speaking I’m pretty good at staying fired up about my next art adventure. Right now, it’s so much harder.

My mother very recently died at the age of 93, and although losing her was not unexpected it has been unfathomable. I have written about my mother’s creative influence in the past, but what I will miss most is her laughter and her insights about humankind – as sarcastic as they often were!

Mom sharing her wisdom

So, I just have to say that it’s been a bit difficult to paint lately. Especially because I’m working on a personal subject, my first attempt at a "vanitas" painting. And vanitas paintings are a classic genre that, through symbolic elements, reminds us of the fragility of life. My composition is focused on the stages of life for a woman. Of course, since the references are my own, it centers on my mother. Although started months ago, it’s taken on a greater significance now. I hope I can do it justice.

Just setting up the composition and deciding what to include took a very long time. I must have photographed 10 or more variations of the elements – gathered, arranged and rearranged over many weeks - trying to make a decision.

So far I have drawn the “final” version three times and transferred it twice. I’ve completed the poster study and begun the 16 x 20” painting... which is going very slowly.

This is the small 5x6” poster study. It's a sort of trial run to check out composition and values. (symbolically the pocket watch, snuffed candle, antique doll's head, 1950s gloves, pearls, vintage photos, etc., all allude to the passage of time ... and relate to my mother's life)

vintage dolls head, old gloves, pocket watch
It’s a complex painting made more challenging by my current state of creative inertia. I've had some help easing into painting practice since a group gathers in my studio creating color wheels with Todd Casey each week. We compare pigments by various brands, make charts and totally geek out on color, mixing gradations of hue, value and chroma. It’s a meditative process with a fine bunch of fun, funny and determined painters. And it's been a perfect way to keep my hand in the paint these days.

There is good news to share, as well. Some weeks ago I was interviewed by Southwest Art magazine for their feature “Artists to Watch." I was a bit anxious leading into the interview, not knowing quite what to say. Fortunately their editor, Kim Agricola, asked interesting questions about my process and my subjects. She made me comfortable and there was a lot of laughter. You can read the article online... or pick up the October issue of Southwest Art at Barnes & Noble, it's full of inspirational artwork.
artists to watch, still life painter, dorothy lorenze
"Artists to Watch" in Southwest Art magazine, October 2017
Being professionally interviewed about my artwork: that's a first for me. I think my mother would have been proud.

As always, thank you for joining me on my art journey... and my sincere appreciation for all your kind words of sympathy and support.