A Bob Ross moment…

My Bob Ross Bobblehead

An artist-friend recently gave me a Bob Ross Bobblehead (with sound, eh!). Thanks again! Bob’s head bobbles of course and at the press of a button, I can now hear a few of Bob’s words of wisdom, including “lets make some nice little clouds that just float around and have fun all day”, “lets have a big ol’ tree rrrrrright about there, let’s give him a friend, everybody needs a friend”  and “That’s a good place for my little squirrel to live”.

I should say I never actually watched any of Bob’s “Joy of Painting” TV episodes when they ran on PBS (ending in the early 90s) however you can easily check these out online these days. No one would ever confuse our respective styles and WOW, I would not spray solvent around that way!

I’m invariably fascinated by truisms from different ages and genres. There are, not surprisingly, many of Bob Ross’s quotes about the internet. I’ve regularly repeated his upbeat gem that “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents” and I can relate to the underlying truism of “You have to have dark in order to show light, it’s just like in life”. And how about: “In painting, you have unlimited power. You have the ability to move mountains”.  I smiled at “That’s a crooked tree, we’ll send it to Washington” and “Water’s like me. It’s laaazy … boy, it always looks for the easiest way to do things”. However if I was to choose a favorite Bob Ross expression it would have to be:

 “Every day is a good day when you paint.”…Bob Ross

Some recent studies…

A favorite of mine, this oil sketch of a class model, Dot.

Each term, I invariably undertake a few demos and investigations in class – some serious,  others whimsical and I enjoy them all. Here’s a crop of classwork pieces I’ve collected this Fall:

Whenever I run a class on self portraits, it’s only fair that I do one too.

France says it looks a bit melancholy – the classic “why am I looking at myself in this mirror” look. Here’s another selfie, this time with marker on white board:

I’ve enjoyed doing a few caricatures recently.

Following are a couple of sketches of another David, a class model:

David, posing as Van Gogh, the first watercolour and ink, the second with a sharpie.

David’s hand (with my brushes) in pastel and charcoal.

And here’s a watercolour of another model:

James, in watercolour and charcoal.

I wrote about interpreting the masters in an earlier blog post…..not necessarily copying, although invariably respecting the original. Here are a couple of interpretations of a drawing by Winslow Homer:

The first with some wash and the second a modernist twist.

….and I’m fond of this impromptu tribute to Honoré Daumier:

Sometimes the simple studies are the most enjoyable!

Finally, I don’t need much tempting to study still life, it’s the availability and simplicity of the subject that intrigues:

Flower arrangement in pastel.

The enduring delight of the Sunflower, in oil.

The Third Anniversary Show at the Sivarulrasa Gallery

Three new paintings: Joy, Forgotten Dreams and Quiétude

I’ve just delivered seven new paintings to the Sivarulrasa Gallery for the upcoming Third Anniversary Show, starting November 24th. Looking around this beautiful gallery, in full flux of preparing for the show, it promises to be exceptional with some very fine quality new contributions from the gallery artists. I’m delighted to be part of the Sivarulrasa family of artists.

The opening is on December 2nd and it promises to be a truly great event, accompanied by a jazz band. Unfortunately, France and I can’t attend as we’ll be running a workshop that day, but don’t let that stop you!

You can find all the details on the Sivarulrasa website: http://sivarulrasa.com/exhibitions/3rd-anniversary-show/

My paintings can also be viewed on line at: http://www.davidkearn.com/blog/galleries/artwork-at-the-sivarulrasa-gallery/

Of three “Impressionists”

Self portraits by Manet, Monet and Cézanne

Every time I read something about impressionism, I get a different view of the associations, intents and legacies. Little could have been guessed back then: they were just painters, painting in their time, perhaps occasionally rebels, although oftentimes not. Impressionism was the first major “movement” following the advent of photography. Photography changed everything, removing the imperative to describe “reality”, setting printing on a continuing path of reinvention. People are still saying “painting is dead” aren’t they? But do fewer of us paint?

In our workshops this Fall, we’ve chosen three masters in order to profile the breadth and consequences of Impressionism. Some would say two of these were not real Impressionists – Manet and Cézanne –  true if you take the view that Impressionism was just about plein-air and capturing fleeting effects of nature. However consequences of photography were freeing painters to explore new ways of communicating. Manet, Cézanne and Monet all knew each other but had very different things to say.

Édouard Manet

“There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another” 

Gare Saint-Lazare, Édouard Manet,1873, Oil on canvas

Manet was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His early masterworks particularly “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe” and “Olympia”  caused great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. The explicitly painted style and photographic lighting in Manet’s paintings look specifically modern – a direct, alla prima method. His images have an element of mystery and draw us to place as well as his subtle narrative. The “Gare Saint-Lazare” above is a great example: Who’s the young woman: mother, sister, nanny? She doesn’t exactly look very happy does she. How does industrialization impact the child, what’s with the puppy and the fan?

Paul Cézanne

“We live in a rainbow of chaos”

Bibemus Quarry, Paul Cézanne, c.1900, oil on canvas

Cézanne was a major force paralleling mainstream Impressionism. Always somewhat apart, he innovated and brought fresh ways of seeing to us all: both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne “is the father of us all.”. Cézanne sought to sense something fundamental about all subjects and through his investigations of still life, figures and landscapes, gave life to modernism and changed the world of art forever. I still scratch my head somewhat when I look at a Cézanne. Normally there are some other significant painters with somewhat the same style. But not Cézanne, he just saw things differently and now so do we.

Claude Monet

“Everything changes, even stone”

Monet’s Waterlilies at Musée de l’Orangerie (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Monet was the quintessential impressionist. His 1884 painting “Impression, Sunrise” gave name to the movement and the impact of his radical departure in use of colour, types of subject and method of painting, often “en plein air” are all with us today. Monet rejected the traditional approach to landscape painting and looked at the effects of light on nature itself. Monet worked hard and long. He was prolific, consistent and brilliant. He was not rich and he needed to sell. Apart from epitomizing a new use of colour and brushwork he  pioneered the idea of a series of paintings: be they haystacks, the Cathedral at Rouen or the Cliffs at Etretat. In his later years his massive Waterlilies paintings presage the abstract expressionism of Pollack, Rothco et al.

Join us for our Fall season of Saturday workshops:

14 Oct 2017: Édouard Manet and modern life
28 Oct 2017: Through Thick and Thin – Washes, Glazes and Impasto!
04 Nov 2017: Paul Cézanne: A new way of seeing.
25 Nov 2017: Expressive portraits and the Clothed Figure.
02 Dec 2017: Claude Monet and the colour of light.

Details can be found on the website: http://www.davidkearn.com/courses_e.htm


Update on the Break-a-Brush Mentoring Program

it’s a virtual studio…

This Spring, I began distance coaching for a couple of students, and over the summer the program expanded as a number of artists came on board: Some looking for structured support with specific aims outside of the classroom, others finding it just not practical to take an art course or workshop right now. Our busy lives often drive us in various directions and time is so often at a premium!

The artist and I typically start with a three-month outlook and I then work with the participants on individual weekly assignments, advice and reviews. Email has been working well as our prime communication mode, supplemented by Skype, phone and where practical, an occasional meeting for coffee. There is a pretty diverse set of interests, with watercolour, acrylic and oil all being represented. A couple of artists are looking to develop their portfolios prior to pursuing their art education, a couple have specific painting projects in process and some are developing their skills, following something more akin to an on-line course.

I’ve been getting some great feedback and this has really energized me to continue and develop the program:

“Hello David. Thank you very much for your wonderful criticism (positive, as always) of my first painting in this series! By the way, how did you touch up my painting? Did you use “Paint” on microsoft! Impressive! I agree with your comments/suggestions. I will work on my next sketch a bit later this week. I think this mentoring method via internet is working well. Cheers,” Claire LG

“I thought your video was great! Had to turn up my sound, but the message got across well. Good questions from the crowd! To sum it up – this was an awesome exercise! I’m excited to use these principles in the next assignment” Nicole Wootten

“OK, this is an interesting exercise! Especially with the left hand but I can definitely see how much more thinking is required from using that hand… it is fun, I am having a hard time limiting myself to 5 mins….Thank you!” Chantal Dupuis

“Terrific! Thanks so very much, David. Your mentoring emails, complete with links, are like presents xmas morn. So much to unwrap! Love it! I know I will have great fun exploring. And yes, I enjoy our chats, too. Connect again soon.”  Barbara Dundass

The program runs at a monthly subscription rate of $100.00 . There are still a couple of places available for October: should this sound like a good fit for you, just contact me by email at david@davidkearn.com, by phone on 613 620 6737 or confirm participation via PayPal: Click here.

Additional information and details of our Fall Saturday Workshop Program are on the courses section of the website.