Sunday, May 18, 2008

Something wrong about the mouth!

When I first met my teacher and dear mentor Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A., with shaking knees (well, he is close to being God in the portrait world having painted five U.S. presidents and a who's who of American life over the last 50 years) he stressed making painting and drawing from life the highest priority. A landscape painter should paint portraits from life and a portrait painter should do landscapes in the same fashion, he advises in his jam-packed workshops with wait lists as long as a giraffe's neck.

I have since done this over the last few years making sure I paint a head from life in under two to three hours each week, the good, the bad and the ugly And boy, have there been some clangers. Then I  throw them in the studio cupboard. A few years later I  return to look at them and see the progress I have made. Slow, yes, but definitely progress, along with having met some great people along the way. Some of these head studies have become old friends wondering on how that rare day I was so 'on',  caught something, while on others I stank like five day old fish.

Well, I have now taken the brave step to show the private side of my art discipline and practice, assembling my head studies to form the basis of a one woman show, called "Something Wrong About The Mouth".

This title is a famous quote by the great painter John Singer Sargent, every portrait artist's favorite painter it seems, who gave his definition of a portrait as being a painting with something wrong with the mouth. The mouth it seems gave him trouble as good as he was! A humbling lesson for us all. Clients want that mouth just right to their eye. It is said this is what made Sargent give up portraiture when he was at his peak.

Details of the show are:
SCIART-WEST Gallery, Oxnard
June 21 -August 16
"Something Wrong About The Mouth"
Artist Reception Saturday June 21, 4-6pm
Artist Talk and Downtown Gallery Night, Friday June 27, 5 - 7.3

Last time I had a show I had nightmares of egg falling on my face the whole week before. I expect this one to be much the same. Hard putting your work out there particularly your studies. But I now see them as crucial to what I am saying in my finished work and artistic development. If I have a style, and some kind folk say I do, it is life painting that gave me it. If I can get a good "feel" of person ( I do NOT say likeness as Mr. Kinstler has taught me "feel" is more important) it is life painting that gave me it.

So three cheers for life painting. Hip, hip, hooray! And who cares if there is egg on my face because something is not quite right about my mouths.


Marian Fortunati said...

Oh goodie...
I'm putting this one on my calendar. I am looking forward to seeing all of these studies which I'm sure are wonderful and will be very instructive as well.
So... as I understand it.. you're giving a talk about the head studies and what you've learned from them on the 27th, is that right??
What is Downtown Gallery Night?
Can't wait!

Marian Fortunati said...

I also meant to say that you're quite a fast learner!
You've changed this blog around and added all sorts of features. It looks great.
I just dropped in a few days ago and it now is all different.
See you manana.

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Downtown Gallery night is when the other two galleries in Oxnard are open. I will give a talk and hopefully make some sense out of it all. You will have to let me know if I succeed.