Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Angela Lansbury Unveiled into The Players' Club.

My portrait of actress Angela Lansbury has just beenunveiled into The Players' Club of New York Hall of Fame permanent art collection organized by the prestigious club's Art Committee Chair, portraitist extraordinaire Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A. (see adjacent pic)

WHAT A NIGHT IT WAS! ... And yes, that is a  Sargent painting above my head in one of the photos below which I find rather amusing! This club has one helluva collection which I am proud to be part of. Not that I am close to a Sargent or anything!

Previous portraits of mine in the collection include Norman Rockwell and My Fair Lady's Rex Harrison, also a thrill to paint.  A total of  22 prominent portrait artists from around the country were unveiled in this 'go-around' for the Hall of Fame collection. 

They include Dawn Whitelaw, Michael Shane Neal, Holly Metzger, Ed Jonas, Gordon Wetmore, Wende Caporeale,  Tom Donohue,  Burt Silverman, Lynda Kyser Smith, Loryn Brazier, Dot Svenson, David Beynon Pena,  Basil Baylin, Irene Hecht, Kyle Keith, Ian Factor, Joel Spector, Betsy Ashton, Joe Rubinstein and of course the incomparable Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A.

I have to say, Mr. Kinstler's portrait of Christopher Plummer for the collection reminded me why I first fell in love with this great man's work. It is EVERYTHING a portrait should be and it took my breath away. Reminded me how much work I have to do. 

And once again, Mr. Kinstler's 'better half', as we say in England, the ever-so elegant and witty Mrs. Peggy Kinstler had donated her considerable time to produce a lovely color keepsake program of the evening which went quickly on my studio wall.  I smile when I look at it.

The Players Club was founded in 1888 by the famed actor Edwin Booth, also painted by Sargent, sadly no longer in the art collection, who envisioned  a club which would bring actors into contact with men of other professions such as academics, artists, and others in the world of business.  Women were admitted  as members in 1988.

The club's walls ooze with history as well as the GREAT paintings. There is the Lucille Ball Loo(aka restroom)  for starters but we won't go there! You can almost hear the clink-chink of ghost dry martinis from the past,  guzzled down by Broadway's greats along with a waft of smoke-filled rooms as actors of old drag on the requisite cigarette before it was not cool to do that. I can only imagine the intrigue, drama, talent, fun, diamante jewelry and lacquered hair 'up-does' that these legendary club walls  have been host to.

The club's executive director Mr. John Martello once again co-ordinated with Mr. Kinstler to arrange the commissions from artists all over the country, and put on a fabulous inductee evening filled with wine, dinner and divine song, with performances by Anna Bergman and Sarah Partridge, much to the crowd's enjoyment, many of whom had flown somewhat exhausted from a busy weekend at The Portrait Society of America annual  conference in D.C. including Mr. Kinstler  and Mr. Gordon Wetmore (chairman of The PSA). 

The energy in the room lifted every ones' spirits. Among the greats taking the stage this night were also Christopher Plummer,  see pic, theatre legend Marian Seldes,  and Pam Singleton.  Angela Lansbury is currently appearing in the Broadway smash, Blythe Spirit, and had two shows that day.

I return to my studio today inspired by it be in the company of such greats of the theatre and painting arts. The club just hosted another spectacular night in its long history and I am thrilled to bits that a bit of 'me' is on its walls. I may even run out and get an up-do. NO martini though. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

California Art Club Gold Medal Show Finalist.

It's finally here this coming weekend, The California Art Club's 96th Annual  Gold Medal Juried Show of which I am a finalist. 

The exhibition kicks off with an Artists' Gala Reception and Awards Ceremony, Saturday, April 25 from 6 to 9 p.m.  This is your chance to be among the first to view the exhibition and purchase artwork, as well as to celebrate with all of the artists and find out who will be chosen as this year's Gold Medal Winners!
To purchase tickets, please call 626/583-9009. Tickets are $75 per person in advance/$100 at the door (includes exhibition catalogue). Advance reservations must be received no later than 12 noon on Friday, April 24.
All artwork may be viewed online and is available for acquisition.   
Proceeds benefit the artists and the educational programs of the California Art Club and the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

This is my entry "Pansies and Pear". It can be yours at the click of an internet button.

Location: Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 East Union St.
Pasadena, CA  91101
It would be great to see you there some time during the run of the exhibition, April 26 - May 17, 2009. The opening night unfortunately I will not be there but very fortunately in NYC unveiling my portrait of Angela Lansbury into The Players' Club permanent collection. 

More about that excitement later.....
Thank you so much for your support! 

Monday, April 13, 2009

VALUED ART QUOTES by Valued Artists

As my new class semester  starts up this week teaching at LAAFA, I am brushing off my dusty teaching aides, pouring the left-over Bollinger down the sink and thinking time to get serious! has only been two weeks and there was no Bolly and the aides aren't dusty. But I came across these quotes on the Internet, courtesy of The Painter's Keys, specifically on values which I found rather interesting and perfect timing - so I am going to share some with you!

It is all in the values.  And I enjoy the challenge of them How to keep it simple. I post a portrait commission of mine, one in color, the other in black and white to show you my value thinking and how much importance I place on a simplified five value system. 

John Singer Sargent - Color is an inborn gift but appreciation of value is merely training of the eye, which everyone ought to be able to acquire. ( Ahhh..from the painting God himself..JS)

Harley Brown - When it comes to values, that's when we find most paintings boring and others will knock your socks off. 

William Morris Hunt - It is impossible to make a picture without values. Values are the basis. If they are not, tell me what is the basis?

Steve Childs: Value (or the use of light) is our best ally as a painter. Don't think for a minute this is not in the artist's control

Paul de Marrais: When beginning artists understand and use values for the first time, there is usually a quantum leap in the quality of their painting. (How true! Especially if they don't argue back...JS)

Ray Ward: I prefer to work on a toned ground as it makes it easier to establish the values in the early stages. (See, I am not crazy JS)

Eric Wiegardt: Problems with color are almost never problems with color. They are almost always problems with value. (What no chalky color excuse? JS)

Tom Lynch: The best way to show depth is to have variation in values. The best way to learn this is to paint without color. (Darn it..those atelier schools were on to something. Shame we stopped painting in black and white from cast for three years isn't it? We might all be really good now. JS)

Emily Moore: Bowing to value can liberate color options, so color can waltz in the back door and right on down to the front row while value is being courted at the front door. ( I don't know who Emily is but she should be a writer clearly and forget about painting. JS)

Kenn Backhaus: Establishing the two most extreme values as soon as possible helps me take note of all the other values that will fall somewhere in between.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot: In preparing a study or a picture, it seems to me very important to begin by an indication of the darkest values.... and to continue in order to the lightest value. From the darkest to the lightest I would establish twenty shades.

Stephen Quiller: It is the relationship of value and intensity that is essential to using color well. If you master value and intensity, you will go a long way to expressing any mood you desire.

Barry John Raybould: Many of the most powerful paintings have the simplest value structures. That is to say, they use only two, three, for four major values. (SEE, told ya..! JS)

Theodore Robinson: My paintings cannot be a negation of what has always been and always will be necessary - drawing and search for values. (Hear, hear! JS)

Martha Saudek: You get color with your eyes wide open, your value by squinting. ( YEP! No botox for me, these are not frown lines, they are squint lines. JS)

Richard Schmid: YOu can stick with a few clear-cut values, which are stronger than a multitude of values and will obviously yield a stronger painting. But not all subjects or light conditions appear that sensible and paint with values that are appropriate and faithful to your subject.

Joe Singer: To me, painting- all painting - is not so much the intelligent use of color s the intelligent use of value. If the values are right, the color cannot help but be right.

John F. A. Taylor: There are painters like Ingres who know how to dispense with hues and saturation. There is no painting which can dispense with values.

Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A.: Think value first, then color...Ask yourself is what I am mixing relating to the light, shadow or halftone.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Geisha Kiss?

A nice two week break from teaching gives me an extra day to play, paint for myself,  away from the portrait commission stuff and doing preparation for others.

I do so enjoy still life and usually have one 'set up' in a tiny room off my studio that I can make really dark. This is a still life I finished today, about two days work. It is the second bunch of flowers as the first died after I had to leave them weeks ago to get on with my work. It can be frustrating some times. There just aren't enough hours in the week.

 But I do like to leave that still life set up and ready to go even if it is for a few weeks with the pot that once held the flowers looking sad waiting for his turn to be painted. Fresh flowers have to be done fast. They change by the end of the day.

I think I had a good day today. The painting, 16 x 20,  on linen panel.

Overall, I was pleased with all those shades of pink, mauves and purples.  Quiet a challenge. And it makes me realize that I know a lot more about color than I used thanks to playing around with the color wheel for quite some time. There was a LOT of color in this still life which I think is interesting from previous posts. How much do you grey color down, how much do you keep it raw?  Personal taste seems to come into it. But sometimes it is fun just to not worry about any of it and see what you get!

By the way, this is a series of paintings I am doing with geishas. Geisha kiss?

Image copyrighted.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Here is more of me going a recent article  on me by SCIART's eArtColumn. Thanks to Michele Dupuy Leavitt for some interesting questions. It is good to have to think once in a while.