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Showing posts from November, 2015

There is no camera around when I paint.

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Here's my new painting Uncharted II, 30 x 40", oil on canvas. I'm letting it dry on my studio floor until it's ready for me to brush on a protective coat of picture varnish. 

It's a painting I made entirely from my imagination. A friend asked where it was done. I told them really nowhere- I wasn't so much after a location as a state of mind. 

When I'm painting there are no cameras or photographs around. That makes my process a little different than the big majority of realist painters today. It's ironic as my grandfather, John Capstaff, was the inventor of the world's first commercially available color film (Kodachrome).

I don't have anything against cameras, but to me the real subject of a painting is the vision an artist has on the inside. That's notoriously hard to photograph. The point of art is to emotionally stir the viewer. If they feel in a different place after they've looked at your work you've done your job. A good piece of …

Wonderful (If Slightly Haunted) Houses at the Burchfield Penney Art Center

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Here's a conte drawing by Charles Burchfield with a remarkably delicate touch. While it's heavily detailed the drawing seems light and airy, almost like Burchfield made the paper breath with life. 
I've been meaning to post these two photos I took of it last month when I was staying at the Burchfield Penney Art Center (BPAC) in Buffalo, NY as part of my being the Artist In Residence there for 2015-16. The piece is from the Art Center's Burchfield Archives and is really large- though I didn't measure it it's easlily well over four feet wide. Burchfield made it on several sheets of newsprint paper he had glued together.



Going through hundreds of Burchfield's drawings in the museum's Archives I periodically come across giant drawings like this one. I asked Nancy Weekly, BPAC's Head of Collections and Charles Cary Rumsey Curator, about this. She felt Burchfield would sometimes make preparatory drawings at the same full scale he intended to use in some of …

A Fresh Look: Burchfield and Me

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Above is my vine charcoal drawing, Darkening Cove, 8x 12" and a freshly painted Darkening Cove oil, 24 x 36" I based on the earlier drawing.
When I was invited to be the Artist In Residence at the Burchfield Penney Art Center (BPAC) in Buffalo, NY for this year I imagined it would lead to some unexpected benefits. One I didn't foresee came from examining the museum's impressive holdings of Charles Burschfield's drawings. Burchfield did tons of drawings, many in preparation for his wildly imaginative paintings. His drawings made a deep impression on me..
Returning to my Baltimore studio from my October stay at BPAC  I was struck by a vine charcoal drawing I'd made back in 1997 of a tidal marsh near Edward Hopper's studio in Truro, MA. The drawing had led to an oil painting some years later. Fresh from the recent BPAC experience, my original drawing whispered at me to go back into the oil painting. With many freshly repainted passages, the oil has new wind in…