Step 4 – (Upper left) – Wednesday evening I started filling in the top and four lower hats. When I paint, I mix on the canvas – scumbling in one color into another. In this painting I am applying one color to each hat, then adding another darker color, then a lighter color and white.
Step 5 – (Upper right) – Saturdays I paint at Adobe Gallery and greet gallery visitors. Today we several international travelers – I met people from Britain, Germany, and an artist from Denmark, I believe. I added more color to the hats, then the black, and the upper right. Looking at the original photograph, you won’t see the upper right hat. It was added it to balance out the top of the composition. You can also see that I corrected the curve of it’s brim. There is now a small problem in that two hats of similar color are together. In the next session, I will darken the top hat with a darker blue gray that is truer to the color of the photograph. This will help to balance with the lowest dark hat. It might be a good time to remind folks that as a color blind artist – I chose to change up colors to my liking. I am not a realist painter, so exact color representation in not critical. As I paint, I load up my brush to get thick strokes of paint. For my brushed paintings, I feel texture is equally important as color in telling the story of the subject on the canvas. Today’s colors include Grumbacher Indian Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt and Raw Umber, and Naples Yellow, and Ivory Black.
Step 6 – With each of the hats blocked in, I painted the background white. The paint again is brushed on thickly, but loosely – blue beneath is allowed to show through. This will be the 2nd of (probably) 3 layers of color. I like to layer backgrounds with color allowing each layer to peek through here and there. It allows the color to blend optically. In the next session I will continue working with the hats.
[Back story] Neal – the owner of this collection of hats – is retired after 20 years from the United States Border Patrol. Neal has worked his share of hot days and cold nights doing a job that many wouldn’t do. His temper can get up, and he’ll “spit his bit”, but he is a solid guy – he’ll let you know where you stand in no uncertain terms. He recently returned home (Lubbock, TX) and fell deeply in love with his high school sweetheart Deb. Up there on the Caprock, under a sky full of stars, they are both living large as Texas.
I recently was re-acquainted with a friend from high school on Facebook. Looking through his photos, I came across this picture of his hat rack. I thought the arrangement makes an interesting composition, and decided to paint from his picture. I probably should get his permission – but – somehow I don’t think he would mind. For this painting, I am using a 36 X 48 inch gallery wrapped canvas. I like working big and this composition is just the right proportion for this size canvas, making the hats just a little larger than lifesize.
Step 1 – Sometimes I grid my canvas and drawing to get as accurate placement possible, and other times I freehand which I have done here. I draw my image with large graphite sticks. Once I have my arrangement, I’ll outline with black gesso, and this gives the painting more of a sense of illustration.
Step 2 – I applied a wash of thinned Holbein’s Blue Grey oil paint on the background. Layers of color will be added as I continue.
Step 3 – Again, I applied a wash of Holbein’s Monochrome Tint to the hats. In the morning I’ll study this with my coffee, and may decide to add a second wash to both background and hats. After that – the real fun begins!
And then I’ll be here later in the evening!
See you Saturday night!
North Side Mark Scantling
I will be showing one painting from this series entitled “North Side” at this years Preservation is the Art of the City art show, in September.This annual show at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, is presented by Historic Fort Worth, Inc. Proceeds from art sales help HFW provide community awareness programs that highlight historically and culturally significant homes and businesses in the area.
[Back Story] The name of my series is from the largely Hispanic neighborhood near Fort Worth’s Stockyards. One of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, it is also one of the poorest. North Side has been in economic decline for several decades, but a closer look reveals many of it’s residents are working hard, remodeling their homes and landscaping their lawns. 25th Street is one of the major areas of commerce on the North Side. Many of it’s businesses like the Azle Theater, have long been closed, but several continue to serve the residents. Lean economic times are nothing new here. North Side has problems, more that some other areas of the city, but it hangs on by it’s roots – hard-working people, with a long cultural heritage, a deep sense of family values, and community pride.
DOUBLE BLACK & WHITE BOOTS ON STAIRS, 2007, Acrylic ink silk-screened on canvas, Mark Scantling
I spent the evening reading several articles about the current economy and how it is effecting artists. The obvious “big” story in the art world is about lower numbers at the auction houses in New York and Europe. Quoting Kelly Crow in the Wall Street Journal, May 22: “The art market may have just laid down its new floor.” Not really surprising news, but where does it leave the 6% of the Americans who buy original art? And more to the point – how are artists coping with this downturn?
The short answers are: 1- There are still buyers out there. Buyers seeking quality. And, 2- By and large, artists are finding in many cases, with less demand, they are able to reach deep inside and create work from a greater sense of purpose. One thing artists must consider – some of the world’s greatest art was created during times of change and stress. One writer noted artists may be the only people who, after loosing everything, returns to the studio the next day to create. I think it’s what we do best. Create.
[Backstory] A large part of my sales each year come from travelers visiting Fort Worth. Travel is another activity that has diminshed due to the economy. This year I have decided to send my art to the buyers, by entering several juried art shows around the country. I am currently working on pieces for a show this fall in Fort Worth – “Preservation Is The Art of The City”, and was notified this week that my painting “Crazy Horse” (see below) was accepted for “Twisted Spurs 2009” . Hopefully this strategy will help find homes for my paintings, and keep me flush with fresh paint and canvas – because I have to create!
Now I have a large stack of entry forms for art shows I must tend to..
No.310, 2009, Acrylic and ink silk-screened on shaped panel. M Scantling
In 1979, during the full bloom of the Southwestern Art craze, I painted a small series of Chief’s Blanket designs on large shaped canvases. Although I was pleased with the paintings, I always felt I should have expanded the series, and explored the idea further. No.310 marks my return to the skewed canvas after 30 years. I like how the shape of the support changes the perception of the work as a whole – adding another dimension to the composition. I think this is going to be fun.
No309, 2009, 24X30 acrylic and ink silk screened on canvas -M Scantling
No309 is one of 3 paintings I have entered in TWISTED SPUR 2009 juried exhibition at K Space Contemporary in Corpus Christi, Texas. The show runs July 11 through August 22, 2009. This year’s juror is Angel Quesada, curator and production manager at Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas.
Backstory: This painting was originally made for a recent exhibit. The background was very different from what you see. As I was preparing to move it and other paintings a gust of wind from an approaching cold front blew into the studio and No309 went face down into black paint. I had to set it aside, and finally weeks later repainted and touched up the image. I was told once in art school that good things can come from mistakes.