Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Have a Look!

An Opening in  Charlotte

I'm pleased to announce a new gallery association, with McColl Fine Art, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

McColl has specialized in fine American and European paintings, with a primary focus on select works from the 19th and early 20th Centuries. They are now expanding into what they describe as "classical contemporary."

In celebration, they are launching a new gallery space in Charlotte, at 126 Cottage Street, with a Grand Opening reception this Thursday, March 29th, from 6-8 p.m. The reception is by invitation, but do call the gallery at 704-333-5983 if you'd like to attend.

I'm very pleased to be included among the McColl artists, both the quick and the dead---among them many of my heroes.

One wonders---- when the lights are turned off, the doors locked, and the staff departed, what Inness, Ryder, Hawthorne and their friends will have to say to each other about the young whippersnappers now sharing their space at McColl.

I hope they'll be kind, and remember that Ruysdael, Van Goyen, and Claude, in their turn, probably had some things to say about those raucous 19th- and early 20th-century youngsters, too.

McColl Fine Art, 126 Cottage Street, Charlotte, NC 28207  704-333-5983
www.mccollfineart.com click

Monday, March 26, 2012

Landscape 911

Rembrandt's Toothbrush

Rembrandt, Self-portrait, 1657
I got a message from a student today, asking about some of the colors on the palette used for my workshops. Her question related to my inclusion of Prussian green, and two other mixed greens. The student mentioned that years ago she'd been steered away from Prussian green because of it's "staining properties". She was also a bit mystified about why I should include the mixed greens, wondering what effect I could get from them that couldn't be obtained by mixing various blues and yellows.

These are good questions. I answered the email, and then talked about it later with Todd Bonita, my friend and my workshop monitor. He suggested I publish the question, and my answer. So here they are.

Prussian Green

Dear _____________,

Glad you've been to see the blog. I'm very excited to be going back to Scotland to paint. Grab a pal and come along! I'm told there's still enough shortbread for everyone.

And, now, on the subject of color: Life is short. The time spent in front of the motif en plein air is even shorter. And, shortest of all, is the time in front of the motif with the same light effect.

Over many years, I've modified my practice to acknowledge that I don't make better paintings as a consequence of making my own easel, grinding my own colors, or making mediums from scratch.

I should rather Rembrandt painted me a panel using a toothbrush and some black Kiwi polish, than to have a painting by many a peer whose claim to fame is that he laboriously makes his own materials. I guess, for me, it come's down to "Where's the beef?"

Thus, I'm one who wants to save time, and effort (and especially space on my wee palette), when painting out of doors.
I don't want to have to mix from scratch----when time is short and effects are fleeting----those few "go to" colors I love. It's a pointless, purist, time-waster. I'm ready to cast my lot with the belief that talent, and Kiwi, will surely win.

Prussian green: I occasionally use viridian, but my virtually-transparent Prussian green is something I use all the time, both in under-paintings, and in glazing. Try it!

We learned (at least I did) that Prussian blue is fugitive, in that its bronzey top tone will ultimately prevail over its blueness. This seemed to set up the idea that anything with Prussian in its name is suspect. In any event, only the names remain from the olden days. They are reliable colors now, with quite different formulations.
BTW, we used to make a stable cousin of Prussian blue using phthalo blue and burnt siena.

The "all you need is red, yellow, and blue, plus white" dictum is reasonably close to being right. But here's an assignment: take those four colors and make me a clear viridian.

What? You're not done yet?! It's starting to rain! Time to pack up!
Hope some of this helps.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Workshop in Scotland

September in the Highlands

The details of the Scottish Plein Air Painting Workshop have been posted. You can read about it here.

Have a Look!

At The Four Seasons, New York

After Rain, the new painting I mentioned in a previous post, can be seen in its party clothes at Arcadia Fine Arts' second Manhattan location, starting next Saturday, 31 March 2012.

Here's is a photo of the new uptown space, with a gaggle of Jurney paintings from a January installation this year.
The central painting, St. Martin's Summer, measures 6 feet x 8 feet. In this grand space, however, it looks like a postage stamp.

If you find yourself in midtown Manhattan (perhaps joining the the Easter parade in your bonnet?) do stop by to visit the new gallery, nestled in its glittering I. M. Pei setting.

And make sure to introduce yourself to Michael Ruple, the uptown gallery's Director. In addition to wearing this hat (bonnet?), Michael is also an accomplished artist.

The galley space is open 'round the clock, and staffed from noon 'til 8 p.m.

Arcadia Gallery at The Four Seasons Hotel, 57 East 57th Street, New York, New York

Have a Look!

Quidley & Co.'s new Boston Location

A good reason to celebrate Spring is Quidley & Company's new gallery space at 38 Newbury Street in Boston. I have shown with Q&Co for three years now, and they are a wonderful, knowledgeable group of people. One of the things which sets them apart from some galleries---and I've had a few over my three-plus decades of exhibiting---is that they are genuinely art lovers. That's rarer than you might think.
The weather in Back Bay has been glorious, so if you have a chance, go visit the new space. The gallery has been expanding its roster, and there are a number of new artists for you to get to know. Chris Quidley himself, or the staff, will be happy to show you around.

One of the new artists is a fellow I know from some years ago---Duncan Hannah. Have a good look-see at his paintings. They are worth the visit.

And if, while you're at 38 Newbury Street, you happen to see any paintings with the blue part at the top, and the green part below......be polite! They might be mine.

If you find yourself on Nantucket, do stop by their Main Street gallery. Opening for the season in April, the gallery is an institution among Nantucket art lovers.

You'll get a warm welcome there, too.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From the Studio

After Rain...detail

Donald Jurney, After Rain (detail), 36x60"

Here's a detail of the central section of a large painting I've been working on in the studio.
The painting is 36"x60", without its frame. The sky is, in fact, a bit darker/more contrasty than this photo, as is the church tower. But my photography skills are poor, and they get worse as the size of the painting gets larger.
I expect you'll get the idea, anyway.

This just in....

First Day Out

Well, the first outside painting foray has been completed. None of the three of us had a bad first waffle, but my two friends out-painted me today. My only excuse is that my canvas was 16x20", and they were both painting on the heads of pins. Still, they both grasped the experience more handily than I.  
It managed to get up to 84 degrees Farenheit (29C) this afternoon, and was gloriously sunny, but the landscape is still largely dormant. We'll be back next week, when we'll no doubt see lots of changes. In a shaded pond area, the spring peepers were tuning up, and  TMB was much interested in two turtles sunning themselves on a log. All in all, a great day.

 Simultaneously, or almost, Bruce Trewin (a blog follower) was off with his plein air group to a vineyard site near Cognac, in France. Bruce has written that they were rained out today, but they had a good day in the studio. Here's a Cognac vineyard photo from the web:

Michael Ruple, another painter friend, was painting outdoors in New Jersey this afternoon. Michael reports that things didn't go so well. Still, there's next time! Here's a New Jersey photo since Michael hasn't sent one.

 I think it's great that we're all in contact and that, although we're all painting at locations very far apart, the fraternity of painters keeps in touch. Let us know if you were out today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2012 Painting Campaign

Outside tomorrow!!!!!!

Well, today's the first day of Spring and, sure enough,  tomorrow several of us will be headed outdoors to paint. We'll go to Maudslay, where I'll be teaching the May workshop. But for now we'll just be stretching, after our studio hibernation, enjoying the nonpareil experience of painting with friends.

Bruce Crane had the right idea, in his very simple painting called Early Spring. Best not to try for some elaborate composition, some complex scheme, on the first day out. 

We'll try not to expect too much, realizing that tomorrow's sketches may turn out to be very much like first waffles. For this outing, fresh air and fellowship will be more than adequate reward.

Time's come, too, to remember how much we DON'T want to have Lyme Disease! Off! Deepwoods Sportsmen has the best rating from Consumer Reports.
And, of course, since we're now going to conscientiously avoid Lyme disease, why not skip skin cancer, too? I HATE greasy sunblock products, and my discomfort with them kept me from being a regular user. My dermatologist friend suggested this Neutrogena product. Now I forget that I have it on. Good stuff.

Okay, the Public Service Announcements are over. But please remember that this is serious stuff. Both these products are easy and effective ways to avoid a lot of subsequent grief.

Want to second this recommendation? Planning to be responsible this year? Why not leave a comment? Thanks.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Random Thoughts

Thinking about lobsters....

The advent of warmer weather always makes me think about lobster, and living on the New England coast one is never far from the offer of a wicked good lobstah roll. This thought has led me to remember a painting from many years ago. Rummaging through my archive, I've found a photo.

Donald Jurney, Lobsters, 1989

The tricky part, of course, was painting uncooked lobsters. But I very much wanted the wonderful oranges and blue-blacks. A bit of advice: if it's a warm day, and the lobsters are under studio lights, paint fast.

Friday, March 16, 2012

From the Studio

An Evening in Early Spring

Donald Jurney, An Evening in Early Spring, 24x30"

Here's a spring painting that hopes to catch the moment when day surrenders to night. One can hear the peepers as the light fades, and there is a dampness which is redolent of the scents of the emerging season.

From the Studio

Vernal Equinox... or New Year's Day?

Although the skies are still often gray here in New England, our non-winter is almost behind us, and the temperatures are teasing us to be painting out of doors.

But I'm still in my studio, being cajoled by others to get outside. Not yet. Not quite yet. For now I'm enjoying the memory of a certain slant of summer sun. Soon enough it will be time to paint that whisper of green that will cover the hillsides in spring.

Here's one of the paintings I'm currently working on, tentatively called The Descent to the Lake (24"x30"). Despite its unfinished state, about which I expect you to be kind, it's already making me smile in anticipation of summer painting.

Next Tuesday brings us the 2012 Vernal Equinox. For lots of landscape painters, though, it's really New Year's Day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Workshop Thoughts

Scotland in September?

Aye, there's been some talk here of organizing a workshop in Scotland, for September, 2012. It's certainly appealing to me. Just the thought has reminded me, among other things, of how much I like the Norman Wilkinson railway posters from the 1930s. They are tremendously evocative of another time, and seem to bring the romance of Scotland alive.

We've spoken thus far of a week's workshop, somewhere in the period from 16 September to 10 October. At that time, of course, the colors are stupendous, and the hills and lochs are a painter's dream. I, for one, cannae wait.

So, do have yerself a wee dram, and think on it. Use the contact information on the workshop site, www.donaldjurneyworkshop.blogspot.com, to let us know if Scotland might be the right adventure for you.

Information about other upcoming workshops can also be found at www.donaldjurneyworkshop.blogspot.com

Please comment below.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Landscape 911

What's it All About?
A common problem, faced by most painters and especially by students, is understanding the important distinction between what their painting is a picture of and what it's a picture about. The two are rarely the same thing unless, of course, the painting is an assignment requiring just topographical accuracy.

John Constable, Barges on the Stour, Victoria & Albert

I often ask students why I should care about the painting they've just made. It's an especially difficult question when the painting has clearly been well-executed. Most of us are pleased when we have, with a certain accuracy, managed to get on to canvas the scene before us. But, except in the short run, there are few prizes just for
cleverness. It's cool, it's astounding...and then what? Once the skill has been duly praised, why should I care about the painting?

I don't engage with paintings because the craftmanship is high. I engage, as I suspect you do, with paintings that affirm ideas and feelings that I have, or which effectively challenge me to think in new ways. To this kind of painting we can return and return, always finding an invitation into the heart of things. The craftsman's painting, on the other hand, tends to pall with time. Its only merit is that often it was amazingly difficult. Do we really care? Yes, we admire the skill, the patience, the command. But then comes the dreaded question: what's the painting about??
How 'well' the artist paints is no answer at all.

J. A. Mc.Whistler, Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea, Tate Gallery

Of course, ideally, a painting can be technically superb and still be full of connection for the viewer on many levels. It's important to remember, though, that 'technically superb' doesn't necessarily mean  that the artist colored within the lines, or that every part of the painting is correct in drawing, perspective, etc. What technically superb means is that the artist has chosen a technique that exactly conveys what the painting is 'about'. It may be very hasty. We all know sketches that have a life and immediacy that is not about craftsmanship. These pieces convey their message without excruciating detail and painstaking brushwork.

 J. W. M. Turner, Cilgerran Castle Pembrokeshire, Tate Gallery 

Yet, confoundingly, these sketches really do depend on craftsmanship, too. But this is a craftsmanship so assured that it hides itself, never getting in the way of what the painting is about, never taking a bow, but standing in the wings while the idea, supreme, rules the stage and garners the applause.

Look carefully at the three images, one each from Constable, Turner and Whistler. There's nothing fancy here. There is no technique except that which quietly supports the idea. But they are as evocative, more than a century after they were made, as they were that first day in the studio. Each is a sublime portrait of a single idea.

Let me know what you think of them, and suggest others that show technique as the servant of 'about'.