Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Show Business

Paying it Forward

I have recently worked, with a group of young people who are students at the RAW Art Works program, at Central Square, in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The connection was initially made by Elena Bachrach from the Newburyport Art Association.

22 July 14 ---Students at RAW Art Works (photo: Bruce Orr)
At the first visit, 15 July, I set up a still life of kitchen items, much like I did in this post http://donaldjurney.blogspot.com/2012/07/plein-air-in-studio.html
Most of my time was spent making a reasonable grisaille of buildings, mountain, and fields from the still life. The students had previously taken a number of photos around Central Square. From these, they would make their grisailles.
At the end of this session, the youngsters were laying out their paintings by drawing the information from their photos onto panels, which were donated by Artist and Craftsman Supply in Saugus.

photo: Bruce Orr

At the second Tuesday meeting I continued with my demonstration, adding color. Bruce and I both talked a bit about vibration, complements and harmonies. The students began their lay-ins in grisaille, using burnt umber acrylic paint. Of course the speedy drying time meant that they needed to work fast, before the paint dried.

As I left that day, everyone had accomplished a lot. I look forward to seeing what they've accomplished since I last saw them.

On Tuesday the twelfth, I'll be at NAA, helping to hang the students' work.
I, personally, will have some fifteen or so studies from my work this summer.

I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit this show. The information is at the end of the article, below.

These kids have worked very hard to make a good exhibition, I would be most grateful if you would honor their efforts by coming to the reception and supporting them. An added bonus is the chance to meet the young artists at the opening reception, August 12th, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Art Association on Water Street.

Below is an article by James Pouliot which appeared in the Newburyport Daily News. It has some interesting information about this collaboration.

Please come!


July 24, 2014

Finding 'A Sense of Place'

Show a unique collaboration between well-known painter and student artists

When artist Donald Jurney was offered a solo show in exchange for raising the most money at last year’s Newburyport Art Association auction, he knew he wanted to do something different.
Rather than just display his own work, the noted landscape painter decided that he wanted to showcase young artists instead.
The result is “A Sense of Place,” an exhibition of artwork by teenagers from Lynn and the surrounding areas. Opening Tuesday, Aug. 5, the show seeks to offer students exposure to the world of fine painting.
Jurney’s work is well-known in the art community. His larger pieces are human-sized and incredibly detailed, often commanding high prices.
So when he donated “From Captain Emery’s, High Street, toward the Merrimack, ca. 1802” to last summer’s “Artful Feast,” bidders battled fiercely over the 20-by-12-inch painting. When the dust cleared, the final price was $7,500, with 100 percent going to the art association.
NAA tradition holds that whoever donates 100 percent of a work’s proceeds and receives the highest bid gets an art show of their work, according to Bachrach.
“He very kindly came to me and said, ‘I would like to donate something,’” Bachrach said. “He doesn’t really, for his career, need a featured artist show at the NAA. He very generously said, ‘You know, I want to make this an opportunity for emerging artists.’”
Around that time, Bachrach had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Raw Art Works, a Lynn group that seeks to educate and encourage children to take up the arts. Created more than 20 years ago, RAW was intended to help underprivileged children avoid the cycle of incarceration by creating a safe space to learn and express themselves through art.
Now, RAW serves more than 1,000 children and adolescents ages 6-19 each year with free art classes through the summer.
Jurney partnered with Bruce Orr, a group leader in the program, to teach teenage students to produce their first paintings for the show.
“It’s exciting,” Orr said of Jurney’s visit. “I didn’t know Donald Jurney, but I looked at his website and did some research and thought, ‘This is going to be a really exciting opportunity for kids to do something that they don’t get to do that often.’”
Orr’s group is one of the most advanced ones in the program, dubbed “Adventures in Fine Arts.” It’s meant for high-schoolers who take art seriously and are considering careers in the field. But fine painting isn’t their craft, Orr said; most of these students are drawers or cartoonists, because a pen and paper are more accessible.
“We’re kind of tearing down the mystery of what paint can do,” Orr said. “It’s very involved. The things that we’re presenting to them about composition and light and shadow, they’re getting it.”
The students jumped into the work, he said, going out into the city and taking pictures of what they found. Students described fire hydrants, chains and protruding pipes creating eerie shadows, fodder for photos they would later turn into landscapes and still lifes.
For most, the central theme was a challenge: Students sought out images that spoke to them on a personal level and tested their skill at lighting and composition.
Kelly McNulty, a rising junior at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, found herself fascinated by the view of commuter rail signs from under a bridge in Lynn. As a budding cartoonist with dreams of studying animation at Massachusetts College of Art, the chance to show off her work is the most important part of the experience.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I like showing my work, and I think this is a really cool opportunity. I’ve had my work featured at shows at RAW, but this is really a bigger place that probably a lot more people go.”
For Orr, this is exactly what he wants in one of his groups, even though many of the students are too shy to gush about it.
“The way you see the result of what’s being taught is in what the teens are doing,” Orr said. “They’re diving right into this project. ... They’ve seen what the possibilities are, and they’ve just started their underpaintings, and they’re already exploring what the medium can do.”
Those “underpaintings” are a big part of the switch between drawing and painting: Even when teens have the model photo in front of them, Jurney teaches them to paint their work first in a single color, paying attention to details of composition and form, before adding colors.
This is the stage where the painting begins to depart from the source material and take on a life of its own, when the artist can transform the literal shape of their subjects into something imagined. Jurney first demonstrated the concept by depicting objects from his kitchen.
“There was a box of saltines, and a box of spaghetti, and a tuna fish can,” Jurney said. “I asked them to imagine that these things were not what they were, nominally, but that they were things out of this world. I made one of the things into a big mill building, another one into sort of a shed, another one was a road ...”
One student turned her photo of a traffic light into a tree.
“That may have been a comment on urban life,” Jurney joked.
Colors came this past Tuesday, during the students’ second and final session with Jurney.
“They had done really good work since last time,” Jurney said. “I had this feeling that connections were being made. They all tended to be very shy around me, but I could see in what they were doing that some of the stuff was going through.”
The final results of the classes remains to be seen: The artists have another week and a half to color and tweak their paintings before the show opens. Jurney will also display a group of his plein air studies from this summer.

If you go

What: “A Sense of Place,” featuring pieces by Raw Art Works students and painter Donald Jurney
When: Aug. 5-17. Artists’ reception on Tuesday, Aug. 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Newburyport Art Association, 65 Water St.
How much: Free


  1. Well, it's sure that when children/young people are motivated it's great fun - and of course very worthwhile. They often come up with really really good stuff too!!

  2. Maitre - what an exciting collaboration from both directions! cheers!

  3. There's nothing more important than our kids. What great work Donald. One of those kids or maybe more will take the Jurney style to unimaginable heights. My plan is to be there for this very important show. Thanks for doing this...

  4. What a great thing to do Donald! It's something they will remember forever. I wish I could make the opening but I am on charter from the 8th on for 10 days. Hope it's a great evening.