Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saul Tepper

The great yet mostly unknown Saul Tepper. I’ve always been a fan.
 From the Society of Illustrators:–Saul-Tepper.aspx
By 19, he was working full time in his own lettering studio while studying art at night and on weekends. He found William DeLeftwich Dodge’s composition classes at Cooper Union and George Bridgeman’s “ideas in drawing” at the Art Students League, were important influences. But his most important influence came later, under Harvey Dunn at the Grand Central Art School and at Dunn’s Tenafly, New Jersey, studio.
After graduating from Cooper Union, Saul acquired a job in a studio as a lettering man. There, he had his first chance to do some figure work in oil. In 1920, he married Beatrice Lindenburg. They had two children, Albert and Joan. In 1925, at the Van Dyke Studios he branched out as an illustrator. For the next few years, his work developed under the guidance of Harvey Dunn. Saul’s first sample from his new studio was purchased by Liberty magazine, who created a story around it. Collier’s followed shortly thereafter, as did the Curtis Publishing group (Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post and Country Gentleman) then came Woman’s Home Companion, The American, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. By the mid 1930’s, Saul’s style had become recognizable and commanded top dollar. His advertising campaigns for Chesterfield cigarettes and General Electric and his WW II posters, commissioned by the United States government and by Stetson Hats, are most notable.
Saul moved his work to the Lincoln Square Studios and then, for thirteen of his most productive years, to the Hotel Des Artistes.
As a lecturer, Saul has spoken often to groups of students and professionals at Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, the Society of Illustrators and Art Directors Clubs.
Because Saul knows the importance of the patient help one artist will lend another, he has given of his time to many. Al Dorne apprenticed to Saul at his first lettering studio and later Harry Beckoff and others. We will never know how many would have put down the pen for a shovel without Saul’s help. He tells about one young man, Arthur DeKuh, an ex-boxer and bathhouse bouncer, who, through hard work and Saul’s critiques, established a career in art.
Saul, having grown up during the Golden Age of American Illustration, was influenced by it. The period between World War I and II was Saul’s “Golden Age,” an era of romance and adventure in which he, Cornwell and Rockwell played an important part. Reproduced in the major magazines for four decades, Saul’s work became a source of inspiration for many artists of that period.
In the 1950’s, still an active artist for the new adventure magazines (True, Argosy and Real), Saul reached a point of dissatisfaction. He became TV art director for J. Walter Thompson and BBD&O, creating images for TV commercials. He also continued with his music, composing the Red Cross theme song for 1960-1961.Saul passed away in 1987.

Strata (Oil on board)

Finished another painting of my New York series today.
Kim and I went for a beautiful Sunday morning bike ride into Manhattan. This was the scene from the corner of Pearl and Coenties. I had to lay on my back to get this view. I loved the way the architecture from multiple time periods mixed to create the scene.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finished portrait of Opal

After a few more hours of work, I’ve finished the portrait of Opal. I’m very happy with the final outcome of the painting, and a big thanks goes to Kimberly for making a few last minute suggestions. Always good to have a fresh eye. Opal on the other hand seems very disinterested in her portrait.

Opal portrait - Round 2

The portrait of Opal continues. Round 2 was about an hour and a half. I felt it was important to capture the thickness of her coat. I’ve also made some adjustments to the drawing. And no, she did not sit for the portrait. She actually spent most of the afternoon hiding behind the toilet. One more round and it should be complete.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Portrait of Opal in-progress

A few weeks ago, Opal was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Knowing we may lose her soon, it’s more important than ever that I capture her in a painting. She still enjoys sitting in the sun as it streams through any window, and that’s how I’ll always remember her. Here’s the painting about one hour in. More to come.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Dog Stare

Painting at home all afternoon is a rewarding experience, but at the same time, there's always a feeling of guilt. Here's why:
It's that constant look the dogs give me of "What are we gonna do now?" I have no idea what they're actually thinking, but I do get the sense that it's along the lines of "I'm bored, and you're just standing there."

Jamie Wyeth captured the look perfectly. I can only imagine that his dog was thinking the same thing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oil sketches say a lot with a little.

I was painting this image of Betty as a demo. I only had minutes, but I liked how it started and kept it, intending to take it further at a later date.
Kimberly convinced me to let it stand as is, and I have to say I like it. Sometimes the best paintings are the quick impressions. The paint has captured Betty's stance and expression with a minimum of rendering.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lucian Freud, the painter's painter, is dead at 88

Lucian Freud, a grandson of Sigmund Freud, died last Wednesday at his London home following a brief illness. Viewed by many (including myself) as the world's greatest living painter, he worked until the very end, almost completing a portrait of his assistant David Dawson a few days prior to his death.

His focus was painting what was before him, and in painting from life, Freud was apt to spend a great deal of time with one subject, and demanded the model's presence even while working on subsidiary elements. A nude completed in 2007 required sixteen months of work, with the model posing all but four evenings during that time; with each session averaging five hours, the painting took approximately 2,400 hours to complete. A rapport with his models was necessary, and while at work, Freud was characterised as "an outstanding raconteur and mimic".Regarding the difficulty in deciding when a painting is completed, Freud said that "he feels he's finished when he gets the impression he's working on somebody else's painting".

It was Freud's practice to begin a painting by first drawing in charcoal on the canvas. He then applied paint to a small area of the canvas, and gradually worked outward from that point. For a new sitter, he often started with the head as a means of "getting to know" the person, then painted the rest of the figure, eventually returning to the head as his comprehension of the model deepens. A section of canvas was intentionally left bare until the painting is finished, as a reminder that the work was in progress. The finished painting is an accumulation of richly worked layers of pigment, as well as months of intense observation.

"I paint people," Freud said, "not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be." Freud painted fellow artists, including Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon. He produced a series of portraits of the performance artist Leigh Bowery, and also painted Henrietta Moraes, a muse to many Soho artists. Towards the end of his life he did a nude portrait of model Kate Moss. Freud was one of the best known British artists working in a representational style, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989.

In May 2008, his 1995 portrait Benefits Supervisor Sleeping was sold at auction by Christie's in New York City for $33.6 million, setting a world record for sale value of a painting by a living artist.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A good day of painting.

The Central Park scene is progressing nicely.

Another favorite painting.

There are many truly great landscape painters, but out of all of them Willard Metcalf (American, 1858-1925)stands apart for me. 

Of  the many landscapes he painted, one speaks to me more than any other - Giverny (1887, Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in.). 

It's a simple scene, but somehow he's captured not only the visual representation, but I can feel the warmth of the sun and almost smell the grass. No color is more difficult to work with than green, and yet Metcalf makes it look completely natural in both the light and the shadows. Every leaf and blade of grass is there, and yet nothing is over painted. It's a simple scene, no figures, nothing of specific interest, and yet I can't look away.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

John Peter Russell

I came across this painting by John Peter Russell (1858-1930) in a book on Australian painters years ago, and I've always been drawn to it. The composition, color and texture are stunning. It becomes almost a tapestry of brushstrokes. I tend to pull out this piece for reference on almost every piece I create. John Peter Russell is not to be confused with John Russell, the English painter from a century earlier.