Munsell Color Test

Click above to test your color acuity!

Quotation of the Week

“If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint', then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” ― Vincent van Gogh

Landscape Paintings

Click here for grid view

Paintings of weeks gone by

Hilma af Kint "Adolecence #3" 1907

Katherine Bradford Sargasso Oil on canvas,

56" x 66", 2012

Euan Uglow

Susana Heller

Jean-Auguste-Dominique-Ingres–Princess Pauline

The chief consideration for a good painter is to think out the whole of his picture, to have it in his head as a whole... so that he may then execute it with warmth and as if the entire thing were done at the same time.

–Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Geometric Forms 1914– Jean Arp

Corot-A Rising Path

Louise Fishman – Crossing The Rubicon

Amy Sillman

Giambatista Tiepolo

Grace Hartigan

Eighth House–Pat Passlof

The Dream of St. Ursula–Carpaccio

Goldfish Bowl–Matisse

Cat—Joan Brown

Emily Carr

Maria Lassnig

Desire for Transport—Katherine Bradford

"Winter Still Life" Morris Graves

The Goddess Isis, Egyptian wall painting, 1390 bce

"Tree Shadow" Lois Dodd

"Blue Water" Philiip Guston

Loren Maciver

Charmion Von Wiegand

Joan Synder

Lois Dodd

Charles Burchfield

Eva Lundsager


That I get it into my head that I know nothing at all.That is the only way to go forward.Edgar Degas 

I don’t even talk about abstraction and representation, because I think we’re beyond that. I think we’re at a time where everything is abstract and everything is representational. It’s more about how you find your own language with paint. It’s really just your body and its relationship to the world. Using the senses is not anti-intellectual.–Josephine Halvorson

One shouldn't go into the woods looking for something, but rather to see what is there.—John Cage

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.— Ira Glass, NPR "This American Life" 

I step in front of the canvas naked, as it were. I have no set purpose, plan, model, or photography. i let things happen. But I have a starting point, which has come from my realization that the only true reality are my feelings, played out within the confines of my body. They are physiological sensations: a feeling of pressure when I sit or lie down, feeling of tension and senses of spatial extent. These things are quite hard to depict.—Maria Lassnig

The artist who paints the emotions creates an enclosed world.. the picture.. which, like a book, has the same interest no matter where it happens to be. Such an artist, we may imagine, spends a great deal of time doing nothing but looking, both around him and inside him.
—Pierre Bonnard

"I just want the viewer to experience the painting. To me the important thing is your experience when you look at the painting and the painter, whoever the painter is, such as Cezanne, who builds that into the painting through hard work over many, many years. The work of painting is endlessly fascinating and complex. When I looked at the Cezanne and Pissarro paintings recently, they engulfed my whole being. You could experience how much these painters put into the making and building of their painting."
— Suzan Frecon in conversation with John Yau, Brooklyn Rail Nov. 2005

"I paint to evoke a changing language of symbols, a language with which to remark upon the qualities of our mysterious capacities which direct us toward ultimate reality"
— Morris Graves

"Before I start painting I have a slightly ambiguous feeling: happiness is a special excitement because unhappiness is always possible a moment later." — Francis Bacon

"When you're in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you - your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics... and one by one if you're really painting, they walk out. And if you're really painting YOU walk out." — Philip Guston

All the songs take a long time, and although the good lines come unbidden, they're anticipated, and the anticipation involves a patient application to the enterprise.
— Leonard Cohen

Art, it's the bridge between heaven and earth.
— Charmion Von Wiegand

My secret for success? Well it’s not a secret that I have never hung out too much and I’ve just worked very, very hard for thirty-five years. It’s just a lot of hard work. That’s my secret—it’s a big secret.
— Joan Snyder

My last year at school. I got a BFA at Hartford Art School and never got an MFA because I didn't have any money. I also didn't have the knowledge on how to do that, how to get a MFA. The work became very self-conscious then because I finally pulled it together. And everything started to make sense—why I would do one thing and not another. As soon as I got out of school I started to look at that work that I produced and saying. "Okay, what's wrong with it? What's missing?" I would analyze that and put those things in the work and I constantly make work that way. You make a piece and you say, "So what?" and then, "What is missing and where else do you have to go?" You have to be self-critical all the time. It's a hard way to make work but… 
— Annette Lemieux in interview with Robert Birnbaum, Sept. 2002,

When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgement of the gift you have been given, which is life itself. And I think the world tends to forget that this is the ultimate significance of the body of work each artist produces. That work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life.
— Stanley Kunitz
The Wild Braid, A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden

Two Coats of Paint: Louise Fishman: Ignoring aesthetic wanderlust

Two Coats of Paint: Louise Fishman: Ignoring aesthetic wanderlust: In the May issue of The Brooklyn Rail I take a look at Louise Fishman's recent show at Cheim & Read . When I saw the show, I had the same f...

Color Rules

It does, absolutely supremely, but there are NO rules, no formulas no tricks. There is intention, getting color to say what you want it to say. Color is extremely personal and the more you develop your own color sense in your work, the more distinct your work will be.

For some, understanding color theory helps, for others it is confusing. I believe that the two best ways to learn about color are:
1. Working with color, playing and experimenting with it.
2. Observing color in the natural world. Constantly look and analyze the colors of the natural world. Look at the shadow of tree in a field, what is the value (dark or light) what is its temperature, is it bluish red, greenish purple??? Study nature.

There are a few basic dynamics to help frame your investigations into color:
• Relativity. Color is created by the context it resides in. The same red ball looks very different on a sunny green lawn than on an orange comforter in a dark room. The light environment and the surrounding colors define color.

• Complementary Colors. These are colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. The most obvious examples: red and green; blue and orange, purple yellow. Complementary colors love each other so much that if you have one without the other your eye fills in the missing color. The colors in the natural world are almost always a combination of complementary colors. How can you tell real grass from astro turf? Greens in nature usually have some red in them. Pay attention to complementary colors, they are dynamic.

• Temperature. Color elicits a sense of heat or lack of it. This is not a vague thing but a distinct effect. Blues generally cool, orange generally hot. There are infinite subtleties and an awareness and intentional use of these can be very powerful.

• Value of course. Our first visual experiences consist of reading darks and lights. Value is primary and extremely important; light and dark colors can expand and diminish space.

• Culture. Learn as much as you can about the meanings of color in cultures other than your own. Color is like food and tasting what is available from other worlds is not only delightful, it expands your imagination and abilities.

Excerpts from Charles Webster Hawthorne's "On Painting"

Excerpts from Charles Webster Hawthorne's "On Painting"

Spend a lifetime in hard work with a humble mind.

Get into the habit of doing what you see, not what you know. Human reason cannot foresee the accidents of out-of-doors.

It may have been accidental but you knew enough to let this alone. The intelligent painter is always making use of accidents.

When a man is sixty or seventy, he may be able to do a thing and the whole world rejoices. You can't begin too early, for this is not a thing of a month or a day.

The value of a canvas depends almost entirely on your mental attitude, not on your moral attitude; depends on what kind of a man you are, the way you observe.

Try to do ugly things so that you make them beautiful... The more delicate the thing is in nature the more one must look for the solemn note. Color in nature is never pretty, it's beautiful.

Anything under the sun is beautiful of you have the vision - it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so.

It is so hard and long before a student comes to a realization that these [first] few large simple spots in right relations are the most important things in the study of painting. They are the fundamentals of all painting.

Each day has its own individuality of color.

Put variety in white.

See what you can do with your daring with color and your ignorance mixed with it.

By having the big lines of the composition going out of the canvas, your imagination can wander beyond the edge. It will make it seem part of a large composition.

Man-made things, buildings, boats, etc., we see more decidedly than the other things in a landscape.

A sketch has charm because of its truth – not because it is unfinished.

Study continuously, developing yourself into a better person, more sensitive to things in nature. Spend years in getting ready.

If you are not going to get a thrill, how can you give someone else one? You must feel the beauty of the thing before you start.

Put off finish as it takes a lifetime - wait until later to try to finish things - make a lot of starts.

Paint with freedom. It gives you more mastery of the nature of paint.

Have a much fun as you can and don't feel that the edge of your canvas confines you – let your vision go right on.

Keep this little canvas, it is a promise for the future. When I say "keep this canvas," I mean for the influence on yourself. When one does a good thing, it's well to keep it to show how foolish we are at other times.

In his attempt to develop the beauty he sees, the artist develops himself.

Be humble about it. Paint the color tones as they come against each other, and make them sing, vibrate. Don't ask me to look at those self-satisfied, pretty things.

Realize the value of putting down your first impression quickly.

Do studies, not pictures. Know when you are licked - start another. Be alive, stop when your interest is lost.
Swing a bigger brush – you don't know what you're missing.

There is an aesthetic excitement about painting which is one of the most beautiful experiences that can be. Put things down while you feel that joy.

Paint what you see, not what you know.

The ring, the call, the surprise, the shock that you have out-of-doors – be always looking for the unexpected in nature, do not settle to a formula.

Painting is just like making an after-dinner speech. If you want to be remembered, say one thing and stop.

To see things simply is the hardest thing in the world.

The successful painter is continually painting still life.

It is so much better to make a big thing out of a little subject than to make a little thing out of a big one.

Avoid distant views, paint objects close up. If the foreground is well done the distance will take care of itself.

We must all teach ourselves to be fine, to be poets.

Do not let it look as if you reasoned too much. Painting must be impulsive to be worth while.

The world is waiting for men with vision - it is not interested in mere pictures.

-on William Merritt Chase..._Chase used to say: "When you're looking at your canvas and worrying about it, try to think of your canvas as the reality and the model as the painted thing."

A Few Good Quotes

Still from Screentest Andy Warhol 1965

I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.

— Marcel Duchamp

Composition Juan Gris 1915

You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.
— Juan Gris

Hortense Valpincon Edgar Degas 1872

Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.
— Edgar Degas

Painting Time Tips

• Time spent in the studio is not ever wasted. “Bad” painting days are a requirement for good painting days.

• You know the old adage, 10 pennies make a dime, 10 dimes make a dollar…never discount small change and never discount small segments of time. Use 15 minutes when they are available, don’t waste them because you need an hour to get warmed up. Extended time is always better, of course, but find a way to work in little bits of time, sometimes that’s all you get.

• Don’t wait for an idea to go to your studio or work area. Go whether you have something cooking or not. Put paint on a brush, and move it around. Fooling around is not time wasted, it is play and it is important.

• Do not allow interruptions. Do not answer the phone or check email during painting time; it is too easy to get sucked away from the work. Stay focused during even (ESPECIALLY) if things are not going well.

• When possible, quit painting when things are going very well, you’ll want to return as soon as possible.

• Incorporate something related to your painting into everyday; spend 20 minutes with your visual journal, google an artist or museum.

• Create a schedule (required for this class) and stick to it. You make a choice and if you want your work to evolve you must commit to spending as many hours as possible doing it.

Last call to see
a great show!

If you happen to be in Washington DC soon do not miss the Stanley William Hayter Show at the National Gallery of Art. It is open until August 23, 2009.
From the National Gallery website:

Stanley William Hayter (1901–1988) has been widely celebrated for his influence on creative printmaking in America and Europe. This exhibition of approximately 55 of Hayter's most important prints is drawn primarily from the Gallery's holdings and the collection of Ruth Cole Kainen (widow of artist Jacob Kainen). The range of Hayter's work in the exhibition includes his early black-and-white surrealist engravings, outstanding examples of his technical innovations, unique proofs and color variations, late linear abstractions inspired by motion and mathematics, and fully worked copperplates and plaster casts, which he deemed artistic creations in their own right. The exhibition will also include a select group of prints by some of the best-known artists to work at his print workshop, Atelier 17, including Max Ernst, Joan MirĂ³, and Jackson Pollock.

Landscape Painters to Consider

A few landscape painters of interest:

Patenir, Joachim de, 1490-1524 early 16th century

Caspar David Friedrich 1774-1840 early 19th

Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890 late 19th

Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1847-1917 late 19th

Ferdinand Hodler, 1853-1918 late 19th

Marsden Hartley 1877-1943 eary-mid 20th

Oskar Kokoschka, 1886-1980 early 20th

Edwin Walter Dickinson, 1891-1978 eary-mid 20th

Richard Diebenkorn, 1922-1993 mid 20th

Fairfield Porter, 1907-1975 mid 20th

Louisa Matthiasdottir, 1917-2000 mid 20th

Alex Katz, 1927- mid 20th-now

Jane Freilicher, 1924- mid 20th-now

Neil G. Welliver, 1929-2005 mid-late 20th

Sylvia Plimack Mangold, 1938- late 20th-now

Rackstraw Downes, 1939- late 20th-now

Jake Berthot, 1938- mid 20th-now

Anselm Kiefer, 1945- late 20th-now

Albert York, 1928 late 20th-now

Joan Snyder, 1940- late 20th-now

Altoon Sultan, 1948- late 20th-now

Stuart Shils, 1954- late 20th-now

Catherine E. Murphy late 20th-now

George Nick, 1927- late 20th-now

Robert Berlind, 1938- late 20th-now

Lisa Sandhitz late 20th-now

John Dubrow late 20th-now

Doig, Peter, 1959- late 20th-now

Lois Dodd, 1927- mid 20th-now