2016 Jingle Bells
Hope you all had a good 2016, and it's time to ring out the old, ring in the new.
The new this time is that I spent that last year sculpting. I started with wood sculpting and then began to sculpt in wax to create bronze figures. The process to create a bronze sculpture is complex and is called the lost wax process as the wax figure melts away when the bronze is poured into the mold. One of my first wax pieces is the cat with kitten (see photo) and my first bronze sculpture is the turtle (also see photo). This little guy is about six inches in length and weighs about six pounds. Bronze is heavy! I'll be staying with sculpture for a while. It's a kick.
Hi All: It’s been a while, and I’m back at the easel again, so I want to share with you my new artwork! It’s been a lovely spring high up in the Pennsylvania hills overlooking the beautiful Delaware River. After kicking off the latest painting foray with a wonderful workshop with the artist Ephraim Rubenstein, exploring gouache painting at the Art Students’ League, inspiration is in high gear.
My latest artwork is of my birdy friends (see new drawings and paintings), along with the gouache still life. My whole philosophy of art is to paint my surroundings, always focusing on my present environment and finding the beauty and surprise in the ordinary, everyday reality. Since we feed the birds during the winter, and even have the chickadees eating the sunflower seeds from our hands, it’s great to see them in the spring and summer cavorting around the house. The phoebe couple has a nest under the deck and is presently raising a few chicks. Ah, the simple life in the country!
On another note, I continue to receive good comments on my “Cats Playing Pool” painting, which continues to be popular and my highest seller to date in the print market. In addition, I have high hopes that my “Catnip Dreams” will find a publisher some day (I’m also playing the lottery in case that doesn’t work out).
I hope you are all doing well.
Until the next time….
Where's my muse
Hi All: Art is a funny thing. Sometimes the muse is there and sometimes it’s not. For the past several months, the muse has been on vacation, and I’ve been searching up and down for the inspiration for my next series of paintings. Not that I’ve been idle in the meantime; I completed a portrait of my nephew Erik and finished a copy of a Vermeer. I’ve attempted abstract paintings and paintings based on Colorforms (remember Colorforms, they’re vinyl shapes that stick onto a black background). Nothing seemed to work.
Remembering the old adage, paint what’s around you, I looked around. In my studio, and for those who have visited know, there’s a tortoise that lives in the bathtub. Well, due to circumstances unknown, the number of turtles, small and large, have recently rapidly increased, and the place is now home to many, many turtles. So I started drawing turtles.
From my drawings of turtles, I created the series, “Voice of the Turtle.” It’s a series of simple, humorous cartoons of turtles handling life in NYC. The entire series can be found on www.fineartamerica.com or on my website, www.gailsgallery.com While my muse is still sailing around the world, it’s the best I can do.
Jingle bells, jingle bells…. Well, it’s holiday time again. All my paintings make lovely greeting cards. Visit www.fineartamerica.com if you are interested.
May 16, 2011
Spring is finally here. The daffodils are in bloom and the weather is warm.
This month, I've completed two new paintings. The first is another in the "Memories" series, "Remembrance of Times Past," and the most personal painting I have done to date.
The painting is based upon my visit last fall to Paris with my husband. I showed him the building where I had once lived for a bit in my twenties, 11 Rue Bude on Ile St. Louis. This painting memorializes that visit, with the past me (the remembrance) and the present me, with my arm around my memory of my younger self.
The second painting is another in the Magical Chair series, "On the Wild Side." A humorous compilation of Rousseau's jungle foliage and Renoir's child with giraffes (why not). Giraffes are funny.
Well, work is calling.... Until next month.
April 2011 update
As spring is trying to make an entrance, it's a time of new beginnings.
I received an offer I couldn't refuse and have returned to law for a six month gig. Not that painting is moving to the sidelines, just the off hours. I will maintain my studio space and will continue to paint.
The good news is I just sold a print of "Cats Playing Pool," which has been described as an "iconic image" in the vein of "Dogs Playing Poker." Also, my "Copenhagen Cafe" is now in a private collection in Connecticut. My newest completed painting is "At the Bar" (see New Artwork) and new paintings are underway.
March 3, 2011
This month, I was able to publish my newsletter on time. An excerpt is below. In addition, I have uploaded a new folder on this website, Anatomy of a Painting, where I describe the painting process and techniques used in "Loew's Paradise." I am also thinking about turning it into a short instructional video. Having been given a gift of a MacBook Air from my husband, I am astonished that it has so many features, one being iMovie. I published a short video, along with a trailer on YouTube, earlier this week, It seems to be a great vehicle to use in describing the artistic process. I'll give it a wing and see what happens
Excerpt from March newsletter:
February was a very busy month and March will continue that trend. I've scaled my hours back at the studio to work on my new project. New project you say? Yes, I am creating a non-profit program to address the plight of the senior professional artists in our communities. It is in the embryonic stage and requires a lot of research and planning. However, I am still painting.
My new painting is “A Little Bit Renoir.” I have entered into another contest on saatchionline.com. My last painting in that website's contest, “Loew's Paradise” came in 300 out of approximately 5,200. Not bad, but I still hoping for the number one spot. Voting starts on March 4th and, if you are so inclined, please register if you haven't already and vote for this painting.
Within the next week my website will soon include a new feature: anatomy of a painting. To further explain the process of painting, I will be including photos of the development of a painting so you will be able to see how a painting progresses from the initial brushwork through to completion. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to send me a note.
And, in adding to my art repertoire, I'm back into film and the video arts (I was a film major in college). My first completed videos are Viking Master 3000 (the trailer) and Viking Master 3000: The Movie. It's on YouTube and the link is:http://www.youtube.com/user/baddkatt1000.
February 12, 2011
Sometimes, enthusiasm inspires me to action. At the atelier where I paint, there is another artist who paints the most delightful and charming paintings I have ever seen. Some of the subjects are zebras, some are pears. I believe they need to be seen and the world is less colorful without them. To that end, I decided to be his artist representative and try to market the artwork. My target market are health care facilities. In doing research, I came across a number of consultants that market artwork to this segment. I am currently in process of contacting these consultants, and actually received my first "no." At least it's a start and an answer. Not perhaps the one I was seeking. Everything's a learning experience. As I said, one down, ten to go. Who said selling art was easy. If any readers of this blog know of any organizations/individuals for me to contact, let me know. To view this artwork, go to: http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/martin+silverstein/all
February 3, 2011
I sent out my February newsletter on time this month. I highlighted my two new paintings, Poe's House in Winter and Inga's House. They are both very different in technique and method. Poe's House in Winter continues my paint and scrape technique, as I mentioned earlier. Inga's House explores a different technique. I began, as I usually do, with painting the entire canvas in a neutral color of oil paint. This creates a ready surface on which to plan the painting without using an underlining drawing. The problem that I see with an under-drawing is that it locks me into a full contemplation of the painting prior to creating a dialogue with the canvas. The method I use is to cover the entire surface of the canvas with oil paint (neutral) and, dipping my brush into the turpenoid, I sketch out a quick outline of the scene that I want to paint. The outline is then created from the removal of oil paint. I can then view the image to see whether it will work on the canvas. If it doesn't, it is easy to correct by just painting over it with the same neutral color. Since oil paints take a long time to dry, I have enough time to do this, perhaps putting it aside for several days and then revisit the sketch.
With Inga's House, I had photographed the interior scene on my iPhone. Originally, the background was a beige neutral. I found that the original sketch worked and I set to work to paint the scene. My intent was to focus on the many different surfaces of the items in the image; the cool porcelain, the rough, cotton towels, the wood grain on the dresser. The painting seemed to flow out of me. However, the beige/yellow background color was not working; the coolness of the pitcher and bowl disappeared into the beige background. In a major shift, I readdressed the background and reworked a blue color, which solved the problem.
My next two paintings are already in progress... Magical Chair with Little Girl and Queens Tavern. More on these to come.
January 31, 2011
Over the weekend, I have been experimenting with glossy finishes. A fellow artist at the atelier has been using a technique of pouring glossy epoxy over two dimensional artwork to achieve a three dimensional effect. I think the results are outstanding. This method creates a depth of color and image that I haven't seen before. However, manipulating the epoxy is no easy task.
Two weeks ago, I tried to use an epoxy (system 3 mirror coat) that creates glossy finishes to wood, such as bar tops. I create a collage of a city skyline using colored tissue paper glued to wood and then poured epoxy over it. The epoxy was thick enough not to run beyond the sides of the wood, but was insufficient to cover the entire piece. I let that dry. The colors had turned darker, the various colors of the tissue paper melted into each other and created a lovely effect. However, the tissue paper, having a thickness, was not covered entirely by the epoxy. So, the following week, I added more paper on the wood and poured additional epoxy over it. This time the epoxy flowed over the edges of the work. I would need something to contain it. While I tried to solve that challenge, this weekend, I tried the epoxy on a small, flat, two dimensional acrylic painting with a different brand of epoxy (envirotex) as I used up the first brand in my two attempts. This new type dried fast, and I painted over it with more acrylic paint The paint dried and is now awaiting the second coat of epoxy. More to report on this after next weekend. When it's done, I'll add a pix to this gallery to show the finished artwork.
On another note: Over the summer, I had started an oil painting of an interior bar scene with a band playing in the background. I liked the play of the strange lights on the patrons in the foreground and the band in the background. However, I had a layout issue with what to put in the mid-ground. Well, problem solved. Last Friday, we sent to see a band in Queens at a tavern that had tables in front of the stage. I took some photos and now cannot wait to finish the painting.
That's all for now
January 26, 2011
This is as good a day as any to start a blog about my artwork. As usual, I am working on several paintings/series concurrently. First, I am continuing my Memories series, with my latest piece, Memories: Poe's House in Winter; and second, I am continuing the "Magical Chairs" series, that features that wonderful chair I found during our trip to Paris in October.
The genesis of the Memories series lies with my connecting with several former classmates from elementary school. Yes, PS 46 in the Bronx, New York. Conversations brought back memories that I had forgotten and memories that were not quite accurate. Because of these experiences, I thought it would be interesting to go back in time and paint some of the landmarks I knew so intimately as a younger person. The first landmark had to be the Loew's Paradise Theatre, on the Grand Concourse near Fordham Road. It was there that a school friend and I had tried to see Lawrence of Arabia (this is when it was originally released). The ticket teller refused to sell us tickets. We were "underage" for the movie, although we must have been around 15 at the time. The strange thing was the "adult" aspect of the movie would have been over our heads anyway; this was the mid-60s.
In painting "Loew's Paradise," I tried to reconnect with the structure and facade of the building. Thinking about the past, which is usually revisited through the screen of our minds that has transformed it many times over, I tried to evoke the sense of the Bronx at the time, a sense that it was the beginning of the downward slide, of a place that was strong and energetic decades ago and was slipping into old age.
Undertaking the project, I started with a true rendition of the structure, and built up the lights and darks and details. After a more or less faithful rendition, I started applying the oil paint in quick strokes with a palette knife, scraping off the excess. Using this method, I create a dialogue with the canvas. I decide on the color and shape; the canvas responds by grabbing the paint or releasing it. How do I know when it's finished? (That's a question I'm always asked.) I know the painting is complete when no additional brushwork will enhance it.
to be continued.