Exhibition Opening & Live Painting Demo with Valerio D’Ospina and Greg Gandy

A huge thank you to everyone who came out last night to the incredible opening reception for our current exhibition, a dynamic two-man show featuring Valerio D’Ospina and Greg Gandy!We were also incredibly honored to host a live painting demo with Valerio this afternoon! It was so exciting to see such a unique, energetic style of painting forming a finished artwork right in front of our eyes! With such a vigorous painter, though, we had to set up carefully– and warn the guests about the “splash zone”!

Thank you to everyone who attended today, and to those who watched our live stream of the event via our YouTube channel! From the first confident, gestural strokes, it was clear this was going to be a painting full of the classic Valerio D’Ospina energy and movement!

And the finished product is now drying here at the gallery, but it is available for purchase, along with the many other excellent works from the two-person exhibition! If you haven’t yet, be sure to check it out on our website or better yet, stop by in person to take in all the dazzling detail!

We’ll be having another opening reception and live painting demonstration next month with figurative artist Casey Childs. Don’t miss another one of our exciting events! Make sure you’re on our mailing list, email us at info@principlegallery.com to sign up for text alerts, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news and announcements!

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Robert Liberace: The “Living Master”

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The Studio of Robert Liberace

As an artist, Robert Liberace expresses the human body in way that would make the Old Masters proud. His interest in art history, anatomy, and technique are so obviously presented in his work. However, his artistic talent isn’t the only skill that has encouraged the title “living master.” Liberace is also a fantastic and world renowned art instructor. He captivates his students with his insightful lessons and valuable pieces of advice. He refers to individual muscles by name as he captures them on the canvas. He is absolutely adored by art students and art lovers from around the world.

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Robert Liberace’s Live Painting Demo, August 2017

We were able to witness, first hand, the immense following Liberace has established for himself when he presented a Live Painting Demonstration, last Friday in the gallery. We welcomed a young woman named Shelly, who had never modeled before, to be the artists subject. Liberace set up his easel, prepared his paints, then began his creative process. He had Shelly move into a few different poses until he found the perfect one. As the night progressed Shelly’s features became more and more prominent on the canvas.

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Start of Demo

 

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After the first fifteen minutes

 

 

 

 

 

Shelly’s defined jawline and beautiful hair became recognizable in less than fifteen minutes. Another noteworthy feature of Shelly was her well applied makeup. She wore a combination of shimmered eye shadows and completed her look with a dark purple lipstick. Such a look was definitely something new for the artist, but it was something he didn’t shy away from. Liberace grabbed a thinner brush to express her eye makeup and the deep purple color of her lipstick. He matched the color perfectly. DSC_0146

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The crowd watched as the artist developed a spectacular piece and led them through his process. Liberace engaged with his audience by describing the materials he used, how to create certain details, and how to paint the human body.

Meanwhile, other guests mingled, enjoyed the refreshments, and took in the incredible new exhibition featured in the front room of the gallery. Live painting demonstrations are such fun and exciting events, and we encourage anyone in the area to come and join us when we’re able to host them! Mark your calendars, because next month, after the opening of the two person exhibition for Valerio D’Ospina and Greg Gandy, Valerio will be treating us to a live painting demonstration on Saturday afternoon, September 23rd, from 1-4 PM!

To check out a time-lapse video of the Robert Liberace demonstration, check out our latest upload on YouTube here!

If you can, do stop by the gallery in the next couple of weeks to see the Robert Liberace exhibition– his works are just breathtaking in person! To make sure you’re up to date on all the latest news about exhibitions and events at the gallery, like live painting demonstrations, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter by filling in the “contact” form on our website here!

Technique Tuesdays: Jeremy Mann Cityscape Compositions

Technique Tuesday Mann Compositions

Welcome back to Technique Tuesdays! First of all, on behalf of all of us at the gallery, allow me to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who attended this past weekend’s opening for Jeremy Mann’s exhibition, as well as the live painting demonstration–especially to Jeremy, for being so kind as to treat us all to that live demonstration!

In just about an hour and a half, Jeremy created before our eyes one of his cityscape compositions. These compositions are typically done in just one or two colors (in this case, black paint and some Prussian blue) and, while Jeremy does consider these to be finished works in and of themselves, they are also a glimpse for the rest of us at exactly what the first stage of his more detailed and colorful cityscapes entails. Each time he paints one of these detailed, colorful cityscapes, Jeremy begins by creating the composition. It was such a thrill to watch how he does it!

Jeremy started with a prepared panel covered in acrylic gesso. This type of gesso is more absorbent than oil gesso, and is Jeremy’s preference for this type of painting. In appearance, this beginning panel was smooth and white.

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Initially, Jeremy used a measuring tape and some translucent emulsifier called Liquin on a squeegee to mark his horizon line and help him mark out the general shape of the composition. Next, large blocks of paint were laid onto the panel using an ink brayer, typically a tool used in printmaking.

The method which he then used to create the different values, and therefore shapes in the composition, is called the “reductive” or “subtractive” technique. Rather than creating value and shapes by adding paint in varying amounts and colors, Jeremy rolls paint onto the canvas and adjusts the value by removing a certain amount of that paint. He does this in a variety of ways. Using a myriad of tools, including squeegees, paper towels, a silicone nib, and his own fingers, Jeremy lifts the paint back off of the panel in varying degrees. If there is an area that he wishes to lift the paint to a more extreme degree, sometimes he employs the use of turpenoid or liquin. Interestingly, no paintbrushes are used at all in the creation of his compositions. In the case of one of his more detailed and colorful cityscapes, paintbrushes are not even used until the final phase!

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The resulting cityscape compositions that Jeremy creates are truly incredible. The movement, harmony of composition, dynamic variations in value, and the elegant simplicity and effectiveness of his bold mark making all serve to create a stunning finished product.

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Technique Tuesday: Nocturne

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What is it?

Simply put, a nocturne is a painting of a night scene. James Abbott McNeill Whistler was the first to apply the term to paintings (it is originally a descriptor of a piece of music whose composition is evocative of nighttime) and in art circles, the word has come to refer to any scene that depicts the landscape or subjects as they appear during twilight or the darkness of nighttime.

Examples from art history:

Whistler may have been the first to apply the term “nocturne” to paintings, and he did go on to paint a beautiful series of nocturnes in the nineteenth century, but he’s certainly not the first to paint a night scene! Artists during the early Renaissance began to use night scenes to depict Biblical scenes, and by the 16th and 17th centuries, the practice had broadened to include painting a large variety of subject matter in a nighttime light. One notable example is Rembrandt van Rijn’s masterpiece, “The Night Watch.” Rembrandt was among the first artists to paint night scenes on a regular basis, and “The Night Watch” was particularly celebrated for its colossal size (nearly 12 x 15 feet!) and its unusual depiction of a military portrait. Many artists throughout the centuries have continued to paint night scenes, enjoying the challenge it brings as well as the evocative mood set by the lighting.

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(left to right) James Abbott McNeill Whistler, “Nocturne in Black and Gold” 1874; Rembrandt van Rijn, “The Night Watch” 1642; Vincent Van Gogh, “Cafe Terrace at Night” 1888; Edward Robert Hughes, “Midsummer Eve” 1908

 

Examples from Principle Gallery:

We at Principle Gallery show many different artists who are incredibly talented at painting night scenes, and some who paint them quite often! Here’s a collage of crops of some of the fantastic nocturnes at the gallery:

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(top left to right) Gavin Glakas, “Firelight Sonata”; Bethanne Kinsella Cople, “By the Light of the Moon”; Nancy Bush, “Rising Moon”; (bottom left to right) Nobuhito Tanaka, “In the Rain”; Louise Fenne, “The Coming of Spring”; Gavin Glakas, “Night in Seravezza”

One of the undisputed masters of the night scene, Jeremy Mann, will be featured in an upcoming solo exhibition that opens here on November 13th, followed by a live cityscape painting demonstration in the gallery on November 14th from 1-4PM! We can hardly contain our excitement over the exhibition and the demonstration, and that excitement is only growing as we receive more images of the 35 brand new paintings (both cityscapes and figurative works) that will be part of the show! Here are just a couple of fantastic examples of what Jeremy can do with a night scene:

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Jeremy Mann, “Yellow Night Above San Francisco”

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Jeremy Mann, “Black Scarlet”

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Jeremy Mann, “NYC 17”

Stay tuned as the show approaches for more sneak peeks at the paintings from the exhibition! And if you’d like to be put on the list to receive a full digital preview of the show, just send us an email at info@principlegallery.com!

Technique Tuesday: Egg Tempera

Technique Tuesday egg tempera

What is it?

Last week, we took a look at oil paints and acrylic paints, but this week’s topic is a painting medium that predates both of them–egg tempera. Egg tempera is an ancient type of paint that is made by mixing powdered dry pigments with egg yolk as a binder, and typically with another ingredient like water, vinegar, or wine added to prevent cracking of the applied paint.

Examples from art history:

Examples of egg tempera painting can be found as far back as ancient Egyptian sarcophagi decorations and ancient cave paintings in India. Egg tempera was occasionally used alongside another method of painting known as encaustic (paint made from pigment and hot beeswax) and eventually took the place of encaustic painting as the preferred medium for panel paintings and illuminated manuscripts. By the beginning of the Renaissance, it was the primary painting medium for nearly all fine art painters. It was at the height of the Renaissance when oil paints began to take over as the preferred painting medium, for many reasons. Oil paint is slow drying, which means that it allows the artist a lot more control in blending colors and creating a three-dimensional appearance to forms. Oil paint also often has a thicker, more glowing color to it than egg tempera, and is more flexible as well. Egg tempera has its own charms, however–it is non toxic, water soluble, permanent, and will not yellow over time– and it made a comeback in popularity in the 20th century with great artists like Andrew Wyeth and Thomas Hart Benton dabbling in the medium again.

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(top left) “Judgment of Osiris,” tempera on papyrus, 1285 BC ; (top right) Michelangelo, “The Holy Family,” tempera on panel, 1507; (bottom left) Sandro Botticelli, “The Birth of Venus,” tempera on panel, 1480s; (bottom right) Andrew Wyeth, “Christina’s World”, tempera on panel, 1948

Examples from Principle Gallery:

The vast majority of our artists here at Principle Gallery choose to work with oil paints, but we do have one artist who prefers and regularly paints with egg tempera. Scottish-born artist Colin Fraser mastered many mediums, including oil paint, before deciding that egg tempera suited him best. Colin paints delicate, exquisitely beautiful still lifes, as well as some landscape and figurative works, and he uses the unique qualities of egg tempera paint to help him achieve the incredible brilliant luminosity of the colors in these paintings. Egg tempera is a type of paint that must be applied in thin, small brushstrokes and the layers and colors built up very carefully, so it is astonishing to see what Colin has achieved with this medium. We are thrilled that Colin himself will be joining us for the opening of his solo exhibition here on Friday, October 16th as well as Saturday, October 17th for a live egg tempera painting demonstration! Here’s a sneak peek at some of the incredible egg tempera works from Colin’s show. If you’d like to receive a digital preview of Colin’s exhibition, just send us an email at info@principlegallery.com!

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Colin Fraser, “Halo,” egg tempera on panel

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Colin Fraser, “West Coast,” egg tempera on panel

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Colin Fraser, “Whitespace,” egg tempera on panel

Technique Tuesday: Oil vs. Acrylic

Technique Tuesday oil acrylic

Today’s Technique Tuesday topic is often a hotly debated one in the art world; many artists and art appreciators have very strong feeling one way or another about the type of paint they prefer between oil and acrylic. Before we get into this discussion, then, let’s get one thing very clear.

Great art is not all about what you paint with. It’s about how you paint with it.

In this post, we’ll just be talking about the practical differences between each medium, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. As with many things, this choice is often going to come down to the personal preference of the artist. What’s “best” is often just a matter of opinion. There are a wide variety of materials to use to create art, but when it comes to creating relatively opaque paintings (as opposed to the more translucent effect of watercolor), today’s most popular paints to use are oil and acrylic.

The basics: oil paints consist of pigment suspended in an oil, usually linseed oil, where acrylic paints suspend pigment in acrylic polymer emulsion. Oil paints date back quite a ways, but they really became popular during the height of the Renaissance. Acrylic paints, on the other hand, only came onto the scene around 1934! Their popularity began to really increase in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

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(left to right) Andy Warhol, “Big Campbell’s Soup Can 19c” (1962), David Hockney, “A Bigger Splash” (1967) Mark Rothko, “Untitled” (1969)

Versatility: Acrylic paints take the upper hand in this category. Although they can be used straight from the tube, acrylic paints are also water soluble, and depending on how much water is used, acrylic paint can be applied to appear very similar to watercolor, very similar to oil paints, or even just take on qualities unique to acrylic alone. Acrylic can also easily be used on virtually any kind of surface, and unlike oil paints which possess a natural corrosive nature, the surface does not need to be treated beforehand to protect it. Oil paint has its own range of versatility, certainly, but it’s just not quite as wide as that of acrylic paint.

Drying Time: Acrylic paint dries a lot more quickly than oil paint, and depending on how the artist likes to work, this can be a great advantage or an obstacle. Oil paints can be applied to an artist’s palette and dipped into for hours, even days, as the medium stays soft and pliable. Acrylic paint will dry very quickly on a palette, often before the artist even has a chance to use as much of it as they wanted to! This requires more frequent application from tube to palette, and sometimes a waste of paint. When it comes to applying the paint onto the painting surface, whether or not it quick drying is desired comes down to an artist’s preference. Oil paints give an artist more flexibility for taking their time to create a work, including taking breaks and coming back to it and still being able to manipulate the paint. If an artist is painting with oils in a technique called glazing, which involves building up paint in very thin layers, then the slow drying nature of oil paint can be a disadvantage since it requires much more time to complete the work, as they’re waiting for each layer to dry before continuing. Some artists prefer this time flexibility, and will choose to work on more than one painting at a time to accommodate for the drying time of each. With acrylic paints, however, thin layers, or “washes”, can be built up quite quickly, and layering paint becomes a much faster process. This does mean, though, that an artist must work quickly when blending paints on the surface itself, as acrylic paint doesn’t give much time for this.

Color shifting: Because of their composition, acrylics will dry slightly darker than they appear when first applied. This can be tough, especially with portraits or other compositions where getting the colors just exactly right is important to the artist. The artist may mix what appears to be the perfect color, only to find that when the binder in the acrylic paint dries, it turns from white to clear, and therefore the color darkens slightly. With some practice, artists can get used to this and adjust the mixed paint accordingly, knowing it will shift, but it is still rather inexact this way. Oil paint, on the other hand, has no immediate color shift. What you see when you’re painting is what you’ll get when it’s dry. The caveat here is: oil paint will maintain its color….for a time. Oil paints have a slight yellow tinge to them because of the oil, and with the passing of years, oxidation can cause the paint to take on a more yellowed effect (this does take quite a long time, though). This is just a characteristic of oil paints, and must be taken into account by users. Laboratory tests show a lot of promise for acrylic’s durability over a long stretch of time, but the catch is, they’ve been around less then a century. Time will tell whether they truly do last well, but all signs indicate that they will.

Flexibility: The drying time we discussed comes into play again when looking at flexibility of the paint. Acrylics dry much faster; this means that if an artist uses thick oil paint to create an impasto effect, even when the outer layer of paint has “cured” and is dry to the touch, the inner part of the thick paint strokes may still be somewhat wet. Improper consideration of drying times of the paint can lead to cracking in the paint’s surface over time (yikes), though these days artists have found that there are certain additives which can speed up paint drying time for oils and therefore help to avoid this. Acrylic is much more flexible, simply because of its composition, and has only been known to crack under extreme cold temperatures.

Safety: To spread the paint more easily on the painting surface and achieve the desired texture and drying time, oil paints are mixed with a solvent or resin. These materials are also used in the cleaning of the brushes. The most effective and traditional solvents are turpentine or white spirits, but these create heavy fumes, which are dangerous to breathe in. This danger can be offset with preparation and proper ventilation, or by using alternative thinning materials with less odor (although these can often be much less effective). Acrylic paints, on the other hand, are odorless and non-toxic, and can be thinned with water. A properly prepared artist can paint safely with either option, but they do need to be aware of the necessary precautions for painting with oils!

Examples from Principle Gallery:

In the last week, we’ve had three incredible events here at the gallery and we all got a chance to learn more about both oil and acrylic paints. Last Sunday, we welcomed artist GC Myers to the gallery for his annual artist talk, and learned some more about his process in creating his vibrantly colored acrylic landscape paintings. Acrylics are especially conducive to creating the bright, saturated colors seen in GC’s artworks, and we were thrilled to receive a large number of new work from him that day, all featuring these lovely vibrant colors. Here are a few cool examples, and you can check out the rest on our website here:

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GC Myers, “Seeker of Light”

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GC Myers, “Perpetua”

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GC Myers, “Floating Melody”

The other two events from this past week involved the opening of Casey Childs’ solo exhibition, “Observations.” Friday night, we held an opening reception for the incredible show, which features brand new oil paintings, alla prima oil sketches, and stunning charcoal drawings. We were so pleased to have Casey himself join us for the opening, not to mention come back the following afternoon to give a live oil painting demonstration in the gallery! We watched fascinated as in just over three hours, Casey painted a beautiful portrait from a live model. Check here to see Casey’s whole show, including these beauties:

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Casey Childs, “Girl with Braids”

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Casey Childs, “Henna”

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Casey Childs, “Repose(d)”

And here is a collage to show you the stages of painting during the amazing live painting demonstration! We hope to have many more live demonstrations during the Saturday after the opening of upcoming shows–keep an eye out for announcements!

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Casey Childs, “Portrait of Gail” during creation

Technique Tuesday: Pentimenti

Technique Tuesday pentimenti

What is it?

A pentimento (the plural is “pentimenti”) is an alteration in an artwork that becomes apparent by the marks and traces left behind from the artist’s original strokes. Although it is derived from the (you guessed it!) Italian word meaning “to repent,” it’s not quite accurate to call these marks mistakes. For a long time, artists took care to cover the changes they made to a painting and the pentimenti were only visible via infrared scans and X-rays. Take for example this image showing an X-ray of Netherlandish Renaissance painter Jan van Eyck’s famous “Arnolfini Wedding Portrait.”

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Jan van Eyck, “Arnolfini Wedding Portrait” with detail of X-ray

It becomes apparent that the artist originally depicted the hand in one position, later to change his mind and adjust the angle of the hand. From the surface of the finished painting, this isn’t a change we can observe. You might be surprised to learn how many times an X-ray or scan of a well known work has revealed a pentimento showing the artist changed his or her mind about the composition!

Examples from art history:

Until the more free and expressive artistic movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, artists kept this type of pentimento well concealed except for in preliminary sketches. You can see pentimenti evident in each of these drawings by famous artists:

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(left) Leonardo da Vinci sketch of a horse; (middle) Edgar Degas sketches of dancers; (right) Vincent van Gogh sketched self portrait

Paul Cezanne was among the first to actually embrace pentimenti as something more than just evidence of a work in progress; he began to deliberately include a lot of pentimenti in his drawings to enhance the expressive nature of a work, as well as the three dimensional appearance.

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Paul Cezanne, “The Artist’s Son Writing”

 

Examples from Principle Gallery:

As art has progressed and the realm of what is considered “proper” and “good” art has immeasurably broadened, pentimenti have evolved into an element that is often deliberately left in a finished work to add richness to it. One Principle Gallery artist who has mastered the use of pentimenti to add a sense of motion, expression, and visual interest to his work is the great Robert Liberace.

A locally based painter and painting teacher, Robert Liberace has been dubbed a “Living Master” for his incredible artworks, particularly his figurative paintings and portraits. Robert excels in portraying a figure in action, and his clever use of pentimenti heightens this effect. In the more active scenes, the lines of the pentimenti are particularly bold.

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Robert Liberace, “Throwing Figure” (left); “Study in Motion” (right)

Robert also varies his use of this technique, as sometimes it becomes very subtle so as to unobtrusively add to the sense of motion, as in the image on the left. Other times, he leaves the pentimenti highly visible but “unfinished” in the background to give a sense of time elapsing during a motion, as in the example on the right.

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Robert Liberace, “5th Circle” (left); “Telemon” (right)

We are thrilled to exhibit a large group of new works by Robert Liberace alongside his former student Teresa Oaxaca this month. In addition, following Teresa’s live painting demonstration on May 15th, we are so looking forward to another live demo as Robert Liberace paints a model live in the gallery on May 29th! Join us for the demonstration between 6 and 9 PM this coming Friday, and be sure to check out all of the new works in this exhibition on our website here!