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Established in 2008

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Interview With Canadian Artist Loretta Fasan

The work of the Canadian artist Loretta Fasan reminds us of the Renaissance paintings, incorporating glazzing techniques and depicting portraits characteristic of that period.

Her still lifes entice the viewer to imagine a story beyond the painting itself.
Loretta has kindly accepted to share her thoughts about her work and techniques, as well as the materials that she uses to accomplish her art.

TAI - How do you choose the colours for your monochromatic underpaintings ?

LF - When I decide to use a monochromatic underpainting for a face or skin tones in general, I usually lightly tone the canvas with a warmish color, such as burnt siena, or burnt umber.

Then I use raw umber, ultramarine blue, and black, plus white for the underpainting. Sometimes I add viridian green, if the skin color is going to be light or medium. I do this to counteract the orangey tones of the ground color, which still partly shows through, and to act as a contrast to the pinkish tones which will follow.

The hue of the underpainting colors can vary, somewhat, but it always basically consists of neutrals. The imprimatura can also be a cooler gray. I sometimes base the underpainting color on the subject, and technique ultimately used. If I am planning to use gold leaf, I may use a more intense reddish tone as an imprimatura, to compliment the gold. This red does not usually appear at all in the final work, except for small touches surrounding the gold leaf, but it definitely affects all of the color choices used in the course of the painting.

If I decide to do an underpainting for a still life, I basically use the same colors, without adding the green.

Do you buy your linen already primed, or do you apply the primer (gesso) yourself ?

I buy linen in pre-primed rolls. When working with acrylic primed linen, I add a layer of gesso. I have discovered a compromise that works for me, since I like the strength of the medium grain acrylic-primed linen, but I prefer a smoother surface.

I smooth the surface by adding a layer of gesso using a large palette knife to spread a very light layer of gesso, skimming across the surface weave. This deposits a thin layer of gesso into the crevices of the linen, while avoiding a build-up on the top. I have to work very quickly to blend it because the gesso dries fast. After sanding with fine sandpaper, a smoother surface is achieved with a bit of the weave still visible, while retaining the strength of the thicker linen.

Do you usually use acrylic or oil primed surfaces ?

I have recently bought some oil-primed linen panels, and I plan to try them out.

Have you tried other supports, such as copper ?
If so, how did you prepare them and how satisfied you were with the result ?

I have not used copper, but I have used masonite and wooden panels. I like the smoothness, and the hard support, especially if I am adding texture, or gold leaf.

Do you make a previous study, or do you draw directly onn the support that you are going to paint on ?

I do a very basic drawing just to place the elements, but since I usually work on a somewhat large scale, I find that the proportions and placement have to be changed anyway, so I end up changing a lot of elements on the canvas. I also like to allow for "surprises" or unexpected additions at the end. These touches can end up adding a lot of interest to the final piece.

What is the importance of drawing for you and for your kind of work ?

In the past, I tended to only do drawings, because I felt somewhat intimidated to start paintings . One day, I just decided to just start painting without any preliminary drawings for a while, to get over my anxiety. At this time, I started to incorporate elaborate pattern, and since I was working lifesize, it became impractical to attempt to do a drawing of the whole painting in advance. If I used gold leaf, for example, I had to apply it in the beginning, and work the rest of the painting around it.

I have sanded off, covered, and changed sections of what seemed to be finished portions of the painting, if the final effect required it. I think this adds a lot of richness at the end.

Do you use stand oil by itself or do you also mix it with another medium, such as an alkyd, or eventually with turpentine ?

I mix stand oil with 50% turpentine. I haven't added anything other medium to it so far. I have Venice turpentine, and I plan try to add it in the final layers. I have started using alkyds for the underpainting only, because they dry fast, add body to the final paint film, and can be used to affect oil glazes which are added [see painting underneath].

What role does trump l'oeil plays in your line of work ?

So far, I think I have used trompe l'oeil in a unique, and unexpected way. I have use elements of trompe l'oeil to change the context of the painting, to make some areas appear floating or glued on, or to go from 3-dimensional to flat. Sometimes this breaks the implied realistic illusion, and creates a new illusion.

Which are the positive aspects that glazzing lends to your paintings ?

Glazing allows me to add depth to color or shadows, or to modify a color. I add shadows to the beadwork, for example, at the end, only with a transparent glaze. I also add glazing to the lips and hair.

Of which colours is made your usual palette and which other ones you find yourself reaching for on a regular basis ?

My skin tones are usually composed of: raw umber, burnt umber, terra rosa, yellow ochre, raw siena, ivory black, flake or cremnitz white, alizarin crimson, Indian red, and viridian green. It sounds like a lot of colors, but I don't always use all of them. I just like to have them on the palette.

I might end up using some spare skin tone on the hair, or background. I make warm and cool color strings from these colors. I also use ultramarine blue, transparent red oxide, red and yellow cadmium in my work. I love the quinacridone colors for flowers. I have tried to use it lightly in backgrounds.

Since the internet has taken over as the main showcase for art, one result is that some paintings which are quite strongly colorful, yet appealing when when viewed in person, can appear "loud" or garish on the internet. This is especially the case when primary colors are used. Monitors can show colors differently, and no camera can see into shadows, or react to color as a person can.

Tell us about your favourite brushes (kind, shape and sizes) and in which stages/parts of your work you use them.

I use both bristle and synthetic sable-type brushes. My favorite shape is filbert. I also use flat bristle brushes for laying in colors quickly. I sometimes use a semi-stiff large sable to blend on the neck, shoulders, etc. I use filberts on the face and figure.

If the face is life-size, I use medium-sized filberts for the main areas, and smaller brushes for the eyes, and nose, etc. I try to lay in the brush strokes in all directions, but I end up with vertical strokes at the end. I use a large fan-shaped synthetic sable to lightly stroke down to get rid of directional ridges which tend to catch the light, and are distracting.

I sometimes use a splayed-out sable to lightly add blush in a random way, to the lips, nose or cheeks. I use various sizes, from large to very tiny. I also use fan-shaped bristle brushes for the background or sky.

Can you tell us what kind of frames go well with your painting stlye and subjects ?

I have used all kinds of frames, from elaborate to real antiques, brushed steel, and even found frames which I have worked on, including recycled objects used as frames. I have 2 Renaissance-style frames recycled from the speaker fronts of a vintage TV found in a barn! [jpg of this frame included in email] I like to buy frames, and have them on hand, then, as I work on the paintings, I can test how they will look in the frames. Sometimes, you can find great frames in very large sizes at home decor stores. Unique hand-finished styles. They usually come with mirrors in them, but are of the same quality as the more expensive custom frames sold in framing stores. I have tended to choose well-made solid, classic frames, which are suitable to various types of decor. I do tend to prefer linen liners, which almost always seem to enhance the look of the painting. Linen liners set the painting apart from the frame, and give it breathing space. Without liners, frames can cast shadows onto the painting, and sometimes appear to confine the painting.

How would you define your work and how has your art evolved to reach this stage ?

My painting style and subject matter is evolving. I will describe what I've tried to do so far. My goal was to create a sense of richness and impact creating female faces as icons, while incorporating a strong graphic aspect.

I was attracted to pattern, decoration, and flatness, and at the same time, to certain aspects of realism. I have been working to combine all of this , and, recently, to get the rich colorful elements to also appear worn, and aged. There is an element of trompe l'oeil, also. Parts of the figure can appear to flatten, and the background goes from atmospheric to a texture with folds. I tend keep the mood of the paintings positive, even if there is a moody element. I am inspired by many artists, both past and present. Currently, I am reducing the scale of the imagery away from lifesize, to allow for complete figures, and more of the surrounding space. [Detail from Quiet Girl (underneath); Titania; Example of trompe l'oeil; Quiet Girl ]

Do you accept commissions ?

I have done some commissions in the past. It would depend on the individual proposal. Obviously, I would prefer to work on a project that would suit my style.

Are you available for workshops or painting lessons, if someone should be interested in learning more with you ?

I would be available for workshops, to explain fundamentals, or metal-leaf technique.

Are there any planned exhibitions for the near future ?

At the moment, I have many paintings-in-progress that are at the 70-80 % finished stage, which I need to complete. I would like to have a decent body of finished, framed work put aside, so I don't feel pressured to complete work specifically for a show. Many galleries have closed, including some in which my work has been shown. I will use the internet to show my work for now, and will probably enter my work in some group shows.

"Living in the Past"

Loretta Fasan owns a Fine Arts degree from Concordia Univertisty.
After working commercially with airbrush for years, she decided to go back to oil painting, and took the time to develop a personal painting style, in between working on music recording.Since 1995 her work has been exhibited in galeries, cultural centers, and small museums in group and solo shows in Canada and the US.
Her paintings have been featured for several years on PBS television, and are in private collections in Europe, Africa, Canada, and the US. She has received 2 honorable mentions from the Quebec Association of Illustrators, and has completed commissions for individuals and for public spaces, she is currently working on a series of paintings of women in mythology.

You can also read Loretta's blog, where you can follow the different stages of her paintings and her artistic career.


Example of trompe l'oeil

"The Quiet Girl"

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Alexandre Cabanel, la tradition du beau" Musée Fabre, Montpellier

Born in September 28, 1823 in the city of Montpellier, in a modest family and son of a joiner, Alexandre Cabanel attends the free drawing school as it is usual among the artisans families.

Exceptionally talented, he travels to Paris with a scholarship and enters the École des Beaux Arts in 1840, while at the same time attends the studio of François-Édouard Picot, a former student of Jean Louis David.

After two recognized works, "Cincinnatus recevant les ambassadeurs de Rome" (Cincinnatus Receiving Deputies of the Senate), 1843 and "Le Christ au Jardin des Oliviers" (1844), he enters the Salon for the first time in 1844 and wins the Prix de Rome in 1845 with the painting "Jésus dans le Prétoire".

In 1846, Cabanel enters the French Academy in Rome, located in the Villa Medicis, where he meets former laureates, including Barrias, Biennoury, Dammery, Cavelier and Guillaume.

In 1855, he wins the medal of first class at the Universal Exhibition, in Paris.
In the same year, Cabanel is honoured with the Cross of the Legion of Honour and receives a commission by the French State to paint a Louis XIII and a Richelieu for the Senate.

With "La Veuve du Maître de la Chapelle", the Salon of 1959 marks an attempt to reach a wider public and the artist, who's work is influenced by his stay in Italy, essays other themes besides the historic ones , namely landscapes and everyday life scenes.

In 1861, the Napoléon III acquires his painting "Nymphe enlevée par un satyre" (1860) and "La Naissance de Vénus" in 1863 at the Salon, where the painting obtained notable recognition by the public and art critics.

Cabanel is elected a member of the Institute in 1863 and appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in the same year, later winning the Grande Médaille d'Honneur in the Salons of 1865, 1867, and 1878.

During all these years, Alexandre Cabanel is also commissioned to paint the decors of l'Hôtel de Ville de Paris in 1852, and of the private owned hotels of Pereire and Say (owned by J.P. Morgan since 1916)

The artist has also established his own atelier, which from 1864 until the time of his death in January 23, 1889, was attended by near 600 students.
Curated by Michel Hilaire and Sylvain Amic, the exhibition "Alexandre Cabanel, la tradition du beau" at the Musée Fabre (Montpellier, France) can be visited until December 5, 2010.
After which will be taken to the Walraff-Richartz Museum in Cologne, Germany, between February 4, 2011 and May 15, 2011.

Découvrez Rétrospective Alexandre Cabanel au Musée Fabre sur Culturebox !

Victor Willing (1928-1988): A Retrospective - Casa das Histórias Paula Rego

The museum Casa das Histórias Paula Rego will present from September 9, 2010 through January 2, 2011, a retrospective of the artist and art critique Victor Willing (1928 - 1988), who played a prominent role at the Slade School of Fine Art.
Curated by Hellmut Wohl, the exhibition will be comprised of near 80 paintings including those belonging to the museum's collection, lent by his wife Paula Rego, and others loaned by the Arts Council Collection (Southbank Centre), the Pallant House Gallery, Tate Gallery and others.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo - Restoration is Completed

After an eight year restoration period and $10 million dollars, The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo is set to reopen again to the public in September.
Considered the world's largest museum devoted to islamic art, it gathers an impressive number of works of art and artifacts, including what is believed to be the oldest existant example of Islamic Dinar, a gold coin dating from 697, less than 70 years after the death of Mohammed, rare manuscripts of the Koran and Ottoman-era ceramics.
Around 2500 pieces will be in exhibition from the approximately 100000 of the museum's collection.
The Art Inquirer could not find a working link to The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, but will keep its readers informed as soon as more news become available.
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Attract More Customers and Artists to Your Art Supply Store

The business of selling art supplies cannot rely exclusively on selling, a continuous interaction with the customers, namely artists, is important for its success.
Besides offering a good selection of art materials and providing proper information, there are other ways to attract and keep customers.
The Art Inquirer suggests an ongoing event that will return positive results in the short, medium and long terms for both parties: offering artists the opportunity to exhibit their art.
If your art store has enough space, you can randomly select a customer (or more if you wish) with available work for exhibition.
This service should be made known through several media, which can include a board inside the store, leaflets and newsletters, so that those interested may sign up for it.
The selection can be made monthly and the selected artist(s) can exhibit on the next month, as to give time to prepare the exhibition and disclose it to the public.
Artists should not be chosen according to the amount of spending of by any other facts based on their income of financial capabilities.
The Art Inquirer believes that this can result in attracting new customers and keeping the same, while at same time it lends recognition to the business through its support to the arts.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gian Bernini - The Art and Life of a Sculptor (Part Six)

If you wish, you can watch the previous episode, or go directly to the first one.
Subscribe the free newsletter and never miss another episode of this series and others that will follow, as well as interesting articles and relevant news for artists and art collectors.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Giorgio Morandi et l'abstraction du réel - Hotêl des Arts (Toulon, France)

Located in Toulon, France, the Hôtel des Arts exhibits a selection of over 40 works by Giorgio Morandi.
Curated by Laura Mattioli, the exhibition includes drawings, engravings, oils and watercolours, with a special focus on flowers arrangements, where is noticeable the importance of geometry in his compositions. Morandi used to say "la geómetrie explique presque tout".
The exhibition invites the visitor to apprehend how the artist captured reality through the abstraction of its elements.

Born in Bologne, 1890, Giorgio Morandi is influenced by Cézanne and has great admiration for Chardin, Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello and Masaccio.
His paintings, which can be considered as reality with strokes of abstraction, often show a limited palette of natural colours based on beiges and ochres, presenting earthy tones.
Between 1907 and 1913 he studies at the Academie of Fine Arts (Bologna) and in 1910 he sets an atelier in his apartment in la via Fondazza, 36, where he lives with his mother and three sisters, Anna, Dina and Maria Teresa.
During the Summer they would stay in Grizzana, in the Apennins.
Morandi had lost his brother Giuseppe in 1902 and his father in 1909, but his mother made all the efforts to make sure that he'd have a propper education and Morandi proved to be up to expectations.
Later in 1926, one of his paintings is acquired by Mussolini at the Primo Novecento Exhibition (Milan) and in the same year, around ten prints are bought by the state when of the Venice Biennial.
In 1930 Morandi is appointed professor of the Fine Arts Academie of Bologna, a post that he exercises until 1956.
One year later, in 1931, he's part of the comite of the Quadriennale of National Art in Rome and in 1939 (third quadriennale) he sees fifty of this works exhibited and wins the second prize.
Giorgio Morandi wins the first prize in the Venice Biennale of 1948 and in 1951 he exhibits in the first Biennial of S. Paulo (Brazil), winning the first prize in the IV one.
He passed away on the 18th of June, 1964, in the city of Bologna.
The Giorgio Morandi et l'abstraction do réel exhibition (watch a video) can be visited until September 26, 2010, from Tuesday through Sunday (except holidays) between 10h00 and 18h00.
Admitance is free.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pablo Picasso's Guernica in 3D

Created by Lena Gieseke, this 3D animation of the famous painting Guernica, Created by Pablo Picasso, invites the viewer to immerse through the several elements of the painting and interpret the artist's intentions when he created this work.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Uma Aventura no Alentejo" - A Cartoon Exhibition Presented by FECO Portugal

Organized by FECO Portugal and the City Hall of Moura in Alentejo, the exhibition "Uma Aventura no Alentejo" (An Adventure in Alentejo) will be composed of 19 works especially created for its theme, which is related to the region of Alentejo, located in the South of Portugal and often an object of jokes.

The opening will take place on August 14 (18h00) in the Conservatório Regional do Baixo Alentejo - Secção de Moura, Rua da República, 31 (República St. n.31, in Moura, Alentejo)
At 20h00 there will be a dinner reserved to the authors and their companies and between 21h00 and 23h00, a live drawing session with caricatures and autographs will be presented by the artists in the patio of the "Ao Sabor da Leitura" bookstore.

The Cartoon exhibition "Uma Aventura no Alentejo" will run until August 29, 2010, and will show the cartoons created by the following artists: Álvaro, Luís Afonso, Belisário, Derradé, Pedro Alves, Nuno Duarte, César Évora, Hermínio Felizardo, Pedro Ribeiro Ferreira, João Vasco Leal, Petra Marcos, André Oliveira, Zé Oliveira, Andreia Rechena, Carlos Rico, RoD!, Mário Teixeira, Varella e Eduardo Welsh.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2010 Pastel 100 Competition

The entries for the 12th annual edition of the Pastel 100 competition are open until September 1, 2010.
Considered one of the most important art competitions worldwide for those working with soft pastels, The Pastel 100 is divided in five categories: Abstract/Non-Objective, Animal/Wildlife, Landscape/Interior, Portrait/Figure, and Still Life/Floral.
Opened to all artists worldwide with 16 years of age or older, the competition features a total amount of prizes in the aproximate value of $13,000 in cash, art materials for the winners and honourable mentions.
Artists can enter as many works and categories as they wish, as long as they pay the respective fees. Submissions can be made online or by mail, not forgeting that entries must be postmarked no later than September 1, 2010.
Read the submission guidelines carefully, especially those related to the work specifications and its presentation, since failing one of those can void your participation.
All top prize winners and place winners of the 12th Pastel 100 Annual Competition will receive features in April 2011 issue of The Pastel Journal, including an image and information about their paintings.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alcarte 2010 - Alcochete em Festa

Included in the celebrations of the municipality of Alcochete (Festas do Barrete Verde e das Salinas), the City Hall of Alcochete will inaugurate the colective exhibition Alcarte 2010 - Alcochete em Festa.

The opening will take place on August 6 in the City Hall's Gallery at 19h30 and will show the works from 22 artists.

The exhibition will continue until August 31, 2010.