Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Break Point

"Break Point" a term in tennis, is used to describe when a player is one point away from a break in score. Lately this seems to sum up what I have been going through as an artist... work and work up to a important moment then start all over again. This month I present a drapery study painted in closed grisallie over about 40 hours worth of effort. While seeing plenty of room for improovement, I find this study as a significant example of many well orchestrated choices that have brought me to this "break point". The game is well in play, the score building but the match nowhere completed and it's still anybody's game. G.A.... making a point to take the break.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ups and downs

The last 3 months have been a rollercoaster of progress and failure which is a good thing- it means I am growing as an artist! In struggling with a full figure painting I fought to get something out of the work that was not working. Through embarrasing amounts of time of "no, that's not it... nope not that either" I took a break to watch a master painter work on the other side of the room. I watched closely trying to understand what she was doing, how and why and asked her questions every time she stopped for what I was not certain about. The next day I went back to my side of the room, took out a new panel and did a portrait as if I had been doing it for years. At the end of the session I went to get my glasses and came up on the panel thinking 'who's work is this?' As I stood in disbelief at the jewel before me (not even a done work with detail as I had no small brushes that day) I felt like I had gained ground in my uphill climb and was amazed at just what a difference one day with a master made for my own work- a much wiser choice to spend the day tring to listen then to try to speak. G.A. progressiong.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What a difference

So this is a progressive look at the evolution of a painting I did from a 7 session still life. The main point being (image #1) the drawing and layout, (image #2) the warm and cool with a massing of values,(image #3) the final stage with it's color and highlights. In the same breath I note the material and their importance being just as critical as the process of a well planned proceedure.

In the final of Raven's boots you can see that the colors have held strong, the shadows rich and the highlights setting up nicely without the thickness of putty paint. I contribute this to an accidental discovery of a more superior material I found in a discount remenant bin at New York Central art supplies. In conversation with fellow artists they suggested the material to be linen but I knew that the white back and weave told me this was not the source. This weekend I hunted the wonder material down to see what made such a difference to learn that it was a double lead primed portrait duct with a rabbit skin glue base- the way the masters used to do it... only they probably used linen. So although I haven't used the "cream of the crop" yet, I am glad that I am working large in studio (30x35 & 30 x60 currently) so I can get rid of all this yucky inferior product and get down to some real work on the weekends when I do my own studies! G.A looking at a new lead primed canvas on the easel... just across the room with hope for me yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An I for the eye

It has been an intense summer that I mark with printmaking and road trips. After completing 25 wood and lino blocks in the last 3 months, my 1st book of proofs (a 3 year project) is finished. I have already cut 25 pieces for the next book which I plan to theme as miniitures (4"x5" as the largest). I hope to acheive 50 proofs in a year. To balance the scales, drawing and painting goes to a larger size begining with 24"x "36", more than 2x the size I painted last year... stay tuned!
After visiting lighthouse # 9 this summer on record breaking heatwave, with a short tide table schedual down a 5 mile spit, I have determining that there will be one more road trip of the season before returning to studio. Poor weather is predicted for the weekend on the coast, it may proove to be a hopeless effort for lighthouse painting... but often the reward is not the painting but more the adventure. -G.A. packing that long sleeved white shirt and hat one more time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lost and found

Greetings art enthusiests,
Absence makes the heart grow fonder but right about now my loss is in time to commit to a serious project of lengthy significance. It is a summer of short studies and 'scaping with a theme toward lighthouses so here is my first study of the summer... in watercolor for irony.
G.A. checking the map to find the next destination.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Switching Gears

After having hung a couple of pieces in a local show last night this charcoal drawing "off center" seems appropriete to describe how I'm transitioning the change. I realize how quickly time is flying by and how much work that needs to be done this summer! I do have 2 companion pieces working on the easel (charcoal drawing and painting) of drapery study. I hope to have designed a printmaking project before the day's end so that I can begin to cut the substrate tomorrow. I find it best to have 3 or more things working at once.- G.A. heading to work at 6:30 a.m.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More is not always better

After just finishing 2 longer poses I was assessing the month's work. 8 pieces done in a one time effort which amounts to a little less than 2.5 hours per piece, one drawing done in about 25 hours and a painting I restarted and rushed through in about 30 hours. My favorites are the shorter works even though they are less developed. It seems my accuracy was better... didn't have the time to recall all of my old bad habits I suspect. G.A. taking a deep breath and gliding to the finish line.

Monday, May 3, 2010

If at 1st you don't succeed...

Welcome to the multiple model!

I have never been one to do an abundance of preliminary drawings or rough drafts when it comes to art making.

Yet last month I found myself doing 5 color studies of the model. They would start out as poster studies until I would loose sight of the "game plan" and end up with a "not quite right" mini study of the model. Seeing quality in the study I simply began again until I ended up with four 6x5 paintings and one 2.5x3 ATC... what the heck right? I won't mention the 2 composition studies, the value study, the seperate hand study and finally the grisallie. Anyway I think it is a good thing to rethink the revisiting of a subject in frequency when you are really trying to understand your efforts and study something from all angles. G.A.- happy to have a new model... no offense J.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Quality verses quanity

I have recently taken a step backwards in my artwork (in so many ways) and aquired a lesson in which to share. Long ago I was introduced to "better materials" and learned the hard way what an incredible improovement a good paintbrush or quality pencils can make. In many ways, 'You get what you pay for,' is a statement well worth its meaning. The down side to this is "sacred art" and the worthiness of working on better materials which can stiffle creativity but more importantly productivity.

Having said that I have a sketch group that meets 2 nights a week for 3 hours a night. In the course of that 3 hours, after 20 minute model breaks and 5 minutes between 20s, we have 34 poses in about 2 hours 15 minutes using 2 models; in otherwords WORK FAST! This translates to ripping through alot of paper so I invested in a cheap multimedia sketch book and work front and back 1/2 page. Because the 1st session of model pose is ten 2 minute poses, I sought to set up ten 1/2 pages so worked the fronts intending the backs to be the 2 minute poses. I did this with fast ink wash or watercolor sketches found anywhere. Point being made is working fast and cheap seems to have loosened me up to do less tedious work and get back to sketching... the creative process. Included are works from the book of 20 minutes or less. Enjoy! G.A.- back to it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


After working half day in studio on a portrait session, I planned 2nd half of day for landscape work and headed out to the lighthouse. It was heaven and a pleasure to be outdoors. I found a great place and managed to do a quick watercolor study onsite. The lamposts were leaning a good way more than I have here but in my haste it looks like everything is wobbly. Auh well that's why they call it a study. G.A. off to work on a still-life.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The natural fashion family

Meet Tangelo, Clementine's Italian cousin. Like his lighter petite relation, the big T is sporting foliage on a contrasting violet background. Just another organic study from a studious artist working every day I can. G.A. easeing towards the easel.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reaching back

I believe as an "artist in training" there are times that the assimilation of learning hasn't quite caught up with the dexterity of production. Our hearts and minds know how it should look (be rendered) but for some reason our hands (judgement) can't quite bridge the gap and it can be both frustrating and painfull. As I go through those slumps I recollect earlier works and see somehow that "not knowing all the rules" makes it easier to make art. Perhaps I got a good work (or something good about it) but is was more like luck or a good day as where, hopefully with this rigerous training, I will aquire the skills to have a repeatable regiment that allows me to produce more accurately more often. Since I have been working on longer span projects, I leave you with a gentle little half day pose done last month in studio. G.A. preparing for another weekend marathon of art making.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

1st thing's first

Despite the challenging week (and involuntary tour of 3 NYPDs) I managed to take in 3 exhibitions and some after class work this week. I found a new sketch group, that meet in the evenings, of which I hope to be able to share some of that work at a later date. Otherwise I had 3 attempts at outdoors work. One was the afternoon after the portrait session in which I spent (sun burn allowing time) painting a church only to have a Harlem resident park less that a foot from my face... totally blocking my view to enable me to finish the work... perhaps it was my frustration that got the best of me? I tried again that evening at another local without luck... the light had faded. This morning my 7 am session became a failure when 10 minutes into the painting again I was parked in front of despite the signs that read "Do not park. Keep Driveway clear." Yes friends I specifically picked this spot because of the signs but in my frustration, I dropped my water only to discover, in haste to catch the light, I had not brought backup! G.A.- wasting a georgous day as I paint indoors stearing clear of the... people that just don't care!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Survival and silver linings

So what is worse than getting caught in the rain without an umbrella? Being lost in a part of NYC (that you have never been) for hours, as you are ducking into doorways to dodge the 50 -70 MPH gusts of wind carrying umbrellas (scaffolding, road cones, garbage, small children...) ripped from the clutches of tourists and the weak the same day you learn your wallet is missing. Yes I am a Survivor of Soho (S.O.S.)AND the storm from hell! What is the silver lining? Well all those beautifull umbrellas lining the streets I found this morning in my (desperate) stroll through Harlem to look for my wallet -post aftermath. G.A.- seeing some serious sattire... somewhere???

Sunday, March 7, 2010

inspiration vacation

Greetings Art Enthusiasts,

I am returning from a week off of daily intensive studies via the studio with little to share of a visual nature... sorry but my self portraits and "secret squirel projects" are off limits to this blog. Still I did a work (often more than one) every day as not to be too far away from studies as a good artist should! I blame that on the record snowfall (more accumulated in one day that that of record breaking status, over 100 years ago) that began 10 days ago. I will say that I had a lot of inspiring experiences this week which I must pass on through my motto: "variety is the spice of life"

Most people vacation in the exotic dream worlds of the netherlands (cancun, paris, egypt... you know who you are!) but I learned long ago that if you can't find happiness in your own backyard, as an artist you will have a short shelf life. With that in mind I took a 10 day vacation with minimalism in mind. I sought out that which I have never experienced before... a new route I have never traveled (deeper into harlem by almost 100 streets) , a new color of paint I have never tried (king's blue) , a new substrate to paint on( gessoboard) , a new kind of cheese I have never tasted (honey goat) , a new bread I have never made (jalepeno to name just one of many) , a new museum I have never been into (American history) , a new piece of fruit I have never painted- with that I leave you not a terribly successfull study but an honest attempt of "Clementine." Enjoy!- G.A. back to the easel.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Theories in sarcasm

Greetings fellow art enthusiasts,

Thanks for taking time out of your precious lives to share a few artish things here at the gypsyartist blog. (Can you tell I just found my audience?) In light of this new discovery I thought I would share a new genre of my art that some of you may not be privy too... my sarcastic side. Allow me to introduce my graphic/comic side. I do pen and ink cells as a reflection of my life (in most cases) but since this is a public forum I will keep this entry as generic as possible... with that I introduce 2 cells. "Humpty was pushed" and "Humpty on crack". If nothing else I hope it curls those wicked corners of your mouth that allows you to sympathize with the funky logic I so clearly believe needs a devil's advocate. Enjoy! G.A, back out to the driven slush!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Clay verses plastic

Soon to start week 4 of the Ecoche', I thought it helpfull to enlighten some of you non techy types as to what this strange ritual might be. Imagine that you are building the human body... from the inside out! Yes weeks sculpting an oil base clay over a wire armature to create an anatomically correct skeleton- one bone at a time. Then think about creating the precise shapes of each muscle as you attach them to these bones. Yes we are learning all the names as well as the origin and insertion of all muscles. For somebody who has not had thier nose in an anatomy book, this is all latin... no really most of the names are latin, and the study is intense and exhausting to learn all of this but also to switch tracks from 2-D to 3-D artwork. Anyway here is my sculpture facing the skeleton... clay verses plastic. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

No idle hands

It has proven to be a very demanding week with no rest for the determined next week. Today is my first day off in a while so thus I bring you a detail from a study in graphite. Enjoy- GA in overdrive

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ICE-watercolor study

Never a dull moment in the big city! Today I thought to utilize the common space in my building so went to the roof top deck to do a watercolor study. The frustration was not in being out of practice (I haven't done a watercolor or landscape in 4-5 months) but rather the fact that it was so cold, 38 floors above the river, that my paint was freezing in the brush as well as on the page. I had to laugh but after the first dozen times of returning indoors for 5 minutes after only painting for 3-5 minutes (depending on if the wind was blowing) the situation lost it's humor. That will teach me to paint in oil! Truth be know, If I were out another 5-10 minutes, I probably would have had to come indoors to thaw my fingertips... I can't paint small in gloves. So this is the East End River from the Manhattan side looking northeast. Enjoy- G.A... chillin' on the Upper East Side.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Arctic Artist Ninja Warrior

"From the darkness of the cold concrete jungle the artist tightly bundles against the elements of the city in hopes to avoid sketchy characters in transit towards enlightment! "
Drapery study. Graphite on Sommerset print paper. Approximately 13"x 21" ...the Gypsy Artist of course!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010... here we go again!

Hello fellow art enthusiasts,

Welcome back to a whole new chapter in all or our lives... how cool is that? Well the gypsy went to the west coast for a couple of weeks and did a wee bit of art but mainly tried to ready myself for the new year... "finishing projects". I attempted to work on the red ribbon series but ended up "correcting the drawing" in a painting so had to take the pannel 5 steps backwards. Remembers boys and girls... ALWAYS CORRECT THE DRAWING no matter where the work is- Argh! So along the lines of what might call a resolution- I call a theme, I finally got two additions of a project I began before the NYC whirlwind began to the rightfull owners.

Let me back up a moment. I asked a group of artists I work with in Gig Harbor to join me in a unified project I named "echos a reply" in which they make an artists trading card of thier efforts and give it to me. I in turn respond/reply to thier work with my own effort and give a card back using the same card stock they requested as well as the same medium they used and somehow tie in a personal significance. For instance, I was given a pen drawing with watercolor addition on bristol board of a dog which the originator did from a previous artwork (larger) she had done earlier. My return card was also a pen and ink with watercolor of my cat I did from a previous scratchboard triad. (See pictures above- Dog done by Charli Meacham, Cats done by me)

I have had three trades in the small format specifically on the project thus far mainly because I have not solicited except the one day. When the spontaniety of life overwhelmed my destony, I picked up, moved to NY and didn't get the participants thier trades until much later. I appreciate thier efforts beyond words as I think this is a great challenge for me and love to trade art with friends. I hope to continue the project as soon as I make friends here. Until then- G.A. back to the drawing board.