Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Domenic Cretara Documentary part 1 of 3

this is the guy that taught me figure painting when i was at The Art Institute. it is good to hear his voice, i can hear my voice as a teacher through some of his words. and i was directed to this video via a long lost friend's recent visit to this blog in search of information on another teacher's teacher George Demetrios. to paraphrase Audrey Flack: ' one of the things about artists is we honor our teachers.' more about Domenic later, there are a lot of video demos by him that i have got see.

The WIP: Faces I Remember

two pics, same work.  top with white balance, bottom with automatic setting

My friend Paul Frontiero aka Capeannpainter recently posted about taking pictures of his artwork.  His issue is the photos lean towards blue.  One of his readers suggested he use the white balance feature.  I have never tried the white balance, so I did.  My simple $100 kodak digital has a white balance with three simple settings: daylight, florescent, tungsten.  I used the daylight setting, with close-up.  The white balance worked!  the top pic reads true.  I also tweeked the contrast a bit to get the pic closer to the drawing. 

 media for this face with no name (for now) is gesso, conte crayon and aluminum leaf on canvas, 14x16".  The composition is simply two shapes that i am in the process of complicating.  I use this same composition to start landscapes, standing figures, still life.     I have accumulated quite an inventory of these faces during the past three years.  some with names, some without.  This one has been on the drawing table for 3 weeks, and may or may not be done.

click the pics for close-ups.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our 'Fridge

Kenny MacCarthy's refrigerator bio! YAY! this is response # 2. so, what's on your fridge?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Refrigerator Bio 2

continuing the idea of a refrigerator bio, inspired by my friend Chan's 'life bio'. i've tried to incorporate fred's constructive criticism: hold the camera still, add more light. critique/comments are welcomed! i would love to see what's on your fridge, if you care to share. best, deb

Monday, March 22, 2010

Refrigerator Bio (kinda) For Deb Clarke

Hey! Joey at goodmorninggloucester.com posted a response to my challenge to folk to show off their fridge bios! this video is up on his blog today. I want to know: Where can I get some Guy Cottens? I need rain gear.

Art Criticism

"Let the wise artist invite criticism and survive it when it comes."
Eric Maisel

I first picked up a paintbrush when I was 10 years old and decided to fix the clouds in my father's painting.  I was so careful to mix the right color, to extend/soften the edges just so.  After the work was done, the brushes were cleaned, then carefully placed where they were found next to his palette.  George (my father) knew right away, then turned on me.  His anger at my 'destruction' of his work, was the first criticism of my 'art' and it was not kind. 

Criticism can be a scarey thing for an artist to take, yet this is the way we learn our trade, our craft. Following is a list of critical responses to my work, and some of my responses:

1.  Who did this?  from my father when I was 10.  then from my 8th grade art teacher Mr. Lillie.  terrified I raised my hand.  He just looked at me, gave me more paper, and made sure I had plenty of charcoal. This happened again in art school when I presented my slides for a final portfolio.  The old terror of George's first critique, always my first response, I prepared myself for the 'slap'. Instead Henry Altmann praised my efficient use of the brush to draw with the light.

2.  Where's the edge of the form?  Here? or Here? or Here?  This from John, an art school boyfriend in response to my figure drawing.  My first response, disappointment, fear of loss of love, just because I didn't 'see' as he saw.  His critique was later echoed by Peter Hoss, my art school drawing teacher, when he asked me if I was looking at Giacometti's drawings.  yes, I was trying to incorporate Giacometti's use of line into my work.  Peter kept poking his finger at my drawing:  is it here, or here or here? Don't just copy Giacometti, understand his seeing.  That's when the lightbulb went off.  The 'edge', the 'line' wasn't anywhere out there, it only existed on my page.  That's when I fell in love with the line, and came to understand that everything exists in space, infused with light and my drawing 'style', this use of line was simply my experience of 'looking'. 

3.  Tell us about your work. This from my final portfolio review at The Art Institute of Boston.  I critiqued my work with all of the negatives.  I had a concentration of still life charcoal drawings that were black and smudgey, and I was trying to combine a strong abstraction with figuration.  I was feeling as if I had failed in my attempt.  "But that is WHAT YOU ARE DOING!" was the resounding chorus. I cried.  My sculpture review was abysmal:  everything happens on the surface.  Today, almost 40 years later I do 'flat sculptures' through my use of glass and metal leaf, they walk a line between figuration and abstraction.

4.  Don't hold your brush in your mouth!

5.  Don't point your brush up with your mouth!

6.  Why are you starting over?  Who said you can't use an eraser?

7.  Use a mask when you sand your paintings!

8.  Don't wear your good clothes when you paint!

9.  You never finish your work.  Why don't you finish your paintings?  They are finished.  They 'don't' look finished.  and this is one of the cornerstones of my work:  to leave the work as if i have just stepped away and could pick the brush up again to 'finish'.  I like this tension, and the introduction of a sense of being 'in the moment' of creating.  the most frequent critic of this 'not finishing' was my father George.  The last time he saw my work we were looking at a 7 foot standing self portrait that took me a year to do.  the first comment  by me to him was "I know it looks unfinished, but I like it this way."  George said:  "I do too."  and we stood in silence looking at my work for one of those 'timeless' moments.  was it a minute or an hour?

10.  Just a few days ago an artist friend said:  I've been looking at your video demonstrations on youtube.  What bothers me is the Sharpie.  I laughed and said:  The erased sharpie?  she said no, leaving the sharpie, it is not permanent.  I smiled and said:  oh, that. it doesn't bother me.  if the sharpie pigment detaches, so what? I don't care if it is permanent.  (is anything ever permanent? no. truly, truly archival? no. why? time. change. impermanence says the buddha).  My artist friend thought for awhile then said:  Well, at least I learned how to put metal on glass.  Then she got up and abruptly left.

I have been painting for 46 years.  I can paint and draw anyway I want.  i give myself this permission, with no apology.  I can leave things, tear things up, show them, not show them, give them away, throw them away.  It doesn't matter.  All that matters is that I have a practice of seeing, experiencing, transcribing and making art.  It is what I do.  a few good well timed criticisms have helped me along the way to live a life of art.
if you are a practicing artist may you know what criticism to receive, may they be well timed and may you be honest in your 'seeing' and kind in the giving of your critique.


"Stand" oil on linen, copyright debbie clarke, gloucester ma, a self portrait

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Paul's addendum to my dangerous coffee cup

Goodmorninggloucester is one of the best community blogs around.  There's a lot of fun and local color going on over there.  and my friend Paul (capeannpainter) loves to 'horse' around.  Check it out and if it suits your fancy, follow.  I read it every day and sometimes several times a day.

best and happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

danger Will Robinson! Danger!

Whoa!  good thing i passed on the coffee, i washed my paintbrush in it and didn't even notice.  there is quite a universe in there!  any coffee readers around?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leap Forward: a refrigerator bio

Our refrigerators tell a lot about us. Here's what I'm willing to share for now. you can be assured there will be more!

Monday, March 8, 2010

How to Paint 3: A Chair, conclusion

there. it is done.

Hey, I'm #12 in the Ukraine, and get noticed in Weimar. Very Good.

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they like my chair video thoughts.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How to Paint A Chair, a work in progress, thoughts on painting and Big Images!

click the image for a REALLY BIG image!

"Art is really a battlefield.  Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good things."
Edgar Degas, French Impressionist

and some music that I want for my studio archive:  Sade.  have always loved her work, and 'soldiers of art' are 'soldiers of love', in that if you are called to make art, you will make art for a very demanding mistress.  a lover that will have no one between, that will wake you when you want sleep, that will delay you when you have appointments, that will make you not feel 'well'  when you are not dancing with the muse.  and muse seems too nice a word. dancing with a muse is  neither romantic nor poetic.  it is a hungry ghost in need of a door into this realm of reality. and when she truly decides to dance with, then through you, it is better than an orgasm.

 the muse doesn't dance every day, she is fickle in her love, and never obediant.  i spend most of my days in the practice of seeing and drawing, so my hands, eyes, and heart are ready, whenever she decides to come, because that is her nature.

How to Paint 2: A chair

and the work continues.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to Paint 1. A Chair

it's a bit long, but i had fun.

How to Draw, a figure drawing on aluminum

this is the completed drawing which was documented yesterday through picture posts on this blog and the youtube video.

copyright debbie clarke 2010
gloucester ma
marker, aluminum and silver leaf on shaped/incised aluminum flashing

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to Draw on Aluminum flashing

"How to Draw" a dip completed
copyright Debbie Clarke 2010
Gloucester MA
aluminum drawing

Monday: Metal Incised Torso, a dip (drawing in progress)

Torso, a dip (drawing in progress)
molded, incised aluminum panel
gilded with aluminum and 925 silver leaf
copyright debbie clarke 2010
gloudester ma