Art Movements: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

Today I am taking a leaf from another earlier blog post, which featured an artist I admire, Richard Diebenkorn. He painted in an abstract expressionist style with oils, featuring the human figure and landscape. An identifying feature of his artwork was his use of bright colors and shapes in both painting subjects. This style branded his painting style and made his work instantly recognizable. I painted two copies of his paintings to accompany the blog post, of a figure and an abstracted landscape. Since last week, I have been pondering other art movements that I find inspiring to my art practice.

One of these art movements is the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. In particular, I love the color and emotion I see displayed on the faces of the portraits and figures. In a similar way to a play, they are figures on a stage, acting out various dramas. The PRB group was founded in 1848 in England by young art students and they included: Dante Gabriel Rosetti, John Everett Millais, and William Holman Hunt, who studied at London’s Royal Academy of Art. (ibid, and Smith, 2013)

According to Roe, 2014, author of “The Pre-Raphaelites”, the Pre-Raphaelites were composed of a disparate group of “sculptors, painters, designers,” who were frustrated by the limiting strictures that the London Royal Academy of art imposed on art, such as an emphasis on idealization, and balance. Instead, the Pre-Raphaelites sought inspiration in the work of other artists such as Van Eyck, Memling, and Giotto. (Roe, pg. 2) According to the author, Roberta Smith, who wrote, “Blazing a Trail for Hypnotic Hyper-Realism,” some of the subjects which the PRB enjoyed painting were medieval themes such as King Arthur’s, Guinevere, and Shakespeare’s Ophelia in Hamlet, and stories from the Bible. (Smith, pg. 2)

Smith states that these artists characterized their work by emphasizing painstaking realism and “Technicolor” palettes. (ibid) In addition, Roe, states that the Pre-Raphaelites used a line, and flat perspective and bible stories. In particular, William Holman Hunt’s A Converted British Family, Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents and Rossetti’s Ecce Ancilla Domini (1850) evoked virulent criticism from art critics, who disapproved of the highly realistic treatment of religious figures. ( Roe, pg. 2) However, according to Roberta Smith, (2013), although the Pre-Raphaelites challenged the art establishment of their times and “introduced a new painting style” it does not necessarily follow that these painters were “avant-garde.” Furthermore, Smith states that they did not make radical changes like Manet, Cezanne or Van Goh. In addition, they did not have a strong interest in painting “modern life.” (Smith, pg. 4) Instead of “embracing the people, fashions, and activities of their time, as their French contemporaries did, they escaped into fantasy.” (Smith, pg. 4)

Whatever the case may be, Smith, 2013, states that their work played an important role in influencing other important art movements to come such as “Symbolism, Art Noveau,

and modern design, in children’s literature and Photo Realism, and also contemporary art”. (Smith, pg. 4) For instance, “Tom Uttech’s dreamlike views of wilderness (on view at the Alexandre Gallery on 57th Street in Manhattan), Ellen Altfest’s detailed yet painterly realism, Ron Mueck’s disturbingly lifelike sculptures, Mark Greenwold’s intrinsically twisted narratives and the equally finicky if more surreal images of Anj Smith.” (ibid).

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A Life Remembered: Paintings that Helped Me Process Grief

This week I am between projects, as I have just finished the 100 Faces in 100 Days drawing challenge. I also completed some paintings for the Frederick Coffee Company Art show I just finished. So now the perennial question, what do I work on next, and what do I blog about next? I have finally picked up the brush and pencil this Monday and started to revisit the drawings and photoshop files I created for my Voices and Visions poetry illustration series. These works are in the very beginning stages and I started them with evaluating the compositions of some of these files in Photoshop and re-organizing them. After that, I worked on transferring the photocopies of these illustrations to watercolor paper and illustration board. One painting even got to the basic lay-in with acrylic painting stage, but the others need another coat of gesso before they will be ready to paint.

It seems that the bad news I got from the Doctor’s Office on Monday has helped catapult me to action with this series. For the past several months I have been focusing on promoting art shows and administrative duties such as marketing, data entry, pricing, packing up art shows and setting new ones up, etc. However, the phone call I received this Monday, reminds me of all the other times I got disturbing news but had to find a way to get through everyday life in spite of it. This week has really been a déjà vu, of all the experiences and emotions I felt during my dad’s illness from March 2011-September 2011 when he passed.  But with all that being said, the real take away I have had from these experiences is that tomorrow isn’t promised and that I need to make the most of the time I have today.

In March of 2011, I got the phone call that everyone dreads; my father had had a stroke. My sister had called the ambulance and he and was at Montgomery General Hospital where they were testing him for various things. This event ushered in several months of inconclusive tests, different diagnoses, hospital visits, sleepless nights and ongoing stress and uncertainty for me and my family. I felt totally unprepared for this kind of long-term stress and I didn’t know how to cope with it. The situation was also a shock because my father had always been a healthy man and never seemed to have any ongoing illness, other than his recent bout with shingles. I turned to making art as a way to try and introduce some calm and predictability into my days so I could go on working, doing laundry, etc. I discovered that attending art classes every week with a local artist, Rebecca Pearl

introduced some much-needed structure into my days. After my father passed in September of 2011, I was still dealing with a lot of emotions. I decided to create a series of portrait paintings about his life to try and process the grief and to create a meaningful way of honoring his memory, using family photos as references for the oil paintings. Some days I could barely paint and looking at the photos of him in happier times was really difficult. Other days, I was able to paint without feeling so sad. And now, several years later, I am turning to art again as a way to cope while waiting for answers about my diagnosis of a low platelet count.  I have to wait for two more weeks for another round of tests to get some more conclusive answers, hopefully.

Art of Schmidt: October 2017 Newsletter

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans, I am posting my new and improved newsletter for Art of Schmidt. Several years ago, I took a graphic design class at Frederick Community College, which taught me some basic skills in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Indesign. Although I did not finish the graphic design program at Frederick Community College and decided to focus more on fine art instead, the skills I learned as a student in the graphic design class proved helpful in reminding me of how to do a double page spread layout for this newsletter. I also looked up some free newsletter templates online to get ideas about color and composition. Hope you enjoy this issue! Happy Halloween! If you would like to receive this newsletter by email subscription, please send an email to jsjschmidt2@gmail.com, and I will add you to my email list!

Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993): An Artist I Admire

 

This week I have really been struggling to come up with a new topic for this blog. At first, I thought I might write about time management strategies and how I have been implementing my Ideal Week schedule template I mentioned last week. However, the trouble with that topic is that I still haven’t taken the time to write it out, but I did download a copy of the Ideal Week schedule template pdf from Michael Hyatt’s website, and so it did get me started thinking about what I have been spending my time doing other than painting, and the reasons why I have been putting it off… Then I thought I might write about the top ten contemporary living artists in an article by Artsy.net, but as I read about what these artists represented in their work, it didn’t seem to fit the type of painting I do, so I decided not to do that.

After some reflection,  I am realizing that one of the reasons I have been putting off painting has been that I have not had any inspiration about what to paint, despite the vague idea that I might start up my poetry series again. But somehow I haven’t been making much progress there. Instead, I’ve been working on other things for my art business that needed to get done, and which I have been procrastinating on, due to a large number of art shows. One of these tasks was to get up to date with my profit and loss sheet. Yesterday, I researched different blog topics that I thought might get me motivated to paint again, and I read my blog topics list. Amongst the topics I have listed, was one that stood out for me. That topic was to write about artists that you admire and why you like that particular artist. Immediately the name Richard Diebenkorn came to mind.

Perhaps I thought of him because it reminded me of a conversation I had with an old friend about artists, and she mentioned that her stepmother had introduced her to the art of Richard Diebenkorn. On the other hand, maybe  I was reminded of a documentary about Richard Diebenkorn I had watched on YouTube several months ago which featured a presentation by his daughter in which she described his works and shared some interesting facts about his life, such as how his home in California influenced his art. Or perhaps I thought of Diebenkorn’s work because it reminds me of the kind of subject matter I used to draw and paint when I was an art student at McDaniel College, which was figures in interior spaces, with an emphasis on color. For whatever the reason, he came to my mind and so I started researching facts about his life and trying to learn all I could about his artwork.

From the article, Diebenkorn’s First Steps, on artsy.net, I learned that he was introduced to art at an early age by his father, Richard Diebenkorn, Sr. who entertained him “with pieces of cardboard placed between the folds of crisply pressed shirts from the dry cleaner.” (“ Diebenkorn’s First Steps”).  As a young child, Diebenkorn drew trains and locomotives on the “smooth, white surface of the paper.” (Ibid).  And, he continued to pursue art for many years after that, despite a lack of support from his father, who wanted him to pursue a more practical career path in law or medicine, during his time as a student at Stanford University, where he attended undergraduate classes in 1940. (“Richard Diebenkorn: Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works”). Instead, he decided to study art and art history, and he successfully combined influences from many art styles such as Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting and “belle peinture” or the beautiful painting.” (Ibid).

He was able to seamlessly shift from abstraction to figuration in his long career as an artist, painting figures in interior spaces, and abstracted landscapes and cityscapes of his home in California. (Ibid) But whatever the subject, he continued to incorporate bright color and shape, which gives his paintings an unmistakable brand as a Diebenkorn, not to be confused with any other artist. According to Amy Crawford,  Diebenkorn was highly influenced by the artwork of Henri Matisse, another fine colorist. (The Lasting Influence Matisse Had on Richard Diebenkorn’s Artwork, Amy Crawford, March 2017, Smithsonian Magazine, www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/lasting-influence-matisse-richard-diebenkorn-artwork.  In addition to reading up on Richard Diebenkorn and his art, I gave myself the assignment to copy two of his paintings which describe his various subject matter of figures in interior spaces and abstracted landscapes. I had a lot of fun with drawing the shapes and mixing the colors. The two paintings I copied this week are Woman on a Porch, Richard Diebenkorn, 1958, oil on canvas and Cityscape 1, (Landscape No. 1), 1963, Richard Diebenkorn, oil on canvas. The one difference in approach to my paintings and Diebenkorn’s are that my version was painted in acrylic paintings rather than oils. I also include some of my original self-portraits in oils, because I think they show the connection in subject matter and color between my works and Diebenkorn’s paintings, although my approach is more restrained and traditional with subtle gradations of tone and color. Copying these paintings by Diebenkorn showed me just how much I enjoy painting the figure and using bold color. Since completing the 100 Faces in 100 Days drawing Challenge on Instagram, I have really missed working in color.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

Where did All My Time Go?

I just got back from a much-needed vacation to Cape May, New Jersey, last week to celebrate my ten year anniversary. I had a wonderful, relaxing time and got a chance to just be, enjoying sunsets, walking around the town of Cape May and drinking in the beautiful Victorian architecture, listening to the reassuring rhythm of crashing waves, tasting great food, and reconnecting with my man. But when I got back from the trip, I had a major reality check. Several tasks awaited my attention, such as: scheduling a doctor’s appointment, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, dishes, vacuuming, putting all my things away and preparing for two upcoming art shows to name a few. I felt overwhelmed just thinking about it, and my to-do list seemed endless. In addition, I had fallen behind in several areas of my art business prior to my vacation: such as an inventory of paintings and sketches, producing new art, bookkeeping, blogging, and following up on sales leads.

It was quite an adjustment to go from four days of unstructured vacation days to a more regimented schedule. During this time, I didn’t have to clean cook or do anything much, unless I wanted to plan an outing or decide where I wanted to have lunch or dinner, while I was a guest at the Angel of the Sea Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey. I highly recommend this Bed and Breakfast if you need a relaxing getaway and you like historic towns. Now, I am trying to figure out how to catch up on things for my art business, without feeling overwhelmed. Enter an article I read this week entitled, Control Your Time and Become a More Successful Artist, by Jason Horejs, October 11, 2017, http://reddotblog.com. It seems that someone frequently writes a blog post about a subject that is meaningful to me just when I need it most. Thank you, Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Art Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Like me, Jason has been struggling with time management and organizing the many hats that we as entrepreneurs wear as small business owners, such as following up on sales leads, answering emails, bookkeeping, marketing, etc, (Horejs, 2017). But unlike me, he is a gallery owner and doesn’t produce artwork; he markets other artists and runs a gallery to help promote the artwork of other artists. I, on the other hand, am an artist and business owner, but we seem to be following similar tracks in our lives.And in the words of Jason Horejs (2017),

the list was “simply too high, and “I felt I was falling behind in accomplishing everything I wanted to get done.” In Horejs’s article, Control Your Time and Become a More Successful Artist, (2017) he shares how in the midst of an overwhelming to-do list, he found some time management tools that have been helpful in clarifying his priorities and getting things done (Horejs, 2017). One of the tools he mentions is an Ideal Week template, which is based on a model created by Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers (Horejs, 2017).

In the Ideal Week Template, Jason Horejs blocks out his day in segments of time to define what tasks are most pressing and how much time he plans to spend on them (Horejs, 2017). Michael Hyatt offers a downloadable spreadsheet on his blog, which can be customized to fit your schedule (Horejs, 2017). According to Horejs, this method of blocking out his time in segments has been helpful in prioritizing the most important tasks. In addition, Hyatt suggests that it is helpful to begin your day with “your long-term priorities,” instead of daily busy work (Horejs, 2017). After reading this article, I am realizing that most of my time is spent on day to day tasks such as cataloging art inventory, marketing my art projects and art shows on Instagram and Facebook, following up sales leads, blogging or researching articles about art business which could make good blog topics, maintaining my artist website, etc.

And while these tasks are important for running a successful art business, I am realizing that very little time has gone into working on new artwork. And as an artist, making artwork is what I would like to spend most of my time doing. However, the only art practice I have been somewhat consistent with has been drawing portraits for my 100 Faces in 100 Days Drawing Challenge, which I started back in June of this year. I still have 5 more drawings to complete to achieve the 100 portraits drawing challenge goal. I want to take some time in the coming week to block out my ideal week and see where I can block in time to work on my drawings and paintings, preferably in the morning before other things intrude or my energy wanes. I will let you know how it goes and post the artwork that I plan to create. Meanwhile, here are some vacation pictures that my husband took with his Nikon D40 camera. If you are interested in downloading the Ideal template, here is the pdf file,https://michaelhyatt.com/myresources/my-ideal-week.pdf. Thanks for stopping by! my-ideal-week

 

Paintings of the Week: Catoctin Mountain State Park Landscapes

Have you ever heard the saying, that writers should write about what they know? I am taking that axiom and applying it to the artwork that I create. This week’s offering features two acrylic mini-canvases of two scenes from a nearby park called Catoctin State Park in Thurmont, MD, just minutes away from my apartment. I have lived in the Thurmont/Sabillasville area in Maryland for about 10 years and have visited the Catoctin State Park many times with my husband, family, and friends.

About 4 years ago, I spent a day photographing different views of this park on a cool, Autumn day when Maryland had a genuine colorful, fall. It’s taken me four years to turn my photos into paintings, but better late than never right? In these works, I sought to capture the quiet beauty and colorful foliage of the park. As always, my work

Acrylic painting, Catoctin State Park, Autumn, landscapes
These are two completed acrylic paintings on miniature canvases.

is defined by color and light and how each element interacts and affect each other. My style is loose and impressionistic, and I use my photos as a jumping off point for these landscapes. To purchase, Wolf Rock, acrylic on canvas, 3 x 2 inches, 2017, (right) visit https://www.etsy.com/listing/565427233/wolf-rock-catoctin-state-park?ref=listing_published_alert. To purchase, Along the Path, acrylic on canvas, 3 x 2 inches, 2017, (left), visit https://www.etsy.com/listing/551631770/along-the-path?ref=shop_home_active_1. To see what other items are for sale, visit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtofSchmidt?ref=l2-shopheader-name.

Howling at the Moon Event with Trend Setter Treats, October 14, from 2-6pm

Hello Facebook Friends, Family, and Friends,  I will be participating in an art show called Howling at the Moon, sponsored and coordinated by Sherry Purkey, Owner of Trend Setter Treats. I will have a display table with fine art, art prints, and postcards for sale. In addition, I will be demonstrating how I make pastel dog portraits. Many other makers and artists will be exhibiting alongside me. Come on down!

My Gypsy Path to Becoming and Artist

This week I am writing about my somewhat haphazard journey towards becoming an artist and some lessons I have learned along the way. I also add a few insights from some famous artists that I feel provide a meaningful segue for my thoughts. A few months back when I was hosting an Artist opening show at Spin the Bottle Wine Company in Frederick, MD, one of the visitors to the wine shop asked me how I got my start as an artist. I answered that my mother had always encouraged me to make art and that she had enrolled me in a watercolor painting class at the age of nine. Since then I have taken many other art classes at the Howard County Center for the Arts (acrylic and watercolor), Howard Community College (drawing and photography), McDaniel College (graphic design, sculpture, drawing, and oil painting) and art classes with local artist Rebecca Pearl for watercolor, to name a few. My journey has not been a straight path to overnight success. Instead, it has had many ups and downs, despite how things might look in my carefully timed and worded Facebook Posts and artist biographies that I write. For example, I don’t post artwork that I don’t like for the most part, and the ones I do post have often been re-worked several times. Furthermore, the artworks that I show in galleries, coffee shops, etc., are examples of my best work, culled from unfinished works, experiments, and messes. In the words of poet Langston Hughes, “This life ain’t been no crystal stair.”

I can’t speak for the path of other artists, but after I graduated from McDaniel College with a bachelor’s degree in art, I struggled to find a path that would work for me. After graduation, I had to balance the realities of everyday realities such as student loan payments, with my dreams of being an exhibiting and teaching artist. My transition from being an art student in a creative bubble, to the world outside those walls, was not seamless. For instance, it was hard to deal with the isolation of being an artist without a group of creative’s to cheer me on or encourage me when rejection inevitably came, in the form of rejection letters from Graduate Schools, such as Towson University, MICA, and James Madison University.  There were also rejection letters from art galleries who rejected my artwork. At the time, I thought the only way to be an artist was to teach art or to exhibit my artwork in juried art shows. During this time, I took classes in a variety of subjects other than art, trying to find out what I wanted to do with my life, such as history, social work, and graphic design. None of these seemed to “fit”, and I usually ended up returning to art again at some point, either by taking another art class or by making art on my own time on days off from work or in the evenings. I worked in customer service jobs as a library assistant and restaurant hostess.

However, none of these paths seemed to “fit”, and I usually ended up returning to art again at some point, either by taking another art class or by making art on my own time on days off from work or in the evenings. I worked in customer service jobs as a library assistant, hostess, and currently, I work as a Receptionist at a Funeral Home. I have learned that there are many different ways to be an artist, whether it provides your livelihood or not. At present, I divide my time between part-time Reception work and making art in my spare time. I’m constantly looking for new opportunities to exhibit my art or share my art with others on Instagram and Facebook, or at art festivals or coffee houses.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned during my creative journey as an artist was to be careful with whom I showed my art, and to carefully filter people’s comments about my art to see if they are helpful. I’ve had some bad critiques in the past and so I try to choose people who have my best interests at heart and who have some art training but are not pretentious or mercilessly blunt.  Smiley, Kim. ” 10 Life Lessons from History’s Most Famous Artists.” Huffington Post, 2 Mar. 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kim-smiley/10-life-lessons-from-hist_b_4880431.html.

And finally, another lesson that I am currently in the process of learning is that it takes a lot of time, sweat and tears to perfect one’s craft as an artist. By no means does excellent work occur in and of itself. It takes years of practice and a determination on the part of the artist not to give up on practicing one’s art. For example, according to Kim Smiley, the “Renaissance sculptor, painter, poet and engineer, Michelangelo,” knew that it took time  to create art, and likewise, Leonardo Da Vinci, states that, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”  According to Smiley, artists should “go against the grain” of our modern culture to get everything done quicker, and instead take their time to create quality work and the patience to carry it out. Ibid, Smiley, 2017.

One way that I am working on practicing my craft, has been to challenge myself to draw a portrait a day, or as often as possible. Every time I create a portrait of a celebrity, change maker, or another historical figure, I post the results on Instagram. So far, I have created 91 line portraits out of the 100 I planned to make. It’s a work in progress. If you are interested in following my drawing challenge, 100 faces in 100 days, you can find me on Instagram as jsjsschmidt2, or you may view my website, www.artofschmidt.com, which has a link to my Instagram page and is updated each time I post a new drawing. Thanks for looking!