Class and Workshop Update
Watercolor Workshop Update
Caroline and our soldout workshop had wonderful time learning the introductory processes of watercolor techniques. She will be doing another workshop with us this year. The details have not been finalized. Stay Tuned! Maybe you two can be smiling in 2021.
June’s classes have been released. Registration has started. You can do so online through our scheduler, calling us and/or stopping by the store.
A good imagination, careful contemplation and personal interpretation are just a few of the ingredients that go to define artistic creativity. The ability to produce something from virtually nothing requires a myriad of skills. Sometimes what appears to be haphazard is really the result of very long consideration. Studies of highly creative individuals have shown that they are deep thinkers, and flexible with their work. Throughout history many artists have shown themselves to be multi-faceted. Leonardo da Vinci was an inventor, painter, sculptor and musician. Michelangelo was a painter, sculptor, architect and poet. Both seemed to move from one challenge to another with the utmost of ease, always searching for new venues to serve their purpose. This pair of luminaries existed more than 500 years ago so it is hard to know what really drove them, but the point is this: Creative people must express themselves; regardless.
Here are three contemporary examples of creative genius:
Anthony Quinn (1915-2001), was a very gifted individual. He was a painter before, during and after his time as an actor. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, there is now a statue of him in the town square posed for all time as, “Zorba the Greek”. During his acting career he won two Oscars for best supporting actor (1953 & 1957), and was nominated two more times along the way. After winning an architectural contest as a young man, he was privileged to apprentice under Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Wright helped to give his prodigy a foundation in art, and also encouraged him to take acting lessons. Quinn’s paintings and sculptures, which has been exhibited in every part of the world, are considered as “Modern” although, he was always exploring different styles. While on location during the filming of his many movies he was influenced by the art of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and of course, the Americas.
Red Skelton (1913-1997) was a gifted actor, comedian, painter, musician, and writer. Beginning his show business career during the 1920’s as a clown in a traveling circus, he graduated quickly through the venues of vaudeville, Broadway, radio, television and film. He approached his artwork with the same vigor as his show business career. His paintings of whimsical happy-faced clowns remind us of his comedy. These canvases now grace public and private collections all over the world. Known to only sleep a few hours a day, he was also a prolific writer credited with hundreds of short stories, and musical compositions.
Then there is Jonathan Harshman Winters III (1925-2013), one of my personal favorites, and the inspiration for this article. He was a marvelous comedian, actor, recording artist, author and painter. Through many different careers which spanned seven decades, he contributed much. His comedy, bestselling books, and children’s albums are all classics.
Mr. Winters also spent a lot of his time drawing, and painting as a way to relax. His demanding schedule always had him appearing here or there, so he would always relish his time alone. His art studio in Montecito, CA. was carved out nine feet below ground, and only measured four foot square so as to not attract crowds. But somehow, he managed to crank out a lot of wonderful images in that small work space. Jonathan Winters was the conscious of our country, the voice of Papa Smurf, a wonderful artist, and a reservoir of creative genius. Sierra News
As of the end of Saturday the 29th of May, our 40 percent off sale on M. Graham Paints and Fredrix Pre-stretched at 50% off will be ending. To stock up on pre-stretched canvas and/or all types of M. Graham paints this is the best sale offered during the season.
Emerging Cicadas May Be Creepy To Some, But They’ve Long Been Revered In Chinese Art
Our new cicada overlords have officially arrived.
You might be using Cicada Safari to track Brood X, which appears to be slowly emerging from the earth in the U.S. all the way from Florida to Michigan. But cicadas are global citizens. In China, the critters have long been symbolically significant.
“Cicadas are actually quite prominent in Chinese literature, art and culture,” says Haiyan Lee, a professor of east Asian languages and cultures and of comparative literature at Stanford University. They’re even part of military strategy, she adds. Among the legendary Thirty-Six Strategems, a collection of essays a little like The Art of War, is a maneuver called “Slough off the Cicada’s Golden Shell.” It refers to creating a decoy to escape from a stronger enemy.
Cicadas pop up in Chinese folktales, too, like this animated one on YouTube about a friendship between a cicada and a bird. And they’re in classical poetry, like the great Tang Dynasty poem “Ode to the Cicada,” written from the point of view of a political prisoner.
The insects’ appearances stretch back 4,000 years, to a time when ancient settlers carved cicadas from jade and placed them on the tongues of the dead before burial, evoking transcendence and eternal life.
“The earliest examples we have date to the Neolithic period,” says Sarah Laursen, a curator of Chinese art at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Mass. “There’s one Han Dynasty cicada in our collection that’s my favorite. This jade cicada is smooth and flat and fits in the palm of your hand. The carving’s very simple, just a few lines. The wings are tucked in close to the body. Now, real cicadas have clear wings covered with delicate veins — but most jade cicadas are just plain. This one is special. It has tiny triangles of gold foils showing just how precious it was.”
Cicadas were associated with nobility, adds Smithsonian curator Jan Stuart, who wrote about cicadas in Chinese art in an essay for the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. “They have huge eyes,” she says, evoking visionary leadership. “And they eat only they purest of pure things, tree sap.”
That suggests cicadas have a sort of incorruptible nature. “But they’re in this sort of muddied earth,” Stuart continues. “And then they emerge but they emerge unsullied, and they fly to the highest branches of a tree.” Lofty and transformative, cicadas could be easily read, she suggests, as intermediaries between earth and heaven.
Some people find cicadas scary-looking, with their red, bulging eyes, veiny wings and creepy, fragile shells they leave behind. “My advice is just look at them in Chinese art,” Stuart laughs. “They’re beautiful.”
And especially today, she adds, a potent and enduring symbol of transformation and regeneration. WJCT
Faber Castell’s 9000 series graphite
Basic Graphite Pencil Techniques to Get You Started!
Faber-Castell’s variety of graphite pencils allow artists the ability to create artwork with high-quality materials. Our graphite pencils are available in 16 degrees of hardness, making them ideal for all technical artistic applications such as writing, drawing, and sketching. These fundamental tips and techniques will help you get started in creating and understanding all that you can achieve with your graphite pencil.
When learning how to use your graphite pencil, it all starts with your hold. The way you hold your graphite pencil will affect your artwork. To create a light loose sketch, hold your pencil towards the end. For more exact, specific lines, hold your pencil closer to the tip for more control.
One single pencil can create lines of different depth and size based on the pressure you use when drawing. Apply more pressure to create thicker darker lines and less for lighter thinner lines.
Your graphite artwork is only as strong as the surface you create it on and the paper you choose is important to the outcome of your drawing. Paper of different weights and textures affect the appearance of your drawing. Depending on the grain of your paper, your drawing will appear more fine or coarse.
Give your artwork depth by practicing shading with your graphite pencil. When creating graphite monochrome work, colors are represented in tonal values. Different shades of grey convey the pictorial elements’ color intensity, surface properties, and incidence of light. They give the picture life and depth.
Hatching is another great way to add tonal value to your graphite work. Different tones are achieved through overlaying and condensing the lines you are drawing. Line length and distance between the lines further vary the optical result of your artwork.
Cross-hatching consists of drawing pencil strokes in one direction followed by layering strokes on top at another angle. Similar to hatching, achieving various tonal values in your artwork is dependent on the differences in number and density of the overlapping lines.
Overhand grip is a technique used when you want to quickly create large areas and fluid tonal shades. Overhand grip consists of holding the pencil at an extremely flat position in order to create extensive laydown.
The smudging technique is perfect to use with graphite when wanting to create clouds, water, or blurred backgrounds. Loosely apply graphite on the paper and smudge over a specific area to create your desired look. Smudge graphite with the help of a paper wiper or even your finger.
Faber-Castell offers a selection of Castell 9000 graphite pencils in open stock and in sets. A testament to their highest quality standards, these pencils have superior leads made of finely ground graphite and clay, resulting in a smooth and pure feel that is never scratchy. Available in 16 degrees of hardness.
FC119063 Castell 9000 Design Set – Tin of 6
Includes 1 each grades HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B and 8 B
FC119064 Castell 9000 Design Set – Tin of 12
Includes 1 each of 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H
FC119065 Castell 9000 Art Set – Tin of 12
Includes 1 each of 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H
Along with our pencils, Faber-Castell has a selection of high-quality tools that perfectly complement our graphite collection. Take care of your pencil lead by using the right sharpener. Faber-Castell erasers are also available to not only correct your work but perfect some of your graphite techniques. Lastly, we cannot cover graphite tools without mentioning our paper blender. The paper blender/wiper is our convenient tool made out of recycled paper that is used to help correct and blend graphite, pastel pencils, crayons, charcoal and color pencils.
Archaeologists rush to record the Rio Grande’s art amid threat from flooding and drug cartels
Ancient rock art near Texas-Mexico border could be lost forever
Archaeologists working on the Texas-Mexico border have documented more than 230 ancient Indigenous pictographs and narrative murals that could soon disappear due to natural and human causes. There is “an urgent need to expediently document as many sites as possible before they are lost forever”, says the archaeologist and artist Carolyn Boyd, who founded the Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center, the non-profit organisation that oversees the Alexandria Project, a $3m initiative to locate and preserve the ancient rock art of the Rio Grande region, which is under threat from increased flooding, as well as drug cartel activity.
The archaeological region known as the Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archaeological District extends around 50 miles north of the Texas border and 60 miles south into Mexico, with the highest concentration of known sites spanning a 70-mile stretch of the Rio Grande between the cities of Del Rio and Dryden. The striking rock paintings found in the area, made between 4,200 and 1,500 years ago with red, white, black and yellow pigments that were methodically applied in intertwining layers, show complex scenes of humans, animals and rituals. Some sites face flooding damage from a downstream reservoir, while others are inaccessible to researchers due to Mexican cartels that operate in the area.
“Although we have never had direct contact with cartels, we can feel their presence,” Boyd says. The team of four to six archaeologists and interns are accompanied by armed guards or National Park Service rangers while on-site. “We had hoped to take the project further south into Coahuila, Mexico, but were advised by our Mexican colleagues to wait.”
The project is named after the ancient Egyptian Library of Alexandria, a trove of knowledge that caught fire 2,000 years ago, to underscore the urgency of documenting and attempting to decipher these ancient paintings, which reveal significant stories of North America’s past. “Everything in the murals carries meaning—not just the images or their form and colour, but even the process of the artists, including the order of how the paint was applied, where it is placed on the landscape, and how the sun and moon interact with the images,” Boyd says.
Most of the sites have not been documented until now because they are located on private land, requiring landowners to discover and make sites available to researchers. Archaeologists have provided “educational and outreach programming to the landowners in the area to inform them about what we are learning and the significance of the art, to establish goodwill”, Boyd says. “We rely on them to protect the sites—and so far it’s working.”
The organisation spearheaded a motion in 2015 to designate the archaeological district a National Historic Landmark, which was signed in January last year. The protected area now encompasses 35 representative sites that are mostly on private property but will be accessible to researchers and the public as the project begins a process of digitising the rock art in the coming months.
The first phase of the initiative was completed last December, with baseline research that included taking high-resolution photographs, creating three-dimensional models and recording iconographic data of the sites, which have been ranked according to their research potential and threat level. The second phase will involve intensive documentation and analysis of the murals, including assigning reference codes to every figure in each mural, describing images in detail, and performing radiocarbon dating at all the sites.
“Full documentation of the entire region could take several lifetimes,” Boyd says, although the project team believes there have already been several breakthroughs in their research. “When you visit over 230 sites in less than four years, you begin to see patterns and recognise the hand of a specific artist and the recurrence of certain types of figures. It’s not uncommon to have a team member point to a figure and cry out that they know that artist.”
The painter Ashley Busby, who earned her MFA in painting at Texas Tech University, is also helping the archaeologists understand how the ancient images were made by replicating the artists’ methods of paint application. “We knew the art was sophisticated, but Busby is revealing amazing details about the painting process,” Boyd says.
“Busby and I just finished a manuscript about a motif in the Pecos River style of art that represents breath and speech,” Boyd adds. “As we were examining and illustrating the figures, we discovered that the artists used the direction of a brushstroke to distinguish between the exhalation and inhalation of breath. Simply stunning.” The Art Newspaper
Memorial Day Weekend
you……maybe some watercolor? Watercolor markers? A sketchbook? Beauty is all around us……Its time to be reminded of the good parts of this life.
Please remember that the store will be closed Monday the 31st of May in observance of Memorial Day.
Which also is the Phippen Art Show weekend. Lets show support for our local and traveling artists and get out and enjoy the art these artists have been creating while being antisocial……wait a second, was that a change for us?