Thursday, March 22, 2012

Journal of the Portrait Society of America: Issue no, 53

Glenn Harrington is featured on the cover of The Art of the American Portrait, which also includes "Observations" a great article on Glenn's work!

Friday, March 9, 2012

New Short Film about Earl B. Lewis' Icons

This explores Earl's dedication to helping children and in this film, he tells why he believes there is potential in every child.

Friday, February 17, 2012

We Welcome Curt Butler for SEWE 2012

What is Oil and Encaustic on Canvas?

The word encaustic literally means to “burn in” and involves a heating tool of some kind with the addition of colored pigments or oil paints mixed into the wax. The temperature for melting the wax is usually somewhere around 200 degrees. In order for the finished painting to melt, it would have to be in an environment or situation that could reach that temperature.

Encaustic painting has been around since the early 1800s; and it was originally developed by ancient Greek shipbuilders who used the method to fill the cracks in the hulls of their ships. Soon after, they decided to experiment with putting pigments in the wax to create a painted surface: an art form was born.

Encaustic painting has seen resurgence in the work of Modern Art, most notably in the works of 20th-century American artist, Jasper Johns. Recently, encaustic and encaustic techniques are more popular than ever due to their workability with mixed media and other multiple layering techniques. Artists are using electric irons, hotplates and heated stylus on a variety of different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery.

“I enjoy the play of carving back into the wax with a palette knife to create different textures, or a single line of a telephone pole. Heating up the wax allows me to fuse layers of paint to create a surface that is varied and complex. Each layer must be carefully fused to the next to ensure there is no cracking. Stand oil is routinely applied to the wax to give it a little flexibility and makes it possible to work on a canvas surface rather than board. I sometimes put the wax and pigment on cold and melt it with a heat gun, and at other times, I start with a hot wax directly on the canvas. I have found these techniques feel very sculptural in nature. At times, I am building up the surface and at other times, I am subtracting or carving into the surface of the paint. Encaustic painting with oil has given me the emotional response that I am currently seeking in my work. To be able to suggest a subject rather than illustrate it, to literally feel the surface of the paint and to be able to engage the viewer from a distance, and yet retain them when they are close are all reasons I choose to work the way I do.” – Curt Butler

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with Russell Gordon

Interview with Russell Gordon of the Wells Gallery
Huddled in the Grapevine   o/l      8x8 unframed

Interview with Russell Gordon whose works can be seen at the Wells Gallery in downtown Charleston, SC the month of February.

What kind of research do you do for each piece or series?
I usually have a familiarity with whatever I’m depicting to begin with. The objects in my still lifes are often chosen because they are familiar to me and have built up layers of meaning and symbolism. The birds in my recent works are ones that I know from my gardens and woods around our home here in Cambridge, NY for the most part. So actually, it’s only after getting to know something pretty intimately that I will begin to come up with painting ideas for it. 

How do you challenge yourself as an artist?
I’m probably the greatest critic of my own work and only produce 18-24 pieces per year so I’m constantly challenging myself to paint better. Like most artists I have an ideal in my head that I try to achieve and while that shifts over time I always think ‘I can do this better if I try hard enough’. Lately, and ironically, going back to the subjects I was drawn to as a kid are creating a wonderful challenge. I think any artist’s ultimate challenge in the visually driven, media soaked world that we find ourselves in is to somehow find their own unique voice. I think I may finally be doing that.

What do you want to convey to viewers of your work?
I have always been pulled into the microcosmic view of things in this world. I (for instance) see the tiny melodramas enacted amongst blades of grass between a ladybug and an inch worm on the lawn during outdoor summer concerts (instead of what’s going on onstage). My attention as always drawn down and in and almost always rewarded. So I guess I’m a details guy. I want viewers of my work to stop at 30′, be drawn to 5′ for a closer look and then finally almost press their noses into the canvas to discover something precious. In other words ‘don’t just stop and smell the roses, look into the buds and see the little sugar ants…what are they up to.’

What do you want viewers to take away from your work?
I really hope people will stop and appreciate the fact that there are artists working today in the US who quite pride themselves on the craft and technique of painting and go more than the extra mile to create art which we hope will survive far beyond our own lives.

Apart from painting, what other interests do you have?
That’s an easy one. Painting better.

What are you currently working on that we can look forward to?
I’m pretty excited about painting birds right now. I’ve always been entranced by birds and grew up admiring avian artists like John James Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson. I went to art school and trained classically and feel inexorably drawn to find my own synthesis between classical realism and traditional naturalism (too many ‘isms I know). I want to do more complex and larger bird paintings in the coming year so look for those.

How long have you been a career artist?
I began drawing at an early age. In those days in school you could read or draw as soon as you were finished with an assignment so I learned that the benefit of doing well in class was the privilege of being left alone to draw. I loved drawing and found art to be the best way to record what I saw in nature and to express ideas and emotions. Most importantly I had supportive parents and even some close neighbor/friends who took me to lessons with the very accomplished artist Peter Egeli. From Egeli’s studio I found a hugely supportive teacher in my first year at St. Mary’s College of MD named Thomas Rowe. Rowe told me quite clearly that I would never learn to be an artist in any college in the US at the time but sent me to the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore, MD where I studied for 6 years with Ann and Hans Schuler and apprenticed with Will Wilson. I graduated in 1992 and have had the great good fortune of painting full-time ever since.

What do you find is your favorite subject matter?
I truly hope I haven’t found my favorite subject matter yet because I want to look, look, look for it for a long time to come. I LOVE painting.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Featuring Russell Gordon: Month of February

The Wells Gallery welcomes Russell Gordon
Featured artist for February
Artist’s Reception Friday February 24th 5-8pm

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (January 26) The Wells Gallery will host an Artist’s Reception for Russell Gordon on February 24thfrom 5:00 until 8:00.  The gallery is always open to the public and we invite you to take the time to see the masterful detail of this American painter.  

Born in 1968, Russell Gordon received his undergraduate and graduate art education at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore.Gordon's works evoke an old world feel but often with a decidedly contemporary twist. These richly detailed and carefully composed paintings reflect the Dutch Golden Era and Italian Renaissance sensibilities, yet remind us that simple and natural beauty are timeless and unchanged. Often combining layered symbolism and a subtle wit, Russell builds each work with carefully applied layers of oil paint and a strong sense of light and dark. Worked directly from life, the paintings invite the eye into windows of alternate but convincing reality without hesitation or reluctance.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quiet Space: Photography by John Michiels

For the month of January, we will be featuring over fifteen limited edition photographs from John Michiels in a show entitled Quiet Space. An artist's reception will be held Thursday, January 26th from 5:30-7:30, and is open to the public.