Wednesday, 2 January 2013

What I discovered in 2012.... no particular order

New Artists (live ones)

The amazing Teresa Oaxaca - see her blog here.  Its almost unbelievable to me how accomplished she is at such a young age, 24 or 25 I think.  A really interesting and unusual artist and person and I will enjoy watching her evolution.  She has studied with Robert Liberace, two Florence Academies and also with Odd Nerdrum which basically is my description of heaven on earth.  Sigh...

Another one to watch is American in Paris Shane Wolf (have you ever noticed how many great artists have the coolest names.  Am I doomed to mediocrity?)  His website is here and blog here and do check out his Santa painting.  I think this guy has a wicked sense of humour but what I really like is his modern take on classical realism and how he paints guys!  His Eidolon series will keep me going to life classes till I die.

I am probably late to discover Roos Schuring as I believe she has quite a following but her plein air work really struck a chord with me.  Her blog here gives a lot of information about her process and she is definately hard core painting in all weathers and conditions.  What I really like is how she interprets our very humdrum dull grey Northern European light with perfect integrity and yet finds the beauty.  Go check her out, she is outstanding.

Mr Nathan Fowkes is an American concept artist and teacher with a very impressive CV but its his Landscape sketchbook blog that I am interested in here.  It seems I am drawn to very loose almost abstract landscape work and this blog is a very colourful and inspiring record of his mainly watercolour sketches.  There is a link where you can also see all the artwork in thumbnail format which is a great way of seeing how well designed each piece is. 

Artists (deceased)

Actually I cant say I discovered this artist this year, in fact he approached me via one of his finest paintings many, many years ago and delivered me a big gallery 'wow' moment (Repose 1911 - National Gallery Washington DC picture below).  Mr John Singer-Sargent is known to us all of course so I will say I rediscovered him again this year.  He is one of the key influences of Zhaoming Wu and so of course we had that chanelled during the workshop I attended in Italy (blog posts start here).  Then of course there was an amazing exhibition I saw at the same time American in Florence: Sargent and the American Impressionists and really it doesnt matter how good the image is on a computer or a book NOTHING can beat seeing art in person.  Finally, somewhere online I saw the image below, and didnt even realise is was a Sargent but get this, if you look at it as a thumbnail its almost photographic, but look closely at those glasses, and that swipe under the chin - there is nothing to it.  The mans brilliance never ceases to amaze and I am sure I shall continue to rediscover him over and over.  Its probably about time I did another master study.

Wise Words
I also discovered some good artistic development guidance on the blog of David Grey which you can read in its entirety here but these are the bits I have taken for myself.

Get some good formal training if possible even a workshop now and then is better than nothing. - I think the imporant thing here is good quality training.

Try to strike a path with your approach. What I mean is, if you are really serious about painting you can’t do a little of this and a little of that (a little impressionism, a little watercolor, a little photorealism, etc.). If you still need to explore before you define your path, that’s fine. Don’t rush it. But do make a decision. May I submit to you that once you get a good handle on one type of expression your other experiments will be much more meaningful. - This really struck me as important, I definitely need to narrow my focus.

Identify for yourself what you want to paint, why you want to paint it, how you want to paint it. Describe to yourself what you hope to communicate in your artistic expression. (if you can do this you are well on your way) - Not so easy as it sounds but writing it down might help. 

Pick three artists (minimum) that you want to emulate in your work. Study everything you can about them. Try to identify what it is about their work that you like. Do some master copies of their work. - This sounds like a great idea to me, I like lots of artists but cant or dont want to emulate all their work.  Sorting out the personal influences might be a good plan.

Pan pastels - I like them

Simplifying - Is really, really hard

Best Quote of the Year -  'Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.'  Chuck close.

I'm sure there is much, much more to be discovered in 2013 - I am off and raring to go and hope you are too.


  1. Sounds like you had a great year.
    Happy 2013

  2. I think this path is never easy ...wishing you well always !!!