Friday, January 30, 2015

GCA Winter & Spring Workshops

There's still time to sign up for our Winter & Spring Workshops!
Click here to view the listings and register.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

AI FIORI opening reception next Friday February 6!

Long Island City, NY - Join us at Eleventh Street Arts next Friday, February 6 from 6-8 pm for the opening reception of Ai Fiori: The Alla Prima Floral Sketch. This group show of floral paintings will feature work by Liz Beard, Sarah Bird, Patrick Byrnes, Todd Casey, Savannah Cuff, Devin Cecil-Wishing, Sam Hung, Brendan Johnston, Emilie Lee, Rodrigo Mateo, Allison Parker, Audrey Rodriguez, Mary Jane Ward, Matt Weigle, Katie Whipple and Dale Zinkowski. This exhibition will be on view through March 20. 

Ai Fiori: The Alla Prima Floral Sketch
Friday, February 6, 2015
6-8 pm
Eleventh Street Arts
46-06 11th St
Long Island City, NY 11101

with generous support from Floresta


Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Painting Fruit by Katie G. Whipple

Orange Tree, oil on wood - Bass Garden, Rome

I have always loved fruit trees. Growing up in the midwest, there were mostly apple trees to admire, which always made autumn extra special. Now I suppose, it's not surprising as I thumb through early memories, how vividly I can recall a kindergarten field trip to a "pick-your-own" apple orchard; my grandmother's persimmon trees in the side yard; and picking buckets full of cherries from my neighbor Virginia's sour cherry trees.

Hand Picked, oil on linen

I suppose there has always been a bit of magic in picking fruit off a branch, rubbing it clean on your shirt, and eating it right there in the orchard, still warm from the sun. Magical. And to me, supremely beautiful.

All of this love for fruit in its natural habitat came full circle for me this past year in Italy, where the abundance of produce cannot be missed by any traveler passing through.

Grapes, oil on linen - Bass Garden, Rome

September 2013 through May 2014, I had the great good fortune to live in various parts of Italy. For the first three months of my stay, I was living at the American Academy in Rome on the 2013 Alma Schapiro Prize fellowship. While the Academy has innumerable wonderful things I could write pages about, I think it is safe to say my favorite part of campus was the Bass Garden.

Katie Whipple working in the Bass Garden, American Academy in Rome

This beautifully kept garden is a highly functioning one, seasonally producing food for the staff and residents at the AAR. Each week it seemed like new models were springing up for me to paint and it was an instant source of inspiration. I found myself spending my weekends in the garden admiring the plants and making studies of whatever was in season.

Photographic detail of The Painted Garden - Villa Livia

The Italians have loved their produce for centuries. "The Painted Garden" of the Villa Livia (30-20 BCE) is an entire frescoed dining room from the home of Livia Drusilla, wife of Augusta Caesar. These wall paintings continue to be a great source of inspiration for me, and I spent many, many afternoons sitting with and studying them.

Lemon Blossom Study, oil on linen - Priano

After spending winter studying in Florence, we returned to Rome. Back in the garden at the AAR, my fruit painting frenzy really took off. I had never seen, or smelled lemon blossoms before. I was enchanted. The blooms are the most beautiful pink and the smell is heavenly. We then traveled south from Rome. Southern Italy, to my mind, is the Land of Lemons.

Katie Whipple painting a lemon tree in Sorrento

I made a pilgrimage to Sorrento, where the lovely limoncello producers allowed me to set up in their grove. It was absolute heaven to be completely surrounded by lemon trees and even an allergic reaction to pollen and a swollen right eye didn't stop me from painting until sundown. From Sorrento we would journey to the island of Capri and finally to Priano (a small town on the Amalfi coast) before returning home to the states. I painted lemons the whole way. Fruit trees are just everywhere in Italy, on the street and in back yards. It was very easy to find someone that would let me sit with their trees all day and work. Italians are wonderful about letting you trespass to paint.

Lemon Tree Study II, oil on linen - Sorrento

I painted field studies and I clipped samples to paint in my temporary outdoor studio(s). I'm not really so much of a traditional landscape painter, though all of these studies were done "en plein air." I much prefer painting in gardens and manicured places, and like to focus my subject matter on something more attainable (for me, that is) than a vista - such as a couple of pieces of fruit on a limb or a single tree. It is important to my working process to experience the environment of my subject matter, particularly if I am painting nature.

Study of Two Lemons - graphite and white chalk on toned paper - Priano

Why so many lemons? I have loved lemons since I was a little girl. I will eat anything with lemon as a main ingredient and my husband often gets on me for "cooking with too much zest." But I didn't make all of these paintings just because I love lemons (although they brought me much joy). All of these paintings are studies and references for a large painting I am working on. So, each painting I made was serving a particular purpose - whether it was to do a study of the leaves, the blossoms, the light on the fruit, or the entire tree. Personally, it helps keep me motivated to have a goal I'm working towards, especially when one study doesn't go so well.

Light Study, oil on linen - Priano

I have been painting fruit for a long time. When I began still life painting, my first subjects were fruits and vegetables. It was a great learning tool. Organic subjects prove to be a little more forgiving than manmade objects, as the drawing doesn't need to be so precise - i.e. an apple verses a wine glass. Produce also gives you a wide variety of color and is generally simple enough in shape to aid in understanding of light, form, and paint handling. I am really excited to be instructing an upcoming still life workshop at GCA and I think it will be a great opportunity for beginners who want to explore technique as well as more advanced artists to explore color and composition. It should be a really fun three days of admiring these earthly delights!

Katie Whipple leads "Painting Fruits and Vegetables" a 3-day Still Life Painting workshop at GCA March 20-22, 2015. Learn more and register.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Breakfast in the Clouds: Two New Workshops

This President's Day Weekend we're exited to offer two workshops presented for the first time at GCA. The first is a 5-day still life workshop led by Justin Wood in which each artist will create their own painting in the tradition of the great Dutch masters. The still life paintings of The Dutch Golden Age were a result of the economic prosperity northern Europe experienced in the 17th century.

Jan Davidsz De Heem: Still Life with a Glass and Oysters, 1640

The Dutch trade network brought in foods and wares from all over the world, especially Asia. The incredible variety of food and items provided artists of the time a new and inexhaustible genre.

The Breakfast Still Life or Ontibijtjes (little breakfast) was one type of still life category that developed in Haarlem and Pieter Claesz was one of the leading artists. His paintings typically included monochrome renderings of fruit, roemers (wine glasses), and pewter plates. 

Pieter Claesz: Still Life with Two Lemons, 1629

The calm simplicity of Claesz's arrangements is the essence of Ontbijtjes paintings and the goal of this workshop. Participating artists will create their own compositions of food and objects (glasses, plates, silverware) in the vein of the Dutch painters.

Justin Wood: Still Life with Lemons, 2014

We are also offering a 3-day Portrait in Perspective Workshop led by Anthony Baus. In the spirit of Cortona, Tiepolo and the great fresco painters of yore, this workshop concerns itself with the drawing of a portrait from an extreme perspective. Looking high above in the clouds or far below from the branches of a tree.

Agostino Carracci, 16th Century

Mornings will be spent discussing the main structural points of the skull and their orientation in space. Observations will be made on how these points act when rotated and titled. Each morning will bring a new pose as we learn to quickly locate points essential to a convincing dimensional portrait. Artists will try their hand at drawing the portrait from above as well as below. 

Anthony Baus, 2014

The afternoons will be spent on a single long pose to last three afternoons. Our model will be posed high on the model stand allowing artists to draw the portrait from below as if looking to the sky. Knowledge of skull structure will aid to deepen our understanding of the portrait's spacial orientation. 

Justin Wood: 17th Century Dutch Still Life Workshop Feb 12-16, 2015
Anthony Baus: Portrait in Perspective Workshop: Feb. 14-16, 2015
To sign up and read about our other winter/early spring workshops,  click here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

RSVP for January 16 Lecture, "Creative Waiting" by Anthony Mastromatteo

Dear Reader, It is a cold, rainy morning in NYC, and we are definitely looking forward to our first lecture of the year coming this Friday! Artist Anthony Mastromatteo, an alum of Water Street Atelier, who has since set up shop in Akron, Ohio, has offered to lead a discussion with the GCA-NYC artist community entitled:

Creative Waiting: Beyond the Technical

Using the Grimm Fairytale, "Briar Rose" as a departure, Mr. Mastromatteo will comment on the possibilities and challenges of the creative life encountered by the artist beyond the initial possibilities and challenges of acquiring technical proficiency.

Mr. Mastromatteo will not be offering a visual presentation, but hopes to generate a vigorous, informal discussion. We hope this will spark an on-going, longer-term conversation. The talk will be held in GCA's LIC Studio gallery space, Eleventh Street Arts.
Refreshments will be served!

Address: 4606 11th Street, Long Island City, Queens, 11101
Date: Friday, January 16
Time: 6-7pm

Afterwards: Keep the conversation going after at nearby Alewife (5-14 51at Ave)

Space is limited,  Please RSVP.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Emilie Lee Self-Portrait Places at TRAC2015!

Congratulations to Emilie Lee who just tied for Second Place in Round 1 of TRAC2015 Online Art Competition! Emilie, who is a landscape painter, painted her self-portrait titled, "Fortitude" with the backdrop of a stormy sea. The deadline to submit work for Round 2 judging is February 14.

This was Emilie's first work painted in our new LIC studio this fall where she shares a working artist studio with Patrick Byrnes, Anthony Baus, Liz Beard and Devin Cecil-Wishing.

Wait...who is shipping who?? Self-portraiture gets tricky sometimes...

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Monday afternoon portrait sketch of 2015... hot off the easels:

painting by Liz Beard

drawing by Addison Xu

drawing by Savannah Tate Cuff

painting by Patrick Byrnes

painting by Jessica Artman