Sunday, September 27, 2015

Trekell Art Supplies Lecture this Wednesday!

As we continue learning about great artist materials, please join us this Wednesday, September 30th, at 5:30 pm for a product presentation from Trekell Art Supplies. Trekell will discuss their professional-grade products and answer any questions you may have. Free and open to the public. In our upstairs lounge.

In a quick interview Trekell tells us about what makes their company unique and why it is a great option for artists seeking quality materials.

What sets Trekell apart from other art supply companies? 
First off, thanks for the opportunity. One of the real joys of working in this field is connecting with similar-minded artists and institutions. Grand Central Atelier's mission to deepen the understanding and appreciation of classical form, design, practice, and discipline hits home, mirroring the origin story of Brian Trekell, our founder.
As for what sets us apart, that depends on whom you ask. We've built a devoted customer base by offering professional-grade, USA-made supplies for a fair price, offering any skill or income level a chance to work with the finest tools. Our artists love the close relationships we foster; they know we'll work tirelessly to help the people we believe in to reach their creative heights. But, speaking as an employee, our defining characteristic is that we believe in what we are doing. This is more than a company, more than a bottom line. It comes down to this: Artists should work with the best tools and materials. Those tools and materials shouldn't sit frustratingly out of reach because they cost too much. You already have to make sacrifices, settling for substandard tools shouldn't be one of them. That's the difference and that's what drives Trekell. We want to get you closer to what you love doing.

What is the most exciting product you offer to an academic painting community?
It's hard to narrow our catalog down to one exciting product. That's our strength, really. Trekell offers something for any school and any course. We're also flexible. Wether you're a principal artist or an artist-in-training, you're always just one email away from custom packages. We're big on customer service. A flesh-and-blood human will help you out. In a way, that may be the most exciting thing we offer: an open ear. If you need something, talk to us and we'll see what we can do.
As for GCA in particular, not to keep banging this drum, but artists-in-training would appreciate the quality and archival abilities of our tools, applications, and surfaces. Just because you're fine-tuning your craft doesn't mean you have to suffer through using lower-grade materials.

How will Trekell art supplies benefit my daily studio habits? And what products do I have to have in my studio? 
Who better to answer these last two questions than our artists?
Derek Harrison: "Trekell Art Supplies are extremely high quality brushes, paints, etc. Using them everyday makes all aspects of being a painter that much easier. When you have fantastic tools to rely on it only increase your productivity as an artist and the quality of your own work. My daily studio habits consist of painting, taking breaks, and more painting... So having supplies that are always reliable helps keep a steady rhythm.
Currently I've been a huge fan of the Legion brushes and have a nice stock of those that I use for every piece I do. In addition to those I use all of their brushes, styles, sizes, etc, depending on the task at hand. I also use their linseed oil soap, brush restorer, and paints. These are helpful because being an avid plein air painter, sometimes you have to paint extremely quickly when your light is changing which can be very hard on even the most well-made brushes. Their brush case is also a staple of my supply kit."
Greg "Craola" Simkins: "Trekell has taken the guessing game out of what I need to use to make a successful work of art. They have made tools that allow me not to struggle as I take my idea to the canvas. I use the Golden Taklon brushes, the fluid acrylics, the wood panels, and the linen wrapped wood panels."

Wednesday, September 30th
5:30 pm 
Grand Central Atelier, Upstairs Lounge

Friday, September 25, 2015

Announcing the Portrait Sketch Competition Finalists!

By Jacob Collins, one of three judges on this year's panel

Dear Readers:

The following ten artists have been selected through an anonymous online application process to compete in our upcoming three-day, 24-hour, live alla prima portrait sketch competition!

October 21 - 23, 2015
GCA Studios and Eleventh Street Arts

Patrick Byrnes, Leeanna Chipana, Michael Davis, Danny Ferland, Jennifer Gennari, Brendan Johnston, Dominique Medici, Kristin Nikitin, Evert Ploeg, Elizabeth Zanzinger.

Judges: Jacob Collins, Travis Schlaht and Edward Minoff

Awards: First Place: $1000, Second Place: $500, Pure Participation is priceless!

Public Events:
Join us October 21 - 23 online or in person as the competition unfolds daily! Drop in for lunch-hour viewings from 1-2pm all three days and for the Awards Party on Friday, October 23, 6-9pm. The portraits will remain on view for a month at our adjacent gallery Eleventh Street Arts.

By Patrick Byrnes

By Leeanna Chipana

By Michael Davis

By Danny Ferland

By Jennifer Gennari

By Brendan Johnston

By Dominique Medici

By Kristin Nikitin

By Evert Ploeg

By Elizabeth Zanzinger

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Palette and Paint: A Presentation from Michael Harding and New Wave Fine Art

"The artist palette is where it all begins. When you are mixing paint this is where your senses begin to collect information that is instantaneously interpreted by your brain, then relayed to the conscious as a color." - New Wave Fine Art Products  

Please come by GCA tomorrow, Friday, September 25th, for an exciting event! Join Michael Harding, founder of Michael Harding Artist Oil Colours, and New Wave Fine Art Products for an engaging Palette & Paint presentation. Expand your historical perspective and technical knowledge by learning how to use a palette more effectively in combination with meaningful information on oil paints, mediums, and varnishes. Additional "hands on" time will be allocated for all participants. Attendees will be entered to win a PRIZE PACKAGE!! Drawing will be held during demonstration. In eager anticipation for tomorrow's coming lecture, I asked Michael Harding a few questions to whet our palettes. 

KW: What makes Michael Harding paints Michael Harding paints? What do you do that other paint companies aren't offering? 
MH: It is not so much what I put in, it is what I leave out! This recipe allows for the intensity of colour and concentrate. You don't need a lot on your brush! Also, you don't need a medium to make my oil paints work for you!

KW: Your "Genuine Naples Yellow Light" is one of my very favorite colors on my palette, and I believe there is nothing else like it in the world! What is your favorite color in your arsenal, or the "customer favorite?" 
MH: Firstly, thank you for your comments regarding my Genuine Naples Yellow Light. Indeed it is a very beautiful color and opaque, historically it is a very interesting colour. Where it comes to my own personal choice of which colours I prefer, it usually depends on why I am working on at the time or researching. Currently, I have been engaged on a very long project regarding Vermilion. And before that, my very unique Stack Lead White which, you might remember, is made form suspending lead over vinegar under horse poop -- a method that can be traced back to the time before Christ. I also have new colours coming, all very hush-hush at the moment, that are very beautiful and I suspect will become customer favourites. Generally speaking, the colours artists rave about as their favourites are: Lapis Lazuli, Genuine Chinese Vermilion, Stack Lead White, Rose Madder, Genuine Naples Light and Dark, and Italian Green Umber to name a few. The list is very long! 

KW: How will the Michael Harding/New Wave combo improve my daily working habits as a painter?
MH: Both product identities have been created totally with the artist in mind. New Wave have totally reinvented the "wheel" with their extraordinarily well designed palettes. They took and existing principle and revisited what is normally seen as a very dull item in the artist tool kit and turned it into something which really helps the artist deliver paint in an easier, more comfortable fashion. Needless to say, the Michael Harding Oil range when used in conjunction with the New Wave products can only enhance the artists working experience. These products will remove much of the artists struggles, and the comfort of the palette and the filler free oil paints will allow every brush stroke to stay exactly where the artist lays it and the colour remaining vibrant. 

"Using a palette with a surface that is correct for your goals can help you achieve the desired value and effects much quicker and easier" - New Wave Fine Art Products

Friday, September 25th 
6:30 pm 
Grand Central Atelier 
Email to RSVP:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Special pop-up gallery event next week!

25 GCA artists will exhibit 70+ paintings in an event next week to benefit NYC nonprofit Wellness In The Schools. Many of the works were created over the summer at a beautiful farm upstate called Sol Flower Farm and others, thematically linked through food and farming, were created in the artists' studios. Next Tuesday, September 29 there will be a special opportunity to visit the pop-up gallery and check out the works! 

See the invitation below. Tuesday until 6pm the space is open to the public all day, no reservation required.  If you'd like to see the works during the evening reception however, RSVP to the (free, but ticketed) event here: 

Paintings on view by Brendan Johnston, Dale Zinkowski, Devin Cecil-Wishing, Edmond Rochat, Edward Minoff, Emilie Lee, Jacob Collins, Jessica Artman, Joshua LaRock, Justin Wood, Katie Engberg, Katie Whipple, Kevin Müller Cisneros, Liz Beard, Lois Engberg, Matt Weigle, Michael Klein, Patrick Byrnes, Raina Dai, Rodrigo Mateo, Sam Hung, Sarah Bird, Todd Casey and Travis Schlaht. 

venue: The Old Bowery Station, 168 Bowery (at Kenmare), New York, NY 10012

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Portrait Sketch Competition Application Deadline - Tuesday 9/15

Good news! We have extended the application deadline to enter our fall Alla Prima Portrait Sketch Competition to next Tuesday, September 15. The competition is October 21 - 23 at GCA in LIC.

Apply for a chance to participate in a rewarding, totally decadent, totally exhausting three-day portrait painting festival among your excellent peers!

First place wins $1,000 and Second Place wins $500. Pure participation is priceless.

This year's judges are Jacob Collins, Travis Schlaht and Edward Minoff.

Apply Online...

Enjoy these beautiful portraits....

Self Portrait by Travis Schlaht

By Colleen Barry

By Jacob Collins

By Katie Whipple
By Ted Minoff

By Patrick Byrnes


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Drawing Renaissance Inspired Portraits

by Katie Whipple 

It was towards the end of my first year at GCA when I flipped through a borrowed copy of Dover's "Holbein Portrait Drawings" for the first time. My knowledge of Renaissance works was severely limited, and I was amazed by how much I loved these simple line drawings. Four years of study at GCA and many art books later, I headed to Italy to drink up all the old masters had to offer. Almost accidentally, I dove head first into the Renaissance. 

Hans Holbein the Younger, "Sir Richard Southwell" 1537

Drawing is my first love, and portrait drawing perhaps my second. From the day I realized I could draw a face and make it actually look like someone, I was hooked. I had a similar experience when I arrived in Rome, unexpectedly becoming dazzled by Filippo Lippi and hooked on the Quattrocento. In copying Lippi's works, I realized I was rediscovering everything I loved about drawing. Painters of the Quattrocento and Renaissance have an exquisite understanding of line. These artists were able to use line to describe form, volume, light effect, and structure so elegantly and simply. And on top of that, the beauty of design in these finished pieces and studies took my breath away. 

 Copy of Filippo Lippi drawing by Katie Whipple, "Head of a Woman" 1452

In this upcoming workshop, I want to explore and share these elements of drawing that make my heart skip a beat. There is so much to be learned from old master drawings. However, painters often copy a drawing or painting giving little thought to how they will apply the ideas and techniques to their own work. Even the seemingly primitive drawings (to our contemporary eye) of the early 15th century have so much to contribute to current techniques and methods. 

"Self Portrait after Holbein" Katie Whipple, 2013

Filippo Lippi described his work as "a deliberate blend of the plausible with the beautiful." Constantly striving for this in my own work, I hope students in this workshop will be encouraged to blend the beautiful techniques and aesthetic of the Renaissance with the likeness and character of a live model. 

"Filip" Katie Whipple, 2014

Drawing the Portrait in Chalk: Renaissance Inspired Portrait Workshop with Katie Whipple, a three day portrait drawing workshop. September 19th-21st. Learn more and sign up!