Friday, April 29, 2016

What is a "trompe-l'oeil"?

For the first time, we're offering a still life painting workshop focusing specifically on trompe-l'oeil, co-taught by instructors Sally Fama Cochrane and Devin Cecil-Wishing. Here, Sally answers the tricky question of what makes a painting a "trompe-l'oeil."

"Fish Allergy" by Sally Fama Cochrane
“Trompe-l’oeil” means “fool the eye,” and is commonly defined as an “illusionistic” painting. But as realist painters, we want the objects in every still life or figure painting to look real. So, what distinguishes a “trompe-l’oeil” from any other realistic painting?

"Sand Dollar" by Devin Cecil-Wishing
The difference lies in where the illusion begins. Ever since the Renaissance and the invention of perspective, the surface of the canvas functioned as an invisible “window” through which the viewer could see into another world: just beyond that window was a convincingly illusionistic three-dimensional space with people and objects inhabiting it. 

Trompe-l’oeil paintings, however, bring that illusionistic space one step closer to the viewer, by creating the illusion that objects in the painting are part of the viewer’s world. By breaking this assumed boundary between the viewer’s world of material objects and the painted world of objects, the trompe-l’oeil forces those painted objects to seem even more real.

"Scurvy" by Sally Fama Cochrane
As an example of how a trompe-l’oeil can push an object into the viewer’s world, take my painting, “Scurvy.” The red rusty wall with teeth hanging on it is the painted surface separating us from the implied space beyond it, inside the porthole with the lemons. But by painting the open porthole door -- extending into the world of the viewer -- the reality of the rest of the painted world (the lemons, limes and teeth) becomes even more immediate, as if the viewer could reach in and open the door and the lemons and limes would tumble out.

"Trompe-L'Oeil" by Devin Cecil-Wishing
Trompe-l’oeil paintings can also thrust the entire illusion into the viewer's space. Take for example Devin’s painting “Trompe-L’oeil.” Here, since we accept a frame as a typical boundary between our world and a painted world, all of the objects within this painted frame or shadowbox appear even more immediately real than in a typically-composed still life. The detail of the pencil pointing outward, toward us, further emphasizes this effect.

"Soy allergy" by Sally Fama Cochrane

This power of the trompe-l’oeil to inhabit the viewer’s world makes the objects not just “realistic,” but so real that you feel like you could touch them. Trompe-l’oeil paintings expand the visual to the tactile. This power is what led me to employ it as a compositional device for my series on food allergies.  

"Milk allergy" by Sally Fama Cochrane
The tactile quality of these paintings echoes the immediate, personal, and sensory relationship we have with food and highlights the paradox of not being able to touch a particular food allergen (the way you can't actually touch the objects in the paintings). 

Come learn the techniques to make your own personalized illusions in our 5-day Trompe-L'Oeil Still Life Painting workshop June 20-24, 2016. For more information and to sign up, click here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jon Brogie & Kevin Müller Cisneros Tie the Fifth Structure Prix

As we approach the end of the year, the work of all the students is so strong, that there was a tie for the most recent Structure Prix. Instructor Colleen Barry wrote the following critiques of the two winning drawings. 
Plus! Save the date for our End of Year Student Show: 
Friday, May 20th from 6-9pm

Structure Prix winner, Jon Brogie
"This drawing displays Jon's sensitivity towards form and structural volume. The strong diagonal in the gesture makes for a dynamic composition. The value range Jon has chosen for this figure makes for a strong visual impact. The anatomical structure of the shoulders is convincing of the relationship between the trapezius, the inflated infraspinatus and the latissimus dorsi. The varying weight of the contour creates a feeling of life and movement."

Structure Prix winner, Kevin Müller Cisneros
"This seated nude has an incredible sense of weight. The proportion and gesture are excellent representations of the model. There is a picturesque quality to the drawing that makes the composition aesthetically compelling. The anatomy in the shoulder blades, latissimus and rib cage display a great deal of sensitivity. There is a powerful sense of form and bulk in the torso and thigh."

This is the fifth time the Structure Prix has been awarded in the spirit of inspiring healthy competition among peers as inspired by weekly cash prizes at the Academy Julien in Paris during the 19th Century. Colleen Barry was again joined by Will St. John in choosing the most recent winners.

Sandra Sanchez won the fourth prize in March 2016.
Katie Engberg won the third prize in February 2016.
Raina Dai won the second prize in November 2015.
Kevin Müller Cisneros won the first prize in October 2015. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Suggested Donation Hosts RESIDENT Artist Talk Wednesday May 4, 6-8pm

Eleventh Street Arts is thrilled to announce its next exhibition: RESIDENTS. This group show presents nine emerging artists, all recent graduates of Grand Central Atelier, in a showcase of new paintings, drawings and sculpture.  

Opening reception Friday, April 15, 6-9 p.m.


Wednesday April 20, 6-8 p.m. The featured artists will each briefly talk about their work as well as answer questions from the audience

Wednesday May 4, 6-8 p.m. The Artists will participate in a panel discussion hosted by Suggested Donation Podcast's Ted Minoff and Tony Curanaj.

Devin Cecil-Wishing

RESIDENTS includes work by Liz Beard, Anthony Baus, Patrick Byrnes, Devin Cecil-Wishing, Sally Fama Cochrane, Zoe Dufour, Samuel Hung, Brendan Johnston, and Justin Wood. Together their work demonstrates the varied ways in which traditional academic training can inform contemporary art practice.  

Patrick Byrnes

From Liz Beard's dreamlike narrative figure works, to Devin Cecil-Wishing's enigmatic trompe l'oeil still lifes, to Sally Fama Cochrane's elaborate medical allegories, exhibited works are marked by the marriage of highly refined technique with the incipient personal styles of nine developing visions

Justin Wood

Two still life painters: Justin Wood and Samuel Hung, are exploring the genre in refreshingly unique ways - Wood's elegant compositions invoke 17th century Dutch masters with a calm, even light, while Hung's whimsical pictures are rendered with a dazzling precision. Anthony Baus' part-observed, part-imagined compositions conjure past, present, and the ornate splendor of the ancient world.

Sally Fama Cochrane

Patrick ByrnesZoe Dufour, and Brendan Johnston present sensitive new figure paintings and sculptures exploring the intimate relationship between model and artist in ways that evoke both strength and vulnerability. 

Brendan Johnston
Having spent years carefully honing their painting, drawing and sculpting skills, these young artistic voices are now emerging with an intriguing array of styles, sensibilities and subject matter.

Sam Hung

In addition to the public opening reception on April 15, Eleventh Street Arts will present two evenings of artist talks.

Liz Beard
Wednesday April 20, 6-8 p.m. The featured artists will each briefly talk about their work as well as answer questions from the audience

Zoe Dufour
Wednesday May 4, 6-8 p.m. The Artists will participate in a panel discussion hosted by Suggested Donation Podcast's Ted Minoff and Tony Curanaj.

Anthony Baus

All events are free and open to the public

Eleventh Street Arts is located at 
46-06 11th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101

Resident Artist Spotlight: Brendan Johnston

We're kicking off a new series of pieces on artistic process and practice with GCA Resident Artist, Alum and Instructor, Brendan Johnston. Brendan shares a studio with Justin Wood, Sam Hung and Jacob Collins. Recently he's been sculpting portraits alongside Jacob and Charlie Mostow. At night, he's been sitting in our portrait class where he made this painting during six sessions of the March pose.

Brendan's new works, including this portrait, will be on view along with new works by his fellow resident artists: Liz Beard, Anthony Baus, Patrick Byrnes, Devin Cecil-Wishing, Sally Fama Cochrane, Zoe Dufour, Samuel Hung, and Justin Wood in the group show: Residents at our adjacent gallery, Eleventh Street Arts. The opening is this Friday, April 15th from 6-9pm. Join us if you're in town!

On a 17”x19” oil primed canvas, I put down a thin wash of Raw Umber. Using a bristle brush to remove paint and synthetic brush to apply paint, I patiently begin to block in the simple shapes of the head. It is crucial to keep in mind the perspective of the portrait - I am both looking up at the model, Devin, and I’m just past 3/4 profile. Devin, has very clear bone structure, so I try to use anatomical landmarks, such as the zygomatic to orient the head. Finally, I fill in the shadow areas with a flat swatch of raw umber to give the block-in a basic value scale. This stage takes about 2 hours to complete.

In my second sitting, I begin the initial application of oil color. For the flesh tones, I use a palette of cremnitz white, naples yellow, yellow ochre, raw siena, terra rosa, burnt sienna, transparent oxide red, burnt umber, raw umber, cypress umber, van dyke brown and ivory black. With a palette knife, I like to premix several piles of paint with varying levels of chroma and value. As I paint, I alternatively work from the lights towards the darks and then from the darks towards the lights, always keeping form in mind.

I next finish off the details of the features, remembering that they are all in the light filled area of the head. I also begin to work on the hair, keeping in mind that the dread-locks are conversely compressed in a very low value, low chroma range. I also begin to scumble in a background using raw umber, black and white.

Finally, I glaze over any imperfections in the features and adjust highlights where necessary. I add a bit of detail to the hair and paint in the jacket.  Finally, I scumble a cooler tone onto the background to give it a bit of atmosphere. In this final pass, I sometimes apply a small amount of retouch varnish to return the dark tones to their true value because as they dry they sink in. I generally wait 6 months before applying a final varnish to allow the oil paint to chemically dry.

Brendan Johnston will also share insight into his work at both artist talks held at Eleventh Street Arts during the exhibition: Residents. The first is on Wednesday, April 20th from 6-8pm and the second, hosted by Suggested Donation's Ted Minoff and Tony Curanaj, is on Wednesday, May 4th also 6-8pm. These evenings are free and open to the public.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Congratulations 2016 Hudson River Fellows!

Crawford Notch by Thomas Cole, 1839

Twenty painters have been selected to attend this summer's Hudson River Fellowship in Jackson, New Hampshire! Fellows will bunk in one of two ski chalets in the foothills of the White Mountains on the edge of Jackson. They will paint from sunrise to sunset undaunted by ticks, bears and sudden rains. Fellows gather for lectures, critiques and demos by visiting artists.

The fellowship is uninstructed. Fellows shape their own days exploring the landscapes that were also painted by 19th century artists like Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, Benjamin Champney, Sandford Gifford, Jasper Cropsey and Winslow Homer. Jackson residents and Senior Fellows Erik Koeppel and Lauren Sansaricq along with Leslie and Warren Schomacher who run the Jackson Historical Society are great hosts and guides, acquainting the visiting painters with the local scenery.

Mt. Washington by Benjamin Champney, 1860

Enjoy these blog posts from last year's fellowship: 1st Week and 2nd week!

2016 Fellows:
Bhavani Krishnan
Chantelle Elizabeth Dinkel
David Alexander Paulsen
Diana C Carino-Buitrago
Grant Perry
James Riley Edmonds
John Darley
Jordan Aram Zoscak
Kelly Foss 
M.J. Bactol Sarmiento
Randolph Peay 
Riley Doyle
Sandra Sanchez
Sara Chong
Sarah Faith Burns
Sean Witucki
Sean Russo
Luke Atkinson
Karl Björn Wennergren

Mt. Chocorua by Sanford Gifford, 1863

Mt. Washington by Albert Bierstadt

Artists Sketching in the White Mountains, by Winslow Homer, 1868

Echo Lake by Jasper Cropsey
Check out GCA's summer landscape painting workshops in Jackson that run during the fellowship! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

La Napoule Plein Air Residency in the South of France - Images from Past Summers!

By Josh LaRock

Enjoy some of the amazing views and onsite work by previous participants in this residency:
(2014) Thomas Kegler, Joshua LaRock, (2015) Ken Salaz, Camie Davis, (2016) Savannah Tate Cuff and Bethann Moran.

Other Opportunities for Artists at LNAF:
La Napoule Art Foundation also offers other kinds of residencies open to all artists. Click here to find out more about other the chateau residencies that include one for a sculptor, interdisciplinary group and themed group residencies.

Tom Kegler

View of the Chateau de La Napoule

Camie Davis
By Camie Davis

By Tom Kegler

By Tom Kegler

Ken Salaz

By Ken Salaz

Work-in-progress by Ken Salaz

By Josh LaRock

By Tom Kegler
By Josh LaRock
Camie Davis

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

March Core Student Work

Our March month long poses inspired our studio with Freddy's curling curiosity, Santiago's twists and tension, Victoria's serious sensitivity and Shay's regal repose. Below are portrait and figure works by students in their 2nd through 4th years.
There's just one more week to apply for September admission to the full time Core Program - deadline is April 15th! Read more by clicking here.
And Save the Date for our End of Year Student Show on Friday, May 20th from 6-9pm. More details to come!

Charlie Mostow, 4th year

Charlie Mostow, 4th year

Alexandre Alves, 3rd year

Jessica Artman, 4th year

Kevin Müller Cisneros, 3rd year

Raina Dai, 3rd year

Joe Mattus, 3rd year

Andrew Payne, 4th year

Mark Popple, 4th year

Brian West, 3rd year

Dale Zinkowski, 3rd year

Jon Brogie, 4th year

Kathryn Engberg, 4th year

Andrew Payne, 4th year

Audrey Rodriguez, 4th year

Louis Carr, 3rd year

Al Costanzo, 3rd year

Savannah Tate Cuff, 3rd year

Kathryn Kincaid, 2nd year

Kelly Foss, 3rd year

Rie Mukai, 2nd year

Deborah Rodrigues, 3rd year

Mackenzie Swenson, 2nd year