Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Unveiling Postponed

Dear Friends,

I'm sorry to announce that an unexpected event has necessitated the postponement of the unveiling of the painting St. Kateri Tekakwitha and the Children. I will post the rescheduled date as soon as the Parish leadership and I are are able to work one out.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Framed and Ready to Go

Everything is set for the unveiling. I picked up the painting last week from the framers. It was raining, so we covered it in plastic, and for a good measure, wrapped it in a shower curtain. I'm looking forward to seeing you all there.

Thursday April 24th, 7pm
1803 Union Street
Schenectady, New York

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Rubens' Deposition
A theme throughout lent is the paradoxical freedom that comes from renunciation. The life in death. It's a theme that runs throughout Christianity, and indeed all contemplative faiths. So for Good Friday, I'd like to dwell upon that, and better than my own words are those of T.S. Elliot in this fragment of "East Coker" from the Four Quartets:

The wounded surgeon plies the steal
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.


The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of what we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Head Demonstration

My friend Liam has his priorities straight in life. He's in preschool. When his mom asks him how his day was, his response hinges on whether or not he was able to paint. I was able to paint the other day. I did a brief demonstration for my advanced painting class. I worked on the painting above while talking about my process, and other important topics, like the Spanish origin of certain Irish surnames, medieval glazing, the best meal I've ever eaten.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Easter is just around the corner, and it's time to mark your calendars. We'll soon be unveiling the painting Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and the Children. The parish will be hosting a reception at 1803 Union Street on Thursday April 24th, 7pm. The reception for the first painting was great. Since Lent will be over, those of us who have given up things like snacks, cheese, wine, etc. will be able end their fasts in style.

For here's a teaser. Some of my favorite brushwork from the high resolution photograph by McGreevy's. In the image is an architectural detail in the background of the painting. It's always exciting to see an image that really captures something of the physical qualities of the painting. A great book came out about a decade ago when I was in college titled "Seeing Through Paintings," in which the authors lay out for all to see, the "secrets" of the masters. It was amazing. Entirely changed the way I thought about painting. Who would have guessed that Gilbert Stuart painted on his tablecloth, or that Da Vinci glazed with his thumbs?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Geometry and the Human Body

Invariably, when art teachers begin a unit of portrait drawing, or figure drawing, they say something to the effect that it no more difficult to draw a human being than it is to draw a jar of flowers. There's a great deal of symmetry and regularity about the forms. As a student I was always slightly dismayed by these statements. Have drawn and painted a bit more since then, something I've come to appreciate about the human body is it's geometry. Of course it's a very complex form, but the body has major planes, and some degree of regularity that is very useful to a painter. Previously I've mentioned Loomis' planar treatment of the head. It's very useful, when drawing or painting a clothed figure to visualize the core geometries, as this is often expressed in the fall of fabric. Details and nuances of form will obscure this form, but it's presence at the heart of a painted form yields dimension. I struggled to establish his body for a few hours, painting, scraping, and repainting, before I returned to the geometry. For example, as I painted the boy's leg and foot I thought of the leg as a triangular prism with a dominant side plane, and the foot as a wedge. His shoulders are a cube.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Head Painting Demo

On Monday, April 7th I'll be conducting a head painting demonstration and workshop at Siena College. You can join me in Foy Hall room 105 on the Siena College Campus. I'll paint a demonstration at 10:00 am. In the afternoon, from 12 - 3pm, I'll provide supplies for anyone who wants to make their own painting. I'll have paint and canvas, but you have to bring your own head to paint.