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Archives for October, 2006

Robust colors

In previous critiques here on Art & Perception I referred to a lack of “robust colors” in some paintings. I wanted to show some positive examples of what I mean by “robust colors.” These still life paintings by Gautam Rao are just what I had in mind.

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Inspiration from Mr. Bartman, my art teacher in high school


plein air landscape painting
Painting From Life vs. From Photos

Posted by Karl Zipser

I made this painting in the summer of 1985, when I was sixteen years old. I painted it over the course of several mornings, standing on a dock in Woods Hole, Cape Cod. This is one of my first landscape paintings in oil.


I was able to do work like the above because I was part of a group of motivated students in the art class of Walter Bartman, a high school teacher in Bethesda, Maryland. more… »

Learning to Accept Criticism: without hurting someone!

As an artist who has spent most of his employed life in the arts, (in many diverse fields), I have had to humble myself to criticism many times for shear lack of credentials. At first, this was very uncomfortable to bear, I hadn’t known the gift of honest opinion, insecurity of the “self”, (my own), always stepped in and “botched it” for me, (like a reflex). After-all, how dare someone tell me “what they really think”: Right! I have since learned from my folly, and furthermore, now cherish the “morsels of truth” that others seemingly can’t hold back from sharing with me from time to time.

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From clay to bronze, and back again — works by Hanneke van den Bergh


plein air landscape painting
Painting From Life vs. From Photos

Posted by Karl Zipser

Accidents Happen

Hanneke van den Bergh
‘s husband dropped this ceramic sculpture and it shattered on the sidewalk. Her 50 cm high wood-fired piece was a central work for the exhibition to be installed that day . . .

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Critique Me!


Posted by Hanneke van Oosterhout

This still life is about 13 cm wide. I painted everything from life. I drew directly on the panel with charcoal, then pencil. Then I made an under painting in acrylic in one day. I made the over painting oil in two days, one day focusing on the berries, the other on the cup. I think this is a good picture. Please tell me what could be done better. Photographers, have you any insights for me?

Score and performance

Posted by Colin

There is an old saw from the history of photography that the ‘negative is the score and the print is the performance’. This has been around for so long that photographers have absorbed it to the point that they no longer think about it. I was reminded of this saying yesterday though, when Karl referred to an earlier interview with Dan Bodner in which Dan said:

“A photo is a record of a moment that has passed, a dead moment. I don’t feel that I own the image as a photograph until I paint it as a painting. The photo itself always refers to the past. But a painting of the photo is a creation, which goes on living. The painting defines its own continuing moment in time.”



I obviously have no idea how creation works for Dan, but I wanted to point out to anybody else who followed the link that this was a very limiting way of seeing the medium. I’ve written more about this here.

You can be sure that reality didn’t look much like this photo. Or, for that matter, the rather different one that I’ve also linked in the post on my blog. No one artform has the monopoly on creation. And I think that in understanding what works for us we need to be careful not to be dismissive about what works for others.

Artists talking

Posted by Colin

I’ve been invited to become a contributor here at Art and Perception. I’m intrigued by the possibilities that this opens up. For you see, I’m not a painter, or a sculptor. I can’t draw, and I’m not particularly experienced as an art critic. I’m a photographer.

One of the things that I’ve come to understand over the last year is how little dialogue there is between the different branches of the visual arts. We might differ in our crafts, but our arts are often so similar. We share the same fascinations with seeing and depicting. With exploring light, texture and colour. Yet we don’t talk to each other.

Worse than that, we hold opinions about the other arts that are often bizarre. There are plenty of photographers around who would dearly love to paint, because that is “real art”, and Karl tells me that there are painters who still feel threatened by photography. This is a divide that never made much sense; has gone on too long; and stops us learning from each other and using that learning to grow our own art.

I’d like to take two examples drawn from recent postings on this blog.

This portrait by Jon Conkey deals with exactly the same issues that I deal with in making a portrait – I don’t mean the technical stuff, but the artistic issues like how to blend depiction with abstraction, what colour palette to use, and where to place the framing. Thinking through the decisions that Jon made has been a valuable exercise for me.

As a second example, these figs could so easily be one of my photos. I don’t mean that they look like they are a photo, but that (I’m guessing) the motivation was the same, the style is very similar, and the thoughts about lighting and background must have worked in a way with which I am familiar.

So, to end this first post, I’m looking forward to the dialogue. If you dip into my blog, or my wider site, there will be lots of stuff that won’t interest you. But I hope that there will also be stuff that does.

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