Who is the most influential art blogger? Ed Winkleman, of course. I haven’t been following his blog as closely as I would like to, but yesterday I took a look and the title of his recent post Art About Art got me excited. I’ve been working on an essay about this general subject “art about art”, and I wondered if I had been scooped. In fact, there was no connection; Winkleman’s post could have been titled “Art about making art,” how artwork depicting artists “caught in the act” of creation tells us about how artists did what they did. In my own experience this is a fruitful avenue for research, because there is much to be learned about studio practice from old paintings, (how to store brushes in linseed oil, for example, or how the palette was laid out in the 15th century). There is also much to learn from ancient art about the making, painting, and firing of ancient Greek ceramics.

Back to art about art — the concept of depicting art in art opens a lot of possibilities. The imaginary vase painting still life above is an example. I have long been fascinated by Athenian vase painting because of the potential of the vase to act as a “frame” for drawings and paintings on the vase itself. This fascination led me to a long love affair with ceramics and kiln building — that’s for another time though. The painting above is a technical study in how to paint a representation of a vase with oil colors on canvas. The form of the vase is based on studies of a stamnos in a museum in nearby Leiden, while the “red figure painting” is based on a painting on an amphora in the same museum. I studied these ancient objects by drawing in my sketchbook at the museum, then created this fantasy synthesis in my studio.

In fact, I worked out the rough form of the vase together with Hanneke van Oosterhout in a large painting we did together. I made this study to develop the technique for painting the vase before overpainting it in the large painting.

Every blog post should end with a question, right? Okay then, what do you think about Ed Winkleman’s blog? Or, what do you think about “art about art”? Or, what do you think of collaborating on artwork?

related post: Art about art and doing a 180