Students of art and conoisseurs alike will appreciate the perspective of an artist, and Copley Master, making a living in today's world. The Artist's Conundrum: An Oil Painter's Journal is an account of the hazards in being a landscape painter: whether it is the child who leans on the artist to touch the wet canvas or the focused painter submerged from the rising tide; from the vicissitudes of being an unwitting street performer to a handout about the history of the mahl stick. It is the story of a kayaker drowning off-shore while the artist and his wife continue to paint while the whales dive in unison just a few feet away from the French easel.
The artist searches for new ways of seeing and studies optical effects like diffusion and halation and happens upon the camera obscura aberrations of floating highlights on headlights in the fog. He learns of a unique drawing technique in a dream and describes a visitation by the masters to the studio. The author discusses the beauty of arsenic induced flesh tones, the symbolism of elements in still-lifes and the habits of the eye. From the maudlin to the sublime, the artist struggles to elevate his work beyond just a photo-copying of the subject while his audience comes to him searching for "tickle imagination paintings".
The author is party to the ramblings of a figure painting group named the Depressionists with a member who bargains down the price of his work. There is the tale of a secret mission when the sketcher leaves an anonymous drawing in a coffee shop and the embarrassment of embracing the wrong girlfriend (twice) while on a museum trip. There is the mystery of a Q-tip and note found in a Rhode Island School of Design mailbox and unanswerable questions by tourists on location and a photographer who steals his composition.
These writings describe the artist at play, with his Ode to Organic Pigments and the joy of biking under the moon to an excerpt where a detective reveals that an imposter is, in fact, an artist.
This is an honest account of an artist supporting a family and the struggle between the inspirational world of aesthetics and the demands of the commercial. Beginning with early training at an atelier and a graphic design job staring at a monitor to a turn back towards the analog world and carving inscriptions in slate without an "undo" command. This is the path that led the artist to a shared studio/gallery, an artist wife, and happily engaged with the Muse.
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E N T R I E S
Most are illustrated with the artist's oil paintings.
Mutt and studio companion.
Blink and the World Changes -
The new studio/gallery
Leonardo and Rembrandt Stunned -
How far we’ve come and the state of the art.
A Morning Chasing Light (It Got Away) -
The thrill of the elusive.
Other Eyes -
Capturing an Audience -
Painting people on a busy local beach.
Tickle Imagination Paintings -
Internet searches that lead visitors to the blog.
Hidden Corner at Nobska Beach -
Painting in an overlooked spot in Woods Hole.
Edward Hopper -
The artist visits the Hopper exhibition at the MFA.
Taking the Fork in the Road -
Flying at Night -
The artist remembers biking in the dark as a child.
There's No There There -
Striving for perfection.
Learning from the masters.
De-limbed Statues -
The tree out the artist's window.
Tickle and Hit the Road -
Inspiration and change.
The Right Brain at Work and Play -
Reportage and the imagination in picture-making.
Formal elements of a still-life.
Gone Postal -
An art school anecdote.
Neither Then Nor Later -
Dawn and dusk.
Man Overboard -
Painting during a rescue on Monhegan Island.
Louise Don't Look At This -
Artist's paint each other simultaneously.
King of the Nursing Home -
Making a career out of hobbies.
Hospital Cove -
On being a Cataumet local.
Just Undo It -
Working with the hands vs. the digital world.
Simple Subject and a Visit with Nature -
The square format.
Time to be Nice -
Modern time constraints.
Brushstrokes in Balance -
The use of texture in an image.
Embracing Museums -
Visiting museums and an anecdote.
Learning When to Pay Attention -
Painting unexpected subjects.
Reverse Stealing -
The lengths artist go to promote themselves.
Sleeping Daughter -
Head studies of a five-month-old.
Break the Pickle -
A two-year-old's perspective of Michelangelo.
Oeuvre in a Box -
Legacy of a Sunday Painter
Painting Blind -
Color Study -
Sacrificing one technical aspect of painting for another.
Cape Cod Parent -
Time management and being an artist.
Cape Cod Artist -
The romance and reality of an art career.
You, Too, Have Asked... -
A handout card for those who approach the artist while he's painting on location.
Dear Gladys (Not Your Real Name) -
One Thing in Life is Free -
Artists underselling themselves.
Loosee Leftee, Tightee Rightee -
Expressive brushstrokes vs. finessed forms.
From Antiquity to Antique -
Still-life painting with architectural relics.
Sparking Psyche -
The sight-size method comes in a dream.
Head in the Clouds -
Focusing so hard you don't see the painting.
Painting Seasons -
Cycles of a landscape painter.
Small Heads -
Tiny heads of others in a painting group when the model doesn't show up.
A Slow Slide Sideways -
Painting with an astigmatism that slants to the right.
Perpetuating a Might Have Been -
Following rules in painting.
The Temperature of a Painting -
Hue as an element.
Staring so Hard You Can't See -
Mimicking and embellishing the still-life.
By the Light of the Moon
Beauty of the orb.
An Untoward Dalliance -
A mystery and an imposter.
The Color of Color -
The light a painting is viewed under.
Lord of the Flies -
A gang looks over the artist's shoulder as he paints.
Michelangelo at the Coffee Shop -
The Glooming -
The maudlin artist.
Color Mixing Secrets -
Complete knowledge of color in riddle form.
Fog Induced -
Appreciation of Cape Cod humidity.
Baby Laps -
Working while baby-sitting.
Final Rigging -
The meaning of a large still-life painting.
John Singer Sargent's Palette -
A palette's patina.
Complexity of Quiet -
Balance through painting.
Turkey Day -
The Artist's auspicious relationships with birds.
Camera Obscura: Light in a Dark Room -
A friend's experiments with lenses and Vermeer (of course.)
Keen Sense of the Obvious -
Appreciating art through training the eye.
Rose Colored Glasses -
Painting under colored light.
Cape Cod Idyll -
Local Birding Posting
Center of the Universe -
Everyone's moon light.
Eye Contact -
Relating to onlookers.
Heat in the Firehouse -
Strong sunlight effects.
Talented Eye -
An eye for art.
Pallid and Pretty -
The beauty of pale skin.
Painting with Two Colors -
Using a limited palette to paint a still-life.
Still Life Elements -
Objects in a composition.
Morning Light -
A daughter wakens.
Standing in Front of a Painting -
Viewing art in photographs.
Hey, That's My View -
Selecting the view is the art.
Extra Fresh -
Making a portrait look younger.
Oh Sienna -
An ode to organic pigments.
Phtalo Blue and Impuissance -
Part 2: an ode to inorganic pigments.
Tea for Three -
Painting different surfaces
Eye Candy -
Color and painting the portrait from life.
A Knife, A Face and a Bit of Color -
Color and the palette knife.
Starting Trouble -
Painting what is right in front of you.
Ferry to the Vineyard -
Capturing an impression on location.
An Audience of One -
Birds forget they're being watched.
Diffusion and Halation -
Light effects in the still-life.
The Sound of Painting -
Sound Technician's Screenplay of and outdoor painting session.
Scribbling on the Tabula Rasa -
A very young artist's beginnings.
Pushing and Pulling -
Look, I'm an Airplane. Wheee! -
Painting a scarecrow.
Plein Air Appurtenances1 -
A List of painting equipment (with footnotes.)
Part of the Scenery, Woods Hole -
Painting coffee drinkers at the 10 o'clock mail call.
Taste in Gnats -
Hazards of painting outdoors.
Roses and a Stone Wall -
Painting the wall the artit's grandfather built.
Frodo's Pergola -
A neighborhood intersection.
How Many Dabs is a Man? -
Quicly capturing the essense in paint.
Channeling Angela -
Is Somebody Trying to Tell Me Something? -
Traffic Obstacle -
Painting in difficult locations.
Opening Doors, Outdoors -
Starting in on a new direction.
Safiya Press is a small independent publisher of digital publications. Look for upcoming publications in the near future.