Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Max Ginsburg's New Retrospective Book

Carriage House Art Studios
October 18th 2011
Bus Stop, By Max Ginsburg, cover image
It gives me the greatest of pleasure to help publicize this wonderful new book published and offered by Max Ginsburg entitled "Retrospective". I am also proud to, along with some of his past students, invited to add our thoughts and words of praise for one of the most important contemporary representational artist of the last 50 years who has courageously held to his principals and with his work communicates a powerful, unique vision of humanity, not to mention the amazing array of countless beautifully printed reproductions he lovingly presents.

My printed comments excerpted from the book; (p. 36) 
I first met Max Ginsburg as a Freshman at the High School of Art and Design in New York City.  What I, and many other students, discovered was to alter the course of our lives. Arriving at the high school we encountered two art teachers, Max Ginsburg and Irwin Greenberg.  They were traditionally and classically trained representational artists, some would say "Social Realists,"who found themselves teaching high school on 2nd Avenue and 57th street to a bunch of jagged edged kids.  Maybe it was our good fortune that the art market of the time was crammed with Soho galleries filled with modern art.  For me it held no mystery, and satisfied less and less the young audiences on the move hungering for something "real!"  Max and Greeny, as we would call them would arrive two-and-a-half hours early before the regular school day began. The janitor would unlock the school building so Max and Greeny could climb the stairs to their fourth floor where their classroom was.  A long commute was ahead for bleary-eyed students ranging in age from fourteen to seventeen.  Starting out while the darkness of night still blanketed the City, from far off points like Coney Island or Kingbridge Road in the Bronx, the MTA would bring us to a place call A&D. 

All that would melt away as we entered the "Old Hat Club"."  An unsuspecting student would be coaxed into posing, costumed or just as they were. Simple honest poses and subtle reminders to stay awake were the order of the day, while ten to fifteen students , along with Max and Greeny, would paint from life.  Both would take turns in a relaxed manner walking around helping students. Stories, numbered jokes and warm discussions ensured as the lessons of life unfolded and painting and student's growth accumulated.  I remember things Max would say about color harmony, cool and warms and the perception of simple shapes, "for the forrest reveals all it's trees when painting large masses and building form."  Greeny shared with me a deep and profound lesson. With a smile he asked, "Are you struggling?" My answer was obvious. He replied, "For then today is a good day", for it is through struggle that one's craft and one's life develop real growth and soul.  These and many more lessons are the basic truths not found in textbooks.  Day by day these great mentors and their students worked away till the bell for the first period class rang out.  Nothing was planned or even conceived but through this, a new world would come to a group of students and teachers that would profoundly change the course of art history, spawning a new generation of artists whose parallel vision would culminate and add to the reemergence of Representational Art.

Irwin Greenberg has since past, and our fondness for his gentile human spirit, masterful watercolors and dedication will never diminish. Max and I have remained close all my adult life and he and his wife Miryam have always and generously offered warm meaningful advice, a timely honest assessment and the deepest of support to me, and my family and my work.

To the core of my soul I offer the following as an understatement: Max Ginsburg over the course of his life monitored and stewarded countless, talented and dedicated students beginning in the "Old Hat Club" at the High School of Art and Design, Visual Arts and the Art Students League.  For many of these students now mature artists, their works and achievements began in the halls and classrooms inspired by the dedicated spirit of human beings like Max Ginsburg.  His work as an artist and a teacher is a testament, a passing of the torch, towards the greatest of human achievements.  His paintings speak to a language of human dignity and struggle.  A Masterful Realist, stroke by stroke, through his work and his life he offers the most relevant truth, honesty and real beauty to this world.

"Crossroads", Max Ginsburg

Over the next few days I will be posting images of a workshop Max is teaching here at my Carriage House Art Studios during the dates of October 21st - October 23rd.
I am so please and excited to welcome artists and students from around the US who have taken advantage of this opportunity to spend time learning from Max and  for me personally culminates with a fulfilled aspiration that I have had for many years to continue in the spirit of these great artists, mentoring, passing the torch and lighting a way.

Garin Baker. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Painting Brandywine
From the Studios of Garin Baker
Carriage House Art Studios
October 4th 2011
Painting on the Wyeth Farm, Brandywine, PA
Back in my studios and so thrilled to have spent all last week painting the amazingly preserved countryside of Bandywine and Chads Ford, Pennsylvania. Fun was had by many talented artists as we spent an entire week plein air painting in and around the stomping grounds of Howard Pyle, NC and Andrew Wyeth.  The inspirational landscapes are like no other across the US. Rolling hills, perfectly designed by nature spotted with the most amazing stone houses and picturesque farms. Truly a plein air painters paradise.
The culminating show and sale was juried by Frolic Wymouth, bradywine painter and close friend of Andrew Wyeth.  I was fortunate to win first place and best in show and my winning painting which was done in 2 hrs during in a torrential rain storm is shown at the end of this post.

Paul Casale & Eleinne Basa painting at King Range Property
I spent most of the week painting with Paul Casale and Eleinne Basa and Mark Ferina from California.
We also took a couple of side trips to visit the homes and studios of NC Wyeth and Howard Pyle.

Studios of NC Wyeth

Wyeth's studio has been preserved as he left it and is full of amazing inspiration and also quite informative for me seeing how in his later years he created a open space with rolling staircase for his mural works, Truly a treat for all those interested in the great story of one of America's most iconic artist, painter and illustrator. Not to miss, as well as the Brandywine River Museum.  Full of jaw dropping paintings and Illustrations done during the hight of the Golden Age. We were fortunate to visit during a full showing of Howard Pyle's work. Nice!

Mead Schaeffer                                                          detail, Hoeward Pyle

Pyle                                                                                   Pyle

Paul and I stayed and where hosted at an incredibly beautiful 250 acre farm and horse ranch full of rich history and the most beutifully constructed home and out buildings. A wonderful family who opened up their property in the most gracious way, inviting all the artists and supporters for truly memorable barbecue and party one evening.  Here just one shot of their porch with riding barn in the distance and the greeters of every visiter with barks and playful fun.

Here's another shot of Paul painting along side at Jaimie Wyeth's family farm. We finally caught a sunny day and my painting below done at King Ranch selected as Best in Show.

"Afternoon Clearing At King Ranch", Oil on Linen, 14"x 22", By Garin Baker
Best in Show, Brandywine Paint Out 2011.

Wouldn't have missed it and can't wait till next time!