Thursday, November 15, 2012

Composing for Purpose
Amazing Women Artist.
From the Studios of Garin Baker
Carriage House Art Studios
November 15th 2012

Tatyana Yablonskaya
(February 11, 1917 – June 17, 2005)
"Sacking Grain"
79" x 145.5 "

This amazing painting by Tatyana Yablonskaya "Sacking Grain" 1949, showing a faithful rendition of the heroism of Russian Women during World War II.  This painting composed during the hight of the USSR Social Realist Movement bolsters the staunch adherence to a political point of view.  Yablonskaya portrays in grand style the devotion and conviction of this movement in rich color and human narrative. Agree or not about the politics or historical categorizations, this work of art created for whatever reasons stands out in my opinion as one of the finest large works of the 20th century. 

I first saw it reproduced in a book that's been on my studio shelf for as long as I can remember. (The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Published 1979 by Aurora Art Publishers/ no longer available)  

This work  is so naturally composed, without contrivances or forced over the top emotions.  The harmonious placement and arrangement of figures and forms, quite difficult to do from life, drawings or reference material, and pull it off in such a convincing manner.  Even the huge smile on the girls face as she relishes in her labor as a completely fulfilled proletariat.  It's done in such an uplifting and humble propagandist way, almost spiritual. This painting for me transcends it's momentary time and place and creates a universal story of women's' humanity and hard work. 

But what especially knocks me out about this painting artistically is the rhythm of how the figures are used to travel your eye across the picture plain as well as the color choices through the use of bright warm sunlight bouncing from the piles of wheat grain on the ground, creating a multiplicity of rich colors as it reflects on the under-forms of the figures and object receding into space and atmosphere as the grain dust fills the air. Truly Masterful!

Well one might ask, beyond this wonderfully done painting by a woman in the 20th century what make it relevant today?.

Maybe in light of yesterdays historic moment in the halls of the United States Capitol seeing so many of our elected representative being women, assembled for their first day of the peoples work. That alone could be enough to make this painting resonate, symbolically. 

Yet artistically, this painting in simple terms, harkens back to an era of compositional intent and the need to create works of art that go beyond shear beauty as an end to it's means.  

There's much discussion as of late about what the purpose of painting is other than in a stylistically pleasing and clever ways towards creating works that are simply beautiful.  For so long, countless works heralded as "modern" masterworks of ugliness and human strife or conceptual "riddles" for intellectual superior audiences to commodify and appreciate, have held the stage.  But now all around us were seeing the technical mastery of painting realistic imagery once again.  Countless artist today are amazingly handling paint in a virtuosity of color and "Real"form.  Yes, a thrill to see, and I'll be first one on line at MoMa for the "New Modern Art, Representational Exhibition".......... 
........when a brave new curator makes it happen.  

Although as I look around much of todays contemporary representational work is done with subliminal, and underlying narratives of mood, presence and style. Many deeply intellectual realist artist think through their shear skill, ego and brilliance they can convince and compel the gate keepers of our major museums and higher echelons to loosen their locks. Maybe in time as audiences thrust for it. 
For me this form of representational art in its singularity of form, its simplicity of compositional approach is not enough.  These works of sheer beauty and technique cease to convey anything deeper or more meaningful than as a means towards offering pleasure to the eye and senses, a hierarchy of appreciation for it's creator and esthetic entertainment sharing little about the artist's humanity and soul.

Now don't get me wrong and get all twisted behind my thoughts,......

No matter how one might want to dispel and marginalize Yoblonskaya on political and social dogma  or the countless realist artist and their attempts with ambitious, difficult compositions, telling a human story and personal vision of or a collective truth, while using a multiplicity of skills, figurative, landscape, atmospheric and narrative, .....speak to more.  

I'm Just Saying

Garin Baker.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The New Englanders
The Tradition Continues.

From The Studio of Garin Baker
Carriage House Art Studios
October 16th 2012

Aldro Thompson Hibbard  (August 25, 1886 - November 12, 1972)

Hibbard was born in Falmouth, MA and died in Rockport, MA. Along with Anthony Thieme, 
he was an important founding member of the Rockport Art Association. Hibbard had the 
additional distinction of being a gifted baseball player who was asked to join professional 
teams. Instead he gave up sports to become a professional artist. 

Hibbard studied art in Massachusetts with contemporaries Edmund Tarbell and Frank Benson. 
Because he showed great talent, he was given a traveling scholarship from the Boston Museum 
School to study abroad. Hibbard became a member of the Guild of Boston Artists, the National 
Academy of Design, the Conn. Academy of Fine Arts, the Rockport AA, the Gloucester AA, and 
the Salmagundi Club, NY, to name a few.

He paintings were widely exhibited and his works were the recipient of many awards including 
gold medals at the Pennsylavania Academy of Fine Arts, the Hallgarten Prize at the National 
Academy of Design, and numerous awards at the Rockport Art Association. 

Beginning in the 1920s, Hibbard summered in the Cape Ann, Massachusetts area and spent his 
winters in Vermont. Vermont was the locale of many impressionistic winter landscapes for which 
Hibbard is best known. In fact, he was so adept at painting snow scenes, a review in the Boston 
Globe for the 1918 Guild of Boston Artists exhibition noted:                     

     "Hibbard is a realist; you feel the reality of everything he paints, 
     but the sentiment, the poetry is there also. Others paint snow 
     that looks like white paint streaked with blue and yellow. Hibbard 
     paints snow that never looks like anything else but snow...he is...
     more subtle and more penetrating in his observation of delicate 
     nuances of gray, the phenomenon of light on snow."

Frederick Judd Waugh
byArmand Cabrera

Frederick Judd Waugh was born in Bordentown, New Jersey on September 13, 1861. He was the youngest of five children. His father, Samuel Bell Waugh, was an accomplished portrait painter.

At nineteen, Waugh attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for three years, studying under Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anschutz. Upon his graduation, Frederick sought further study in Paris at the Academie Julian under Adolphe William Bouguereau and Robert Fleury.

In 1892, Waugh married Clara Eugenie Bunn, a fellow art student from the Pennsylvania Academy. In 1893, the couple moved to the Island of Sark in the English Channel where they stayed for two years. It was on this island Waugh began his study of the sea. According to the artist, the island was a model for most of the conditions the marine painter needed to study.

In 1899, the Waugh’s moved to Hendon, eight miles outside of London. Waugh began working as an illustrator to support his growing family of four. In 1907, he entered two pieces into the Royal Academy show. They were both rejected, so Waugh decided to return to America.

Waugh and his family settled in Montclair Heights, New Jersey. He found a studio nearby in Montclair. It was the former studio of Gorge Inness Jr. and could accommodate the large paintings Waugh had planned to paint. The artist bartered his rent for one painting a year.

In 1910, Waugh won the Thomas B. Clark Prize at the National Academy of Design show. Over the next seven years, he established himself as the most popular marine painter in the country. Waugh was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design. He continued to paint the sea in all its moods and glory, winning many awards in his lifetime.

Waugh always painted from direct observation, but these studies were not for sale. Instead, Waugh used the studies, along with his memory of the experience to create finished paintings in the studio. His large studio paintings have a power and majesty rarely captured by most marine painters.

Frederick Waugh died in Provincetown, Massachusetts on Sept 10, 1940, at the age of seventy-nine.

Continuing and Passing the Torch

T M Nicholas   Born 1963

Born in Rockport, Massachusetts in 1963. T.M.grew up admiring the rugged beauty of the northeast coastline of
the United States as well as the majesty and diversity of the northern New England landscapes. His father, esteemed painter, Tom Nicholas offered advice and encouragement to his son early on. And over the years T.M. developed his own individualistic style to become the plein-air painter he is today.
T.M. studied under John Charles Terelak at the Gloucester Academy of Fine Arts. He also studied under Boston area artist George Gabin at Monserrat School of Art, with emphasis on realistic painting and drawing. T.M. is a member of Rockport Art Association, Guild of Boston Artists, Whisky Painters of America, Hudson Valley Artists, Allied Artists of America, Academic Artists, Artists Professional League, New England Watercolor Society, and The North Shore Arts Association.
T.M. Nicholas is considered by many to be among the most prominent painters of his generation. He has won over sixty awards, the first at age 19. TM’s work can be found in many private and public collections to include the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem and Cape Ann Historical Association, Gloucester. TM is regularly sought for teaching and painting engagements both nationally and around the world and has a truly international reputation.

Stapleton Kearns,   Born 1952-

A master craftsman, Stapleton Kearns is a firmly established contemporary American Artist. He is a lavish and eccentric individual with high standards of professional integrity who will not skimp on time or detail in his work. "If it isn't and A then it is not art." Having been a part
of R H Ives Gammell's atelier in Boston in the 1970's, his home is in New England.
"I was born in 1952 in Rochester, Minnesota. Even as a child art came naturally to me. I loved the paintings in my mother's antiques magazines.
In school, all day long, I drew behind my books, creating thousands of drawings and earning dreadful grades. Some years later after several years of art school, where the approach was typically more modern than I desired, I moved to Boston and was taught at the Fenway studios by R.H. Ives Gammell. Ives Gammell was an elderly painter who had studied with the famous American impressionist William Paxton. Ives taught in the classical manner of the nineteenth century. We drew plaster casts in charcoal for months before moving on to study the figure. He stood next to us and corrected our drawings, teaching us to 'SEE.'Some time has past since then, now I'm nearly thirty two feet tall and weigh over 1900 pounds. I tell people if I'm awake, then I'm painting."
—Stapleton Kearns

Stapleton Kearns is an elected member of the Guild of Boston Artists. For five years he served as president of the Rockport Art Association. Twice his paintings have been included in the Biannual Show at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He is a member of the New England Plein Aire Painters. 

Stapleton's paintings are dynamic and imbued with rich, poetic, emotion. In their dramatic beauty we see a reflection of his training, his character and the depth of his artistic creativity.

It was my distinct pleasure to have hosted Mr Kearns this past weekend at my Carriage House Art Studios for 3 days painting the Hudson River Valley. The amount of instruction during 3 full days of painting out doors along the River with Stapleton and the participants was truly wonderful and amazing.  He  did a demo every morning and then visited each student at their easels with in-depth advise and guidance towards better understanding and methods of direct observation, composition, materials, palette organization..... I could go on and on.
After diner we were treated with slide shows and lively discussions of great artists and their works and stories of their lives, told by only in the way Stapleton can, that he's accumulated along his most amazing journey of his life as an Artist, teacher and internet blog, tour de force.

In the works are several trips being planned this winter to the same painting grounds and locations traveled by Hibbard, Waugh and many other great New Englanders.
If you are a serious artists and interested in joining us,
 contact me at: .
 I'll keep you abreast of the dates, times and places in New England we plan on painting this Winter! 

Get you winter gear ready!

Garin Baker.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Workshop Announcement!

Stapleton Kearns 3 Day Workshop
October 13th - October 15th

Price $300.00

From The Studios of Garin Baker
Carriage House Art Studios
October, 5th 2012

Stapleton Kearns 

I'm thrilled to have invited the always engaging and incredibly knowledgeable Stapleton Kearns
to visit the magnificent beauty and majestic surroundings that is the Lower Hudson Valley of New York State. I've been painting this area for more than 20 years and it's never more amazing and worthy of inspiring works than during the peak of the fall season.

As a trubadour of paint Stapleton Kearns has traveled across the United States painting and teaching. His work holds a fond kinship and linage to Great American Artists like, Edgar Payne, Frederick Waugh, and Emile Gruppe, and his knowledge about the craft is expressed in a direct, honest, no nonsense approach, demonstrated by his extremely popular art blog, one of the best on the net! 

Stapleton outlines his workshop as follows:

The workshop will start on Saturday, October 13 and run three days through Monday the 15th. It will be held at the Carriage House Art Studios in Newburgh, New York. Well known and highly skilled artist Garin Baker will be our host and special guest star. If you live in the city or Westchester or maybe New Jersey this workshop should be within easy striking distance  for you

The schedule includes;
A demo every morning, on the first day I explain the palette and the various pigments.
In the afternoon the students paint and I run from easel to easel doing individual instruction and try to diagnose each students particular barriers to better painting.
after the demo each day I run  a series of exercises  teaching root skills like creating vibrating color and the parts of the light (that is what you need to know to establish light in a painting) I am going to add a new exercise this time on color mixing.
I do a presentation before dinner with images from my laptop. One is unpacking  the design ideas in the works of great landscape painters, particularly Edward Seago and Aldro Hibbard, two favorite artists of mine. I will also  do a little presentation on the Hudson River school and their techniques.
I promise I will work you like a borrowed mule. 
I can save you years of screwing around

There should be some autumn color by this time. This is getting into the best time of the year to paint outside. This is sacred ground to American landscape painting. The early history of American landscape painting was written on this ground by  the Hudson River School.. I will talk a little about their working methods and show some examples of this art as well. ( from S. Kerns Blog dated 9/28/12)

For easy sign up and securing your spot go to:

Again let me express my thrill and excitement and look forward to a fully engaging 3 days filled with great stories, intensive instruction while painting and absorbing this beautiful landscape that is the Lower Hudson Valley with Stapleton Kearns.

Garin Baker. 


Monday, October 1, 2012

OPA Eastern Regional Exhibition,
 Bennington, VT Weekend 

From the Studios of Garin Baker
Carriage House Art Studios 
October 1st 2012

The Bennington Center for the Arts 

Clara at the Henry Covered Bridge, Bennington, VT.

This past weekend Clara and I travelled to Bennington, Vermont for the Oil painters of America's Eastern Regional Competition and Exhibition marvelously and stunningly displayed at the Bennington Center for the Arts.  I can't express enough how well organized and arranged the entire weekend was. 

This amazingly designed and beautiful exhibition space is situated just north of the majestic Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts in the lower corner of South Western Vermont. 
The Bennington Center for the Arts is in becoming the premier arts exhibition venue on the east coast for Representational Art.  

Shirley Hutchins, curator and director of the Art Center, Kathryn Beligratis, Executive Director of OPA and  Ken Cadwallader, Vice President couldn't have selected and organized more perfect weekend event, full of an engaging lists of things to do for the entire 3 days.

This area is spattered with wonderful art & cultural sites including The Clark Museum, Norman Rockwell Museum, Williams College Museum of Art and The Bennington Art Museum, worthy any weekend get away trip for painting the iconic New England landscape, combined with museum visits  including some of the most important and celebrated works of of Art through out history.

The Event started on Friday with a paint out during the day in charming Bemnnington, the original surroundings of Norman Rockwell's home and studio.  Later that evening a diner was organized  for many of the Artists included in the exhibition.  Saturday was filled with invites to many of the exhibits at the Art Center as well as a painting demonstration by juror and premier contemporary American Landscape Artist and OPA Master Signature Member Kenn Backus

Following Kenn's demo was a slide preview and talk from the director of the Clark Museum.  He brought only a small highlighted presentation of the works by Sargent, Homer, and Remington on view at the Museum.  The following day we would be given a personal tour in Williamstown, MA only a short drive south from Bennington after a warm and delightful breakfast served by Shirley and her mom at the Art Center. 

John Singer Sargent highlights from the Clark Museum:

Detail, John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Carlos Duran

Detail, John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Carlos Duran

John Singer Sargent, 

Not only were there more Sargents, but significant and truly amazing paintings by Alma Tedema, Winslow Homer, Remington and countless other stand out works from this incredible collection.

I'm going again as soon as possible and on the way stopping to paint this beautifully preserved New England Landscape. 
Next time a weekend just won't do it.

Garin Baker. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Instillation,
 LA County Fire Department Mural Project and Workation Trip. 

From the Studios of Garin Baker
Carriage House Art Studios 
September 28th - 3rd 2012

Installing the Mural, Fire Station 150, Santa Clarita, CA
LA County Fire Department Mural.
Alkyd Enamels on Canvas, 10 ft. high x 28 ft. long 

Day One:
Started out early leaving my studio in New Windsor, NY at 2AM for the drive to Philadelphia to pick up my artist/assistant Bryan Guglielmi and on to the Airport for our 7AM flight to Los Angeles. 

Landing at LA X at 9:40 AM in Souther California. Picked up our rental Car and on to Santa Clarita, CA.
Nothing like driving north on the 405.  Ahhh yea...The LA Freeways,  I remember it well.

Brand New and still under construction, Fire Station 150.

Arranging for our materials on site and unrolling the previously shipped mural to acclimate it for it's new home and in general gaining our bearings to begin installing.
Checked into our hotel, a swim, dinner and sleep. 

Day Two:
Arriving on site early at 7:30 AM to meet the delivery of our (rolling tower) scaffolding, assembling and laying out the Mural sections on plastic face down.  We also begin masking off and covering the floor as well as the side walls to protect and keep the work space clean for easy cleanup when done.

Here's Bryan sweeping all the dust and debris off the back of the canvas on section 1.  We chose to work from right to left since the smallest section was on the far left fitted around an existing cabinet wall.  After applying heavy duty wall paper paste to the wall section and to the back of section 1 we fold up leaving the top portion of the back of the mural exposed with paste. Then we lift and carry carefully the section as not creese it unnecessarily. Then positioning it to a level line we had previously put along the top of the wall to make sure all hangs level. With water and plastic squeegees we apply the full section to the wall pushing gently all the air bubbles out.  If you've ever hung wall paper it very much like that. 
Simple and easy! 

Here's Bryan trimming the top and right side edges with a sharp blade. 

On to section 2. This hanging process is very quick.  A 28 ft. by 10 ft. high mural should go up in just a few hours if your prep is handled in an organized and workman like manner.

After hanging section 2 Bryan works expertly at cutting the French seem. A "French Cut" seem is achieved by over painting both edges basically repeating the image on each canvas edge by no less than 2 inches and no more than 6 inches. When hung over each other's edge you cut with a very sharp blade through both sections of the canvas. Then removing both cut portions revealing a perfect match.  Be careful when hanging to match up any horizontal lines or diagonal shapes as to avoid extensive touch up areas when things don't match up visual and pictorially. As you can see practice makes better since we've done this a few times before.

Hanging the last Section over the cabinetry.

Trimming and French Cutting the last section. As you can see minimal touch ups are needed. Sweet!
Looks like more vacation time is materializing for our trip!

Here's the Final Instillation all seemed and trimmed out. The following are some detailed images of the Mural, Close up.

A final protective coating of varnish and were all done here in Santa Clarita.
Install time 2.5 Days.

Now it's time for the some vacation and the fun portion of our trip. Yes!!

The only problem is Bryan wants to hang out with celebrities, drive porches and do the Beverly Hills and Hollywood scene as any 25-28 year old would.  It's all good.  So after dropping him off with friends in Beverly Hills, I was off for an adventure most 50 year old artist like myself finds more exciting.

The Getty Museum! Very cool!

Gustave Klimt Drawing Show

Images from the Getty Collection.
Detail, Alma Tadema Painting.

Views from the Getty.

An awesome place of architecture and art. One wealthy guy who knew what to do with his money. 
A must see for anyone traveling to LA. 

On to The Pasadena Museum of California Art
for a full retrospective on Edgar Payne.  Sweet!

Pasadena City Hall

Edgar Payne Exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Detail, Edgar Payne.

I only got a few shots before being told "no photography", oh well 
I guess I'll have to buy the book. Fine! It fits just perfect in my carry on.

Thanks Tony Pro for the go to see tips of art goings on in LA during my trip. 
Much appreciated!

I spent the last couple of days visiting and enjoying the amazing beaches and play spots along the California Coast line, Malibu to Laguna Beach.  Great fun and awesome California people, meeting and watching!

Oh yeah, I picked up Bryan on my way back home.

What a great trip and can't wait to get out to California again.
So much to see and do! 
Next time I'm bringing my paints. 
Awesome place! 
I'l be "California Dreamin".

Garin Baker.