Weekly Round Up
Apr 3, 2020
3 Art Gallery Shows to Explore From Home: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/arts/design/art-galleries-virtual-tour.html
On Twitter, museums share medical themed art to thank healthcare workers: https://twitter.com/hashtag/museumsthankhealthheroes
One of the country’s most prominent African American artists, David Driskell, died last week. Maine was proud to call him a part time resident since 1961. He was introduced to Maine as a student at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and it remained an inspiration for him since. “I came to the Maine scene with a sense of color already embedded in my mind,” he said in 2008. ”But when I got here, things were so different. The light was so different. I was just so taken by the greenery, I started painting pine trees. And I haven’t really stopped.” https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/david-c-driskell-dead-1202682906/
CMCA has posted resources for artists in response to COVID-19: https://cmcanow.org/resources-for-artists/
Page Gallery artist, Chris Van Dusen, has been teaching us how to draw characters from his beloved Mercy Watson illustrations in “Chris Van Doodles” on instagram: https://instagram.com/chrisvandusenbooks
Color Key with Colin Page
Apr 2, 2020
For years, I would hear about painters working within a color key, and I would wonder what that meant. Color key is a simple idea, but it has taken a lot of work to fully understand and implement in my own work.
In painting, color is a direct connection to viewer's emotions. In the same way that the key of a musical composition can describe a feeling, color key can also set a tone. C major is often described as innocent and happy. A light blue painting tends to be calm and peaceful. The musical key of E minor is known to sound melancholy. A dominant red painting can read as hot, angry, and dramatic. There are some commonalities in how colors are understood, but our reactions to color are very personal, and can vary from person to person. So in the end, each painter is making color choices based on their own cultural and sensory memories of how each color makes them feel.
Sometimes the key of a painting refers to how dark or light the image is. Sometimes it refers to a dominance of warm or cool. Maybe it's a tendency toward green, or purple. Color key doesn't have to refer to just one color taking over. It can also refer to the interactions created between colors. A painting can have soft, pastel color shifts that describe a quiet scene, or it can be full of contrasting colors that vibrate and push against each other. Is the painting quiet or loud, harmonious or dissonant? (Isn't it interesting how often we rely on musical terms to describe visual ideas?)
Whether conscious or not, all painters are keying our paintings around a color idea. Sometimes we are just responding to the subject in front of us. Sometimes we want to convey a specific emotion. Sometimes we are just in a rut of certain color habits. Even in representational painting, artists are making choices that set the tone for how that image will be read. It's either telling the story of our own emotional connection, or trying to create direct contact with the viewer through feeling. Color is the most direct path to our hearts. The longer I paint, the more I try to understand and implement that idea.
Connect the Dots
Apr 1, 2020
Here is a fun Connect the Dots activity from Colin Page. Connect the Dots and reveal the image! Color it in and post it on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #colinpageconnectthedots and we will share on social media.
Click on the image to download a printable pdf of Connect the Dots. Click here and here for our Coloring Book pages.
Neighbors by T. Allen Lawson
Mar 31, 2020
“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared.” Wendell Berry
“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold
This painting is from T. Allen Lawson’s series, Neighbors. Lawson says of the paintings, the Neighbors in this series “are not the people next door or the ranch down the way. These paintings are portraits of the often unnoticed or forgotten neighbors that are around us every day – the chickens, horses, deer, cows, crows and magpies that share our yards, woods, skies and lives.”
T. Allen Lawson has captured this pig in a range of chromatic grays and browns. The colors move in tint from grey to lavender to ultramarine to burnt umber. The paint is layered and textural as the viewer travels through the foreground, inviting you to keep looking.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need is here.
and we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye, clear.
what we need is here.
- What We Need is Here by Wendell Berry
Ask an Artist: Anneli Skaar
Mar 30, 2020
Each week, Page Gallery asks an artist the same five questions. This week, we asked Anneli Skaar, who is participating in our Home Delivery art mail program with a linocut print, and has paintings available to view and purchase here. She has two books coming out this summer with Two Ponds Press.
1. How did you end up focusing on your chosen medium?
I’ve always loved oil paint because it feels like a live, organic medium. Acrylic feels like a static material to me. This is not a disparaging comment to those who work in acrylic because I know lots of people who do incredible work with acrylic, and who need the quick drying qualities. But, because I--with few exceptions--work from memory and imagination rather than life/photos I appreciate the fact that the medium waits for me as I figure out where I’m going with something. I don’t always know where I’m headed when I begin a piece, and oil gives me more control over drying time and malleability as a work evolves.
2. Tell me about an inspiration to your work? Book, exhibit, experience?
Generally, I think I am inspired by themes of seeking connection to others, and often this takes the form of disappearing arctic landscapes. But in fine press work, I am very much inspired by history and how it relates to us today. My latest project, a fine press book that has nothing to do with painting, is inspired by a Norwegian polar explorer who became an important humanitarian in post World War I Europe. Finding the relevance of his work to tell a story about today and to the future is a creative exercise that has been very satisfying not just as an artistic project, but as a whole concept, including not just artwork, but also writing and design.
3. What do you listen to when creating in the studio? Favorite music, podcast, radio, audiobook?
I get way too distracted by music and am pretty comfortable in silence. When I do listen to music while working it’s often something I’m very familiar with and have listened to a lot so it doesn’t distract me too much with novelty and new information. I like repetitive compositions while I work, some favorites are by Bach, Michael Nyman, or Philip Glass.
4. What is your favorite tool/supply? Or is there a non work related item in the studio that has significant value to you?
I love to collect small, beautiful vintage frames from antique stores. It allows me to frame my small sketches easily, since small modern frames are often way too clunky for small things. I like that the frame has a value in itself. Also, people don’t always have the real estate on their walls for big pieces, and sometimes “jewelry” for the bookshelf is a perfect fit.
5. How does your studio process change with the seasons in Maine?
I’m more inspired to make work in the winter when I’m cooped up. I work a lot in the summer, too, but I find that being out and about in the summertime fills me with experiences and social interaction and discussions which end up being the grist of the winter mill.
Mar 26, 2020
During this extraordinarily difficult time, Page Gallery artists wish to brighten your mailboxes with art for everyone. On our homepage, we will be offering a selection of handmade prints to keep your mailboxes full. We will be changing the selection weekly, so continue to check back for new work! All prints are unlimited edition but available for the limited time we are closed. 20% will be donated to our local food bank.
Eponymous in Camden
Mar 25, 2020
“Eponymous in Camden” is the innovation of our friend, Dick Costello, the advertising executive behind the iconic Absolut ads and the benefactor and brains behind the Rockland the Art Capital of Maine campaign. Page Gallery is branded with the tagline Eponymous in Camden, as the gallery named for founder/owner Colin Page. Here are a few of the four line verses from the ads in our Eponymous series:
Sleepless in Seattle
when you can be
Eponymous in Camden?
Busted flat in Baton Rouge
when you could be
Eponymous in Camden?
Autumn in New York
when you can be
Eponymous in Camden?
April in Paris
when you can be
Eponymous in Camden?
Christmas in Killarney
when you can be
Eponymous in Camden?
Colin Page Coloring Book - Town!
Mar 24, 2020
Here is another page from the upcoming Colin Page Coloring Book to download and print. In these homebound days, this is a great activity for you, your kids, your friends. Post your colored in pictures on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #colinpagecoloringbook and we will share your images on social media.
Click here to download last week's picture too.
Alex Katz on Painting Your Own Backyard
Mar 23, 2020
“My father said why don’t you paint your own backyard. Which is extremely intelligent and I resented it a great deal. I couldn’t see a picture in the backyard. All I saw was a mess. But I kept the idea — the idea seemed like a really good one: paint your backyard, paint what’s in front of you, don’t paint anyone else’s backyard.”
— Alex Katz
As Katz suggests, there is something to painting what is yours, familiar, and there, offering your mind the freedom of creativity. And there is power in giving attention and importance to the daily and mundane in your life. Gideon Bok’s paintings of his studio depict the passage of time in the most familiar of places, the one right in front of him. His studio is his repeated subject, each time showing furniture, objects, figures and light as they move and shift, and each time exploring different conceptual and formal aspects of painting.
Gideon Bok, TVC-15, oil on linen, 35x55"
Weekly Round Up
Mar 20, 2020
a short list of things we have been talking about this week.
Ten University Art Classes You Can Take for Free Online: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-10-university-art-classes-free-online
Jeff Koons Redux on the David Zwirner Podcast, “In uncertain and even scary times, host Lucas Zwirner revisits the first episode of Dialogues, in which Jeff Koons and the curator Luke Syson turn to art as a way of connecting and communicating through making something—an ethos that feels even more important now.”: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/jeff-koons-redux/id1400997563?i=1000468837430
Susan Lichtman will be showing her paintings with Page Gallery this summer! This interview covers her influences, painting from memory, the process of building an image, the advantages of a limited palette, and her love of paintings where the figures are revealed slowly. A great read: https://paintingperceptions.com/interview-with-susan-lichtman/
Nightly Metropolitan Opera Streams are a gift to us all. Next week is all-Wagner, with the Ring Cycle, arguably the most epic musical drama of all time, starting Tuesday: https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/
If you are looking for arts and crafts ideas with your kids, local friend Julie O’Rourke (@rudyjude) has some inspiring content saved in her instagram stories, “Staying Put”, https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE3OTA0MzUzOTQ3NDMzMjY2?igshid=67pb1firat35&story_media_id=2257672899076885956
Wolf Kahn on Painting Nature
Mar 19, 2020
“Chaos in nature is immediately challenging and forces a good artist to impose some type of order on his or her perception of a site. “
“People mistakenly think that art is about nature, or about an artist's feelings about nature. It is instead a path of enlightenment and pleasure, one of many paths, where nature and the artist's feelings are merely raw material.”
quotes by Wolf Kahn
Wolf Kahn (October 4, 1927 - March 15, 2020) influenced many with his exuberant color and brushwork, showing us that the subject of the painting is an excuse to play and explore in paint. Painting, sculpting, artmaking is an act of abstraction, taking the world in front of us and translating it through the artist’s chosen medium. A subject cannot be copied without the influence of the artist’s experience and feelings, and their own method of seeing and organizing.
Here are three artists taking on the same subject: water. Each of these artists describes their own visual interest, interpretation, and how they interact with the water they depict. Siri Beckman uses lines that weave and overlap to imply the movement of a current. Jessica Lee Ives paints patches of color in fluid shapes that show water’s reflective and transparent qualities. JT Gibson’s casting of colored glass mimics the depths of a translucent sea, with a surface that can read as either massive waves or tiny ripples. Water as a subject pushes them to think, react, and create in the way that is most meaningful to them. They are searching and creating, finding their own way to make sense of the world through making.
Siri Beckman, The Crossing, 66/100, wood engraving, 4.5x10"
Jessica Lee Ives, You Are Alive, oil on panel, 48x48"
J.T. Gibson, Green Mariner's Dream, kiln cast glass, 2.5x4.75x4.75"
Colin Page Coloring Book!
Mar 18, 2020
Here is a page from the upcoming Colin Page Coloring Book to download and print. In these homebound days, this is a great activity for you, your kids, your friends. Post your colored in pictures on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #colinpagecoloringbook and we will share your images on social media.
Click on the image for a printable file.
Colin Page on Color and Light
Mar 17, 2020
For me, the initial desire to paint usually comes from a striking color relationship or an interesting sense of light, no matter the subject. My goal is not to copy the scene exactly, but to recreate my sense of visual excitement. This is often done by focusing on color temperature and vibration. When I talk about temperature, warm colors are those that lean more toward oranges, yellows and reds, while cool colors are closer to blue and purple.
Often two colors of opposite temperatures next to each other create a vibration. If you've ever noticed a clashing color interaction that made you want to look away, it was likely a color vibration. It can be unnerving, and hard to look at, but it can also create energy in a flat picture plane. That energy can be a wonderful tool for activating a painting and describing strong light. For example, a bright lemon yellow piece of glare next to ultramarine blue water will jump with electricity, saying much more about the intensity of the sun than just using plain white on a gray-blue. The trick is not just trying to match the color you see, but learning how much you need to exaggerate and push the color's saturation to tell the viewer how the light felt that day.
The power of color vibrations can add interest to every part of a painting, even to the point of making shadows richer and more alive. Many times a warm color will be reflected into a shadow, right next to an area of cool blues. In fact shadows are often the best place to look for mini-vibrations, where warm and cool colors come together in subtle ways. An old white New England house can be a perfect place to look for reflected color. Green grass will bounce into the same shadow that turns pink where it reflects the red truck parked out front. . When I see this kind of color story, I want to put it on canvas to tell everyone how striking it is. To be a painter is to see spots of color that lilt, harmonize, clash, push, and pull. Vibrations, whether strong or subtle, can be used to great effect to create interest and energy in a painting.