August 23, 2017

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription


In this issue:

Unsettled by the Dead Animals in Your Paint? Welcome to the World of Vegan Art Supplies
Dixon-Ticonderoga’s Italian owner promises growth in digital age
Telltale Signs of a Young Artist
A brush with danger on a painting holiday in Zambia
KU Store to Open Newly Designed Art-Supply Shop
A NEW BACKYARD
Why Edvard Munch Began Painting Portraits of the Soul
Art thief makes off with $100K painting
Dynasty/Splashes of Hope Paint Night 2017
How Does a Relationship Affect Your Art
Pantone Devotes a Shade of Purple 2 Prince

 

 

 

 

Unsettled by the Dead Animals in Your Paint? Welcome to the World of Vegan Art Supplies
High-grade art supplies now offer conscientious artists professional-quality work materials free of animal products—or animal testing.

The next time you see a watercolor painting—maybe one your child brought home from preschool, or a masterpiece by someone like Georgia O’Keeffe—try not to think about the all the bile that went into it. (Ox gall, the dried extract of bovine gall bladders, is a wetting agent widely used to give watercolors their famous liquid quality.)

If the painting happens to be on a canvas that’s been gessoed, add gelatin—the boiled skins, bones, tendons, and hooves of pigs and cows—to the list of things to forget about. And don’t ask how the canvas was sized, either (they probably used rabbit skin glue), or what kind of brush they chose to paint with (chances are good it was made from the fur of a ferret, squirrel, goat, or horse).

Artists don’t usually think of their work as a final resting place for animal parts. But from sepia (forcibly obtained from squid) and India ink (more crushed bugs) and to oil pastels (fat + beeswax) and charcoal (specifically Bone Black, which lives up to its name), critters’ bodies abound in all manner of art supplies. This isn’t unusual in the context of 21st-century consumerism; animals pop up in all kinds of products beyond meat and leather, especially if one includes those tested for safety on nonhuman “participants.”

It’s a state of affairs most people and companies prefer not to discuss, with one big exception: vegans, people who refuse to consume or utilize products that cause animal suffering in their manufacture.

As a result of increased awareness of farm animals’ plights, celebrity endorsements from figures ranging from Miley Cyrus to Morrissey, popular documentaries like Food, Inc., and a cultural shift towards both self-care and Instagrammable activism, vegans are becoming a consumer group to be reckoned with. And the market, as it always does, is shifting to accommodate them. Meatless burgers and cruelty-free shampoo have become commonplace. Now, thanks to dedicated activists and a few canny companies, vegan art supplies are on their way, too.

When it comes to art materials, a spate of new products is slowly appearing in shops, pushed by companies looking to distinguish themselves from the competition and cater to buyers looking to make art without contributing to the animal-industrial complex.

Paints, Paper, Pencils, and More
DaVinci and Holbein both produce gall-free watercolors that are available at most artist supply stores and e-commerce sites. These professional, artist-quality paints are considered among the top brands on the market, and they are comparable in price to their competitors based on current prices on the Dick Blick Art Materials website. Interestingly, these paints are barely advertised as being animal-free—Da Vinci makes no mention of the fact on their site, and Holbein references it only in passing—meaning that the paints largely stand on their own merits within the marketplace.

In contrast, the German art-supply company Faber-Castell markets all their products—from colored pencils to jewelry-making tools—specifically as cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. (According to their website, the one exception is their beeswax crayons; they note that even their children’s craft kits “contain naturally fallen feathers and naturally abandoned sea shells.”)

The company’s India and sepia inks are made with inorganic and synthetic materials rather than shellac, gelatin, or squid ink, and their black pigments are produced from oil, coal, and wood in place of animal bones. Faber-Castell supplies are widely available internationally, and range in price and quality from top-of-the-line to cheaper “student-quality” offerings.

What Vegan Artists Use

Susan Coe, an English artist and illustrator who grew up next to a slaughterhouse, focuses on animal rights in her searingly graphic drawings and prints and swears by several brands that are “vegan and of excellent quality.” She’s emphatic about Strathmore Bristol, which she calls the “number one paper, in every way, for pencil” and is made without the use of gelatin as most artist papers are.

Coe also uses Fabriano papers, most of which are sized with starch. She sticks to Derwent pencils, which do not contain beeswax or pure carbon sticks of graphite in a holder. Rather than using natural sponges for blending the graphite into the paper, Coe says that cosmetic sponges work even better, citing BeautyBlender as her chosen vegan brand. And, of course, she chooses synthetic over real fur brushes, with Raphaël Kaërell synthetic sable leading the pack.

Again, all of these brands are commonly available at larger art supply outlets, and can usually be ordered to a specific store if requested.

Jonathan Horowitz, a New York-based multimedia artist known for his explicitly political work, has also highlighted veganism and animal consumer culture in his work. His 2002 Greene Naftali exhibition “Go Vegan!” (which was restaged in 2010) featured images of celebrity vegetarians from Albert Einstein to Pamela Anderson coupled with ironic send-ups of America’s meat-loving culture.

Horowitz recommends PVA Size by Gamblin as an alternative to the ubiquitous rabbit skin glue used to prime and size canvases for painting, saying that it’s “actually more archival than rabbit skin glue [which is susceptible to yellowing over the years] and not terribly expensive.” In fact, based on Blick’s prices, Gamblin’s PVA is significantly cheaper than an equivalent amount of their own rabbit skin glue.

For artists working outside of painting and drawing, vegan materials may hold even more possibilities than their more standard counterparts. Michael Assiff is a Queens-based artist whose conceptual and wide-ranging work touches on environmentalism, animal rights, and other contemporary social issues. His 2015 show “Hangry” (at the Lower East Side’s Shoot the Lobster) focused specifically on the connections between factory farming, state-level politics, and lifestyle apps like Tinder and Seamless.

Assiff categorizes his effort to replace animal products in his work as “generative,” relating a story about seeking out an alternative to animal hide for use in a recent piece. He landed on mushroom leather, a novel new material not yet widely available, by reaching out directly to its producers (an Italian company called Life Materials) and acquiring samples.

“There are opportunities with these new alternative products to collaborate with the manufacturers,” he says. “Artists are a reliable lot to invent uses and techniques with new materials, and they can have a symbiotic relationship to new companies by adding to their portfolio.” Creating within constraints has long served as a reliable technique for sparking new ideas. At a time in art history where it seems that it’s all been done before, perhaps the radical recalibration that veganism requires can serve as a new tool for artistic innovation.

Coe echoes Assiff’s optimism on the possibilities of vegan supplies. She admits she “never thought going vegan was very hard—it’s cheap, and fun, and creative. There are vegan alternatives to nearly everything, and if there aren’t, we can invent them.” artnetnews

Dixon-Ticonderoga’s Italian owner promises growth in digital age

The Italian owner of pencil maker Dixon-Ticonderoga, one of the Orlando area’s most iconic companies, believes the company is poised for major growth as part of a global art-supplies empire — despite the rise of digital art technology.

The company is focused on “all the disposable products that are in the desk of the child at school or in the desk of an artist,” said Massimo Candela, CEO of Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini, or FILA, based in Milan. “We consider this business digitally protected.”

Almost 190 years ago, Joseph Dixon started making pencils in Massachusetts. His company evolved, merged and moved until it arrived just north of Orlando in Lake Mary in 1990. It makes a lot more than pencils now, including art supplies, paints and colored pencils.

Famous for its yellow-and-green No. 2 graphite pencil, Dixon-Ticonderoga Co. is now part of FILA’s empire, which also includes art-supplies companies Lycin in Brazil, Daler-Rowney Lukas in England and Canson in France.

Dixon and FILA were competitors internationally before FILA acquired the American company in 2005. The Italian company went public in 2015 on the Milan Stock Exchange.

In April, former Dixon-Ticonderoga CEO Tim Gomez left the company abruptly, with no formal announcement. Gomez declined to comment about why he left; Candela said in an email that Gomez and FILA differed over the direction of the company.

Candela is managing Dixon from Milan. He said a two-person committee of executives in North America is assisting him — Luis Pedro, executive vice president of operations and manufacturing, and Cody Agaard, executive vice president of sales and marketing. Neither is based in Florida, but Candela said Agaard was preparing to move to Lake Mary.

The company said it has about 100 employees in North America, at the administrative offices in Lake Mary and a distribution facility in Georgia.

Dixon-Ticonderoga’s brand is too valuable to ignore, Candela said.

“The brand, that was the key point in acquiring it,” he said. “It is famous; it’s an iconic product in the U.S. and in the rest of the world.”

Statistics back up Candela’s belief that certain kinds of art and school supplies are immune from digital revolutions.

Sales of coloring and art supplies grew about 7 percent in 2015, to $1.14 billion, and again in 2016 by 9 percent to $1.2 billion, according to market research firm The NPD Group, which attributed the growth to art and craft paper, paint and painting supplies.

Pencil sales are growing too, according to NPD, which pegged pencil sales at $639.2 million in 2016, up 14 percent over the previous year. About $254.9 million were colored pencils and art pencils.

Price and quality or durability are equally important to consumers making purchases within the writing space, said Tia Frapolli, president of The NPD Group’s Office Supplies division.

“This dynamic provides an opportunity for companies marketing premium products to connect with consumers,” Frapolli said.

Candela promises that he intends to see Dixon grow, and he has the track record to do it; FILA now has 7,000 employees worldwide. Since the company (MIL:FILA) went public, its stock price has moved up to $21 from about $8 per share.

Leaving a subsidiary without its own CEO is not necessarily unusual, said David Sprinkle, managing partner at Veritas Recruiting Group in Lake Mary.

“It seems weird because it’s a standalone company, and Dixon-Ticonderoga is a well-known brand, but these things happen, especially when a company has been acquired like this,” Sprinkle said.

He said such companies stop being an independent business and become a business unit of the parent owner. Usually that doesn’t raise much concern, unless it’s a recognizable brand name, Sprinkle said, and Dixon could be considered recognizable.

“When it’s a recognized consumer product … it can raise questions. Especially if it’s American-made, and they have a well-known American brand,” Sprinkle said. “In today’s political climate, people may ask why there’s no local CEO.”

The DIY arts-and-crafts movement that started with cost-cutting during the Great Recession introduced large numbers of consumers to hobbies, and that has continued even as the economy recovered, according to research reports from Dana Macke, lifestyles and leisure analyst at market research firm Mintel.

“The results [at Dixon] have gone much beyond our expectation. We built up a strong leadership position in Mexico and a strong production site in China,” Candela said. Orlando Sentinel

 

Telltale Signs of a Young Artist
The indicators that I would become an artist weren’t about drawing talent; they were about knowing I was special.

We tend to believe that artists are born brilliant, that their talent is evident from childhood. Vasari was enthralled by the story of Giotto’s gifts being discovered when the young shepherd was seen sketching sheep on the ground with a stick — so much so that he also used it in his biographies of Domenico Beccafumi, Andrea Sansovino, and Andrea del Castagno.

But if you look at the walls of any day care center, it’s obvious that all children draw sheep, and at pretty much the same skill level; it’s only in retrospect that we endow one kid’s doodles with evidence of her incipient talent. Looking back at my own childhood, the signs that I would become an artist weren’t necessarily about how well I drew, which we all know is not a requirement for success. They were about the qualities necessary to sustain a career path with lots of challenges and few rewards.

Sign #1: One of my earliest memories dates back to when I was around four years old. Mom was busy in the kitchen, and I, left on my own, was terribly bored in our tiny Mexico City apartment. I decided to put pen to paper and try to draw.

I’m not sure what I was aiming for, but I do remember the result: a bunch of squiggles. I can still feel my surprise and frustration at not being able to make the pen do what I wanted it to. I tried again and got the same result: more squiggles! I shrugged my little shoulders in resignation and continued to draw squiggles.

Later, I showed the drawing to my mother. “Look, mom! I drew bushes!” I remain surprised by her reaction. Instead of being amused or expressing encouragement — as she would when I got older and still does to this day — she looked at my squiggles and said, “Those don’t look like bushes.” But I wasn’t discouraged; I just figured she didn’t understand what I was doing. The first indicator that I could lead the life of an artist wasn’t my drawing talent, it was my indifference to criticism.

Sign #2: I did gain some mastery over my medium by the time I got to kindergarten, and it caught my teacher’s attention. On Mother’s Day, the teacher — whom I had a crush on — asked me to stay in the classroom during recess. After the other children had left, she closed the door and brought out a large sheet of paper and a box of crayons. “I got special paper for you to draw something nice for your mom,” she said.

Beaming with pride, I decided to draw an elephant, since my mother collected anything pachyderm-themed. Inevitably, some of the kids realized I wasn’t on the playground and came into the classroom to see what was going on.

A fat little asshole named Neto grabbed the black crayon. “What are you doing?” he asked, as he scrawled an ugly scribble across my beautifully rendered elephant. I was furious, which surprised Neto. I can still see his dumb little face wide-eyed in horror at my response.

Again, it wasn’t a question of drawing aptitude here. The important thing was the knowledge that I was special and that others were simply too stupid to see it.

Sign #3: Probably the most significant early childhood art memory I have is of going into the bathroom in kindergarten with a ballpoint pen in hand. As I sat on the toilet, I thought of the teacher. There was something undeniably sexual in my feelings, but of course I didn’t understand what those feelings were or how to process them. Not knowing why, I drew a line around my waist with the pen.

I still have no idea what that indicated, but it would be the closest I got to making real art for another 15 years. Hyperallergic

 

A brush with danger on a painting holiday in Zambia

‘Hippos’ heads are shaped like violins.” The eyes of our tutor, Mary-Anne Bartlett, didn’t budge from the herbivore, wallowing in a lagoon of green lilies before us, as she whispered these words of advice. Her lion-like mane of blonde hair tumbled over her shoulders, as her forefinger and thumb danced across the blank page crafting shapes that, after a few flickers of the pencil, revealed a hippo eyeing us as steadily as we were watching him.

I’d come to South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia to try a week-long art safari. The trip was a surprise 60th birthday present for my mum, who loves elephants, but has never seen them in the wild. This would be her first visit to Africa and – I’m sure she won’t mind me saying this – she’s a nervous traveller, so the stakes were high.

She’s dabbled in drawing off and on for years. I don’t have much experience. I famously overcooked my GCSE art pottery bear in the kiln so badly he resembled a house-fire survivor. Still, I wanted to see how much we could improve in seven days.

We touched down in Mfuwe at the golden hour before sunset. Men were playing football barefoot opposite the airport and the scent of wild peppery herbs swirled in our nostrils. As we drove through town, towards our accommodation, we passed women cutting crops by the roadside, their babies hammocked on their backs and youths huddled around the entrance of the Two Beers Paradise Bar and God is Able phone accessories store.

Our base was Thornicroft Lodge, which conveniently lies just under a mile from the entrance of the park and is comprised of nine bungalows, 10 camping platforms, a pool, lounge/bar and troops of resident blue-balled vervet monkeys and grumpy baboons. It wasn’t chosen at random. Mary-Anne – the great-great-granddaughter of Sir John Kirk, companion to explorer David Livingstone – has been visiting Africa for more than a quarter of a century and is an investor in the lodge. She is friends with all the guides and park wardens, so when we passed the main entrance gate at 6am the next morning we were greeted with a hail of “hellos” and immediately morphed from fare-payers to friends.

Inside the park, the heady pong of dung filled the air. It was green season, so the dust was low, the grasses high, and the animals better hidden – or so we thought. As we rounded the first corner, we came face-to-face with a young bull, his ivories hanging low like sabre swords. Stephen, our safari guide, swerved softly to miss him. Time seemed to slow as we trundled past, and painters and pachyderm locked eyes. When we were safely out of reach, I turned to look at Mum. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

“I could see his eyelashes,” she marvelled, dabbing a tissue at her eyes. Elephant in the wild – check. I gave her a big hug and we turned excitedly to see what else lay in wait.

“Roadkill up ahead,” grinned Mary-Anne. A lion – known as Ginger thanks to his pink paw pads and pale nose – was splayed across the dirt track. “They lie on the road at night because they don’t like the damp morning dew,” added Mary-Anne, who has known him since he was a cub. “Sketchbooks out?” she suggested. Normally, I’d have reached for my camera, but instead I scrabbled for pencil and paper. Silence fell as we tried to capture his sinewy lines. “Don’t in any way feel pressured to produce masterpieces,” she added. “Remember, it’s not about comparing yourself to others. You’ll always think: how did that person manage that whisker – it’s incredible! But remember they may have been practising whiskers for 10 years. You’re here to learn about ways of seeing – after all, art safari means an ‘art journey’.”

Besides Mum and I, there were five others. Groups are kept to a maximum of eight and we were a veritable paint pallet of abilities and ages. Liz, who is in her 70s, has been attending art classes for 18 years, while Laraine, in her 50s, started a year ago. “The focus is to have fun,” reassured Mary-Anne.

In our open-sided safari vehicle we trundled past water buffalo flicking flies away with their wiry tails. “They’re quite squat, so put their body shape inside a rectangular box,” suggested Mary-Anne. And then Stephen got a call on his mobile. “Wild dog,” he beamed and we cut across the grasslands until we found the telltale sign of huddled Jeeps.

The endangered dogs were toying with a patch of river weed. Out came the paper pads. I started with the satellite dish-size ears, but then the dog turned its head and I lost my angle. “When you’re sketching animals, it’s more about capturing the shape with a few lines and then developing the drawings later. With the dogs, try looking for the negative space around the animal – the dark spots, rather than the outline,” said Mary-Anne, sensing my mild frustration. Travellers in other cars became intrigued and craned to see what we were doing, throwing us a thumbs-up when we flipped our books over to show them our work. Long after the other visitors had taken their photographs and rolled away, we sat alone watching the dogs laze in the long grass, groom each other and occasionally lift their heads and flop back down. The chatter of a woodland kingfisher, perched nearby, the only sound. The perks of the trip were becoming apparent. “Art Safari tours are slower; we cover less ground, but they’re more in-depth,” added our guide Stephen, who was able to complete his safari guide training thanks to financial support from the tour operator. He named his firstborn son Alois “Bartlett” Zulu.

Mid-morning we return to the lodge for an early lunch and a workshop on how to draw elephants. Mum’s confidence had been dented earlier on when she couldn’t master the slope of their backs and bellies, so Mary-Anne sketched the structure of their skulls to help us position the eyes correctly; pointed out that their backs are never rounded; and told us to notice that “their ears are the shape of Africa”.

We awoke at dawn on day two to the sound of hippos chuckling in the Luangwa River like old men laughing at a dirty joke. Back in the park, the grasslands buzzed as if Noah had jettisoned the contents of his ark on to the plains: herds of elephant, impala and puku, a dazzle of zebra, a journey of giraffes, lilac-breasted rollers and even bateleur eagles coasting the currents. But nature doesn’t always play ball. Each time we cautiously approached to sketch a beast it’d turn its back, until our pages were filled with an array of bottoms. “Did I mention this is an ‘arse safari’, not an ‘art safari’,” smirked Mary-Anne.

We stopped for tea and biscuits beside Luangwa Wafwa, an oxbow lake, off the main river. “Let’s set up the stools and paint the landscape,” said Mary-Anne. So while Stephen kept a lookout for elephants, we sat astride our monopods and tried to capture the violets, pinks and browns of the ever-changing river dotted with hippos, African spoonbills and yellow-billed egrets. There was a real sense of serenity in this slower pace. “You don’t always get the [wildlife] numbers in, but you’ve got your feet on the ground. You’re involved in the landscape with all your senses,” said Mary-Anne, peering over my shoulder.

A thunderstorm was gathering. Time to go, but, driving through a puddle, we sunk quickly and deeply. Stephen groaned. “Everyone out, please.” Above us lightning swirled the sky into an angry vortex of dark grey clouds. “Time for a gin and tonic and some painting!” laughed Mary-Anne, grabbing her bag of art supplies. We watched as she spread her sketch book out on the grass, dunked her thick calligraphy paintbrush into water and daubed great swathes of colour across the double-page spread; the scene materialising before us on the page. “Art is dynamic,” she enthused. “Tip the page, smudge, use bits of nature for colours (flowers, earth, etc),” she added, grabbing a handful of grasses and laying them in the margin of her pad.

As the last day dawned, Mum and I took stock. Staying at the same camp had given her the stability she needed for a first-time Africa adventure, while I’d got a real kick out of seeing her reactions to the wildlife. Aside from the usual mother-daughter squabbles about mosquito repellent and alarm wake-up times, the trip had gone as smoothly as gazelles through grass.

I’m not sure if it was Mary-Anne’s enthusiasm or the never-ending inspiration of the park’s plains, but within just a few days both Mum and I had gained a lot of confidence: transitioning from rooky desk artists to fledgling field painters. Laraine summarised it perfectly: “I find with photography you’re in a panic to get the shots and only enjoy them afterwards, but with painting you enjoy the moment – the here and now.” In the past, I’d always been guilty of this, but Mum and I agreed on our next trip we’d definitely each pack a small set of watercolours and a pad of paper – you never know when you’ll meet your next hippo. The Telegraph

 

KU Store to Open Newly Designed Art-Supply Shop

LAWRENCE, KS: The art and design store operated by the KU Bookstores in Chalmers Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, was pretty small, taking up less than 400 sq. ft. Then, dining services decided to close a nearby coffee shop in the building, providing a chance to expand.

At least a little.

The store teamed up with Dirt Works Studio, the university’s third-year architectural program, to incorporate its Art and Design Gallery with a new coffee shop, which is set to officially open when students return to campus in August.

“Last October, we met with the architecture students and they came up with an iteration for the space, which not only meant more space for us, but also reworked some classroom space and seating to make it really an experience for the students who utilize it,” said KU Bookstores Director Jen O’Connor. “We’re going to have about 600 sq. ft. of space, which is not a whole lot bigger, but its functionality is a whole lot better than what we had, and it will have a coffee bar.”

Dirt Works Studio students provided the architectural design and labor for the project. Included in the design is a 60-ft. wall with pivoting panels that opens up for more event space and custom-made tables designed by students from a university sculpture studio, making it possible for visitors to enjoy their coffee while viewing the contents of the gallery.

“We’re excited about this because it’s a student-designed space,” O’Connor said. “How many architecture students can say their work was to design and build not only the art store, but also reorganized a classroom, created a gallery, and designed a whole new seating area?”

The new coffee area will be a self-service kiosk with two brewers and a cappuccino/latte machine. It will also have coolers with grab-and-go items for purchase, such as fresh sandwiches and salads.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen about a 25% increase in sales in that little art-supply store space,” O’Connor said. “Now that we’re bringing in more food, bringing in coffee, and just making it a more visually pleasing and shoppable store, we expect to see some pretty good increases in the next year.”

Local businesses donated building materials and the Memorial Student Union pitched in funds to pay for other costs of the project. The KU Bookstores supplied the fixtures for the art-supplies shop.

“They gave us the shell and four walls and the plumbing and electrical and all of that,” O’Connor said. “We went in with all new fixtures because the fixtures from other stores just wouldn’t cut it. They were not that adaptable and just didn’t fit the needs of that location.

“We really want it to be cohesive with the rest of the design,” she added. “I joke that it’s just so white in there because we have white fixtures, white countertops, and white cabinets, but I think having the art supplies will provide splashes of color.” Campus Marketplace

 

A NEW BACKYARD
Acclaimed painter finds artistic home in Mississippi

PONTOTOC, MS: Artist Marc Hanson moved to Northeast Mississippi because he needed a new backyard.

But don’t get caught up in the word “backyard.” It’s more about the idea than the thing itself. He was living and painting in Colorado, and the Western landscape felt so big, so sweeping.

“There are a lot of painters out there, so everything is pretty much covered, and it’s all grand,” the 62-year-old said. “When you go out to paint, it’s not a lot of work.”

As he sometimes does, Hanson found advice in the words of Charles Hawthorne, an artist and teacher who founded the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899.

“Hawthorne said it’s so much greater to make a big thing out of a little thing than a little thing out of a big thing,” Hanson said. “In Colorado, it’s a lot of big stuff. I just prefer to look at little things in my backyard.”

Hanson started traveling to Pontotoc in 2014 at the invitation of Dot and Jackie Courson. As he does around the country, he taught painting workshops and shared what he’d learned from his years of putting brush to canvas.

“I tell people to work as hard as they can and develop infallible technique and then listen to themselves and what they really love and love to paint,” he said. “The art isn’t what you paint, it’s what you’re doing with your tools and facilities.”

Hanson’s new backyard in Pontotoc has chiggers that recently took up residence in his ankles. He also has a deck that needs to be rebuilt and a yard to be landscaped, and there’s a lizard outside that skitters from one side of his driveway to the other.

Again, he’s not confined to the actual grass, weeds and trees behind his house. Mississippi has become his subject. He travels around looking for sights he loves and would love to paint, and then he sets up on the side of the road and gets to work.

He paints some figures along the way, but he’s mainly focused on landscapes and buildings, and he prefers timeworn buildings and the sense of history that comes with them.

Hanson realizes his idea of a quality subject might not be in someone else’s best interest. One time, he stopped to paint a barn from the 1800s.

“A farmer came out and said, ‘That’s my barn.’ I said, ‘Really? It’s great,’ but it wasn’t great for him,” Hanson said. “It was falling down in places and he had to deal with it.”

Hanson travels through parks and preserves and drives down backroads. He’s made multiple visits to the Delta, where there’s always something to sketch or paint.

To see some of his results, stop by the Caron Gallery in Tupelo. He won Best in Show at the Mississippi Painters Society annual show at the GumTree Museum of Art. That exhibit will be on display until Aug. 31, and a free reception is slated for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Fine Art Connoisseur magazine recently featured Hanson and Frank Gardner, who put on a two-man show in Cape Cod. Gardner spent time on the Massachusetts coast as a child and Hanson discovered it as an adult, so their approaches complement each other.

“This was our second annual show,” Hanson said. “I guess we’ll do another next year.”

He’s also represented by galleries in Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas and more. He posts his art at marchansonart.com and recently started putting his stuff on Instagram.

“I am active on Instagram, but it’s just images. You put up images and get out of the way,” he said. “Facebook, it captures you. It grabs you around the throat.”

Time is an important commodity and another reason he left the vistas of Colorado for the hill country of Mississippi.

“It was a spectacular place to be. I had a lot of friends out there, and there was always something going on every night,” Hanson said with a smile. “You need your quiet time, some alone time to paint, so you can focus on it. When you get to a certain point with your art, you need to get very protective of what you do with it.”

He moved into his house in west Pontotoc in June 2016, but boxes still need to be unpacked. He set up his easel and tools first. As far as art is concerned, there’s no difference between Sunday and Monday, because every day of the week is for painting.

Except when it’s not. Hanson stays on the go, attending shows and teaching classes around the country, so he lives out of suitcases when he travels and out of boxes when he gets home.

He has a third reason for leaving Colorado and all it had to offer. Someone familiar with his work wrote to him, and the news wasn’t good.

“They said something was missing in Colorado,” Hanson said. “They didn’t see the passion they normally saw with my work. They say they see that coming back now with the work I’m doing here.”

He depends on art sales to pay the bills. That means people need to see his work on a wall and feel a pull or a connection, something that takes the work out of his hands and puts it into theirs.

“A person who buys a painting, it might not be something you intended,” he said. “They get emotional. The artist doesn’t really know why.”

Hawthorne, one of Hanson’s role models, is instructive here: “If you are not going to get a thrill, how can you give someone else one? You must feel the beauty of the thing before you start.”

When advising students, Hanson tells them there are far smarter ways to make a living. If they’re not driven to be artists, they should let it go.

But for those who are driven enough to move across the country for a new backyard, the work has to mean something. Otherwise, what’s the point?

“There are many, many, many ways to do it,” he said, “but if you want to spend your life doing it, you need to be doing it for yourself.” Daily Journal

 

Why Edvard Munch Began Painting Portraits of the Soul
An exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art illustrates how, over time, Munch moved away from observational painting toward something more symbolic and emotional.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: In early October 1889, Norwegian painter Edvard Munch left the city of Kristiania (now Oslo) for Paris. At age 25, he was more than ready to leave behind a scolding, pietistic father and the provincial Norwegian art scene, which worshipped at the altar of naturalism, for everything France might offer.

Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) opens with a self-portrait of the artist from 1886. A small canvas, it depicts a full-lipped young buck of some arrogance, giving us the side-eye. But its mottled surface betrays something more: frustration. It’s gouged and scratched. There’s something here he can’t quite express in paint alone. Trapped by the conventions of naturalism, Munch was already looking for a way out.

A government scholarship got him to Paris, where he had access to the Louvre, and where Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh might have pointed him in a new direction: toward symbol and emotion, beyond strict observation of nature. But, as Munch wrote in 1890, “I hated living in Paris.” He also disliked sketching “boring nudes” at the École des Beaux Arts. What he did like was the World’s Fair, where Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show ran in the shadow of the recently erected Eiffel Tower and where Munch’s own 1884 painting, “Morning,” was on display in the Norwegian pavilion. The painting shows a young servant, bathed in morning sun, while pulling on stockings as she sits on an unmade bed (it isn’t in the SFMOMA show, but is slated for the Met Breuer iteration). The picture feels both French and Norwegian, with Impressionist light suffusing a spare Scandinavian interior, and it’s nicely done. But the picture is still rooted in observation, rather than psychological penetration.

While still in Paris, Munch received news of his father’s sudden death from heart failure. He moved to the suburbs, lacerating himself in grief and guilt. But something was also set free. In a rented room overlooking the Seine, he wrote the so-called “Saint-Cloud Manifesto” in 1889, proclaiming, “No longer would interiors, people who read and women who knit, be painted. There should be living people who breathe and feel, suffer and love.”

If “Morning” announced Munch’s arrival as a young artist in 1884, then “Night in Saint-Cloud” (this version, 1893) marks the beginning of something new: portraits of the soul. Like “Morning,” “Night in Saint-Cloud” depicts a lone figure by a window, but it’s inverted in most every way. Here, a brooding male figure, so sunk in shadow he’s mostly one himself, looks out into darkness pricked by jetty lights, while the moon casts the shadow of a big French window into the dark blue interior. “Night in Saint-Cloud” is the first visual expression of Munch’s written manifesto, which the show’s dozens of paintings mostly continue to explore: more moody nights (“Moonlight,” “Starry Night,” “The Storm”), illness (“Death in the Sick Room,” “Death Struggle,” “Inheritance”), scenes of tortured love (“Jealousy,” “Ashes,” “The Dance of Life”) and, naturally, the tortured self (“Red Virginia Creeper,” “Despair,” “Self-Portrait in Hell”). They are the themes and images for which Munch is rightly celebrated as, on the one hand, an outlier who has never fit neatly into the history of modernism, but on the other, also as a godfather of Expressionism.

It’s worth noting that the “Night in Saint-Cloud” in this exhibition is not the first version of 1890, but one Munch painted in Berlin in 1893. Munch often revisited themes and subjects over decades, in multiple media. So it’s not surprising that the “original” of given works often stay put at the Munch Museum and the National Museum in Oslo (Munch gifted over 26,800 works to the city), while later versions go out on loan.

The most glaring omission from the show — and most missed — is “The Scream,” in either of its two painted versions. Given their history of theft (and miracle returns), it’s no surprise those works aren’t traveling from either the National Museum or the Munch Museum. But, as New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl wrote a decade ago about another Munch show, without “The Scream,” “Its absence … produces the effect of an opera minus its soprano.” Like hearing a band that withholds its top-40 hit, you keep waiting for it and feel gypped when it never happens. For its part, however, the museum store doesn’t let the painting’s absence from the show get in the way of selling “Scream”-branded merchandise (though, at least in San Francisco, they evince admirable restraint).

In his preface to the catalogue, Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard (who comes close to Munch’s monomaniacal mining of the self and psyche) writes that “reproductions never do Munch’s paintings justice.” He adds, “Just as a mother, a tree, or a field exudes something unique, a soul if you like, Munch’s paintings do the same.” Munch’s original versions emit especially vibrant power. Nowhere is this more evident than in “Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed” (1940–43), the revelation of this show and its title piece. Done near the end of the artist’s life (he died in January 1944), there is only one.

The exhibition calls this painting Munch’s “last significant self-portrait” and it is a summa of his artistic life. He stands in a big, open doorway; he’s balding and diminished inside a shapeless blue jacket and green trousers. His artist’s hands hang slack at his sides, his expression impossible to read. In the room behind him, rectangles of his work crowd the wall from floor to ceiling, a map of his long life in art. Totems to either side frame the scene: a tall nude on his far left and a faceless grandfather clock to his right. The clock may not have hands, but Munch knows what time it is.

Beside him in the foreground is a narrow bed overlaid with a distinctive black and red crosshatch coverlet. This is the bed he’ll soon die in. But until then, Munch painted. And it’s this feeling for paint itself, his ardor-filled and arduous grappling with color, texture, gesture, and form that reveals all the life that was still within him.

Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed continues at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (151 3rd St, San Francisco) through October 9. The exhibition will then travel to the Met Breuer, New York and Munch Museum, Oslo. Hyperallergic 

 

Art thief makes off with $100K painting

JACKSON HOLE, WY: Several pricey pieces of art have gone missing from local galleries, and the unknown suspect or suspects made off with more than $115,000 worth of art, police said.

On July 31, an employee at Trailside Galleries reported the theft of a $100,000 Henry Farny painting.

It’s believed someone stole the painting during business hours on July 29 or 30. No one at the gallery noticed the painting was missing until July 31 because the thief replaced the Farny painting with a different piece of the gallery’s art.

“There was a small Ansel Adams photo in its place, so there wasn’t a hole on the wall,” said Maryvonne Leshe, owner of Trailside Galleries. “It’s the first time we’ve had a theft in the gallery ever. We’ve been very lucky.”

The Farny painting, which was supposed to be auctioned this September during the Jackson Hole Art Auction, is just one of several recent thefts from art galleries.

Police wouldn’t release the name of the painting’s owner.

“He’s certainly saddened by this,” Leshe said. “These things happen. We just don’t want it to happen again.”

On July 31 a similar theft was reported at the Turpin Gallery after a sculpture valued at $6,500 and the gallery’s “open” sign worth $360 were discovered missing.

“The sculpture is of an eagle’s head mounted on a moose antler paddle,” Jackson Police Lt. Roger Schultz said.

But the sculpture was recovered and returned to Turpin Gallery on Monday, owner Ronnie Turpin told the Jackson Hole Daily.

“I am profoundly thankful,” Turpin said. “As the owner of a gallery I think you feel like you’ve been violated when a piece that’s not seen everywhere is taken from you.”

The piece was missing for two weeks.

“A homeowner said she found them in her basement after a house party,” Schultz said.

The bronze piece was returned undamaged Monday afternoon. But who stole it remains a mystery.

“She had the party on the 28th,” Schultz said. “She recalls one of her houseguests said they had found it outside Eddie Bauer. For whatever reason they left it in this person’s house.”

On Aug. 2 more artwork, this time a beaded mask, was reported stolen from Mountain Trails Gallery, police said.

“It’s a Native American-style Lakota horse mask made out of black and light-blue beads with features,” Schultz said.

The item was valued at $9,750, Schultz said.

It’s unknown if all three gallery thefts are connected, police said.

“It’s hard to make that connection without any evidence tying them all together,” Schultz said. “But any time you get multiple pieces of art being stolen right around the same time, I think you can make the assumption that they might be connected.”

And the obvious resale motive might not be the case.

“When you steal art like this it’s very difficult for someone to try to peddle it somewhere,” Leshe said. “The FBI has a stolen art list.”

Unfortunately, the case is lacking in evidence.

“We’re going to have cameras installed,” Leshe said. “We have to keep a close eye on our merchandise.” Jackson Hole News & Guide

 

Dynasty/Splashes of Hope Paint Night 2017

Last week the friends and family of Dynasty Brush got together with our friends at Splashes of Hope to take things from clinical to colorful at hospitals and medical clinics. You may remember from a previous post on the blog, that Splashes of Hope and Dynasty Brush have a very special relationship forged through the hearts of both Splashes of Hope founder Heather Buggee and FM Brush's late CEO Frederick V. Mink.

We got together at the Splashes of Hope studio at the Suffolk County Park's historic Coindre Hall, on the grounds of West Neck Farm in Huntington, New York. Coindre Hall is a beautiful medieval French chateau-style mansion designed by architect Clarence Luce that overlooks Long Island Sound. It made for a lovely location for us to paint and create!

With the help of Dynasty Artists, FM Brush family and friends, Splashes of Hope painters, and members of the Decorative Artists of Western Nassau, we soon got to work painting all sorts of ceiling tiles and murals to be installed at the Northport VA Medical Center.

Dynasty Brush would like to thank our sponsors FM Brush and Blick Art Materials, our Dynasty Artists Shar Sosh and Sandy McTier for all of their support, the Decorative Artists of Western Nassau, and of course Heather and Splashes of Hope for such a successful event! And a very special heart-felt thank you to Jacqueline Mink Cooper and Greg Mink for their father's spirit of giving alive in all of us.

Would you like to see more photos of the event? Check out the album on our Facebook page!

Would you like to help Splashes of Hope #splashitforward? Go here to donate and go here to volunteer! Dynasty Blog

 

How Does a Relationship Affect Your Art?
In a refreshing move, one young artistic couple overshares on canvas instead of Instagram.

WHEN VISUAL ARTIST GRACE DEAL, 20, and fashion designer Preston Boyer, 22, started dating a year and a half ago, it was only a matter of time before the two artists—opposite but complimentary by nature—would rub off on one another.

Boyer, never really a painter, would eventually pick up a brush of his own, even coordinating his paintings into fabrics for his fashion label, Preston Douglas. Deal, the daughter of an artist who spent her life surrounded by paint and pencils, would find herself accidentally matching Boyer’s outfit when they’d go on dates to Thai restaurants and art exhibits. Before long, they’d even learn to share a canvas.

This Friday, the couple is hosting an art show in their apartment to show off their solo art as well as several collaborations in an evening billed as Grace & Preston’s Shitty Apartment Art Show. And yes, the apartment is shitty.

Boyer is a business major and Houston fashion designer with an interest in art. Deal is an artist who originally was going to go to school for business, until she realized she hated it and continued as an artist. Both attend UH.

Deal jokes about how Boyer hates some of her clothes. Boyer jokes about how Deal hates his paintings. Both deny these accusations, but only to an extent.

“We have completely opposite styles, we clash on everything from art to fashion to music,” Boyer says. “We are very different people, with very different styles, but there’s something to be said about that. We didn’t expect to put these paintings together like this. I did this diptych Buy this for Money, and then we put Grace’s piece in the middle. It just became something that was better than either piece on its own.”

And so it is with their relationship.

Today, they are both wearing shades of blue that contrast with the orangey painting on display behind them in a mostly empty room, despite the other paintings covering the white popcorn walls and windows. The orange painting is titled The Whataburger on West Holcombe Sucks. You can probably guess the backstory: Boyer and Deal worked on the painting together after going to Whataburger and getting sick from it. Deal hates the painting; Boyer loves it.

“When I first moved into this place, one of the first things I thought was that this room would be a really great room to have a gallery,” Deal says. “I’ve always wanted to do one. I’m interning at a gallery right now and it’s been fun trying to put together my own.”

When Boyer met Deal, he had just released his first major fashion collection, with art nowhere near his radar. “But now look,” Deal says. “He even has art on his clothes.”

Deal’s work has several themes from frog families, to paintings with an intertwined bodies motif meant to represent herself at different points of her life.

“When I first started painting, I was painting things that were pretty,” Deal says. “Now that I’ve been painting more and going to school for it, I’m able to use art as more of a tool. Now my paintings are a lot more about myself, and a lot more metaphorical to my life stories.”

While Deal says she cannot paint when she’s angry or overly emotional, Boyer’s contributions to the gallery consist of abstract emotional paintings, some simply words hastily painted on to black canvas. “These are more artifacts of moments of my life,” he says, “where my [fashion] collections are more artifacts of phases in my life.” Houstonia

 

Pantone Devotes a Shade of Purple 2 Prince
Love Symbol #2 honors the late musician, who was known as the Purple One.

Prince was known as much for his style as for his musicology, and that holds true even after his premature death. Last October, it was revealed that his ashes had been laid to rest inside a 3D-printed urn in the shape of his home, Paisley Park. Now his estate has teamed up with Pantone to produce a special shade of purple in honor of the artist. It’s called Love Symbol #2, or The Prince Estate and Pantone Unveil Love Symbol #2 logo.

According to the Pantone announcement, Love Symbol #2 was inspired by Prince’s Yamaha purple piano, which he’d had custom made in advance of a planned tour last year (he also had at least one purple guitar, though no corvette). You could say the color was forever in the Purple One’s life; he may have even gone a little crazy with it, using it all around his world, from the cover of his 1982 album 1999 to many iconic outfits to his landmark 1984 film and album Purple Rain. “The color purple was synonymous with who Prince was and will always be. This is an incredible way for his legacy to live on forever,” said Troy Carter, entertainment advisor to Prince’s estate, in the Pantone news release.

The announcement also states that products incorporating Love Symbol #2 are forthcoming, but there’s no word yet on what they will be. Here’s hoping for purple paisley jackets, purple satin sheets, and, dare I say, purple umbrellas. Hyperallergic