October 31, 2018

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

In this issue:

Titian's Crucifixion work torn after falling from the wall in Spain's Royal Monastery
Art Association opens supplies store
Artists join forces in bid to swing US midterm elections
Banksy's Self-Destructing $1.4 Million Painting Is As Puerile And Current As A Snapchat Auto-Delete
Cocktails Inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Iconic Paintings
Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch' to be restored - live at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
SpaceX, Nevada to launch reflective art project into space. Here’s what you’ll see from Earth
The Story of Trump’s Strange Dining Room Painting
In the shadow of the nation’s capital is Bob Ross Inc., where everything is ‘happy’
Arts supply store seeks new home in former church building on Bienville Street
Teenage hobby becomes full-time business, C.R. Face Painting
Leonardo da Vinci May Have Had a Rare Eye Condition that Affected His Portraits




Titian's Crucifixion work torn after falling from the wall in Spain's Royal Monastery
Sixteenth-century painting of Christ on the cross was rushed immediately for conservation

The organisation responsible for managing a number of royal residences in Spain has confirmed that a Titian painting is undergoing restoration after it fell off the wall in the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The work was on display in the Sacristy which is not publicly accessible.

The lower part of the painting, which depicts the Crucifixion (around 1555), was torn after the piece loosened due to weak wall fastenings. Crucially, the figure of Christ was undamaged. “Detaching from the wall caused a considerable horizontal tear [across the canvas support],” says an official statement.

“The painting did not fall to the ground [contrary to press reports]. After coming away from the wall, it fell onto a dresser containing liturgical objects,” the statement adds. “The surface of the painting was not harmed; it was sent immediately to the restoration workshops at the Royal Palace of Madrid to be restored.” Conservation experts from museums including the Museo del Prado will also be consulted during the restoration process.

The town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is located about 35 miles northwest of Madrid. El Escorial is a royal complex built in the 16th century which incorporates a monastery, library and museum. The Art Newspaper


Art Association opens supplies store

Artists rejoice: You no longer have to Amazon Prime precious new pens and notepads. The Art Association has opened a brick-and-mortar arts supply store at the association’s gallery entrance in the Center for the Arts.

The Art Association’s Executive Director Mark Nowlin used to own the Masters Studio art supply store for 33 years. After he closed it and became the nonprofit’s director in 2016, he said that the need for an art supply store didn’t go away after the store closed, but only continued to grow.

Both visiting and local artists have requested art supplies over the years.

“Jackson is a destination for artists. When artists travel it’s not possible to bring all your supplies like mineral spirits on a plane, so it’s very common to pick up extra items once you land,” plein air painter and one of the store’s managers Jennifer Hoffman said in a press release.

The store will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Its shelves are stocked with oil and acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, ceramic tools and drawing supplies. Hoffman and co-manager Anika Youcha will take requests for any items not carried by the store. All proceeds from the store benefit the Art Association’s programs. Jackson Hole News & Guide


Artists join forces in bid to swing US midterm elections
Artist-run organisation For Freedoms’ country-wide initiative is a rallying point—even in right-leaning states

This spring, the artist and activist organisation For Freedoms embarked on what it called the “largest creative collaboration in US history”—the 50 State Initiative, which aims to produce public art programmes centred around civic engagement in the lead-up to the midterm elections on 6 November. In the US’s liberal art centres, the project has found an easy entry, but even in many right-leaning states, it has attracted eager participants and helped to support existing activism.

More than 200 institutions and almost 400 artists have joined For Freedoms’ effort. The most high-profile component is the erection of artist-designed billboards in every state, as well as Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. This is a particular challenge in the four states that do not allow billboards: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont. For Freedoms planned to get around the restrictions by installing banners, but finding a way to hang a large, politically charged image in public can be difficult in conservative places. That is what the artist Kate Wool, who has spent years agitating for gun-safety legislation, has found.

In downtown Fairbanks, Alaska, where Wool lives, “there are a couple of abandoned buildings, and one of them has hung a banner before, when it was owned privately”, the artist says. “Now the city owns it, and they didn’t want to do it.” Wool says she approached the owners of two other buildings, and both requested pictures of the proposed work. When she sent the image—rows of people, including children, wearing gun targets, with the phrase “I am not a target”—the owners said no. “I think people don’t want to touch it,” Wool says.

This is not a total surprise, given that Alaska has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the country. Wool will show her banners indoors instead, at the Well Street Art Company in Fairbanks (from 5 October), and she is organising a town-hall meeting for opening day. She had worked on a gun-safety project for a few years and the support of a national artist-run group invigorated her. “We’re really far removed up here. Not many people in the art world pay attention,” she says. “For Freedoms is important because it’s connecting us all in a way that we need to be.”

In other parts of the country, the story is similar. For Freedoms and the 50 State Initiative have helped to promote important work that was already being done. “Our participation was natural because the Missoula Art Museum is so mission-driven,” says Brandon Reintjes, the Montana museum’s senior curator. “Any time that we can support projects like this---—community-based civic engagement—we try to.”

The museum did not have time to plan new programmes, but a handful that were already scheduled fitted the bill. They include the placement this summer of an LGBTQ pride rainbow crosswalk in the Missoula Art Park, in association with the city and the non-profit organisation Empower Montana, and the commissioning this autumn of works by five artists with regional ties: Adrian Arleo, John Buck, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Richard Notkin and Jay Schmidt.

All the works are made in response to Philip Guston’s painting Cigar (1969), which is currently on loan to the museum and represents “artistic risk”, Reintjes says. Guston “started painting in this narrative, figurative style, abandoning his Abstract Expressionist work in response to social and political things that were happening in the US,” he adds. “Likewise, we feel as though we’re at a nexus, and we wanted to challenge these artists to look at Guston’s example and meditate on our current political climate.”

Since that climate is one of extreme polarisation, the question of how political museums should get is becoming increasingly urgent. And they carry extra weight in a place like Charlottesville, Virginia, where right-wing demonstrators last year rallied around a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee and attacked counter-protesters, killing one, Heather Heyer.

“The 21st-century museum is a place for dialogue, and it can be perhaps a place where, mediated through art, some of the tensions around that dialogue might fall away more easily,” says Matthew McLendon, the director of the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia.

For its participation in the 50 State Initiative, the Fralin museum is organising an exhibition next January of commissioned works by local artists that will focus on the history of African-Americans in Charlottesville. Large-scale banners with reproductions of those works will be hung downtown this autumn, and the museum will hold public conversations and art-making workshops.

Town-hall discussions have been a hallmark of the group since it started, and co-founder Eric Gottesman says that the goal of the 50 State Initiative is “to increase the quality of civic conversations and inject art into public discourse”. Olivia Wall, the exhibitions and lectures co-ordinator at the Memphis College of Art in Tennessee, which is also participating, sees it as a campaign to spread a vital message. “Whatever you believe in, you should speak up about it. You should use your voice,” she says. “You should vote.” The Art Newspaper

Banksy's Self-Destructing $1.4 Million Painting Is As Puerile And Current As A Snapchat Auto-Delete

When a Banksy painting self-destructed at a Sotheby's auction last week, the public responded with glee. Even the auctioneer seemed giddy, calling it "a brilliant Banksy moment."

If the public shredding of Girl With Balloon was a condemnation of the art market, as Banksy implied in a video posted on Instagram, the criticism has been as acute as a pat on the back. The art market will not change in any material way as a result of his prank, and the painting (which gaveled for $1.4 million) will probably be more valuable in its neatly shredded state. Paradoxically Girl With Balloon fails as an institutional critique because institutional critique is Banksy's métier. The market for his work derives from his antagonism toward the market.

But that doesn't mean that Girl With Balloon is artistically inconsequential. Through the act of annihilation, the painting deploys tactics that have driven art since the early 20th century.

The essential forerunner is Dada, the movement that metastasized the self-destructive tendencies of World War I into anti-art. Although Dada is often framed as institutional critique – leveled against all institutions indiscriminately – the aesthetic qualities of anti-art cannot be ignored. By rebelliously making collages from trash on the street, Kurt Schwitters discovered a new visual language, as did Jean Arp with collages made by chance. Art had to be broken in order to get remade in terms suited to modern times.

Marcel Duchamp took breakage to an even greater extreme with The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even, a painting on glass that he labored over for nearly a decade before declaring it "definitively unfinished". Several years later, in 1927, the glass was accidentally shattered while the work was in transit. Duchamp carefully repaired it without trying to hide the damage, which he accepted as part of the image, and on the basis of which he finally declared the work complete. Already famous for his Readymades – everyday objects transformed into art by decree – Duchamp summarily transformed his most hands-on art object into a readymade assisted by negligence, escalating the ongoing Dada assault on conventional artistic skill while simultaneously showing the aesthetic power of wreckage.

However no artwork has deployed the self-destructive engine of Dada more deliberately than Homage to New York, a kinetic sculpture exhibited by the neo-Dadaist Jean Tinguely in 1960. Made out of materials salvaged from a junkyard – ranging from a go-kart to a pianola – the spectacularly awkward machine was designed to annihilate itself, which it did to spectacular effect in the courtyard of MoMA. (The pianola went up in flames, prompting an evacuation by the New York Fire Department.) Beyond the distinction of offering an Instagram moment avant la lettre, Tinguely's work ingeniously merged sculpture and performance, enlivening both as Homage performed a metamorphosis from one genre to the other.

In the first comment on his Instagram post, Banksy (or someone else) writes that "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge," a popular paraphrase of a text by the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. The quote is creatively misattributed to Pablo Picasso, but could equally well be misattributed to Tinguely, Duchamp or Arp or Schwitters. All of these artists opened new avenues of creative expression through assault on the accepted norms of artistic practice.

Banksy has already inserted himself into this iconoclastic tradition with the situationally activated graffiti that made his name. Girl With Balloon (and Shredder) has the potential to contribute to the gamut of aesthetic experience by making looking more urgent in an era that assaults us with countless new pictures daily. With the weaponization of inherent vice, Girl With Balloon is an artistic equivalent to Snaphchat – though it would benefit from more comprehensive eradication of the painted image.

Whether deliberately or not, Banksy has created a sort of self-erasing de Kooning. It's a brilliant Banksy moment. And everybody is watching. Forbes

Cocktails Inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Iconic Paintings
The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh has partnered with several local restaurants to create cocktails in honor of the artist for her upcoming exhibition at the museum.

Take yourself out of the museum and into the nearest bar: artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s infamously anatomical paintings have been transformed into cocktails.

Alcohol may have been an infrequent fixture at Georgia O’Keeffe’s ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the austere artist disliked the occasional party. While there are rumors that some guests of O’Keeffe’s were known to drink one too many drinks, nothing has ever been written about the artist’s appetite for cocktails. If only the painter had had access to the twelve concoctions created in honor of the North Carolina Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art,maybe we would have seen more flowers and fewer harsh southwestern landscapes.

Created by restaurants and bars across North Carolina known for their mixed drinks, each specialty cocktail is inspired by an artwork from the exhibition — principally O’Keeffe’s “Petunias” (1925), “Jimson Weed” (1936), and Loie Hollowell’s “Yellow Mountains” (2016).

The tasting menu runs through the expected gamut of cocktail-appropriate booze, from gin to tequila, but also adds certain flourishes like a dash of peach puree or a hint of chartreuse. Scandalous! Of particular (personal) interest is Michael Kilbridge’s The Sand Hills cocktail, inspired by O’Keeffe’s “Small Purple Hills” (1934). The Littler bartender has concocted a cherry- and orange-drenched drink reminiscent of the classic blood and sand cocktail.

This is not the first time art has been transformed into an adult beverage. In 2013, artist Ryan Gander solicited cocktail recipes from other creatives for his book, Artists’ Cocktails. The boozy tome also sometimes included personal notes from contributing artists. Martin Boyce on his own carrot-heavy concoction: “Not so much a cocktail, more a drink and an accompanying snack.” And speaking of snacks, SFMOMA once sold pastry chef Caitlin Freemans’ recipe book for creating desserts inspired by artists like Piet Mondrian and Ellsworth Kelly. By comparison, the new O’Keeffe drinks are certainly serving more punch than crunch. These cocktails, aesthetically resonant with the artist’s oeuvre, provide a new spin on paintings that have already become an American classic. Hyperallergic


Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch' to be restored - live at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Like watching paint dry? Soon art lovers will be able to watch one of the world's most famous paintings being restored live and online.

Rembrandt's masterpiece "The Night Watch" will undergo a years-long, multi-million-euro overhaul at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum under the full gaze of the public.

Restorers will work in a "state of the art clear glass chamber" so visitors can see the 17th century classic receive its makeover -- a process that normally happens in secret.

The unique project starting in July 2019 is the biggest in the Rijksmuseum's history, General Director Taco Dibbits said on Tuesday.

"The Night Watch by Rembrandt is one of the most famous paintings in the world and we feel we have to preserve it for future generations," Dibbits told AFP.

"Over two million people a year come to see The Night Watch, it's a painting that everybody loves, and we feel that the world has the right to see what we will do with it."

The last major restoration work was carried out 40 years ago after a mentally ill man slashed it with a knife.

Since then experts have noticed a white haze appear on some parts, especially in the area around the knife damage, where it is bleaching out the figure of a small dog.

'Share this moment'
Rembrandt Van Rijn was commissioned in 1642 by the mayor and leader of the civic guard of Amsterdam, Frans Banninck Cocq, to paint the picture of the officers and other members of the militia.

The groundbreaking picture is the first of its kind to show such a group in motion, rather than in static poses, and features the interplay of light and shadow that the Dutch master is famed for.

The Night Watch -- also remarkable for is huge three metre by four metre size -- is now the Rijksmuseum's most famed exhibit, taking pride of place in its "Gallery of Honour".

Experts will examine the painting using high-resolution photography and computer analysis of every layer including varnish, paint and canvas before deciding on the best restoration techniques.

The work will then take place in a glass case designed by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who was behind revamps of both the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre gallery in Paris.

It will also be livestreamed "so everyone, wherever they are, will be able to follow the process online", said Dibbits.

"Conservation is usually done behind closed doors, but this is such an important painting, we feel that the public who owns it has the right to see it and we want to share this very important moment."

Knife and acid attacks
Over the last three centuries the painting has endured vandalism, restoration attempts and an escape from the Nazis.

In the 1700s large chunks were cut from each side during a move, followed by several bouts of work on the varnish that darkened the picture and helped give it its name.

In 1911 a man stabbed it with a knife, then in September 1939 the painting was evacuated from the Rijksmuseum as Nazi Germany closed in and hidden in a cave. After the war in 1945 it needed major restoration.

But the painting's sufferings were not over: the 1975 attack saw a disturbed man slash the painting 12 times, with traces still visible today.

The museum decided to carry out a major restoration then, only for a man to spray acid on it in 1990.

Recently, however, new problems emerged.

"We noticed that over the past years there's a white glare that appeared on the bottom part of the painting. We want to be able to understand what that is," said Dibbits.

Restoring "The Night Watch" will not be cheap, or quick.

"That will cost several millions," said Dibbits, adding that the museum would also be looking for private funding.

The Night Watch will be the centrepiece of an exhibition marking the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt's death starting in February 2019, before restoration work begins in full in July.

"As we say in Dutch, conserving paintings is a monk's job," said Dibbits. "It takes a lot of patience, so it might be several years." artdaily.org


SpaceX, Nevada to launch reflective art project into space. Here’s what you’ll see from Earth

SpaceX is planning to launch a number of objects into orbit this year, including a sculpture from the Nevada Museum of Art.

Why it matters:

The sculpture, which will be "on exhibit" in space for two to three months, could be one of the most-viewed sculptures in human history, according to CBS News.

"We look at the sky and try to figure out what our destiny might be, or what our past might be or what the present might be. For me, the project is really just an opportunity for me to ask those big questions," artist Trevor Paglen said.

What’s going on:

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will send nearly 70 satellites into Earth’s orbit in November, including this artwork.

Paglen’s sculpture, Orbital Reflector, when expanded, will go “from a package the size of a shoebox to a diamond sculpture the size of two school buses,” according to CBS.

"For me it was important to create a kind of catalyst for people to go out and to look at the sky and think about … the politics of space and public space," Paglen said.

Paglen worked with a team from the Nevada Museum of Art, which included experts who helped him construct the sculpture.

What it does:

Sunlight will reflect off Orbital Reflector, which will make the sculpture “visible from Earth with the naked eye — like a slowly moving artificial star as bright as a star in the Big Dipper,” according to the project’s website.

Bigger picture: Space art has become a point of contention among astronomers, according to The Atlantic.

There are astronomers who believe art projects — like Orbital Reflector — don’t belong in space. They believe the objects will disrupt scientific discovery.

“This project brings nothing that we don’t have already,” said Mark McCaughrean, a scientist at the European Space Agency, according to The Atlantic. “We already have plenty of moving lights in the sky to engage the public with and draw them to the majesty of the night.”

“I think that most people would appreciate a little more reverence for the natural world rather than inserting yet another artificial structure,” said Caleb Scharf, the director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center, according to The Atlantic. “Paglen is highly creative, and has clearly delved deep into this work, but for those of us who spend our lives contemplating and communicating the cosmic, this seems to miss the critical point that the unobscured night sky is an endangered beast best seen in the raw.” Deseret News


The Story of Trump’s Strange Dining Room Painting
One has to ask why Trump is having a drink with several dead people.

It is fairly common knowledge that if Donald Trump likes an artwork, it’s usually about him. However, there is little we know about the White House’s current policies on exhibiting the government’s art collection in the president’s private quarters — unless, of course, you count a photoshopped image of his inauguration crowd and the electoral college map as art.

Sharp-eyed viewers of last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” newsmagazine on CBS may have noticed a kitschy gift-shop horror hanging above Trump’s personal dining room in the White House. Somehow, artist Andy Thomas’s “The Republican Club” traveled from the painter’s home state of California straight into the president’s heart.

Previously seen on jigsaw puzzle boxes around Washington DC, the nightmarishly hokey painting depicts the former reality television host among solidly Republican previous presidents. Theodore Roosevelt hovers above a sitting Trump — who’s looking more svelte here than he ever has in real life — while a nearby Richard Nixon smiles toward Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, George W. Bush gazes lovingly toward Trump as Abraham Lincoln, who the viewer sees from behind, appears to be conversing with Trump.

“The Republican Club” is part of Thomas’s series of politically bipartisan paintings, which include “The Democratic Club” and “Callin’ the Blue: Republican Presidents Playing Pool.” Critics have unfavorably compared Thomas’s work to Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s infamous and eternally-parodied “Dogs Playing Poker” painting series. Others have noted the similarly dull aesthetic style of Jon McNaughton’s overzealous right-wing oil paintings.

The Washington Post interviewed Thomas about how his painting ended up in the White House. He said that California Republican congressman Darrell Issa, whose portrait he had once painted, contacted Thomas’s wife to say that he was going to show the artist’s painting to President Trump. The congressman’s office confirmed this account in a statement saying,

Rep. Issa and Andy Thomas are indeed friends, and the Congressman has some of Andy’s fine work in his office. President Trump appreciates the art that Andy does and the Congressman did deliver the portrait to the White House.

“We had a real nice conversation,” Thomas recalls about his phone call with the president about the painting.

[He] said something like, “I’m in the Oval Office with Darrell Issa, who you know, and Vice President Pence. We’re looking at your painting. I’ve never seen this! Vice President Pence tells me they’re very well known.”

When asked why even presidents like Richard Nixon were so positively portrayed, the artist said that he wants them all to be as good-looking as possible. The artist also paid special attention to the drinks of each president. President Trump drinks his favorite Diet Coke while Nixon sticks to wine. Ronald Reagan, whose father was an alcoholic, sticks to something more fruity.

One haunting aspect of “The Republican Club” is the ghostly female figure in the background to the left, a figure who Thomas says represents a future woman Republican president. He has included the same figure in his paintings of Democrat officeholders.

Actually, the dining room artwork is a high-quality laser print. Thomas says he kept the original painting for himself. Anyway, Trump seems to have a fondness for facsimiles. He famously tried to convince journalist Tim O’Brien that the clearly fake Renoir hanging in his private jet was real. (It isn’t. The true painting hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.) A false Time magazine cover featuring a stern-looking Trump crossing his arms also appeared in at least five of his golf clubs in 2017. Hyperallergic


In the shadow of the nation’s capital is Bob Ross Inc., where everything is ‘happy’

Not far from the nation’s capital, near Dulles International Airport, there is a place where there are no debates about politics or gun violence or what divides us.

A place where if there are discussions about walls, they belong to cabins painted against scenic backdrops.

A place where there are not even mistakes. Here, those are called “happy little accidents.”

Welcome to Bob Ross Inc.

If you grew up watching the permed-hair painter on public television or are part of the modern wave of people who have been drawn to his work through Twitch, then I don’t have to explain why his popularity continues to grow more than 20 years after his death.

I also don’t have to explain why after a particularly exhausting month for our nation, one that saw a Supreme Court justice sworn in amid sexual assault allegations, I called the corporation that distributes all things Bob Ross and asked to visit their new Herndon, Va., headquarters. And why when they said it wasn’t the best time because they hadn’t yet unpacked, I begged on our behalf and explained we needed Bob Ross now.

We had been through a lot lately, I explained, and needed to get lost in his world of “happy little clouds” and “happy little trees.” They understood, of course, and opened their doors — happily.

Those who did not grow up listening to Ross’s soothing voice, telling them they could create the world of their choosing, will not understand the hype. That’s okay. They can find their own refuge — because that’s what the artist was to children who grew up in the 1980s, like me, and what he has become again in the age of streaming. Ross died in 1995 from lymphoma.

“He is an escape for a lot of people,” said Sarah Strohl, an executive assistant at Bob Ross Inc. “People will say they’re sick of everything else going on, and so they’re going to watch Bob Ross.”

She monitors the company’s social media accounts and, through there, has heard of families coming together for “Bob Ross nights” and people who credit him with helping them through illnesses and hard times.

One fan recently posted a picture of flower petals positioned to resemble his face and wrote: “To the man who has inspired me to always try to make something beautiful out of my mistakes, a portrait in your honor.”

Joan Kowalski, the corporation’s president, said every once in a while, someone on social media will try to theorize what side of the political spectrum Ross would fall on today and others inevitably cut that conversation off quickly.

“Don’t ruin him,” Kowalski said they say. “He was nothing. He was everything.”

Kowalski and Strohl share an office and have an interesting dynamic that ensures the company stays true to Ross’s original fans and fresh for his new ones. Kowalski, whose parents founded the company with Ross and his wife 35 years ago, describes Strohl as “the resident young person” and “my barometer of cool.”

When Funko Pop! called and said they wanted to make a Bob Ross figure, Kowalski, who is 57, turned to Strohl, who is 27, to ask if she thought that was a good idea.

She said it was, and she was right. People love the figure.

Likewise, Kowalski once turned to Strohl after reading an email and asked, “What is this Deadpool thing? Is it hip or not?”

The ultimate result of their conversation was the corporation allowing Ross’s name to be used in a teaser for “Deadpool 2.” In it, Deadpool, wearing the artist’s trademark jeans and button-down shirt, conjures his inner Bob Ross, with obvious differences. His language is cruder and among the colors on his palette are “Clockwork Orange,” “Box Office Gold” and “Betty White.”

“It’s probably one of the only times we were worried,” Kowalski said of fans’ reactions.

“We were scared,” Strohl said.

“But for the most part, people got it,” Kowalski said. They understood, “even Deadpool loves Bob Ross.”

Kowalski credits the new wave of enthusiasm to Twitch’s decision a few years ago to begin running all of Ross’s episodes. There, fans can watch together and comment live, and they have developed their own language. When he paints a large tree over an almost finished scene, someone inevitably writes, “ruined.” They also make predictions about whether he’ll add a cabin to the painting, with people posting comments such as, “cabin chance 10 percent.”

Kowalski said the company grew from a class her mother took in Florida with Ross before he was well known. Afterward, in an agreement with the artist, her parents threw their efforts into promoting him, arranging for him to give demos in malls and eventually taking him to the public television station in Northern Virginia where he got his break.

Now, the company serves as a national distribution center and has grown its role and reach so much it needed to move into a new, larger space this year. The plain brick office building is not a place for the public to visit (so don’t go there). But what occurs inside determines what is seen of Bob Ross on the outside. There is a call center where orders are taken for his DVDs and books. The company also organizes training for “Certified Ross Instructors” who lead classes in his style across the world.

Then there is Kowalski and Strohl’s office, where a bookshelf is filled with items that the corporation has given permission to bear Ross’s name and likeness.

There are sweaters and socks and salt and pepper shakers. There is a snow globe and “happy little tree mints.” For carb lovers, there is a toaster and a waffle maker.

“He would have been thrilled with the waffle maker, just FYI,” Kowalski said. “He wanted to be a household name.”

He also wanted to make everything easy for people, she said. She believes that is what has really kept people coming back to him — the simplicity and predictability of his work and his words.

At a time when this country is divided on so much, our craving for that is apparently one thing that unites us.

That, and the Bob Ross socks. People love the socks. The Washington Post


Arts supply store seeks new home in former church building on Bienville Street

A historic church on Bienville Street is ready to begin a new life as the new location of a local art supply store.

The church building at 2525-2529 Bienville Street is currently owned by Life Church, which is now planning to move to a new location in New Orleans East. Built in 1963, the church building has seen several different congregations over the decades — the circular feature on the exterior, for example, was added by a Chinese Presbyterian church, which owned the space before selling it to another faith group which preceded Life Church.

The owners of Mo’s Art Supply — who are locally-based, with three locations in Uptown New Orleans, Covington and Baton Rouge — want the church to become a large and creative retail space. It would be an independent art store where Mid-City residents could purchase supplies, have their canvases stretched and mounted, and possibly go to have their artwork framed and matted.

On a mainly residential street, the new art supply store would also have The Broad Theater and Whole Foods as nearby neighbors. Though New Orleans prides itself as an artistic city where freedom of expression is cherished, there are very few independently owned arts stores left in the city.

“We’re the last ones standing,” said Mo’s owner Simone Burke. “The arts community is our clientele.”

The buyer, who would own the property as well as the adjoining parking lot, wants to restore the original exterior of the church and remove stucco from a recent renovation. They also hope to take advantage of historic rehabilitation tax credits, and remodel the interior and upgrade the entrances for accessibility, as well as adding bike parking. The parking lot would be reserved for customers, while the curb in front of the church would remain public parking.

The church building needs to be rezoned from residential to commercial to allow the business to move in, so Webre Consulting hosted a community meeting in late September to begin the process. The City Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to hear their request at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13. Mid-City Messenger


Teenage hobby becomes full-time business, C.R. Face Painting
C.R. Face Painting builds up to a variety of clients

Lizzie Dvorsky began painting children’s faces as a hobby, providing her service and talent at farmers markets.

Today, the 25-year-old Cedar Rapids native has turned her hobby into C.R. Face Painting. Her full-time business has clients ranging from corporations such as John Deere and Rockwell Collins to churches and not-for-profit organizations.

“I began face painting when I was 15,” Dvorsky said. ”I had sold handmade jewelry at farmers markets when I was 11.

“I added face painting to my booth as something fun to do for the kids. I never charged for it.”

Dvorsky’s mother enjoyed painting and that influenced her daughter.

“We always brought crayons and color markers to restaurants. She encouraged me to color, draw and paint,” Dvorsky said. “She was willing to buy me art supplies, which enabled me to pursue painting quite easily.”

Dvorsky admits that her early face painting “was not very good” — primarily painting hearts and smiley faces on children. With practice, her art improved to the point she received her first paid booking for a birthday party.

“That’s when I realized it could become a side job,” Dvorsky said. “I bought a little better paints and brushes and continued to practice doing birthday parties.

“I had some business cards printed with my phone number and left them at businesses around the community. I also continued to do face paint for free at my friends’ and relatives’ birthday parties.

“If they wanted to tip me, that was great, but they didn’t have to pay me. I did that for about three years to gain a following, and I bought a better face-painting kit.”

When she was 21, Dvorsky went into business briefly with her sister, Melissa, as C.R. Sisters Face Painting. She also began working part time as a server at Red Lobster to supplement her income.

“I stopped working at Red Lobster when I felt that face painting had become my primary income,” Dvorsky said. “I own a condominium in Hiawatha, which I paid off this summer.

“I was able to pay it off because of how successful my face-painting business has become. I’ve also been able to save a little extra each month and pay off my car to become debt free.”

During a recent Family Experience night at New Covenant Bible Church in Robins, she painted children’s faces — and those of some parents — for two hours. Her subjects looked at a poster showing children sporting various designs and made their choices.

“I charge a flat fee per hour, regardless of how many faces I paint,” she said. “I have painted children’s faces on Tuesday nights at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery on Collins Road near Lindale Mall and I recently painted faces at Lowe Park in Marion during the Swamp Fox Festival.

“I am insanely busy during the spring and summer months with corporate events like customer appreciation days, employee picnics and family fun days. I slow down somewhat in the fall and winter months, but I have indoor bookings during that time of year.”

Dvorsky buys professional grade face paint that is non-toxic, FDA compliant and hypoallergenic.

“You can remove it with soap and water, coconut oil or makeup remover,” she said. “I am careful what I use because children’s faces can be sensitive.”

Looking to her future, Dvorsky is considering taking her face painting business on the road beyond Eastern Iowa to large events such as the four-day Lollapalooza outdoor music festival each August in Chicago.

“It takes a lot of planning and a three-day vendor pass at Lollapalooza is $4,000,” she said. “I would need to paint a lot of faces just to cover my admission. I also would have to make more than $4,000 to cover my personal expenses.”

Dvorsky also is considering becoming a face painting instructor to teach others her trade.

“I may develop a couple of face painting classes just to try it out,” she said. “There are face painting classes in other states and I feel we need someone teaching it in Iowa.” The Gazette


Leonardo da Vinci May Have Had a Rare Eye Condition that Affected His Portraits
Other researchers have similarly claimed that other famous painters like Rembrandt and Edgar Degas had the same condition. This study, curiously, uses Salvator Mundi for analysis.

New research into Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings speculates that the famous Renaissance artist had a rare eye condition which likely facilitated his ability to render three-dimensional faces and objects with a distinct sense of depth-recession.

Dr. Christopher W. Tyler, a research professor at the City University of London and at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, recently published findings in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Ophthalmology indicating that the artist had intermittent exotropia, a form of strabismus, based upon a scientific review of the artist’s portraits and self-portraits.

Strabismus is a binocular vision disorder characterized by the partial or complete inability to maintain eye alignment on a fixed object. It is usually accompanied by suppression of the deviating eye and consequent two-dimensional monocular vision. Exotropia is a rare form of the disorder that typically manifests as an outward shift of the pupils within the eyelid aperture.

The breadth of Tyler’s research analyzed the geometric angle of eye alignment in Leonardo’s subjects. Based on six artworks (including two sculptures, two oil paintings, and two drawings), the researcher found evidence of skewed ocular angles consistent with signs of the rare eye condition.

Notably, one of the six works that Tyler considered was Salvator Mundi, the painting whose attribution to Leonardo da Vinci has been hotly contested even before it sold at Christie’s’ November 2017 auction for a record $450.3 million. Based on an initial look at Tyler’s research, it’s hard to tell if the painting’s inclusion here enhances attribution claims for art historians, or if it dilutes the researcher’s data set. With so few artworks analyzed, one of questionable authorship certainly casts shade on any definitive conclusions about Leonardo’s eyesight.

Oddly enough, this is not the first time exotropia has been in art news headlines. Over the past few centuries, scientists have claimed that other famous painters have had the same condition, including Rembrandt and Edgar Degas. How this condition affects the formal elements of the artists’ paintings, though, is less clear. Dr. Michael Marmor has written several books on the eye conditions of great painters. He claims, for example, that Degas’ failing vision in old age caused blurry sight, explaining the artist’s shift in style from refined early brushstrokes to a coarser approach later in life. Tyler’s research on Leonardo, by comparison, merely argues about a potential cause of the idiosyncratic facial geometries of his subjects.

Interest in objective analysis of famous painters has proliferated in the last four or five decades. These scientific studies are somewhat reminiscent of — albeit much more rigorous than — Sigmund Freud’s famous 1910 essay psychoanalyzing Leonardo’s paintings as a window into the artist’s childhood. Hyperallergic