In The Studio Blog

Progression Photos by Brian Kyhos

 

 

Studio Tour with AIR Brian Kyhos

  

Pastels used in Bryan Kyhos' latest work                   AIR Brian Kyhos' studio at Maryland Hall

 

  

Ink and color from the artist's sketchbook                 Ink drawing in Brian Kyhos' sketchbook

 

  

Sketches by Artist-In-Residence Brian Kyhos           Window view of the artist's studio

 

An Interview with Brian Kyhos

What projects are you working on at the moment? Pastel drawing or paintings, depending on the way you look at them. They are also somewhat sculptural. I also do actual sculpture but I haven’t gotten into that in my studio here at Maryland Hall.

What are the primary materials that you use?  I’m working with pastel now but I also like oil painting. I have done all phases of bronze casting which was my first love. I love to work with modeling wax - it’s a very meditative process. I am mindful of the history of the material. I work with whatever materials I have at hand. I’ve been accused of being a pack-rat.

What’s your earliest memory of art? I’m not sure. I was always drawing with crayons. I was one of those kids that on my first day of kindergarten I drew a ship on the ocean and kids thought it really looked like one. I guess I have always had an innate ability.

How do you know when a work is finished? A lot of my thinking takes place in my sketchbooks. I will keep drawing and working until my brain gets so that I want to make something different. The beauty of sketchbooks is there are different ways to draw. Analytical is where you are trying to draw a figure and you want to record what you are seeing. Or, you draw out from yourself like a self-expression to get in touch with your inner side. I do both.

How has your time as an AIR been? Was it how you expected? It has been mostly great. A few distractions but the atmosphere is very supportive. And, seeing the children come in for the dance classes is wonderful. I always love meeting artists and new people. I love the social connections.

When you work, do you love the process or the result? I like both. You know the writer Henry Miller? He would make these artworks and he would sneak down at night to see them because it gave him such joy to look at them. I occasionally give work to people and I call them my children. Sometimes I forget that I have given them out and I will see them at people’s houses. I say it is like visiting my children.

What is your ideal creative activity? I love creative writing and taking pictures. Taking a walk or making food can also be a creative undertaking.

Which artists do you most admire? I like the Wyeth family. Andrew, N.C., Jamie, and Peter Hurd. The Wyeth studio is open to the public in Brandywine Pennsylvania. N.C. always considered himself to be an illustrator but he elevated it to a fine art and I love it when people are able to do that. Then it becomes a spiritual thing. For me art and music are very spiritual.

Why are they your role models? The Wyeth’s, Michelangelo, Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer… there work always resonates with me. I have done a lot of reading about artists and their lives. It is always interesting to see what life they lived. Salvador Dali was very playful - as was Picasso - and that is the attitude I try to have in my work as well.

Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you? My wife does. She is a good worker and is good to use as a sounding board. My kids are too. They are all very positive in their outlooks on life. 

Who is your muse and why? My wife is definitely a muse. She inspires me to not get stuck in places and keep moving. My dog ruby is a muse for sure. He is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. He’s a show stopper.

What is your creative ambition? World Domination. No, My ambition as I am here is to create a new body of work, to have a show and have people enjoy it.

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat? I like to drink tea and enjoy a glass or two of wine. I like to go on walks with my wife.

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom? I feel pretty secure in who I am and what I like to do. Dialog as far as being influenced if people like my work or not - I am not concerned with that. I like the idea of storytelling. I like people to create their own ideas about my work.

I think a lot of artists get funny about making copies of things that they like. A lot of the great masters did just that and went to museums and copied art. That’s how you learn. I find it a very helpful habit. I like to write and I have done the same thing with writing. I started keeping a journal, mostly to remember happy times, and gradually overtime they would turn into a place where I would copy passages that I have read. It is important to do that. 

Put Paint on Canvas

My drawing teacher in college was rather eccentric and spent a large part of every class spouting advice to his students.  About half of that advice was about art and the rest concerned our life choices as budding adults. Often our ears would be bleeding whilst we struggled to focus on and translate the perfect curve of our inner nostrils during portraiture. In retrospect, I think he enjoyed watching the confusion on our faces as we tried to digest his seemingly sage-like, nonsensical words of wisdom. Not much of what I learned in college has been retained even these 10 years later. One lesson, however, I recall everyday and owe to that strange teacher; he told us to “put mark on paper.” By these four words, he simply meant for us to work, whether we wanted or not. We were pushed to be productive no matter what may try to forestall us: lack of inspiration, stress, tiredness, lack of direction, lack of confidence. . .  The list of distractions could go on forever. His point, if I may presume to expand upon it, is that we have a certain amount of time to do the things we really want to do and an endless queue of things we could be doing instead. 

I do something creative every day. I put brush to canvas, pencil to paper, or torch to metal when I’m feeling good about my direction or when I’m completely lost. It’s easy when I’m feeling inspired and downright painful when I’m not motivated. When I’m done, I’m either further along on my work or I’m dead-sure that my path lies in the opposite direction of what I just completed. Working every day makes failure easier to accept and overcome, and it helps keep me connected to my work and confident about my abilities. There is nothing more intimidating to an artist than a set of tools that have gathered dust from neglect. 

Have I made mistakes with this philosophy? So many! Have I ruined paintings? Not sure. I’ve certainly become familiar with the words “artwork in crisis.” For me, the process is the best part of the excursion and the finished piece is the product, the legacy if you will, of the effort. My best advice for myself and for anyone at all is to make a mark, everyday.          -Kate Osmond

Progression photos of Kate Osmond's work

Studio Tour with AIR Kate Osmond

 

Left to right:  Ariel views of her work; different bodies of work.

    

Below left to right:  Finished work; Kate's studio
     

Bottom left to right:  works in progress; close up of Osmond's Waterfront work
    

 

An Interview with Kate Osmond

What are the primary materials that you use?  

For painting I typically do large-scale paintings on canvas and I have been starting to incorporate the use of 24 karat gold leaf. For my sculpture works I use copper and steel welding and brazing. I have to work from home for my sculptural work because it is a fire hazard here. 

What work of art do you most wish you’d made?

The work I most wish I had made is probably Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World because of his use of perspective. The viewer is both looking down on this woman and is also directly next to her. The feeling of isolation the woman brings fascinates me.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?

The process. I am only concerned about the process. And, I never know when a work is finished! 

What is your ideal creative activity?

That would probably be climbing around construction sites.

Which artists do you most admire?

J.M.W. Turner and Andrew Wyeth are two of my favorite painters.

What is your creative ambition?

A creative ambition of mine…. Well, I would love to one day create a giant free children’s museum.

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?

I travel a lot with my family. I guess that’s a pattern! There is also a lot of pattern repetition in my sculptural work.

 

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR).
Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. 
Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Analogous is a series of site-specific works and photographic experiments that investigate the current state of photography. The works in this series make use of materials that have become increasingly obsolete in photographic practice, such as grey cards, instant film and obscure darkroom tools. By repurposing these objects, the project addresses photography’s past with reverence, while at the same time acknowledging its digital future. Also included in this project are two collaborative pieces with artist Todd Forsgren that delve into issues of art history education and the transition to digital archives in the arts.

I want to thank Maryland Hall and Sigrid Trumpy in particular for having the courage to put up shows they know are not going to sell work.  There are a plethora of private galleries in Annapolis that reinforce the cities’ reputation for having an un-evolved art scene.  What I have discovered in Annapolis is a small but sophisticated audience of people that crave more engaging art.  As an art center and not a private gallery, Maryland Hall has a duty to put up more challenging art exhibitions and thankfully they are rising to that challenge more and more of late.  I also think it is critical for artists in the community to fight the urge to make artwork that they think will sell in Annapolis.  It would be impossible to hold galleries in this town to higher standards if the artists themselves are feeding them derivative art.  Monet did a great job of being Monet all by himself.  And his art was cutting edge at the time he made it.  I think we owe it to ourselves, as a community, to foster the same type of cutting edge spirit for ourselves!

-Matthew Moore

 
Art history slides from AACC.
 
​Art History Slides repurposed for Matt's show Analogous.
 
Art History Slides that were saved by Matt Moore for his latest show.
 
Matt Moore in his studio at Maryland Hall.
 
Matt Working on 'Rose Window' for his show 'Analogous' at Maryland Hall.
 
Final Product of Matt Moore and Todd Forsgren's 'Rose Window' in their show 'Analogous'​.
 
Light trickling thorugh Matt Moore and Todd Forsgren's 'Rose Window' at Maryland Hall's Martino Gallery.
 
'Rose Window' giving the Martino Gallery a stained glass effect on the floor.
 
 
 

For more information about Matt, visit his Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence Matt Moore takes you on a tour of her studio in Studio 312A.

Testing out work for his exhibition Analogous​ on display in the Martino Gallery now.

 

Photo slide panel for his exhibition Analogous​.

 

For more information about Matt, visit his Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on my show that goes up in the Martino Gallery called Analogues which is a collaborative project with Todd Forsgren. Todd used to have a studio right across the hall and we were handed this idea about a dual show. It wasn’t something we pitched, it was just kind of there. We are taking old art history picture slides that we rescued from Anne Arundel Community College that were going to be thrown away. We are covering large acetate rolls with them to stick in the windows. We are hoping for good sunlight in the windows the night of the opening reception because they will look like large stained-glass windows. The slides will project light and shadows onto the floor to create a really cool image.

What are the primary materials that you use?  

I shoot on film still. I generally work on medium format, sometimes large format. For this show I am also using “found objects” and repurposing them into something new. That is a little bit different for me.

What’s your earliest memory of art?

In a way I feel like this question gives the impression that artists have some early childhood epiphany that they are going to become artists and I just don’t think that is true. Just because I liked art class in kindergarten, isn’t the reason I am an artist. Everyone liked art class. I know other people that had that early epiphany but for me it’s just not how I got here.

What work of art do you most wish you’d made?

There are no works that I wish I had made or didn’t make. I hate the sound of it because it sounds kind of… I don’t know. I certainly have a lot of ideas for projects, and with none of them do I think ‘I’m not going to end up doing that’. It’s either been done or will be done.

How do you know when a work is finished?

That is intuitive. I think that it is a real challenge for people. I usually have to try to force myself to push further. You get to a point with a work of art where you think its great and even your friends and artist-friends think it is great but generally in the back of your mind you know it could be better. It’s really hard to push further and take the risk of ruining what people think is really great. But, it’s really important to take that risk.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?

Both. I am going to admit that I do get a real thrill from the result. I like the process, I love the result. It’s just nice to see something finished and to realize you made that – it’s a boost for the ego and it helps you maintain your confidence. A lot of times when you are making something you are not sure where it is going. You start taping slides onto acetate for hours and your back hurts and you think ‘what if this stinks?. It is always nice to hear what other people think but its more of a personal thrill.

What is your ideal creative activity?

I really love working in the dark room at night. Sometimes I will go into the dark room, put on music and make prints for the sake of making prints. 

Which artists do you most admire?

Todd Forsgren. www.toddforsgren.com

Why are they your role models?

He isn’t really my role model. He is an artist that I admire. My grandfather was my role model. He taught me how to live.

Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?

My wife. She is very supportive of me as an artist. Sometimes that means putting more energy into our home than I do. I’ve been married for a long while and there was a time when we first got married where I went to her and said ‘I’m going to quit this job and work on this project and we are going to be poor for a while, is that ok?’ and she was like ‘go for it’. That project helped launch my career. It did launch my career. So I basically owe it all to her.

Who is your muse and why?

I don’t know that I have a muse. I don’t think I’m that type of artist that gets obsessed with one thing.

What is your creative ambition?

I want to take a metals class. I want to learn to weld. It’s not because I want to make sculptures it’s more because I want to make functional objects. I want to learn how to make a coffee table.

What are the obstacles to this ambition?

Time. I’m very busy.

What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition?

The answer is you just have to do it. You have to prioritize it and once it’s a priority you will do it. There is time to do stuff; you just have to decide what’s important. Right now it’s important for me to make certain projects before I make coffee tables. It’ll happen. To be honest it is something I have been planning on doing this year.

How do you begin your day?

I’m a big coffee drinker so that has to be a part of the equation. And, I usually just let my kids crawl around and play in the living room before I go off to work.

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?

I don’t really have habits. Coffee is a habit. My wife and I like to go out to breakfast once a week. We are big breakfast people. We like to travel in the summer. But, I don’t really have any obsessive compulsive habits that keep me centered or anything like that.

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom?

Creative dialogue is absolutely essential. What’s the opposite of that, you know, right? Hiding in your basement? Creative dialogue has to happen and it has to happen all the time. I have a number of people I can count on for that dialogue. Some of them are fellow colleagues at Anne Arundel Community College and some are my friends or even some of the residents here. Also, engaging my students in dialogue on a daily basis is part of the reason I teach. My job is such a pleasure. Working with those young people learning photography and getting to see them expose their first print in the dark room, I get to see that moment every semester. I can’t have that moment anymore but I get to see them have it and it is really energizing for me.

 

For more information about Matt, visit his Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m a bit of a scattered worker when it comes to inspiration.  At the moment I have several pieces in the works for my November show ‘Heirloom,’ as well as a large piece I’ve just started for my own enjoyment.  I find great inspiration in the subconscious, so I’ve decided to put some of my more vivid dreams onto canvas.  I’ve decided to work exclusively from life this June and have already completed several smaller pieces just to keep limber and bright.  

What are the primary materials that you use?

Oil on a wooden panel or scrap is my favorite combination.  I love the heaviness of the piece when I’m finished and the stand-alone capability for thicker slabs.  The paint looks more sumptuous on a block than a canvas, and repurposing the wood factors into the philosophy behind my work.    

What’s your earliest memory of art?

Of personal art? I remember being told by a kindergarten teacher not to embellish my work on the edges - I was a doodler- telling me that such behavior would not prepare me for the reality of the school work to come.  Needless to say I doodled in textbooks and handouts for the duration of my education right on into adulthood.  
As for the greater world of art, I remember my father taking me to his then job at The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.  We went behind the scenes into the conservation studio and I found myself standing right in front of one of the Degas little dancer sculptures.  I remember these studious people in white coats and gloves treating her with delicate little brushes while taking copious notes.  I knew at that moment that I wanted to work closely with the museum collections of this world.  

What work of art do you most wish you’d made?

Any John Singer Sargent watercolor.  I can replicate a space on paper or canvas, but he had a way of making light and color surreally effortless.  His innate ability takes my breath away.

How do you know when a work is finished?

When I still like it.  I have a tendency to work in hyper detail, and I’m trying to break away from this.  The pieces I’ve loved the most are looser with true and vivid color.  I’ve put pieces away for years before attempting to touch them again because I’ve painted myself into a corner.  Detail is a tricky mistress. 

How has your time as an AIR been?  Was it how you expected?

Lovely so far.  I’m about a third of the way into my 3 year term, and what I’ve loved most about it is the collective atmosphere of such varying styles all in one place.  I’ve reached out for input on many pieces and received some much-needed criticism.  I’ve also found inspiration in others whose styles could not be further from my own.   The space and the light is inspiring every time I walk into my studio.  Before I moved into this space I had been painting out of my home, which isn’t conducive to an open and creative mind.  There’s also something inspiring about being around so many rooms filled with people creating, learning, singing, and dancing.  Though the hallways may be loud at times there’s something wonderful about knowing this artistic hub is thriving and inspiring people in this city.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?

The process.  I love taking out my paints and surveying the space, and seeing the work take shape.  I love that satisfying moment when the brush applies one stroke and the color is perfection.  I tend to feel excited but a bit sad when I finish a piece I adore.  Almost like finishing a good book.  You feel satisfied and inspired at the close, and yet there’s melancholy for having to set it aside and find the next great read.  

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?

I always coat my boards and canvas in a red/orange layer.  Pieces without it lack warmth, and I find that I like a peek of brilliant color when I leave it untouched at the edges. I listen to nothing but soundtracks when I paint.  I prefer wordless music to talk radio in the studio.  News, books, a chat on NPR- all of these keep me rooted and I prefer to drift when I work.    

What is your ideal creative activity?

A run or hike somewhere beautiful in nature to find a good sketching spot.  I keep a trusy moleskine notebook in my purse for such times.  Nothing trumps sun and open air.  

Which artists do you most admire?

John Singer Sargent and John William Waterhouse are and have always been two of my favorite painters.  Both painted with such authority.  Sargent handled watercolors like no other artist before or since- I have always envied his ability to convey a space, especially those covered in dappled light.  There’s a looseness about his work that continues to inspire and frustrate me.  Waterhouse caters more to my 10 year old self who retreated into trees with a good book to dream of knights and dragons.  His work more controlled but lovely.  Alan Lee began inspiring me around the same time frame- there’s an eerie beauty to his work.  There’s something to be said for someone with his illustrative capability who still works on paper and not a computer. 

Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?

Too many to enumerate here, but oh lord yes.  I’ve somehow lucked into knowing and being related to some true gems.  A writer, who inspires me to keep my mind open to new materials and the lives around me.  A painter, who keeps a meticulous record of her life and travels in some unbelievably illustrated notebooks.  A gardening enthusiast who keeps my eyes open to the possible uses of forgotten things.  A traveler who keeps my spirit open to the vastness of the world I have yet to experience and be inspired by.  

What is your creative ambition?

I want to create work without pausing to contemplate a pieces usefulness or reception by others.  I crave a truly inspired method of creation that I can feel with every piece.  

What are the obstacles to this ambition?

My own tempestuous nature.   Keeping to a plan is a mechanism that allows me to create without becoming to frustrated with mediocre work.  I think most artists suffer with that internal knowledge that not everything we create is going to be a success, whether by outside standards or our own.  Letting go of that innate worry is I hope something that will grow with time.

How do you begin your day?

Coffee.  An open window.   If I’ve been reading a new book, a few chapters.  

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom?

Absolutely.  We all need feedback and a sounding board.  I don’t consult any one person, but have found great input in the other AIR’s since moving into my space.  I have many friends abroad and it can be helpful to suss out ideas with those who have been trained using completely different methods.  I’ll never be so convinced of my own work that I can’t still grow and learn from those around me.    

 

For more information about Anne, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

 

Interview conducted by Gallery Director, Sigrid Trumpy.

 

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a series of six paintings entitled Body of Water. There are three large-scale paintings and three small, which depict the human form merged with water – ocean, bay and tributary. The concept is to unify the human form with these bodies of water to demonstrate how interconnected we are.

What are the primary materials that you use?
I use oil paint directly from the tube or can, occasionally mixed with plaster, wax or linseed oil to give it some texture.  I work on triple primed canvases. My larger works are up to 5' x 5' and small around 30" x 40."  In order to get the desired affect, I use a variety of palate knives and filbert brushes.

What's your earliest memory of art?
My earliest memory of art is my mother bringing home a landscape painting when I was about 5 years old, followed by her painting of a vegetable still life in oil. It was a very small canvas and tightly worked, realistic in style.  Around the same age, I recall watching my grandfather handcraft a violin.  I remember feeling in awe of him, and knowing at that time I wanted to learn how to create something from nothing.

What work of art do you most wish you'd made?
Great question.  A painting, Marc Rothko's White Center.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Something I learned early on is a work is not finished when someone else thinks you’re finished; it’s about how you, as the artist, feel. To me something is finished when I feel a connection with the work, that it’s able to communicate what I had intended it to communicate.  

How has your time as an AIR been?  Was it how you expected?
My time as an artist-in-residence has been extremely satisfying. I’ve enjoyed the studio space – the scale, the light – as well as having the opportunity to connect with the other AIRs and learn from each other.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?
I choose the result.  The process of laying and shaping paint can be tedious, followed by the tightening and enclosing of the shapes. Perhaps like designing a room, or making a paella, the assembly process is long and often wrought with challenges, but the result is well worth it.

What are your habits?  What patterns do you repeat?
I tend to repeat a combination of smooth and heavy/relief surfaces with paint. Additionally, I float the edges, providing a frame-like finish.  I work left to middle, then right to middle, using both hands.  

What is your ideal creative activity?
Painting.  Alone. Or, with a book-on-tape.

Which artists do you most admire?
Louise Bourgeois for her range of work and feministic themes.  Holding Sunday Salon's - a crit. for student's and creating the movement of confession art.  I love her spider sculpture in DC. Helen Frankenhaler for her gorgeous stain paintings and the first artist who introduced me to the color field style. Also, locally, Claire McCardle for working with marble, which frightens me.

Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?
A childhood friend, a New Yorker, who embodies "the art of living beautifully." 

What is your creative ambition?
I would like to have a greater presence in commercial spaces. Most of my work is large-scale and lends itself to open, public spaces.

I also have an aspiration for the local arts community as a whole.  Artists are challenged to find the right environment to learn, create, and be inspired to hone their craft. My hope is someday we could identify a benefactor to support local artists by dedicating a building to studio and gallery spaces. Think the Arts Tower in Baltimore (Bromo Seltzer tower). 

What are the obstacles to this ambition?
Regarding my personal ambition, it's simply about finding the time - and mental energy- to develop a greater presence on social media in order to engage with architects, commercial builders, etc., instead of going through a dealer to form those relationships.

In terms of community outreach, Annapolis is fast recognizable as an artist haven. Given that, it just comes down to the funding. Build it and we will fill it.

How do you begin your day?
I always start with coffee and the NYTimes, followed by walking my dog, Scout.  I use that time to mentally plan how I'm going to use the studio time for the day.  I try to walk from my home in Eastport to the studio at least a couple times a week to clear my mind.

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom?
It is important.  Painting is a singular vocation, and although I'm comfortable with alone time, I do feel outlets for shared passion are vital.  Art speak is in everything -fashion, food, travel, architecture and design.  Perhaps "Sunday Salon" needs continuance.

 

For more information about Lorraine, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Artists That Have Influenced My Work

by Patrice Drago

I appreciate all of the masters of early days and today, and I'm grateful for the exposure I have had both academically and independently to such a large quantity and wide variety of incredible work.  Out of all of them, there are two artists that always come to mind that captured my attention and never lost it.

When I was painting still life, landscapes and figure in oil, the single greatest influence on my work was Caravaggio.  While his paintings were often depictions of disturbing events, (see the image), it was how the drama was emphasized that fascinated me.  "Chiaroscuro" - the sharp contrast of light and dark - was exciting, and it demonstrated how to create focus in a composition with contrasting light and dark in the right places.  I remember walking into the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, and immediately noticing - over everything else - a Caravaggio painting in the Cerasi Chapel on the left, with a tiny light on it.  It glowed and even though it was almost completely sideways to my view, it was all I could see.

  

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" 1601-2 by Caravaggio

For me, creating dark shadows with purple is far more exciting than black, and my art mentor at the time really pointed that out for me.  For the ten + years I painted exclusively in oil, I never once used a black pigment. I only used Dioxazine Purple for shadows, because shadows aren't really black; there is always color.  Even though I have gone back to painting abstracts, I still use dark and light contrast.  

I am and have always been in love with the Abstract Expressionist movement, making it hard to single out one artist.  But one painting had a huge impact on me, and it was Sam Francis' "Middle Blue".  When I saw it in the MOMA San Francisco, everything else I saw fell away and I felt like I was home.  The colors, the line, the white - the entire composition and the combination of colors were so familiar - it felt like a painting of my soul.  A series called "Breakthrough", which was my return to abstract after a long hiatus (since college) clearly shows Sam Francis' influence on my work.  

"Middle Blue" by Sam Francis

All of it has brought me to a place where I feel I am truly painting from what is a combination of all of my experiences.  A healthy curiosity and a never-ending desire to always learn more ensures my work will continue to evolve.  

 

For more information about Patrice, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Coffee & Conversations with Franz K and Robert M by Patrice Drago

I knew I wanted to do a very large abstract painting about coffee, since my caffeine intake has been increasing steadily.  I started with a 48" x 48" canvas, I took a few long sweeps with a very large brush.  I felt like Franz Kline had just shown up. (below left)

I added Titanium Buff to suggest cream.  Five years ago, I bought this amazing sheet of waxy paper with wire running through it, and never had a place to use it - until now.  I love that it is heavy duty, but you can still see the brown paint underneath. (above center)

I felt like it needed a blue shape - bold but soft.  I added it, and then felt Robert Motherwell had just joined Franz and me.  The idea of the painting emerged - If I could go back in time, I would love to have coffee with these two iconic American Abstract Expressionists.  So what would we talk about? (above right)

On a very large table, I set up my supplies and pulled out dozens of magazines, books, music sheets and catalogs, and completely immersed myself in finding images and text that would imply, symbolize and directly state topics that we would cover if we had unlimited coffee and time to chat. 

Because this canvas is so large, I had to get on a ladder to take pictures as I arranged and rearranged the collage items to find the right placement. I always take pictures of paintings in progress to give me a different and framed perspective on it; for this part of the process, I took over 100 pictures, having fun with the conversation in my head. 

At this point, I knew I needed to expand the blue for a more balanced composition, but I wasn't ready to paint it, because I wanted it to lay on top of the finished collage, and I wasn't there yet.  I took painter's tape and laid it down, moving it around until it was where I wanted the final paint stroke to be.

After fixing all of the collage items, I replaced the tape with blue paint. (above left)

To finish the painting, I added white paint with large amount of pure soap, shaken to create bubbles for the froth.  I then added interference violet in streaks through the cream to signify some exciting moments of conversation. (above right)

Now I can't wait to get in my time machine and invite more great people in history to have coffee and conversation.

 

For more information about Patrice, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence Patrice Drago takes you on a tour of her studio in Studio 305A.

When you first walk in to my studio, you are facing a partial wall with a banner welcoming you to my studio.  I chose the detail of “Elation”, a recent painting because the color combination of blue, yellow and white are inviting and exciting.  When I am working large, I use that wall as an easel, which is my favorite way to paint.  It’s very freeing not to use an easel.  


                
I love to be surrounded by color, texture and things that I love.  I arrange my studio much like I do a room in my house, so that it is inviting and beautiful.  I have lamps in the corners, and peppered throughout the space because I prefer incandescent light or the new warm LED light to fluorescent.  I do not use the overhead lights.  My studio gets plenty of indirect light due to the openness and the partial wall separating my studio from Merla’s.  My paintings hang on several of the walls.


 
Since I use decorative papers in my collage paintings, I have put dowels on c-hooks and hang the papers from the dowels so I can always see what I have available to me.  The papers are so beautiful, and the combinations of wildly different patterns and colors are inspirational, and just plain lovely to view.

Just like the papers, I need to have visual access to everything I use.  I carefully selected a shelving unit that allows me to organize the paints and still see everything at a glance.

I use the long table in my studio for multiple projects and for adding layers to paintings that are in various stages of development.  I bought these terrific casters at Home Depot that fit under the table legs so I can move the table around as needed, since I have to make the most of the small space that I have.   My painting cart is also on wheels.  

These are my favorite painting tools… When I do use brushes, my favorite are the really large ones.

I use acrylic markers all the time.  They are great for line, for filling in small areas, and for detail.  And tucked into this little shelving unit are some of the most fascinating and luscious mediums that make acrylic painting so much fun – glass beads, white flake, pumice gel, molding paste, clear tar gel… and I use them all!

 

For more information about Patrice, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

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