Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dan C. Wingren: "Franciscans - Rome," 1958 Painting

Through the auspicies of eBay, I have acquired this small canvas by one of my Fine Art mentors, Dan C. Wingren. He painted this scene when I was three years old and living in Gautemala City, Guatamala.

In the mid-1950s, Dan Wingren traveled to Europe and sketched images of towns and villages in France and Italy. In 1958, he was appointed director of the San Antonio Art Institute and taught painting at the McNay Art Museum (associated with the San Antonio Art Institute) until May 1961. He taught at Trinity University as a guest lecturer in the fall semester in 1961. Wingren moved back to Dallas in May 1962 to paint full time although in the fall of that year he taught a design class at SMU. In 1963 and 1964, Wingren taught drawing and composition and oil painting at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts School and, in 1965, he began teaching full time in the art department at SMU; he remained at the university until he retired in 1991. In 1971, Wingren was appointed Professor of Art; from 1969 – 1971 he served as Associate Chairman of the Division of Fine Arts. During his tenure at SMU, Wingren taught classes in art history (19th and 20th Century), design, drawing and painting, and also conducted seminars on contemporary art topi

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Winslow Homer: Bermuda Watercolors

Winslow Homer created a series of vibrant watercolor landscapes  on his first visit to the Bermuda in December 1899. He left some six weeks later in early 1900 taking roughly ten watercolors back with him. 

He returned to Bermuda in 1901 and continued his study and fascination with Bermuda’s rock formations. He found the faults, the striations, the texture, and the coloring most suitable to his palette and moods. 

His body of Bermuda-inspired work was featured at the Buffalo Exposition of 1901 where they were awarded a Gold Medal.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

RIP: Steve Ditko

Meditate: It's Also Legal and It Gets You So Calm

Hypno-Don suggests -- meditate twice a day, for 20 minutes at each session...

Eliot O'Hara: Watercolors

I'd never be able to afford a Winslow Homer watercolor masterpiece of a scene in Bermuda -- but -- I did acquire this beautiful Eliot O'Hara one. Super-score victory dance!

"I might be able to tell what I know about composition or color, but in more senses than one it would not do the student much good. If, however, I can teach him how to do the mechanical part of producing a watercolor, such as tinting a paper, blending colors, or performing the various other operations or tricks of the trade -- then if he has anything to express, his hand will be ready. In other words, I shall try to give him the spelling and grammar -- he must have the ideas." -- Eliot O'Hara

During his lifetime, Eliot O'Hara (1890-1969) was one of America's most widely respected watercolorists and teachers. In addition to an extensive exhibition record, O'Hara wrote eight books, produced more than twenty films on watercolor technique, and taught classes all over the country. From 1930-1947, he ran the successful O'Hara Watercolor School at Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Maine, the first such school in the United States. (The school burned down in the great 1947 fire that destroyed over 200,000 acres in Maine, and was never reopened).

O'Hara was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, where his father owned a successful manufacturing company. With the sudden death of his father in 1912, the twenty-two year old O'Hara took control of the business, assuming responsibility for his mother and three younger siblings. In the early 1920s, O'Hara began to paint as a form of relaxation. Soon, however, he spent more and more time developing his painting skills. When he married in 1924, he and his wife honeymooned for several months in Europe where he produced nearly three hundred paintings. That same year, some of those European-inspired watercolors were accepted into the Philadelphia Watercolor Club Annual exhibition. The following year, his first solo exhibition in Boston sold out. By 1927, O'Hara was a successful artist and could devote all his time to painting. He would go on to receive many honors during his long career, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a life membership in the American Watercolor Society, and was one of the first watercolorists elected to the National Academy of Design.

Painting on-site, O'Hara worked without an easel, sitting or kneeling directly over his watercolor paper (usually 15 x 22 inches), with his paints and brushes to one side. With almost no formal training, O'Hara taught himself to paint and created his own personal style. Hoping to provide other beginning watercolor students with the painting techniques that he was forced to develop on his own, O'Hara wrote his first book on the subject in 1932. "Making Watercolors Behave" was the first of eight how-to-books to follow. In 1936, he made his first watercolor demonstration film, eventually producing twenty-four color films commissioned by the Encyclopedia Britannica Company.

O'Hara's impressionist watercolors are characterized by solid compositions painted with traditional washes, and economic brushstrokes that convey details with a startling simplicity. Said to complete most paintings in little more than an hour, O'Hara was fond of saying -- "It's the last stroke that kills the picture." An avid traveler who painted all over the world (for sixteen years he painted each summer in Maine), O'Hara was a master at conveying the distinctive color and light that characterized each locale he visited.

Among the more than sixty public collections that include O'Hara's work are -- the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Fine Art Boston, the National Academy of Design, the National Museum of American Art, the Toledo Art Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Mid-Century Modern Apollonius Cone Sculpture

Did I really need a Mid-Century Modern wooden Apollonius Cone sculpture? Why, yes -- yes, I did.

The knowledge of conic sections can be traced back to Ancient Greece. Menaechmus is credited with the discovery of conic sections around the years 360-350 B.C. -- it is reported that he used them in his two solutions to the problem of "doubling the cube". 

Following the work of Menaechmus, these curves were investigated by Aristaeus and of Euclid. The next major contribution to the growth of conic section theory was made by the great Archimedes. Though he obtained many theorems concerning the conics, it does not appear that he published any work devoted solely to them. 

Apollonius, on the other hand, is known as the "Great Geometer" on the basis of his text "Conic Sections," an eight-book (or in modern terms, chapter) series on the subject. The first four books have come down to us in the original Ancient Greek, but books V-VII are known only from an Arabic translation, while the eighth book has been lost entirely.

In the years following Apollonius the Greek, geometric tradition started to decline, though there were developments in astronomy, trigonometry, and algebra. 

Pappus (who lived about 300 A.D.) furthered the study of conic sections somewhat, in minor ways. After Pappus, however, conic sections were nearly forgotten for 12 centuries. 

It was not until the sixteenth century, in part as a consequence of the invention of printing and the resulting dissemination of Apollonius' work, that any significant progress in the theory or applications of conic sections occurred -- but when it did occur, in the work of Kepler, it was as part of one of the major advances in the history of science.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

On the Reading Table: Martin Filler's "Makers of Modern Architecture"

I'm about half-way through Martin Filler's book, "Makers of Modern Architecture." A good read. Thus far, he's been very kind to my own faves -- Louis H. Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, and most especially, Louis Kahn. Less so to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Le Corbousier. He TOTALLY trashes the architecture of Philip Johnson (that's what you get for dissing FLLW, PJ). Hammer-time. 

In the photo section in the middle of the book, Texas art museums are singled out for some very high praise -- the ultimate --Louis Kahn's Kimbell Museum as well as Renzo Piano's beautiful De Menil Museum and his Nasher Sculpture Museum. I have to agree -- I love them! Sorry, Amon Carter Museum (designed by Philip Johnson).

As a young artist, I grew up visiting the best! Throw in the Meadows Museum's Diego Velasquez and Francisco Goya artworks and the experiences were TOPS!