Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Introducing Hank’s Pithy Art Tips!
For all our Facebook and Twitter fans—and those of you that don’t yet follow us there—we’re introducing a regular new feature: Hank’s Pithy Art Tips! Check in with us every few days to see what helpful hint Hank McLaughlin recommends to solve some of the pesky problems that all artists encounter. The tips will be here on the blog, as well—so you can find them easily whenever you log in with Famous Artists School!
Here’s some background on Hank:
As an artist, Hank McLaughlin has a close relationship with nature. When choosing a subject to paint, he’s usually drawn to the natural world. But even though he tells his students that they’ll be more successful if they paint from nature, he reminds them that they don’t have to go on a camping trip to do it. As he says, “Go to the refrigerator and take out a couple of apples. That’s nature!”
That’s the kind of humorous, down-to-earth touch that characterizes both Hank’s approach to art and his work with students. He’s a well-rounded artist who is comfortable in a wide spectrum of mediums, from oil pastels, pencil, charcoal and pen and ink right through watercolor, acrylics, and oil paints. He’s even dabbled in sculpture and woodcarving.
His formal art education began at age 18, when he admired the work of Harold Wolcott, a noted painter. Mr. Wolcott invited Hank to study with him. After two years, Hank moved on to the Art Students League in New York City, and later studied at Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut.
For many years, Hank combined his own painting with a full-time job as Art Director of Remington Arms Co. Now, in addition to his work with Famous Artists School students, he has a busy freelance career, handling commissions for portraits, commemorative illustration, and package design, as well as lecturing and teaching classes in art. His paintings have been exhibited widely, and can be found in the collections of former New York Mets Ed Kranepool, Jerry Koosman and Dave Kingman, and Paul D. Arnold of Arnold Bakers, among others.
One of Hank’s favorite activities is leading “paint-outs”—location painting workshops in picturesque Connecticut spots for fellow painters and students. It’s just one way of maintaining that friendly relationship with nature that he’s always found so inspiring.
Monday, February 27, 2012
A twenty-first century look at a fifteenth century masterpiece
Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s “Mystic Lamb”, better known as the Ghent Altarpiece, was created in 1432. As part of an emergency conservation project, the work has been photographed centimeter by centimeter at extremely high resolution. Now art lovers and technicians alike can study the work using this open-source approach. If you’re new to this kind of technology, I recommend the help page on the website as the best place to start.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Renoir as “fashionista”?
The current exhibition at the Frick Collection in New York, “Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting” belies Renoir’s designation as an Impressionist. Far from rapidly capturing the effect of light and color that we usually associate with Impressionism, these large-scale paintings are traditional and imposing in scale. In the style of painting, the brushstrokes and soft color that Renoir used here, we can see echoes of Impressionism; but he was more interested in using the full-length format to display the Belle Epoque attire that he saw around him. According to the exhibition catalog, Renoir came by his interest in fashion naturally: his mother was a seamstress and his father was a tailor. Whether or not we can pigeonhole the creator of these works, they are wonderfully pleasant to the eye and evocative of a lost era.
Friday, February 03, 2012
Van Gogh: An Eye for Detail
An exhibition currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, entitled “Van Gogh Up Close” offers a new way of looking at this artist’s revolutionary work. The forty-five works in this exhibition portray his ability—or more accurately his need—to focus closely on details in nature and find ways to replicate them on canvas. For him, it was a kind of centering, a way of calming some of his more explosive moods. The works on view show Van Gogh using a wide variety of styles, using long quick brush strokes in all directions, creating a feeling of fluidity, and often referencing the Japanese prints that he loved and collected. Click here for a slide show of some of the paintings in this exhibition.
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