Monday, February 1, 2016

Interview about Sacred Art

The Kolbe times recently interviewed me about my role in the Sacred Art program at St. Mary's College in Calgary, Canada.
A New Renaissance:The Sacred Arts
More information on St. Mary's Sacred Art program

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Great Statement about Beauty

Dr. Elizabeth Lev is one of my favourite art historians. An American based out of Rome, she speaks about art history with one foot thoroughly planted in the theology of the Catholic Church.
She recently did a TEDtalk about the Sistine Chapel in which she describes it as, "..a great statement about how beauty truly can speak to us all, through time and through geographic space."



If you enjoyed that there are longer talks about the Sistine Chapel and more on youtube:


Dr. Lev's website.

I also recommend her book, "A Body for Glory" which looks at the representation of the human body through art history through the lens of Pope John Paul's "Theology of the Body".



Friday, December 11, 2015

Off the Coast Podcast - A Conversation with Daniel Gamelas



Daniel Gamelas is a Portuguese sculptor based in Porto, Portugal whose work focuses on  pre- Roman Iberian culture. Daniel has founded the first traditional art academy in Portugal, AARP.






Daniel's Website: http://www.danielgamelas.com



Monday, December 7, 2015

The Method of Caravaggio - Part 3 - The Overpainting

As we have seen, Caravaggio developed a system of painting that allowed him to be extremely efficient in the period before his death.

 The wash drawing is executed to a high degree of finish. The flesh is under painted with white and drapery is painted directly. Then, when dry, the overpainting of the flesh is started.




Caravaggio's basic palette included lead white, red and yellow ocher, lead-tin yellow, vermilion (cinnbar), malachite, carbon black and earth colors, plus madder lake and copper resinate glazes. 
I use a variation of a palette  invented by John Angel and used at the Angel Academy.  I have tried many different palettes and this one is perfect for copying Caravaggio.
 From left to right: Lead white, Zecchi roman ochre, Zecchi vermillion, Old Holland persian red, Old Holland red umber, Michael Harding burnt umber, Michael Harding raw umber, Old Holland green umber and ivory black.



The painting is then finished piecemeal. The colours are painted thin but opaque and then blended to a finish.

Copy by workshop student Jacqui Butterworth.


Below is a video of the workshop demo on the application of the overpainting:




For more info on the Methods of Caravaggio workshop : http://www.angelartschool.com/workshop7_2016.html





Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Method of Caravaggio - Step Two - Underpainting the Lights

When studying late Caravaggio paintings,  one gets an idea of his working method in this period.

 
He is working very efficiently, leaving the mid-tone ground to act as shadows and thinner application of umber to describe darker tones while the lights are painted with few colours.

In the Martrydom of St. Ursula, notice the flesh in the figure of St. Ursula, on the right. It is painted with an opaque white which is pulled thinner as the form moves away from the light. This gives us an idea of his underpainting process.



Continuing on from the last blog entry, once the wash drawing has dried, the lights are rendered using a white. Caravaggio would have used a lead white but titanium works as well. If using titanium, add in a little bit of calcium carbonate to give the paint some body, opacity and to help it dry a little faster. Where the flesh is lightest, the paint is applied thickly. As the flesh darkens the paint is pulled thinner, resulting in the illusion of the three dimensional form.


Here is an explanation of the process, filmed during the workshop at Angel Academy.



Once this has dried the flesh is painted using a limited palette. The next blog entry will describe this process.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Method of Caravaggio - Step One



Michelangelo Merisi of Caravaggio, known as simply Caravaggio, was the   great painter of the counter reformation. A  contemporary of Galileo and Shakespeare, he was the first artist in history whose paintings are directly concerned with his life.  

In his later years Caravaggio developed a process which allowed him to work very efficiently - important as he was on the run for much of his last years.
I teach this method at the Angel Academy in Florence, Italy. For more info:

I will share what I have discovered about his process over the next few blog posts.

The begin, the canvas is to be toned with a warm brown, mid-tone in value.



The drawing is then rendered with umbers. The paint should be applied thinly, varying opacity where needed. The goal is to use 2 or 3 values to describe the image:


When studying  "the Martyrdom of St. Ursula", one can get an idea of the next step:


This step, the underpainting with white, will be described in the next post. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Nerdrum School


There is a lovely little film about the Nerdrum School that recently debuted on youtube.
The film focuses on Nerdrum alumnus Luke Hillestad and his experience at the Nerdrum school in Stavern, Norway. Based on my time with the master, this film captures the experience well - Nerdrum in his studio, the student studio and shots of Memorosa (the Nerdrum family home and studio). The glimpse of Nerdrum with his students is particularly special. Here we see Nerdrum at ease in his studio and at his most charismatic - we understand why he has enchanted so many.
Enjoy the film here: The Nerdrum School
Luke Hillestad's website