Sunday, February 16, 2014

Art Facts That Makes You Go Huh?!!!

Yeah, this happened.

The painting (bottom image) is The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642, Oil on canvas, 142.9"×172.0", located in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

The top image is a 17th century copy with indication of the areas cut down in 1715.

According to Wiki:

In 1715, upon its removal from the Kloveniersdoelen to the Amsterdam Town Hall, the painting was trimmed on all four sides. This was done, presumably, to fit the painting between two columns and was an all-too-common practice before the 19th century. This alteration resulted in the loss of two characters on the left side of the painting, the top of the arch, the balustrade, and the edge of the step. This balustrade and step were key visual tools used by Rembrandt to give the painting a forward motion. A 17th-century copy of the painting by Gerrit Lundens at the National Gallery, London shows the original composition.

I discovered this Art Fact That Makes You go Huh?!!! while researching for a previous blog post, Tableau Vivant.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Correct Lighting for an Artist's Studio

We can’t all be lucky enough to have huge, custom built studios, complete with a wall of north light windows. Here's a White Stripes video to explain how we all have feel at some point about needing a bigger, better room!

So what do you do when you you are working in a spare bedroom, (where my old studio was) the basement, a garage, a corner of the kitchen (I've also had one there) or a converted family room? That's where my current studio is and I love it. I've had many different light solutions but this is the best yet for my space.

Things to consider:

Size of the studio:

My ceiling height is 9'7" and the floor space of the area where I paint is 14.5"x20". The corners of the room are a little dark, but there is plenty of light over my easel area. The ceiling are tall enough that I don't get a glare on the painting.

What kind and how many light fixtures do you need:

We replaced the standard family room ceiling fixture with two kitchen fixtures. Each holds 4- 48" florescent lights. We had two switches in the room, one for the light and one for a ceiling fan. We wired one switch to each light so I have the flexibility of having only one light on at a time. This is useful for still life set ups or lighting a model.

Choosing bulbs:

Color Temperature or K-When choosing lights we looked for daylight bulbs, 5000k which is considered horizon daylight. Bulbs below 5000k tend to be too warm, and 5500-6000k is considered vertical daylight and equivalent to electronic flash. Those bulbs are too cool blue for my taste. 

CRI or Color Rendering Index of the bulb- The CRI measures of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Bulbs with a number close to 100 are the best, preferred for use in print businesses and anywhere color accuracy is important. This Philips bulb (F32T8/TL950) is one with the highest CRI of 98 that I found.

Where to get bulbs:

I found them on Amazon. Other place have them cheaper but most sell in bulk of a minimum of 25 bulbs.

I have a few GE Sunshine F32's mixed in which are also 5000k but have a color rendering index of only 86. When those go out I'll probably replace them with the F32T8/TL950 bulbs.

More about CRI:

You can make yourself crazy researching this because much has been written about CRI and color temperature of lighting, but my solution seems to be working really well. 

With my old lighting, pole lights with color corrected bulbs placed at different places throughout the studio, I would have surprises when I looked at the painting in different light. I was constantly moving paintings back and forth between the studio and up to the kitchen which had better, natural lighting, to check the color. I was constantly moving the light around to avoid glare on the paintings. Happily these bulbs corrected that.

Most of this information first appeared in my email Newsletter, that you can sign up for here!

Good luck and happy painting in whatever little room you call your own!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tableau Vivant

Tableau vivant (plural: tableaux vivants) means "living picture". The term is French and describes a group of costumed actors or artist's models, carefully posed and often theatrically lit to replicate a painting or photograph.

Throughout the duration of the display, the people participating do not speak or move. The approach thus marries the art forms of the stage with those of painting or photography.
The Three Fates Tableau Vivant, by Nele, Eva, Kato of Belgium.
Last year I was contacted by Nele, Eva and Kato, 17 year old art students from Belgium.

"First of all we want to say that we really like your work. That's why we've chosen to imitate 'The three fates'. Our teacher of art at school gave us an assignment: turn a painting into a 'living work' ('tableau vivant' we call it). And that's what we did with 'The Three Fates'.

Wow, I was amazed at what a great job they did capturing the essence of the painting and honored that they'd choose my painting. There is poignancy in the fact that my painting, which is of my artist friends; Diane Feissel, Sadie Valerie and Alia El-Bermani, are founders of the Women Painting Women movement, has inspired young women artists on the other side of the world! Thank you Nele, Eva and Kato for sharing your work with me!

The Three Fates, 30x40, oil on panel 

In 2012, I heard from Tami Ross

"I am a film student at SCAD (savannah College of Art and Design) in Savannah, GA.  This quarter I am taking a lighting class and our first project was to take a painting that inspires us and re-create it with a little narrative. I used 'Power Struggle' and wanted to share my short film with you."

Awesome! Her male model even has a cleft chin like Pete. She did a great job creating her own narrative for the painting.
Power Struggle, 30x40, oil on panel
Inspiration for posting this now, is an amazing video of a Night Watch tableau vivant sent to my email inbox this morning.

And here is the painting.

The Night Watch or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq (Dutch: De Nachtwacht),
1642 by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn.


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