So, Which One is “Art”

I never had a problem with Thomas Kinkade’s paintings, although much of the “art world” did. If you love his work, fine with me. Art has always been judged in the eyes of the beholder. Technically, he was a good traditional painter and loved by a wide swath of Americans.

I never knew him personally, but a number of my friends have and all said he was quite a nice guy. I did have problems with some of his companies business practices and sales techniques (aka pressure), but as John Lennon famously said “whatever gets you through the night” (Yoko Ono quoted that phrase when asked if Lennon would be bothered by the “hucksters” profiting from his death).

I made the above graphic of two pieces of “art”. On the left is a piece attributed to Marcel Duchamp, a urinal, some consider a landmark in 20th century art. On the right is a Thomas Kinkade painting. You decide which one, both, or neither are “art”.

BTW, here is another weblog entry from a fellow artist, Kevin Courter about Thomas

At Scottsdale Artist School With Marc Hanson

Prologue: As mentioned in my previous blog, I originally intended to write one blog entry a day during last weeks workshop with Marc Hanson at Scottsdale Artists’ School, but for some reason could not upload pictures to my weblog from my laptop. For those who follow me on Facebook, I was able to upload some photos there, so pardon the repetition. Below is a day by day account written after arriving home…

DAY 1
Today was the first day of class with Marc Hanson at Scottsdale Artists’ School. There are only 6 in the class, from all over including Alaska and Canada.

In the morning, Marc went through a slide show of his paintings, both plein air and studio works to give us an idea of what it takes to do small plein air pieces then a large studio work from the plein air. Marc then did a black and white value sketch derived from a plain air piece he had just done in Sedona, AZ a few days before. I have never done a value sketch like this, but can see the advantages if you need to work out certain ideas and values without color getting in the way.

In the afternoon, he did a large color painting of the same scene, Courthouse Rock in Sedona, Arizona.

DAY 2
The next day we went to a nearby city park, Papago Park, to gather some small field studies. One late student arrival showed, which made the total class size seven. The object of this one week workshop is to gather field studies the first couple days, then take those into the studio and produce large paintings from the field studies.

Papago Park has some nice desert scenes with large jutting rocks, cacti, palm trees, ponds, and other formations. It was a nice place to work, and also during this time of year it is warm, but not terribly hot! I decided to first sketch a group of rocks in a black and white study (using only Ivory Black and White paint) as Marc suggested.

Below is the scene. The rocks are in the distance, although they were actually closer than what appears in this photo…

The park was nice with picnic tables set up with a roof. Just right for getting out of the Phoenix sun…

Below is a quick snapshot of the value study on my easel…

I then did the exact same scene in color. Good practice! I actually like the black and white just as good or better!!

DAY 3
We met again at Papago Park, this time by some ponds just a short distance from where we were the day before. I decided to do a piece concentrating on the water. Below is a picture near where I painted, but I forgot to get a shot of the exact scene…

Some pictures of the group painting around the pond…

DAY 4 & 5
We met back at Scottsdale Art School for two days of studio painting from what we gathered in the field. I had painted 7 small pieces, 6×8 & 8×10, including both black and white value studies, and color studies.

Below are a few shots of the classroom the two days…

I finished two ‘large’ pieces the two studio days, both 16×20 shown below. These are snapshots from my iPhone, so maybe not the best quality. I had to leave the large wet paintings with my nephew in Phoenix as I had no way to carry them home on the airplane.

After spending the weekend with my nephew Jeff, I flew home late Sunday night.

All in all, it was a great week. It was my first time at the school, as I have always wanted to attend a workshop there. Marc is also such a good and helpful instructor. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon!

Scottsdale Artist School with Marc Hanson

First off, that is not my painting.

I have always admired Marc Hanson’s work from afar. I have never met him, nor seen any of his paintings in real life and have only seen his work on the Internet. What draws me to his art is his magical ability to make a seemingly mundane, common, ordinary place into … well … a great piece of art… and with subtle elegance. You can see it above with a simple scene which just draws me (maybe you) in, and then looking around, such simple elegance.

It is often said, don’t buy a piece of art unless it “speaks to you”. Well, as an artist, Marc’s work speaks to me.

So, I am in Scottsdale, Arizona on a Sunday tonight, after flying in to Pheonix to attend an all week workshop by Marc. For you baseball fans, the SF Giants spring training just ended today at Scottsdale Stadium, just two blocks away from my hotel. Glad I’m not paying yesterday’s hotel rates!!

I’ll try to post some developments along the way….stay tuned…