Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learning From the Masters with Cynthia Padilla

I am taking a two day Mastering Portrait Drawing Workshop with Cynthia Padilla. It was last Sunday and again this Sunday. I signed up for it quite a long time ago; I decided to go to it even though my mother is in the hospital. In the workshop, we copy high quality copies of master works using Conte crayon, pastel, and other mediums. This drawing is my first attempt at Conte crayon.

This is head #50. I believe this is a copy of Head of a Girl by Francois Boucher. Sadly, I failed to write down the name of the artist. Bad me.

Good news about my mother: Yesterday she moved from the hospital to a rehabilitation center. She went into the hospital because of a slow heartbeat. The doctors corrected that, only to discover she had internal bleeding due to blood thinner medication. The doctors corrected that, and then she broke her hip in the hospital, which resulted in hip surgery. I think she is finally on the mend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

100 Heads: Head #47

This is a copy of Michelangelo's drawing Portrait of Andrea Quarates (1528). I have really struggled with this drawing and have decided it is time to call it quits. I found the nose particularly difficult.

I have not been posting due to a family medical emergency. My mother has been in the hospital for almost two weeks now. I work during the day and spend evenings in the hospital, so I do not have much time for art or the computer. To my portrait group: I am sorry about my lack of participation. I have been working on the portrait off and on. I will pop in this weekend to see your progress.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Man Who Made Vermeers

I just finished reading The Man Who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez, which is yet another book on master forger Han van Meegeren. Han van Meegeren was the Dutch artist who successfully forged Vermeer paintings at the time of World War II. There is another recent book on van Meegeren, The Forger's Spell by Edward Dolnick. I reviewed The Forger's Spell here back in November.

The Man Who Made Vermeers and The Forger's Spell tell the same basic story.

The Forger's Spell provides a panaramic view of World War II history, art forgery, art history, and van Meegeren. It is an easy read and paints Han van Meegeren in a sympathetic light.

The Man Who Made Vermeers, on the other hand, focuses more on the forger himself and provides a scholarly treatment of the subject. Lopez portrays van Meegeren as a Nazi collaborator who didn't swindle the Nazis as a political statement, but rather swindled them because he was a forger and forgers are in the business of swindling their customers. According to Lopez, the myth of Han van Meegeren as heroic forger has persisted for so long because much of the evidence against him is in Nazi artifacts that are hidden from public view, either by law in Germany or by good taste in other Western countries. The evidence against him simply wasn't accessible. Lopez also makes interesting observations around the psychology of forgery. By today's norms, the forged Vermeers are very bad and are obviously fake. Lopez shows examples of Nazi art and shows how the fakes borrowed elements from Nazi art. This appealed to Nazi buyers on a subconscious level. In general, forgers make their forgeries appeal to the modern eye in some way. As time passes and culture and norms change, the fakes become obvious because viewers are no longer immersed in the culture of the forger's day.

I recommend this book. It is not as easy a read as The Forger's Spell, but is probably more truthful.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Illustration Friday - Clandestine

Dew-touched meadows and trees are actually clandestine fairy meetings. Happy New Year!