The Sight & Insight Podcast

Episode 28 Is it Drawing First?

Greetings, art lovers, and welcome to another episode of the Sight & Insight Podcast with David and Judy Curtis, and Lorwen 'Connie' Nagle. This week we ask 'Is it Drawing or Painting First?

"Drawing is the artist's most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality." — Edgar Degas

In the beginning, Judy relates an anecdote about Boston painter, Polly Thayer Starr, who was talented from her childhood with graphite and charcoal. She spent her first year at the Boston Museum School studying anatomy and life drawing with Philip Leslie Hale, but when she began painting in her second year with Leslie Thompson, she found herself adrift, unable to understand the texture, viscosity and application of color and paint.

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Polly Thayer Starr, Flat Cat

David and Connie, as practicing artists and teachers have their own viewpoints on the subject and, for once, they differ in opinion. Will they come to blows, or agree to disagree? Is it different for individual students. Does drawing ability even matter? Join our intrepid trio to to hear what they have to say. And if you have other thoughts, don't hesitate to let them know! They always love to hear from fans....

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Note how French Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) made drawings before beginning to paint a larger work.

Left: Ingres, Preparatory drawing; graphite and white highlights on paper, 1842.

Right: Ingres, Portrait of Comtesse d'Haussonville, 1845, 51.89 x 35.83 in. The Frick Collection, New York

So what do you think? Is drawing with a brush too awkward? Can you paint a landscape, or still life, or interior, without a sense of perspective? Perhaps, as Cezanne says, we need a sense of both drawing and painting. 

"Drawing and colour are not separate at all; in so far as you paint, you draw. The more the colour harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes." — Paul Cezanne

Don't forget to click the follow button, so you can be a part of the group. Connie, Judy and David love to know you are out there. 

Episode 27 The Element of Surprise

"Surprise is key in all art." — Oscar Niemeyer

The Element of Surprise!

Did you miss us?! We hope so. You know what they say - absence makes the heart grow fonder! But we've finished our travels for a while and we are back around the coffee table sharing ideas, encouraging an interest in the Arts and, hopefully, inspiring you to go out and paint for yourself.

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John Singer Sargent, Dolce Far Niente, c 1907, o/c 16.25 x 28.25 in. Brooklyn Museum, NY 

Today we are talking about the element of surprise, or 'the happy accident.' From John Singer Sargent to Bob Ross, the ability to take the odd note, or mis-stroke and turn it into an integral part of your design - an element you perhaps hadn't thought of before - is a vital part of the creative process. So shake off the entropy, get out of autopilot, and let your creative juices run....

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Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) Left: Spanish Dancer at the Moulin Rouge, c. 1905, oil on canvas, 49 ¼ x 40 ⅛, pc Right: Woman at the Piano, 1870, oil on panel, 6 x 5 ⅛, pc.

Just look how Boldini uses semi abstract brush work in the beginning from which 'happy accidents' he draws out the reality of his subject. Critics described his his style as 'slashing, rapier-like brushstrokes.'

If you have enjoyed this episode, don't forget to join us next week for another edition of the Sight & Insight Podcast with Connie Nagle, David Curtis and Judith Curtis. In the meantime, why not hit the Follow button and help us to greater heights for the good of Art.

"In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Don't lose hope. We're back next week!

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Join us round the coffee table next Monday.

Meanwhile here is David demonstrating for the local Cape Ann Plein Air (CAPA) event at Cogswell's Grant, Essex, MA. 

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Cheers,

David, Judy and Connie

"Have as much fun as you can and don't feel that the edge of your canvas confines you - let your vision go right on." - Charles Hawthorne

Art on the Other Side of the Pond

Greetings, Art Lovers, from Leeds, England. Judy is visiting family, while David is holding the fort in Gloucester. Connie is footloose, fancy free and painting up a storm. Hopefully, the three of them will be able to gather around the 🎤 before long to entertain you once again with some pithy comments on the art scene, past and present.

Judy, meanwhile, isn’t letting the grass grow under feet while she is away, and recently spent a day at the Yorkshire Sculptue Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Here are some of her favorite views.

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Henry Moore, Three Piece Recling Figure No. 1, 1961-2  Photo © Jonty Wilde

And then there was the work of Italian sculptor, Giuseppe Penone:

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Albero folgorato, 2012 Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Luce e ombra, 2014  Photo © Jonty Wilde

“Penone is mostly remembered for his role in the Arte Povera movement, a fairly short-lived affair of the late 1960s and early 1970s that flourished in Italy and set out to disrupt the values of commercialised markets. It took its name (translated literally as “poor art”) from a typical use of such humble materials as soil, burlap sacking or lumps.”

- https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/exhibition-review-giuseppe-penone-a-tree-in-the-wood-at-yorkshire-sculpture-park-wakefield-bk3rgz2t8

YSP is a wonderful place to visit. The grounds are extensive, and the views are terrific. Creativity in the Yorkshire countryside. What more could you ask for?!

Nor should we forget the painters. YSP has also hosted exhibitions by celebrated modernists such as Joan Miró, (1893-1983) the Spanish Catalan painter.

Another painter Judy has come across, while visiting the historic Saltaire Mills complex, is artist Fred Stead.

Frederick (Fred) Stead (1863 – 1940) was born in Shipley and lived for the latter part of his life at Ghyllwood Drive, Bingley. He painted mainly portraits and local landscapes.

He studied art, initially at the Saltaire Art School in Shipley and was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art. He gained a Travelling Scholarship that took him to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France to study.

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Fred Stead, A Picnic, o/c, 25 x 30, pc.

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Baildon Green, Saltaire, Yorkshire, o/c, 18 x 25 ½, pc

And last but not least, Judy’s favorite Fred Stead, A View of Richmond Castle, West Yorkshire, where her grandfather was born at the beginning of the last century.

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 O/c, 19 ¾ x 23 ½, pc.

The art of the landscape is something to be enjoyed, no matter where you are, and the delight of visiting new, or favorite, places can open your eyes to so many new works and painters.

Until, next time,

Cheers,

David, Judy and Connie

 “Art enables us to find ourselves, and lose ourselves, at the same time.” - Anonymous

Taking a Hiatus

Well, here we are again, or rather, here we are not!

Yes, once again, we are footloose, fancy free, and on the loose. At least, Connie is, having set out for the Big Apple for a psychodelic film festival last week, after a successful private showing of work by the Dynamic Trio: Connie, David and their artist friend Tom Heinsohn. Here's what you missed:

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From left to right: David, Connie and Tom - Three With a Brush!

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A corner of the foyer, and refreshments by artist Annie Marks

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Two views of the dining room gallery

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Works by Connie, Tom and David

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David and Connie will be busy with their Sight and Insight 'October Skies workshop for the rest of this week, October 10-12, 2018 and Judy will be winging her way to England, if she doesn't get lost - she doesn't have much of a sense of direction! - to visit family.

Last Sunday, after giving a PowerPoint presentation on the work of Don Stone, NA, at the North Shore Arts Association, Judy was both surprised, and delighted, to be honored by the NSAA, and the Rockport Art Association & Museum, as well as the Cape Ann Museum for her work in researching and writing on the history of art on Cape Ann. For once lost for words, Judy did later manage to explain that writing about Cape Ann art was, for her, a way of being involved in David's business, and other art related events, without actually being able to paint herself!

Stay tuned, folks. We'll be back before you know it.

David, Judy and Connie

Episode 26: Sight and Insight Programs

"You will learn to enjoy the process... and to surrender your need to control the result. You will discover the joy of practising your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus." — Julia Cameron

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Welcome art lovers, to another edition of the Sight and Insight podcast. Today’s topic: the Sight and Insight programs.

Judy begins off topic with an introduction into the insight of  ’21 in Truro,’ a women’s painting group who exhibit together throughout the year and enjoy a retreat for a week down in Truro, sharing five rustic cottages right on the marsh, or as close to as you can get!

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These 21 women are all individual artists who have been getting together for the last 20 years – next year is their 21stanniversary – and they only need another seven years to catch up with the Philadelphia Ten. The Philly Ten were an early women’s group, which included Theresa Bernstein and Emma Fordyce MacRae, who got together to empower women’s art at a time when many women signed their paintings with initials to disguise their gender from painting juries.

The discussion then comes round to David and Connie’s upcoming ‘October Skies’ workshop, October 10-12, as they talk about some of the ideas they will be bringing to their students, such as the ‘line of design,’ the advantage of memory cards, and how beauty and aesthetics are affect a painting. 

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You want to know how to get more movement and drama in your skies? Stay tuned for more words of wisdom from Connie and David!

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Lorwen C Nagle, Mud Flats near Brunswick, 12 x 24, oil

"The search for this inner truth is the search for beauty. People whose vision does not penetrate beyond the narrow limits of the commonplace, and to whom a cabbage is but a vulgar vegetable, are surprised if they see a beautiful picture painted of one, and say that the artist has idealised it, meaning that he has consciously altered its appearance on some idealistic formula; whereas he has probably only honestly given expression to a truer, deeper vision than they had been aware of. The commonplace is not the true, but only the shallow, view of things." — Harold Speed, The Practice and Science of Drawing

Episode 25: Don Stone - Doing It His Way

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Greetings, Art Lovers, and thank you for joining us for another exciting episode of the Sight and Insight Podcast. Today we are talking about a great show currently on exhibit at the North Shore Arts Association, 11 Pirates Lane, Gloucester, MA 01930. Don Stone Comes Home is on view through October 9 and features over 140 works.

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Bittersweet by Don Stone

Don Stone could turn his hand to oil painting, watercolors, egg tempera and more and these skills, combined with an unerring eye for composition and design, helped him become a noted artist and beloved teacher during a long and successful career. Our intrepid trio discuss Don's work, his larger than life personality and the character quirks that made him a legend in his own lifetime!

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Winter Trees                       Barn Rafter with Swallows

And if you get chance, join Judy and David Curtis, and hopefully, Lorwen, at Judy's presentation on Don Stone at the North Shore Arts Association, 2 pm, Sunday, September 30.

Happy listening!

Episode 24: Copying the Masters

Welcome to another edition of the Sight and Insight Podcast. This week, our intrepid trio, David, Connie and Judy, willbe discussing the weighty topic of copying from the masters.

Is it sneaky, as some people think, or cheating; or is it an age old method of learning to paint better by studying closely, and emulating the work of, old masters who have stood the test of time?

During today's episode, Connie relates the tale of how she finally managed to get access to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to copy Monet's Grand Canal. This is her version below. She also made a copy of Antonio Cirino's Peonies from the Rockport Art Association and Museum's Copying the Masters Workshop earlier this year. 

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As Connie says, it is important to see how a past master has designed and created their work of art, especially their color tones and brushwork. Studying these elements can only make your own work better.

While on his Paige Traveling Scholarship in Europe, in 1913, A. T. Hibbard - as a graduate art student from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was admitted to the Museo del Parado in Madrid to copy from Velazquez, including Las Hilanderas (The Weavers) below.

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Of course, the criteria for copying another's creation is that it should not be sight size. In Hibbard's case, he did a large painting of the lower right hand side of the painting. Hibbard's version is now a part of the RAA&M's Permanent Collection. 

There are many reasons for practicing copying from the masters, not least of which is improving your own art. David teaches an annual workshop at the RAA&M, so if you want to try improving your art by this method, keep checking David's website at davidpcurtis.com for more details.

In the meantime, if you would like to view Connie and David's upcoming exhibition, Three With a Brush, with their painting friend, Tom Heinsohn, check out the invitation below. Or view Connie's website at lorwenpaintings.com for further details. 

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And don't forget, David and Connie are teaching a Sight and Insight workshop, October Skies, October 10-12, 2018.

Want to know how to paint better skies with movement and drama? Then check David and Connie's websites for further information on how to sign up. Still a few places available. Don't lose out!

And, last but not least, if you have enjoyed this podcast, don't forget to hit the red follow button, so you don't miss out on another episode. 

Have a great week!

Connie, David and Judy

PS. Next week we will be talking about the current Don Stone: Coming Home Exhibition at the North Shore Arts Association, 11 Pirates Lane, Gloucester, MA 01930 Ph. 978.283.1857 or email: arts@nsarts.org

This is a great exhibition containing over 100 paintings. Judy will also be giving a presentation on Don Stone and his work on Sunday, September 30 at 2 pm. Come along and join the fun.

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Episode 23: Elements of Nature

"Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies." — Aristotle

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Willard L. Metcalf, Flying Shadows, 1905, o/c, 26 x 29

Well, if we are already quoting Aristotle, you can tell we are going to be covering some pretty deep thoughts in this week's podcast on 'Elements of Nature!' 

Deep it may be, but the problems or, rather, the challenges of painting nature are not insurmountable. On a basic level, the artist just has to consider all the elements help, or hinder, their painting, and then go from there. And it is perfectly permissable to whip out your artistic licence and brandish it at anyone who dares to complain you moved a tree or moved a rock from one place to another because it composed better. 

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A. T. Hibbard, Lingering Snow, 1917, ocb, 9 1/2 x 11 1/2, Vose Galleries, Boston

Artist A. T. Hibbard was noted for moving elements around to make a better composition. Nature, as beautiful as she is, is not constrained by the size of her canvas and, therefore, occasonally - to create a better a better design - it is necessary for an artist to adjust elements to look good within the parameters of their canvas.

"Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms."  — Milton Avery

If you would like help designing your elements of nature, check out David and Connie's Sight & Insight 'October Skies' workshop, October 10-12, 2018, at davidpcurtis.com or lorwenpaintings.com.  If anyone can help, they can!

And finally, if you have enjoyed this podcast, please 'Follow' us, and then you'll never have to worry about missing an episode!

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Episode 22: Practice, Practice, Practice

Greetings, art lovers; we're back!

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"Learning the art of painting is not an easy task. It takes a great deal of intelligence, keen analysis, study and practice." — Edgar A. Payne

Practice, practice, practice. We’ve all heard this adage from parents, teachers and everyone else who wants to get in on the act. But how much practice do we have to put in before we get anywhere? And will we ever succeed, or will we be students all our lives, trying to put into practice what we’ve learned and get that one perfect picture, essay, novel or piece of music?

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left: John Constable, Landscape with a Double Rainbow, 1812

right: John Constable, Rainstorm Over the Sea, c.1824-28

"There has never been a boy painter, nor can there be. The art requires a long apprenticeship, being mechanical, as well as intellectual." — John Constable

Of course, if you love painting, or writing, or researching history, then working at it doesn’t come across as hard work, or practice; it’s just an opportunity to do something we love and a learning opportunity that makes us better as we go along.

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Lorwen C. Nagle Sketch at Brave Boat Harbor 

"Try to put well in practice what you already know; and in so doing, you will in good time, discover the hidden things which you now inquire about. Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know."

— Rembrandt

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David P. Curtis Sketch for Summertime and the Living is Easy

"Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory."

— Leonardo da Vinci

After an illness in 2016, David found himself struggling to get back into painting mode. "In order to motivate myself," he said, "I began painting a whole series of 12 x 16 canvas board sketches, trying to get a fresh look - alla prima - rather than feeling I had to get a perfect painting every time. It turned out to be enjoyable. It lifted the pressure of having to produce a finished canvas while I was still recuperating. Just practicing on 12 x 16's on a regular basis, really helped me get back into top gear."

So there we have it; pratice is a great tool, and can help take us to the next level, not just by improving our technique and skills, but also by taking the pressure off having to produce a masterpiece everytime we pick up a brush, or pen. Wasn’t it the great Italian painter Titian, who said on his deathbed, “I don't want to die now, … I am just beginning to learn to paint.” Which suggests the artist - or any creative individual - should always be a student; always learning, always challenging themselves to achieve something greater.

“I know you've heard it a thousand times before. But it's true - hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don't love something, then don't do it.” — Ray Bradbury