February 25, 2010
Frans Hals, Portrait of a Gentleman in White, circa 1637 oil on canvas, Legion of Honor, San Francisco
In my late twenties I found much of what I learned about what a man was in the portraiture from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Dutch Baroque portraits already on the surface engage the viewer with their detail, subtle palette, and richness; but on top of that the assured gaze both of the figures in this post gave me the impression they were evaluating me or engaging me in a conversation.
When I think of the number of times Rembrandt or Frans Hals had to look at someone when rendering that person on canvas, there seems to be a level of accuracy to their work that goes beyond what a camera can catch. The painting isn’t one view but an accumulation of views, like a film compacted into one still image.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Oil on panel,The Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena
Like friends I had to visit, the paintings in this post I came back to again and again when visiting the two California museums that they are found in. The Rembrandt I remember looking at specifically when I was the same age as he was in the portrait when I turned thirty. I recall gazing at him simply saying, “Tell me everything you know.” The Hals portrait I have always been humored by. I enjoy the cockyness and self assured pose of this man in lacey white, a contradiction of sorts. I’ve always admired his confidence.
If you asked specifically what I learned about being a man from them I would speculate I found you should look people in the eye, and have confidence in who you are it’s all about what’s on the inside.
Take care- Tim
(P.S. at the Legion of Honor site you just see initially tiny postage stamp images of the art, but click here and you can explore the Hals portrait to an amazing degree: http://search3.famsf.org:8080/view.shtml?keywords=frans%20hals&artist=&country=&period=&sort=&start=1&position=1&record=64868)
February 23, 2010
Preliminary Model of Male Figure from Fountain of Engineers about 1905-14 by Paul Wayland Bartlett bronze 14 3/4 x 11 3/4 x 12 5/8 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum
You know I’ve picked up as of late a book on the men’s movement from the 1990′s called Wingspan, Inside the Men’s Movement (edited by Christopher Harding). It’s been very refreshing and reminds me of when I first introduced to this kind of “men’s work” in 1997. If anything it makes me sad wondering where all the energy and excitement ended up. Men today seem just as broken and lost as they were then, and I believe are in dire need of transparency and a safe community of brothers.
I found this quote in the book and wanted to pass it on to you here:
“The body is such an immense place. We take so long to find our way across it. And each of us has so many bodies. Sometimes they drag behinde us, and we feel encumbered and earth-laden. Sometimes they race before us, making huge decisions in our name, while we scramble to catch up – and sometimes we call that “sex.” And we know so little about these things. And one of the only ways we can test the little we know is to speak of it.” Michael Ventura
February 20, 2010
Miracles and Clown's a delightful illusionistic painting by Utah artist Shilo Jackson
While traveling back to Oregon from Arizona in January I discovered a fun little gallery in the heart of Salt Lake City: Kayo Gallery, http://www.kayogallery.com/ It’s a younger gallery with lots of spirit. A piece that they had on exhibit when I was there that made me laugh out loud was a taxidermied two headed duckling, you don’t see one of those everyday.
One of their artists and owners Shilo Jackson, does very intriguing trompe l’oeil paintings of paper objects pasted on a board: http://shilojackson.com/home.html I gave into the urge and bought the above piece from her. Her work I found delightful with a nice nod to art history- they’re also quite affordable! It was good to see some fun art in the heart of Utah.
February 19, 2010
Here are some sketches of some ideas I'm working on based on some parables from the Bible.
Well, I must admit I haven’t been at the blog or working on art as much in the past month or so because I dislocated a rib. My advice to you is not to do that. It’s been a journey to recovery as my right arm was completely numb for a week and a half.
All that to say I’m slowly getting back to the art. Whoo hoo. Here are some working sketches for a couple of pieces. I’ve decided to dive in doing renditions of two of the most popular of the parables Jesus told: the prodigal son, and the good Samaritan. We’ll see how they turn out. Nothing like joining the ranks of Rembradnt, and Van Gogh in terms of subject matter.
February 12, 2010
Another 12" x 12" storm I've painted recently to be part of a larger sculptural work....
Well thought I’d put another one of the storm paintings out there for you to see (see post for Jan. 26th). I’m still working on the sculptural elements of these pieces, but their bound to get done by May, so I promise they’ll show up here in their full glory eventually.
Likely in this one you can see I’m a big fan of the American romantic painters Cole and Church. Very much so indeed….
February 10, 2010
Muddy Road by David Camack Lewis; Oil on canvas 46"w x 33"h
I got a recent e-mail from an artist friend David Camack Lewis that he’s updated his website and put up some new paintings. I thought I’d pass his site on to you:
I actually knew of David and his work when he and I both lived in Phoenix Arizona over ten years ago. I’ve always liked his illustrative and allegorical qualities. (His work kind of reminds me of Chris Van Allsburg a bit- except color: http://www.chrisvanallsburg.com/flash.html.)
David’s paintings of Portland neighborhoods and houses with “fire” are wonderful to see in person, and this recent set of evening scenes are beautiful. He really nails night time lighting and has a nice personal style to his work as well.
Check em out.
February 6, 2010
Tim Timmerman a sketch from museums in Brugge in May of 09
While in Europe this past May with students I attempted to be very faithful in drawing in museums. Brugge in Belgium is full of a lot of history and wonderful museums. This is one of my pages from the time I spent there.
The piece on the left is me working out a possible idea of a work incorporating the Father/Son/Holy spirit image I had found at St. John’s Hospital that is on the right. It was from a tryptic that I found very moving. In art history the pieta (or Mary mourning over the dead Christ, like the famous one in Vatican sculpted by Michelangelo) is fairly familiar, but I had never seen an image of God the Father holding his dead son; mournfully gazing at the viewer with steadfast resolve.
The cannon image on the uper right is actually a symbol of an individual I found over the fireplace at the Gruuthuse Museum. I found it was quite a different image to use, rather than an animal of some sort to represent oneself. I thought it was kind of humorous. How do you view yourself? “As a firing cannon!” Let’s just say I’d want that guy on my team.
The image on the upper left was a silver ring that was pulled to call to attention or order a group called “The Holy Ghost Chamber of Rhetoric.” I thought this too was quite humorous reflecting on my own experience in faculty meetings at a Christian University. We need such a ring.
Maybe I like to draw things I find moving or funny.
Actually that could be more true than I’m willing to admit.
February 4, 2010
On my January 28th post I spoke of the lost practice of drawing what you see when going to museums and galleries.
Tim Timmerman, sketchbook page Oct 7, 2009; Washington D.C.
Here’s a page from my sketchbook when I was in D.C. in the fall. My writing is barely legible I know. Consider me a doctor of sorts, it was for me to refer back to.
I made it a “requirement” of myself that any museum I went into on that trip that I needed to find at least one piece to draw. Here are the artists that are featured and what museums they were in.
Upper left corner: A work of Sunkoo Yuh at the Renwick Gallery. Ironically out of all of his ceramic work I choose this one and this view, only to find this is the exact piece and view featured in their advertising material, I found that kind of eerie.
Upper right corner: A piece of Tony Cragg’s at the Hirshorn. I’ve been a fan of his for some time. He and Moore are both British artists.
Lower left corner: A little copper alloy lion on display at the Museum of African Art.
Lower right corner: Two Henry Moore sculptures in the Hirschorn sculpture garden. I’ve always been a fan of Moore, in part because he is just a ordinary, stable guy who liked to make art, and stuck to pretty basic themes of women, family groups, and forms within forms. An interesting event that helped his success was during WWII he rendered sensitive images of his fellow Londoners hiding down in the tube during air raids, that the British found very ennobling.
February 2, 2010
John Quincy Adams, By George Caleb Bingham, ca. 1850, from an 1844 original. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
I was very humored in a tid-bit I found in my current reading of a biography of the realist painter George Caleb Bingham.
For a period of time in the mid 1800′s Bingham moved to a then muddy and under construction Washington D.C. With a portrait studio on Pennsylvania Avenue, he took various commission including that of a current member of congress from Massachusetts in 1844, John Quincy Adams (who would be our 6th president).
Apparently Adams, a tireless keeper of diaries wrote: “From half past 9 o’clock I sat to Mr. John Cranch and Mr. Bingham who occupy jointly the painting room for my portrait.” Adams would list five other sittings. On May 21st he remarked, “neither… is likely to make out either a strong likeness or a fine picture.” Everyone is a critic, just imagine if that is the person you are painting!
Another painting of Adams, this one by George Peter Alexander Healy (1813 – 1894)
Bingham would make three portraits of Adams, this one being the earliest. What floored me was Adams grouchy attitude could likely be because he would have to sit for FOURTY-FIVE artists in his lifetime. He pondered in his diary “another man lives who has been so woefully and so variously bedaubed as I have been.”
So, if you are someone of note, maybe there are some advantages to having a camera around. But hey, Kodak did put a lot of portrait painters out of business.
(This info is from: Painter on the Frontier The Life and Times of George Caleb Bingham by Alberta Wilson Constant. See- not everything can be found on the internet.)