| 27 November, 2013 19:41
As Yet Untitled, 36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas
I'm here in my studio just working in my underpaints. It's also called indirect painting, but it's been around for centuries. Since the renaissance, in fact. (Go look at Bellini, for one.) The artist works in complementary colors and then gradually overpaints in the positive colors toward the end of the process. For now, it more closely resembles a color negative. But eventually the sky will be blue and the ironwork will be more golden in the early evening sunlight.
At least that's the goal.
Special thanks to colleague and fellow artist, Ellie Goldstein, of the Upstream Gallery for the suggestion to do this piece which is based on her photgraph taken in upper Manhattan.
| 19 November, 2013 11:42
Victorian Lady, 30 x 30 inches, oil on canvas, 2013
Although we live in Huntington Village on Long Island, we are just around the corner from a smaller 19th century former whaling village of Cold Spring Harbor. The sunlight and shadows on this green-shingled older building caught my eye and that small arched window on the upper floor seemed to beg to be painted.
As of this writing the finished canvas is available through UGallery.com
| 19 November, 2013 11:41
Back and Behind, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, 2013
The building next to the Art Students League on 57th in Manhattan used to have one of those ubiquitous Hard Rock Cafes, but they closed that some years ago and the building sat largely empty for a few more years. Finally it was torn down last year and this view of the exposed dark side of the League appeared like some monster of the brick and mortar, topped off with a water-tower tiara.
| 15 November, 2013 12:58
St. Louis, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, November 2013
In September my wife and I went back to St. Louis where I grew up. We came for the wedding of my cousin Matt and his beautiful bride Becca. I tend to forget that so much of old St. Louis was constructed of a distinctive red brick and when completed the whole building would be painted essentially the same color so that even the mortar between the bricks is part of a uniform, deep, rich red. As we walked out of the church after the ceremony I saw the late afternoon sun hitting the second-story window on this building in the Soulard neighborhood. A quick reference photo saved the view for a painting composed later in my studio back home on Long Island.
| 11 November, 2012 12:34
This opening reception at the Front Street Gallery in Patterson, NY, had already been cancelled a week earlier because of Hurricane Sandy. In the week following we had another storm, a nor'easter that brought snow and, amidst the hurricane cleanup, gas rationing.
Not an ideal time to be trying to sell art, but I was heartily encouraged when, an hour into the reception a lovely collector couple from Danbury familiar with the gallery bought my largest painting. Special thanks to gallery owner/manager/photographer Jeremy Wolff for THAT connection. Anybody who can sell art in this climate and economy has my profound respect.
| 27 October, 2012 18:24
This is the sixth time that the Northport Arts Coalition has sponsored the Plein Air weekend but the first time that it's been held in the fall. Anthony Davis, the artist and prime mover of this event felt that some seasonal variety would be of interest to the astist, some of whom have come every year.
This was my fourth year participating and as always I had a great time painting, chatting with Northport residents and seeing what the other artists produced. Our work is on display tomorrow (Sunday) at the Lamantia Gallery on Main Street in Northport where there will be a silent auction.
| 26 October, 2012 19:08
A few of the 14 Paintings framed and awaiting transport up to the Front Street Gallery in Patterson, NY, for a two person show opening a week from tonight. The show features work by Lewis Folden and myself. The show is called Shadow and Surface. I'm pretty sure that I am shadow and Lew is surface. But it could be the other way around.
Lew's day job is that of a set designer for Broadway shows, particularly the traveling shows of some of the more successful productions of the last couple of decades. If Les Mis came to your city, then you saw his work. When we met in the spring at another show at Front Street he described some of the unusual production methods in set design, including using brooms as paint brushes. That's what I call working on a grand scale!
As for me, well, I'm a legend in my own mind.
| 14 October, 2012 17:47
Oil on a coarse Russian linen (called Odessa and available through ASW) that I am really starting to like. This is a scene I caught at dusk just up the street from Upstream Gallery in Dobbs Ferry in late spring. I liked the way the house and telephone pole poked just high enough to catch the ebbing light of sunset. It's 24 x 36 inches and it's going upstate to the Front Street Gallery in Patterson, NY, for a two-person show in November.
| 06 October, 2012 20:17
Big thanks again to Samantha, Kurt and the team at UGallery for another sale, this time of the above painting: Bear Mountain Boogie Woogie (36 x 40 inches, oil on linen, 2009) which sold to a collector in Westchester who has a thing for pine cones... sorta like yours truly.
That brings to eleven the number of paintings sold this year, four through UGallery which, ironically, is based in San Francisco.
Meanwhile I am looking forward to a two-person show at the Front Street Gallery in Patterson NY next month and a solo show next March at the Upstream Gallery in Dobbs Ferry.
And as if that weren't enough, I'm working on a private commission as well.
| 30 August, 2012 22:47
Quick sketches done on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. On a sunny day the steps are like bleachers in a ballpark, crowded with people enjoying the afternoon. Drawing them, even one or two at a time, is a challenge since, unlike artists' models, they might get up and move away without warning.
| 22 August, 2012 19:17
7.5 x 9.5 inches (irregular), magazine reproduction, various handmade papers, corrugated cardboard, tickets, string, buttons and oil paint.
I hadn't done collage in a long time but a visit to the paper department at New York Central Art Supply on Third Avenue just below 11th Street in Manhattan changed that. The white paper on the bottom layer is a handmade from St. Armand mill. The maroon on the left and the green on the right hand side are Thai Banana Kozo papers, so-named because they have "inclusions," raw bits of the plant in the paper fiber.
The paper department there is undoubtedly the most extensive in North America and perhaps the world. Exotic handmade papers from India, Nepal, Spain Africa, Indonesia. Their website says that they have over 3,000 different papers. But when I interviewed David Aldera who runs the department (I was writing a story on the place for the NY Times a couple of years ago) he said that number was outdated and that currently they had at least 6,000.
Collage is a nice alternative to painting and drawing and I suspect it sharpens one's instincts for serendpitous adaptation. I'm looking forward to doing more.
| 20 August, 2012 18:36
Yeah, that big cloud in the upper right corner just wasn't doing anything.Looked more like a big bite had been taken out of the painting.
What I enjoyed about this scene was that the shadows on the building had three different tints to them. The largest area, that of the side of the building closest to the viewer, has a warm reddish cast to it. The shady sides of the dormers have a bluish cast to them. And the shadows under the eaves at the front of the building have a warm yellow ochre cast to them. And yet they are all more or less the same tonality and represent the shadowed parts of the same white building.
I did have a lot of fun painting this one.
As to how successful I was, you can be the judge.
| 12 August, 2012 15:59
A new painting of the Transportation Depot in Douglas, Michigan, the little town where my family has spent summers for 80 years. Sometimes one of the tricky things for me at the beginning of a painting is deciding on the composition and the size of the canvas. The photo below shows my progression on this work in sketches on three canvases. In the first, at far left, I originally intended to paint most of the building including a roadside sign nearby. On the second canvas I zeroed in on the front of the building. But ultimately I decided I needed to do this on a larger canvas. The canvas on which I'm working now, far right and above, is 24 by 20 inches.
| 08 August, 2012 22:26
Horton Point Light, maybe if I can stop fiddling with it, is finished. Those rust stains under the platform were the last touch. OK. no more on this one. I promise.
| 06 August, 2012 20:30
This is a model on break at the Art Students League of New York, where I have worked as a monitor with James Lancel McElhinney for the last five years. Walnut ink drawn with a bamboo pen on handmade Indian rag paper 8.25 x 10.5 inches (irregular, as handmade paper tends to be.)
Available on Etsy. Search for my "store," vanbenth. An old rule of thumb used to hold that drawings should be priced at a tenth of what a painting would be and prints should be priced at a tenth of what drawings would be. Not sure that still holds.