passions

YOU HAVE TO PUT YOUR PASSIONS WHERE YOUR BRUSH IS OR WHY WOULD YOU CARE, OR ANYONE ELSE?

Portrait of William Viles

A commissioned portrait of William Viles for the Elsie and William Viles Charitable Foundation.  A companion piece to Portrait of Elsie Viles.

oil on canvas, 2017, 32 x 24 inches

Portrait of Elsie Viles

A commissioned portrait of Elsie Viles for the Elsie and William Viles Charitable Foundation.  A companion piece to Portrait of William Viles.

oil on canvas, 2017, 32 x 24 inches

Venus Exhibit Review

excerpt from article art review in New City:

“In one of the most poignant pieces, New England artist Christopher Cart presents a nude woman turning away from her mirror in confusion and dismay—perhaps she just realized that she is no longer nubile. In another engaging piece, Polish artist Anna Wypych shows us a “Venus/Demon” who appears to be sexually available but also threatening. Don’t most sexual relationships end badly for someone? Chicago artist Kyrin Ealy Hobson shows us a struggling African-American family where the powerful stare of the mother is contrasted with the awkward, shy glance of the daughter. For many women, sexual appeal might be the least of their concerns.”

McKee Family, Summer Porch

family portrait
oil on canvas, 36 x 42

Composition playground

Composition is one of those aspects of paint learning that will never be complete.  You can never sign off and say, “Well, I learned that now on to painting”.  Composition possibilities are endless and fascinating.

An art friend and I were talking composition a bit ago, specifically joking about JPI–jolts per inch.  In truth not a laughing matter.  In many schools of composition the punch of your composition or design takes precidence over everything else in the painting.

Any of your favorite illustrations and movie stills have that NOTAN/JPI punch and drama.  The rest of the story is subordinate to that initial kick in the teeth, mainly with your values.

A design of lights and darks that frame the design and all fits within that.

This is one important school of composition.

One thing I have been experimenting with though is applying the composition concepts of Pollock, and Tobey to my figurative work.  Not designing with NOTAN punch but subordinating image elements to the overall flow of the color and rhythm.

In this portrait I broke up all the architectural rigid forms, the lighting and even the figures.  This same composition could have been a very crunched NOTAN design of crisp dramatic lighting and dark shadows. but i purposely broke everything up with pattern and sun dapples.

Making technique organic to the work

One of my goals lately is to make my technique organic, to the story in the piece, not try to impose one technique or process on the entire composition, but rather to have each bit of the vision speak in its own technical voice.

I mean if I decide to paint a scene in a very realistic sense then I impose that technique evenly over every aspect of the scene, the figures, the lighting, the perspective, the bricks and mortar and the atmosphere–to make it all work as one cohesive illusionistic whole.  This is all well and good.  However, if there is one thing that the 20th century artists taught us is that even if you are a realist, there are myriad ways to tell that real story.  For example, Picasso has some powerful paintings of his children, a mother teaching her child to walk, children on the floor drawing.  These have a visual strength, punch in a simple story that had he painted them in a late nineteen century style the paintings would have been trite, treacle.

So different things call out to be painted differently.  And I have never, in my head, been pinned to one style.  But only recently have I been trying to bring that style choice into the workings of one canvas.  In stead of deciding the overall style language first and building within that frame, now I am trying to lefft style choice be left open and to be planned within the painting process on the brushstroke level.  Each to its own voice.

The serious risk is off course, total and ugly disastrous chaos.  But hey, no risk is boring.  If I didn’t love risk I’d be working a paycheck job.  I may end up with all disasters but maybe somewhere in all the trying will be a small gem that shines.

The Lacasse Boys

Portrait of the the Lacasse boys in Italy. Oil on canvas

Vincent Millay

Portrait of Edna St Vincent Millay, oil on canvas 2017

I painted this portrait for the Millay Poetry Festival in Rockland, Maine in 2017.  This is my vision of what she might have looked like had she not died in her 50’s.

Hallowell Woodstock 2017

this is the poster designed for the 2017 Hallowell Woodstock Revival Festival, with live music and arts and artisan fair.

self portrait

oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

A paradox? A paradox?

A paradox?
A paradox,
A most ingenious paradox!

We’ve quips and quibbles heard in flocks,
But none to beat this paradox!

A paradox,
a paradox,
A most ingenious paradox.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
This paradox.

Pirates of Penzance
Gilbert and  Sullivan

Creating art is not your everyday affair.  You have to take it seriously or you produce garbage.  But on the other hand if you treat your latest creation as a holy relic you will also produce crappola.  So your work has to have all your attention and be the most important thing in front of you and at the same time you have to be willing jump in and change it all around or even tear it up, casually, if it is going wrong.

You have to (try to) be honest with every brushstroke.  Some look great but are wrong for the painting.  So in spite of the individual beauty of a brushstroke you have to remove it to be honest to the whole.

Playbill design for Promises, Promises

Playbill designed for Gaslight Theater’s production of Promises, Promises.

Two Dancers

A study for a painting of 2 dancers – pencil and conte on toned paper.

Picnic

A theater playbill design for Gaslight Theater in Hallowell, Maine for the play Picnic.

Picnic is a 1953 play by William Inge. The play was premiered at the Music Box Theatre, Broadway, on 19 February 1953 in a Theatre Guild production, directed by Joshua Logan, which ran for 477 performances.

2nd Annual Woodstock Revival

Poster and t-shirt design for the Second Annual Woodstock Revival in Hallowell, Maine.  A great event with tons of great art, music and dancing.

Superman is Down!

A poster designed for a benefit for Scott Baker at the Quarry taproom in Hallowell, Maine.

Bear Hunting, Moxie Gore

new portrait commission, 2016
36 x 36 inches, Acrylic on canvas.