Sunday, February 10, 2008

10th February 2008: Who's made a mark this week?

Underpaintings - work in progress
all images copyright Tracy Helgeson

Have you ever wanted to go away someplace and do nothing but paint?

Tracy Helgeson (website / blog - Works by Tracey Helgeson) is doing just that during February at a month long residency at the Vermont Studio Center. The centre provides the largest artists' and writers' Residency Program in the United States and hosts 50 visual artists and writers each month from across the country and around the world. This is what it offers in the way of residency programs for artists and what the campus and facilities look like. This is how you apply and I think this sounds like a very reasonable fee to me.

It looks idyllic, it sounds idyllic and you can read all about it on Tracy's blog this month. Tracy is off to a really wonderful start with her new project to create drawn figures within her paintings - using some vintage photos for reference material. I've already fallen in love with her new work at the underpainting stage in terms of composition and treatment of the figures. All this before she gets to creating her colour glazes which is just one of the many reasons why I particularly like Tracy's work.

Here are a couple of other artists and their blogs other blogs also writing about being at VSC last month.
Art blogs
My goal is to create a similar environment here, a virtual salon where each month (or week) I "sit down" and talk to an artist about whatever we want to talk about. My sincere hope is that others will join the conversation through comments left on posts and through future interviews. Using this format instead of a discussion board, my hope is for a more in depth, focused discussion that informs, challenges, and encourages everyone.
Ancient Artist
  • Duane Keiser (On Painting) went to Madrid recently and has written about his visit to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. He's also drafting a blog entry about the Las Meninas by Velaquez (coming soon) which is in The Prado. Having seen the quantity of references in the Wikipedia entry I can well understand why that particular post might be taking some time!
  • People who read last week's "who's made a mark this week" will recall that I featured Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes and Muddy Red Shoes) and her work in Britanny and her return to the UK. This is a video of Kerglinec and what she and her husband have now left behind. It takes a while to load but is well worth it for the views in and around their home and of Breton markets, sea food, boudin, standing stones, music and dancing interspersed with Sarah's paintings. Well done Sarah's father-in-law!
Art business and marketing
Art Materials and Supplies
  • thanks to all those who've added your votes to the poll on Pastels - Resources for Artists about which brand of pastels you prefer to use - the spread of responses continues to be both diverse and interesting - and maybe not what people expected. The hard pastel poll has also taken off.........
  • I've now set up a poll on Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists which asks the same question 'Which is your favourite brand?'
  • I've only just discovered the New York Central Art Supply's claims about having the most extensive selection of fine art papers anywhere in the world - and they're putting them all on-line.
Art process
  • Charley Parker (Lines and Colors) last week identified 100 photoshop tutorials - a set of digital art how-to articles from numerous artists, collected and accessed through a large page of thumbnail images. Note this is about art which is produced using digital processes rather than about tutorials for artists who create in other ways and need to use photoshop for processing their images.
Art videos
Other art websites
  • The Internet Archive is administering the open content being made available by various libraries. There's not a lot of art online yet but I did come across two books. CAUTION: I'm not sure that Project Gutenburg's view on their copyright is correct. Note I'm only providing links....
Websites and blogging
  • I'm signed up to receive Jakob Neilsen's alertbox. publications. Neilsen is a usability guru who focuses on ways to make the Internet easier to use. This one tells you about how the average Internet users is doing in skills terms - Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, February 4, 2008:User Skills Improving, But Only Slightly
Users now do basic operations with confidence and perform with skill on sites they use often. But when users try new sites, well-known usability problems still cause failures.
Jakob Neilsen
and finally.......

A challenge this week. I'm posting this 'caricature' image as a guide. It might offend some people - after all it is about cake and religion - but it does at least spread the teasing around. Please don't look if cake means a lot to you. It's not up for debate - and that's because I'm posting an image which is small enough that you have to click to read it properly - you have been warned!

I'm now thinking maybe Taoism is the way forward.

Here's my challenge - if you can come up with one which is about art - and different perspectives on it before next Sunday then I'll post the best one on this blog in the 'and finally......' slot. Just make your sure that your "perspective" has at least nine categories - and it doesn't have to be religion. For example, the perspective might be about Art Movements but it could be anything so long as you stay legal and decent - and aim to be amusing! Please let me know when you've come up with your 'Perspectives on Art' by leaving a comment below which includes a blogpost URL (ie the one for the specific post not the blog as a whole). If you want to see what people come up with then check back to this post and take a look at the comments later in the week.

By the way, the sole criteria for who wins is the one that makes me smile the most. Smiling is good for you - and smiling about art is even better!


  1. Tracy's underpaintings stand on their own as lovely pieces of art, don't they?

  2. They certainly do - I think they're stunning.

  3. Another gem of a post---there's so much good information here! Thank you very much for mentioning my blog, Katherine. That day was a real highlight for me and I'm so glad it touched you and others.
    I've often thought of doing the Vermont Studio workshop, but now that the children have flown the coop, I have time and (some) space here. Still, the camaraderie and feedback would be wonderful. Your Sunday posts are like the Sunday New York Times--it takes me several days to digest everything. Thanks again for all of your hard work and generosity of spirit.

  4. Great post Katherine. Just came across your blog and have marked it as one of my favourites.


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