Sunday, June 18, 2017

William Bliss Baker


By
Armand Cabrera




William Bliss Baker was born in New York City in 1859. At 17 he began studying at the National Academy of Design with Albert Bierstadt and Mauritz De Haas. Baker showed ability from the beginning of his studies and quickly became known to art critics. Baker won the Elliott prize during his first exhibit in 1879 at the academy and in 1885 Baker won the Julius Hallgarten Prize at the Academy for his painting Woodland Brook. 





Baker built a studio named ‘The Castle’ in Clifton Park on Ballston Lake and also maintained a studio in the Knickerbocker building in New York City. Baker was just beginning his career when he died from complications following a skating accident. In his short time working he completed just over 130 paintings before his death in 1886 at the age of 27.


                                                                             the castle


Bakers work shows a maturity and confidence for someone so young. His vision is fully formed and his statements carry authenticity and reverence for his subjects.






Bibliography
I couldn't find any books on WBB (Information for this bio came from Wikipedia and Quest Royal Galleries and other online sources)



Historic photo of ‘The Castle’ from John Scherer from an article in the Daily Gazettte by Bill Buel

Monday, May 1, 2017

Washington, VA Garden Tour Paintings


By Armand Cabrera


The Washington, VA garden tour auction was a success with all of the paintings selling for the artists involved. I started at 10 am and finished by 3 pm and did two 9x 12 paintings on Saturday. Even though the weather was in the low 90's that day, turnout for the tour was high. I talked to quite a few people and everyone was happy there were artists involved in the tour this year and the paintings were being sold.










people while I was painting.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Washington VA Historic Garden Club Paint Out

by Armand Cabrera


The time for the Garden Tour is almost here. Saturday, April 29th I will be painting at the Inn at Little Washington from 10 AM to 3 PM as part of the Town of Washington Historic Garden Club Tour Events. There will be a silent auction starting at 5 PM that evening. You must purchase tickets to attend the auction.
Wine Tasting at Tula’s Off Main from
3:30 to 5:30 PM followed by local
Plein Air Artists’ Silent Auction at 5:30 PM


I will be set up and be painting by 10 AM somewhere near the Inn itself either looking at the entrance or in the back in the herb garden.  Depending on the weather and light I should be able to finish two paintings in the allotted time frame. If you can't make the morning painting you will still have a chance to see me painting in the afternoon until 3 PM.  

Some past paintings I've made on the grounds of the Inn and you can see a number of my paintings of Virginia and the Piedmont at the Shops at the Inn right next to the post Office.



  Koi 10 x 8


 Late Day Shadows 12 x 9


 The Herb Garden 12 x 16


Gamekeepers Cottage morning 9 x 12

Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017 Bull Run Demo

by
Armand Cabrera

One of my favorite times of the year is finally here. Spring is slowly taking hold again which means it's time for bluebells. They only last a few days in early spring so if you live in Virginia get out and see them while you can. Today was a beautiful day with temps in the 70's. I went to one of my favorite bluebell spots The bridge at Bull Run in the Manassas Battlefield. This year did not disappoint. 

I set up and decided to try a 16 x 20 canvas. A little large for the angle of the light and subject but it's good to push yourself in the field.

After deciding on my subject I started to draw the landmarks with a big brush.

Next, I quickly blocked in the large flat poster shapes for my background middle and foreground locking in the lights and shadows for the image.

Working all over the canvas I started to pick out important details and add them to the mix.

I established my darks and strengthened my color in the places I thought it needed more emphasis.

I weave in colors to give the impression of branches and leaves and refine more of my shapes.


 I continue to refine shapes color and edges.




The finished painting Bull Run Spring 16 x 20 oil. Total painting time 3 hours.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Events

by
Armand Cabrera



On Wednesday, April 5th I will start and finish a painting for George Mason Students again at The Clifton Institute. The demo is not open to the public but I will take process shots and post them in a later blog article.  These are some of my paintings from past years.

 20 x 24 oil



 24 x 30 oil


 24 x 18 oil


18 x 24 oil


Saturday, April 29th I will be painting at the Inn at Little Washington from 10 AM to 3 PM as part of the Town of Washington Historic Garden Club Tour Events. There will be a silent auction starting at 5 PM that evening. You must purchase tickets to attend the auction.
Wine Tasting at Tula’s Off Main from
3:30 to 5:30 p.m. followed by local
Plein Air Artists’ Silent Auction at 5:30 p.m.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bernie Wrightson October 27 1948 – March 19 2017

by
Armand Cabrera

Comics legend Bernie Wrightson passed away this weekend. His impact on the comic book world and horror comics cannot be overstated.  Anyone growing up reading comics and especially things like the old Warren comics will be familiar with his work. He was co-creator of Swamp Thing for DC along with writer Len Wein and had a long award-winning career.

In 1975 Wrightson was a co-founder of the studio with artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta and Barry Windsor-Smith.  Wrightson worked outside of the comics industry too, producing posters and calendars, working as a concept artist for films like The Thing, Cycle of the Werewolf, and The Mist and illustrating books and album covers.

One of his crowning achievements was a graphic novel version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Wrightson spent seven years creating the fifty pen and ink images for the book. Wrightson’s work on the project is reminiscent of other pen and ink greats of the early 20th century like Franklin Booth and Joseph Clement Coll. 

Wrightson was one of those artists that helped kindle my early love of art. The work he and the other artists of the Studio did for comics was always a cut above their contemporaries.  He will be missed.











Sunday, February 12, 2017

Chauncey Foster Ryder 1868-1949

by
Armand Cabrera

Chauncey Foster Ryder was born in 1868 in Danbury Connecticut. Ryder studied at the Art institute of Chicago and at the Académie Julian in Paris under Jean Paul Laurens. Ryder is most often associated with the Tonalist and Post-Impressionist art movements. His work leans toward abstraction without giving up representational depictions completely.  A strong sense of design and powerful brush calligraphy are apparent in both his oils and watercolors. His use of greens and grays led to the term Ryder Green in his paintings.




 Ryder was equally skilled as a watercolorist and oil painter. Starting around 1910 he also made etchings and lithographs. He kept studios in both New York and New Haven.He was honored as an Academician of the National Academy of Design in 1914.







He is represented in over 50 Museum collections with three paintings in the Smithsonian collection. During his career, he was awarded many gold medals for both his oils and watercolors.  Some of his awards were from the National Academy, the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, The National Arts Club, The American Watercolor Society and The New York Watercolor Society.
Chauncey Foster Ryder died in Wilton, New Hampshire in 1949.






 Bibliography
A History of American Tonalism: 1880–1920
Cleveland, David Adams
Hudson Hills Press 2010



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dean Cornwell Book Second Printing

by
Armand Cabrera


The illustrated press has decided to publish a second printing of their Dean Cornwell book. The first printing sold out quickly so if you missed out you still have a chance to get a copy. The standard edition of the book will be limited to 1000 copies and there will be a slipcased edition of the book limited to 100 copies.

Check out their Kickstarter for the book here


If you'd like to read my review of the first printing of the book you can find that here

Monday, January 30, 2017

Still Life Paintings in the Studio

By 
Armand Cabrera


The month of January is usually a winter wonderland with many opportunities for making art but this year not so much. It's just dreary outside. There is no snow for interest and so when things do not inspire me outside I stay inside and work. The last few days I’ve been painting small still life paintings. It’s fun to set them up and just not have to worry about changing light or weather for a day or two at a time.


 Blue and Gold 12 x 9 oil



 Hot Stuff 8 x 10 oil



The pepper Pot 8 x 10 oil

Monday, January 23, 2017

Making Art That Matters


By
Armand Cabrera


I was having an online discussion about artists trying to make a difference with their work. Some people believe that art should be used to create change. While I agree that is a noble endeavor I don’t think intent plays a role in the influence of art on a viewer.

 In my experience a viewer responds to the abilities of the artist, not knowing anything about the artistic intent behind the image.  As a matter of fact, most art that carries a message comes up short for most viewers unless of course that work is handled with expertise. The proper handling conveys the experience, not the artist's beliefs.





Artists are notorious for their human failings. The fact that Caravaggio used his favorite prostitute for a commissioned painting of the Virgin Mary doesn’t keep religious followers from weeping at the  powerful depiction. His religious beliefs or lack thereof did not affect the viewer’s enjoyment. This same scenario is played out over and over again throughout art history. The impressionists known for their paintings of bucolic scenes and idle bourgeois life did so at the height of the Franco-Prussian war. Paris was under siege and fell to opposing forces.  The war took the life of Frederic Bazille one of the founders of the Impressionist movement.




Art is uncompromisingly democratic in this respect, the work once finished stands on its own merits and is judged by its artistic qualities, not its creator's personality. While honesty and fidelity to craft are important for the creation of any work of art, the artist’s intent, beyond its successful execution, is not a real consideration.


The public’s response to the work carries the final decision of its success and that can change over the life of the piece as social changes in taste affect the thoughts of the viewers.
An artist is better served by learning all about their craft in the creation of work that instills a lasting impression on the audience. 




A high degree of expertise in technique has always had, and always will have, a predominate place in art. The subject, in itself, has value only according to the mode of the day. Tomorrow it will be superseded by a new fashion or fad. With the passing of time, the subject loses much of its meaning. But the fine execution of that subject retains its value. ~ Nicholai Fechin