Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Newsletter: First Edition

The artist Lois Dodd describes painters today as a medieval group doing their medieval thing and getting something out of it. I like that thought. While everybody is making instant, multiple pictures with their i-phone, a painter is slowly observing, mixing color, applying paint, evaluating, and re-painting, for hours, days, sometimes years on just one painting. That’s what painters have been doing ever since Giotto and it’s what I get to do everyday. 

This is the first issue of what I intend to be a monthly newsletter. It will be a way of sharing my experience as an artist now and over the last 40 years. I hope you enjoy it.


NEWS


Show in 2020!
I’m happy to be having a show in April 2020 at Olney Gallery, located on the campus of the beautiful Trinity Cathedral at Roosevelt and Central, NE Corner. 
If you would like to receive a postcard/announcement, send your mailing address to allen@allengarns.com . 

Detail of a piece for the show.


In conjunction with this show, I am in the midst of painting 30 plein air paintings around the valley, including city and desert. Some of these will be in the show, but a few I will be offering for sale in advance at reduced prices. You may want to keep watch on my Instagram and FB postings.

Painting in the City Workshop

I'm looking forward to my City Painting class with Scottsdale Artists School. It's a 4 week class, every Saturday morning 29 Feb-21 Mar. For this class I'll be spending a little more time in the studio than past sessions, giving more attention to color and design along with the challenge (and fun) of painting out in the streets. For more information you can go here.



MCC Library
In late October, the MCC Library will be featuring a number of my works. An old saw says “You should paint pictures you would like to hang on your own walls because that’s probably where they’ll end up.” Although I've sold quite a few paintings, some of my favorites are still stored in my studio. This will give them an opportunity to be seen! Thank you MCC.




Recent Events

Pastel Award
In August, I was surprised and honored to learn that I had won the Kenneth Wellner award at the annual show of the Pastel Society of America. Who knew that a quiet little piece (only 8x10) could win an award amidst all those much larger and louder paintings! 

My pastels are a counterpoint to
my oil paintings; smaller, more
intimate, usually portraits or
head studies.

So, in September, Diane and I had a fabulous time at the venerable National Arts Club in New York to accept the award and hang out with all the cool kids.




Paintings in Mesa City Hall





I've often been out on the streets of my hometown, Mesa AZ, painting en plein air. Through Scott Higginson (a good friend and supporter of the arts) Mayor John Giles became aware of my work and invited me to hang some paintings in City Hall. At the time, I only had the small plein-air work. Scott suggested I do at least one larger piece to act as a center piece which resulted in the Diving Lady, a painting I've been wanting to do for years. Thank you Scott and Mayor Giles for your support of the arts.


The Diving Lady
As with most of my paintings, as important as the subject matter is the quality of light. In this case, it's the late afternoon sun lighting up this whole environment and creating some interesting shadow shapes. I'm particularly happy with the illuminated palm trees acting like musical notes on a staff across the top of the painting leading to the wonderful neon sign.

Books

Over the years I’ve collected quite a few art books. In each newsletter, I'd like to share one with you.
I’ll start with one of my old standards, Edward Hopper, the Art and the Artist, by Gail Levin.
As you can see below, it is very used.


I first started loving Hopper when I was about ten and I saw a painting "7 AM" in an art book I got for Christmas. When I went to Art Center College of Design, my interest in his work was renewed as is evidenced by this watercolor I did for one of my classes.

About the time I graduated, I found this newly released book in one of the bookstores in LA. It is the catalogue book for a major retrospective of his work that originated at the Whitney Museum in New York. Soon after graduation, my wife and I moved to Phoenix and lo and behold, the Hopper Retrospective had come to Phoenix. For the first time I saw his work in real life. That was 35 years ago but I still remember being amazed at every turn.











End Word

In college, I was an art major at BYU. In my sophomore year, I had become discouraged with my progress. Late one night, working on a painting of a saddle, I became so frustrated I threw down my brush, put everything away and as I walked home in the freezing air, decided to quit. I was through with this meaningless art stuff! I would change my major to history and become a seminary teacher. The next day, staring at the due date of the project and not wanting to face the teacher without an assignment, I went back to try and finish the painting. This time, that magical thing happened where I lost track of everything else and was totally absorbed in looking and painting. The saddle emerged in ways that none of my watercolors ever had. I continued with other assignments, and they were some of the most successful paintings in the class. Years later, I heard some advice: Never quit an endeavor when you are in the depths of discouragement. Wait until things even out a little before you quit. I think that is good advice. Unfortunately, I no longer have the painting, but the lesson has stayed with me.

Until January, have a great holiday season!

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