Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Tonalist Landscape, Overlook, Jan Blencowe

copyright 2009, Jan Blencowe, Connecticut, USA
Overlook, 20x30, acrylic on linen
See this painting in a sample frame here
View more paintings on my website
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This one certainly took a long time, but was entirely worth it. What you can't see in the photo are the layers of paint and textures that are built up. What you can see though is how I finally resolved the foreground. If you remember I was "working out of ambiguity" as Leonardo suggests. A very loose underpainting, in transparent red oxide, quickly brushed on with a large brush gave only the faintest glimpse of what I eventually pulled out of the chaos. The value in the foreground areas was correct right from the beginning with the under painting and that was a great help and the basic goal of doing the under painitng, is to establishing the value structure for the painting.

I had been tempted to put in a lot of amorphous foliage in the foreground with a path. that would have been easy and taken a lot less time. But I am in the mode of challenging myself right now and pushing for better and better paintings and that involves taking some risks, like working out of ambiuguity and leaving behind familiar motifs that now seem like a safe and easy solution.

More on Paying to Exhibit Your Work

Last post I shared my early experience with a rental gallery in a small New England town which functioned something like a co-op with each artists paying for a booth, and a small commission on sales, working one day a month at the gallery and chipping in for advertising. The gallery hosted a well attended opening each month complete with beverages and food and submitted regular press releases to local papers, and had special events for the artists to participate in. Artists were free to manage their own booth, hang whatever they wanted, set their prices, change out their work on their own schedule, and have brochures, cards etc. available to visitors. It was a nice arrangement while sales remained high, when sales dried up I left.

Today I want to warn you about another type of so called vanity gallery. These are the expensive ones and the ones to avoid. I get e-mails from these galleries pretty regularly. They are usually in a large city like NY, LA and even overseas.. I've gotten several from outfits in NY in just the last few months. The bottom line with these galleries is that they charge a "representation fee" which is usually several thousand dollars a year. I've seen from $2000-$5000 asked. If you pursue their offer you'll find that this is just the beginning. They'll hit you up for advertising, postcards, invitations, hanging fees, catalog printing, shipping etc plus they will take a commission, and these are the "legitimate" businesses. There are others that charge fees, make arrangements for a show and at the last moment do not come through with what they promised or disappear altogether. Do NOT be fooled or tempted to do this just to get a NY or LA gallery on your resume. Other reputable galleries in these cities and most legitimate, serious collectors know who these vanity gallerys are and by associating yourself with them you run the risk of damaging your reputation and not being considered a serious artist worth investing in.

Sometimes investing money in your art to get it shown can be a smart move and other times it can be a costly disaster. Do your homework, the internet makes this pretty easy. After being contacted by one of these big city vanity galleries I did a google search which quickly brought me to a chat room for photographers and allowed me to read a discussion thread in which several photographers documented how they were ripped off by this outfit, charged monies, promised many things and in the end promises were broken obligations not met and they were left with a disasterous and costly experience. So please be careful, ask lots of questions and research before you committ to anything.


AutumnLeaves said...

What a rich and velvety appearing foregound...just luscious! This is beautiful!

Jan Blencowe said...

Thanks. I need to get a better picture. One of the problems is that I did some final glazing in some of the dark areas, like the rocks behind the right hand tree and the lower left hand corner and they are looking too dark in the photo because I had to photograph in the shade to avoid glare from the yellow glaze which is on the tree tops. Oy!