Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Online Drawing Class

Last February, I visited Denver for the first time for the purpose of filming an instructional drawing course.
Responding to dozens of requests, I've tried several times to produce one myself, but simply couldn't resolve a high enough production quality with my limited resources and still offer an affordable price. This is where Craftsy.com came in. Not only did their production team have all the bells and whistles, but they also were spectacular at their job. Even so, we were able to make it affordable - even on a student's budget.

In seven sessions that you can follow at your own pace, my course Expressive Figure Drawing, covers techniques for expressing emotion, mood, and concepts utilizing the language of mark making and composition. I discuss examples from the Old Masters, and a few new ones, as well as demonstrate several drawing approaches, including charcoal and chalk on toned paper, reductive charcoal drawing, and a secret bonus technique you won't learn anywhere else.

Better yet, for my readers, I'm going to give you 50% off my class if you sign up before April 15th.
Just follow this link to my class: Expressive Figure Drawing.





Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drawing Workshop


One Day Portrait Drawing Workshop
with Richard T Scott
Nov 17th, 9am-4pm, Northlight Art Center
Sharon, CT


$95, model fee included.
minimum of 5 students.

This course will be a one day intermediate portrait workshop, covering classical skills from the old masters to contemporary masters: materials, techniques, and philosophy of drawing.

Beginners welcome! Work in any media you feel comfortable!

Richard will walk you through the stages of composing and beginning a portrait, starting with compositional skills, drawing and proportion, light and form, and finally evaluation. There will be helpful information on how to analyze your work in order to improve both your skills and give yourself the tools to express your vision.

The focus of this course will be on drawing techniques, with the goal of utilizing observed phenomena in order to explore rhythm, emotion, and both the expression of the model and your expression. It will cover adaptive methods for utilizing the movement of the model, compositional changes due to your decision making, and enhancing both analytical and intuitive approaches to drawing.

Emphasis will be on balancing the detailed and accurate observation of light, form and anatomy - with composition and expression.

To register contact us at: richardtscottart@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Among the Ruins

Hope in the Post-Industrial Autumn
Among the Ruins
Civilizations, like the cycle of life and death; grow, flourish, mature and decay. This is as true for every being as it is for entire cultures.

Baptism
Among the Ruins is an unflinching meditation upon the plight of the nuclear family in a post-industrial world. Equally disturbing and emotively driven, these works seem to breath vision into the eloquent and sightless verbal wasteland of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

In this body of work, Miller reflects upon the ruins of a concrete empire, following the collapse of the machinery of State. Stunning in scope, his mechanized wilderness is populated by effigies who draw their only nourishment from their love of each other. The new hope embodied by their children is emphasized in a conceptual contraposto, silhouetted against the corpse of the urban jungle.

Somewhere over the Rainbow















Yet, as the darkest day of winter is also the beginning of the sun's return, these families are the first to begin rebuilding their society and sewing the seeds of bright and distant future.

In an era, entombed by the collapsed modern-industrial complex of the twentieth century, not unlike the collapse of Classical Europe after WWI, we can reflect upon what has passed, while envisioning the ground plowed before us, fertile and receptive to germinate a new way of life.

Read as a whole, this body of work tells a compelling narrative of renewal, rebirth, regeneration - in which the best natures of man, and the natural world might return to harmony and balance... but ultimately, the end of this story is left up to the viewer.

-by Richard T Scott

Among the Ruins    Nov 10th, 2012     Copro Gallery
Bergamot Arts Complex, 2525 Michigan Ave T5, Santa Monica


End of the Road
The Lookout













The Lotus Eater
Oasis













Saturday, June 30, 2012

Odd Nerdrum: Art Political Prisoner

Image courtesy of Matthew D. Innis
Sign the Petition to Free Odd Nerdrum!

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of the escalating persecution of my dear friend and mentor.
A man who has demonstrated his honor, has freely given his knowledge to thousands of students, has been a champion for human empathy and integrity, who generously gave my wife and I a chance to begin our lives anew when we lost everything in the great recession... this man is the first political prisoner in Europe since World War II. To some, this statement may be not be surprising, to others it may seem shocking. It may at first seem an exaggeration, but I ask you only to honestly consider the facts of the case and come to your own conclusion.

Odd Nerdrum has been given an increased sentence of two years ten months by the Norwegian Appeals court concerning allegations of gross tax fraud.
He will not be allowed to paint in prison, as this is considered a "commercial activity". I can only conclude that the reason for his increased sentence is punitive - a retaliation for Nerdrum appealing the verdict of the district court back in August 2011.

Let me be clear: Nerdrum paid his taxes many years before the court case. This was acknowledged by the court and verified by the court transcript. The charge against him is that he intentionally hid money in a U.S. bank account for which the court provided no evidence, and an Austrian bank box. This claim is absolutely ridiculous! What kind of idiot would hide money in plain sight? Nerdrum, by his own statement, is not mathematically inclined, but he is certainly no idiot. Why wouldn't he hide money in a Swiss bank account, or the Cayman Islands where no one would find it? This is one glaring example of the kind of faulty logic used by the court. (This can be verified by reading the court transcript in either Norwegian or English available on freeoddnerdrum.com)


It's profoundly important to point out that Nerdrum's paintings are not merely a commercial activity, they are an exercise in freedom of speech. Nerdrum has been known for challenging the status quo for decades with his paintings and statements; the very nature of his work contradicts the dominant Norwegian art world (largely funded by the Norwegian Government), and even the "social democratic" policies of the ruling Norwegian Labor party (see faceless society video below). He stands out as an individual, questions authority, has been censored on television for directly criticizing the Labor Party, who also dominates the Norwegian Judicial system. As such, the court's attempt to silence him amounts to nothing less than the repression of political speech.

What appears at first to be a run of the mill tax evasion, soon reveals itself to the inquisitive to be nothing less than political persecution and a violation of human rights. The Norwegian Appeals court has taken it upon themselves to stifle the freedom of speech. Moreover, they have convicted a man based upon conjecture, inflated numbers, and faulty logic, and without concrete evidence.

Innocence until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, is a basic premise for any just court.

And both the Norwegian district and the appeals courts have violated this premise.

It may or may not surprise you that the Norwegian judicial system has been convicted multiple times by the European Court of Human Rights for violating the principle of "Innocent until proven guilty".

It also seems necessary, in order to truly understand the atmosphere, to mention the biases against Nerdrum in the media. While Norway was still reeling from the July 22, 2011 domestic terrorist attack, a major Norwegian newspaper ran a story about finding explosives on farms. They used an image of Nerdrum's farm as an example. When the Nerdrum family complained, they said "oops, we're sorry". But I find it incredibly hard to believe this was a mistake Nerdrum is a celebrity in Norway - one doesn't accidentally insinuate that Graceland is a den for terrorists! This is only one example of the subliminal suggestions rampant in the Norwegian press. (see freeoddnerdrum.com)

The Nerdrum Affair has been a confusing case for many people. Different sources seem to give different numbers: even the courts can't seem to agree with the IRS or each other. So, I've taken it upon myself to collect and condense what I view to be the pertinent information all in one place. I've given you my opinion, but ultimately, you'll have to come to your own conclusion.

The Huffington Post: An Update and Commentary on Odd Nerdrum's Harsh Prison Sentence

CNN ireport: Artist Denied the Right to Paint

An Odd Fact or Two

(From the article below: Forum Gallery, as the exclusive gallery for Nerdrum worldwide, has sold paintings worth of $1,486,000. This number has been confirmed by American Tax Authorities, says Nerdrum's defence lawyer Berg. This is way below the $2,349,000 Odd has been sentenced for evading).

http://www.tv2.no/nyheter/innenriks/krim/nerdrum-anker-trolig-til-hoeyesterett-etter-skjerpet-dom-3820077.html




Here you can find a copy of the verdict from the district court as well as much more information: FreeOddNerdrum.com 

My original post from last August:
Odd Nerdrum Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Odd Nerdrum Censored on Television:




A little background on Norwegian Politics.



Sign the Petition to Free Odd Nerdrum!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interview with Lee Johnson


Who did you study with?

Betty Lou Totten in Florida, Leo Neufeld in New Mexico, and Charles Cecil in Florence.

Tell us about your training? What is the process in an atelier or teaching studio as opposed to a university art education?

The atelier training is pretty much nuts and bolts, just about how you build an image and develop craft. We worked 6 to 8 hours a day drawing from the cast and the model. This training typically takes 3 to 4 years of solid study. In atelier training there is no vaporing about complex theories, or anything that isn’t germane to the painting process. By contrast, university art education emphasizes that it’s more important how you talk about art than how you make it, trying to teach artists to think like art critics, instead of art makers.

What is the chief benefit of such training?
It keeps you very image-focused, establishing the primacy of the visual over the conceptual. It also lets you get really deep into your own work, to explore how far you can take a painting. And, if you’re lucky, you get to work with some really accomplished people.

Besides your teachers, what painters have influenced your work?

There’s the big names, Velazquez, Sargent, Tiepolo, Goya, Ribera, as well as illustrators like Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Kliban, Gorey, and John R. Neill.

What is your philosophy of painting?

I don’t know that I have one, not in so many words. I’m a really visual person, so I suppose that a strong visual sense combined with a good imagination and a sense of humor is what I rely on.

How many hours a week do you paint?

Probably no painter ever thinks he works enough. I paint as often as I can, but it really varies depending on what I’m working on. I can bang away at a canvas for hours and hours a day and not get much accomplished, and sometimes I can just work for thirty minutes and finish a painting.

Would you describe your working methods?

I start with small drawings from my imagination, fiddle with them a bit, then get models in to work out the poses and do more complete drawings from life. At this stage I also do tone and color studies for the final composition on wax paper. This gives me the materials to begin work on what will be the final painting. I rough in the composition, bring the models back, and start to build the painting. From there it can be fast or slow depending on the painting, but in general I’m a really slow painter. My ideas tend to start very fast, but take a long time to develop, and I will often scrape out large parts of paintings if they are not working, and start again, much to the frustration of my models. I also spend a lot of time just looking, and not painting, in order to understand the direction a painting needs develop.

What are your views on the application of paint?

Whatever works. I think a lot of painters indulge in a bit too much cork-sniffing about paint handling and painting mediums, etc. The solution to getting good paint quality is often to just to use enough paint.

Do you paint outdoors often?

Not as often as I’d like. I go through phases where I’m doing a lot of plein air stuff, and then periods when that is not at all what I’m into. Painting outdoors is really important, though; it’s like a vitamin for your color use.

What are your favorite subjects and materials?

Figures, figures, figures. I’m only really interested in images with figures in them, so I rely heavily on live models. As far as media, pencil and charcoal for drawing, and oil for painting.

What is the role of talent in painting?

Not really sure about that. I’ve known “talented” and “not-so-talented” people, and while raw ability can give you a boost in the beginning, it really comes down to a willingness to work, just like anything else. I’ve also seen plenty of “talented” painters who crank out boring, awful paintings.

What is the role of style in painting?

Style is really something you can’t help having, sort of like a voice. Sure, you can deliberately choose a style I suppose, but that may only be an affectation if it isn’t something that grows naturally out of what you love. Those types of labels can be really limiting too, and when people pigeon-hole an artist’s style, they tend not to look as much, since they’ve already got a term defining how they should think about that artist.

When is a painting finished?

I like to leave some things unresolved; it gives the viewer something to do. Betty Lou used to say, “Don’t tell the world everything you know.” If you “finish” every little thing, the painting can become a boring iteration of fussy details.


Do you have any other creative outlets?

I have an old guitar I like to mess around with, and will plug in and crank up the amp in my studio when I need a break from painting. This is also when I do a lot of staring at the paintings.

What are your favorite types of art?

Again, figurative work is my favorite, and I will gravitate to it no matter the medium.

What are the most important qualities for an aspiring painter?

I don’t know about qualities, but I tell people who want to learn to paint to find a painter who’s work they admire and try to study with him, or with the guy who taught him. And it’s an old adage, but drawing really is the cornerstone of painting, something you can’t do enough of. You can also learn an amazing amount by copying paintings, ideally from the real thing, or from reproductions.

Lee will have an exhibition at EMPAC Aprill 21, 2012




Thursday, January 26, 2012

Odd Nerdrum Granted Appeal

In a dramatic turn of events, the internationally renowned painter Odd Nerdrum has been granted a new trial in the Norwegian appeals court. His two year prison sentence has been overturned amid growing allegations of faulty evidence and infractions of the legal process during the trial.

Because his prison sentence was less than six years, the probability of being granted an appeal in Norway is incredibly low. Thus, the choice to overturn the sentence requires serious concerns about the district court's verdict. The appeals court stated that it specifically wanted to review questions over a sum of $300,000 taxed in Iceland in 2003, as well as to re-consider Nerdrum's explanation that this fiasco began due to some 40 paintings that had melted due to experimental techniques.

The date of the new trial has not yet been set.

To all those who have supported Odd Nerdrum during this trying time, thank you! Our efforts have been successful! Thank you to Michael Gormley and Allison Mallafronte for publishing The Nerdrum Affair in American Artist Magazine! I truly believe you have played an influential role in securing a fair trial for Odd Nerdrum. Thank you to Brandon Kralik, Alexey Steele, and Otto Rapp for your great efforts to make this case visible. And last, but not least, thank you Bork and Ode Nerdrum for doing such a great job with freeoddnerdrum.com!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Brain on Art

This is not a Rembrandt! (Or is it?)

T
he French Art historian and critic, Jean-Daniel Mohier and I have been having quite a fascinating and impassioned debate on the topic of how a painting is experienced by the viewer. As I have asserted before, I think the aesthetic response is largely objective, that is: instinctual. This is based on the fact that we, as humans, share nearly all of our genetic material and that we, across all cultures, share nearly all the same fundamental kinds of experiences. However, we cannot say that the aesthetic response is completely objective, for then, how could we have different (though overlapping) ideas of beauty? My hypothesis was that the instinctual response we receive from a painting in the very first instant of viewing, is immediately distorted by subjective elements to varying degrees; such as learned culture, and individual experiences, which may not be shared by most people: such as experiencing war, rape, or starvation, etc...

Jean-Daniel responded by sharing this fascinating article entitled "How does the Brain Perceive Art?". It discusses a study conducted at Oxford University, which concluded that brains can't tell the difference between a real Rembrandt and a fake. They tried to gauge the response of viewers of both Rembrandt paintings, and students of Rembrandt, with the goal of testing this very question. Just how subjective or objective is our aesthetic experience? It addresses a question I've posed many times before: does it matter if "the Polish Rider" is a real Rembrandt, or a student? Is it not a masterpiece either way?

Before we go on, I have to point out that they only included 14 participants in this study, all of whom had no education in Art history nor any education in life drawing... so we can't really say that this study is conclusive, as it includes too few people and does not have a sufficient cross-section of people.

But, without further adieu, this was my response:
"I guess the question is whether you consider the physical object to be the truth, or the flawed perception of the observer to be the truth. Was the consensus correct when they believed that the world was flat? It just goes to show how influenced people are by false illusions. But, this all goes back to whether you believe the theosophy of Plato, or the scientific objectivity of Aristotle, or the irrational rhetorical tricks of the sophists. That's what we're really debating here! Plato, or Aristotle, or the pre-Socratic sophists (in the case that you follow Hegel instead of Kant).

As a representational painter, I have many years of training to be able to see what's actually there in front of me instead of the symbol or illusion of what people say is there. This is the only way you can paint representational work. Of course you have to be able to project your vision onto the reality. This is more interesting... but you have to be able to discern the difference between reality and a dream, in order to make such a work.

More than a century ago, art critics, historians, and the art viewing public all had studio practice in drawing and painting to some extent, so they all had some ability to see what's in front of them and form their own conclusions. So, this is perhaps the reason that today, they only follow the false illusions of fashion.

So, one can say that this is simply the way it is, this is the way the world works... and that I'm describing the way it "should be". One can conclude that it is very naive, or very arrogant of me to say that it should be any other way than it is. Who am I to say that the world is round? I don't know who " I am" in that sense... I don't know who it is that gives one the right to think for themselves, and relegates other people to the crowd of sheep, but I'm sure history will sort it all out for us. As for today, I can't accept "the way things are" and sacrifice the very fibre of my individuality to mass delusion. No, I must say again that the world is a sphere and is not flat.

I'm deeply sorry if this makes the clergy uncomfortable. ;)

But you asked an interesting question the other night: why paint like Rembrandt today? Well, why not paint "like Rembrandt", if you like? This is something Odd and I have discussed extensively. You could ask the same question about any modern painter or artist. Why paint like Francis Bacon, or Otto Dix, or De Kooning, or Koons, or Hirst, or Picasso? Yet most contemporary artists do. Those who know art history can see that 99.9% of contemporary artists are copying 20th century artists. And they are congratulated for it!!! Somehow to copy a "modern" artist is more "original" because it's a "modern" voice - which must be inherently more genuine. Apart from the faulty logic here, I frankly can't say I care whether or not someone wants to copy Otto Dix, and whether or not a critic likes it, but quite simply, why this double standard? Why is it not acceptable to be influenced by Rembrandt? (As an aside note, an honest look at either Odd Nerdrum's paintings and my paintings will tell you that we are not copying Remrandt, but simply influenced by him. And it's evident that I'm not copying Odd, but deeply influenced by him. You can just as clearly see the influence of Hammershoi, Vermeer, Andrew Wyeth, and Goya.) So, the real question is: why reject the Greco-Roman tradition?

The answer to the question of this double standard, is that the zeitgeist (spirit of the time) is modern....

But, you see, this zeitgeist idea is also a false illusion. Obviously my zeitgeist is different from Koons'. And Ai Wei Wei's zeitgeist is different from Lucien Freud, who's zeitgeist is different from Andrew Wyeth, who's zeitgeist is different from, though related to Odd Nerdrum's zeitgeist. So, exactly how many zeitgeists are there?

So, again. What we're really debating here is Plato vs. Aristotle vs. the Sophists. Kant vs. Hume vs. Hegel... and dozens of other incarnations of the same. If you look at philosophy, all philosophers are more or less regurgitating either Plato or Aristotle (or in the case of the German Idealists like Hegel, they regurgitate the sophists). I, for one, can't see any progress, only a wheel on a treadmill. "

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Varnish: Tips and Techniques

I have recently polled all my artist friends and researched extensively online to find the best method for getting a perfect finishing varnish on my oil paintings. After lots of practice, I finally have a method that gets great results every time…. Well, almost every time. Varnish is a notoriously tricky procedure!

What is Varnish?

Varnish is the final clear finishing coat applied over a “dry” oil painting. Varnishing seals the surface of the painting, protecting it from dust and dirt build-up. It also restores an all-over sheen to the whole painting, deepening shadows and restoring colors that may have gone matte as the paint dried.

How “Dry” is Dry?

Traditionally, artists waited 6 months to a year before varnishing. And that’s for thin paint! Thick globs of oil paint may actually take many years to dry completely. However, if you are actively showing or selling your work, or working on commission, this is highly impractical to nearly impossible. So, many artists varnish when the painting is “dry to the touch”. There is danger of cracking however, especially if the paint is thick and you are working on flexible canvas.

What Kind of Varnish?

Damar is the traditional varnish used by artists, made from tree resin. However, it is known to yellow with age, and it is also very brittle. Gamblin, manufacturer of paints and mediums, has developed a synthetic-resin varnish called GamVar that has been designed to remain transparent, and also is less brittle. In fact, GamVar says you can apply their varnish when the painting is dry to the touch. Apparently GamVar allows the painting to continue to dry underneath the varnish. Personally, I find GamVar significantly easier to apply, as it stays “brushable” for some time, and does not get tacky within seconds like Damar. So, now I never use Damar, and I only use GamVar.

Removing Varnish

Varnish is made to be removable by anyone in the future cleaning or restoring your painting. It is designed to dissolve easily with odorless mineral spirits (OMS). It’s hard to imagine rubbing OMS or turps on your oil painting, but keep in mind, dry oil paint has a very strong film and won’t simply wipe away with gentle swipes of OMS. So the good news is, if you mess up your varnish, it’s easy to remove and re-apply.

You will need:

  • GamVar Varnish
  • Sponge brush (Buy several, they are cheap)
  • Small shallow dish (larger for a large painting)
  • Small soft paintbrush, like a #1 sable filbert
  • Low-lint cloth
    (There is no such thing as “lint-free” but do the best you can. I use floursack-style dishcloths, although I recently discovered soft auto-cloths, almost like baby diapers, which I am going to try next.)

Lint is your Enemy

Lint (and dust) will conspire to flock to your painting in massive unforeseen hoards. The largest airborne bits of debris you have every seen will suddenly appear to hover above your freshly varnished painting in a great, slow mating dance. Your job is to keep lint off your painting, and off everything else that might come in contact with your painting.

Prep

Never varnish the day you ship, frame, or deliver a painting! Give yourself a few days of extra time, both for the sake of the painting, and for your own sanity.

Varnishing with GamVar for the first time takes a bit of advance planning, because it comes in a box with 2 ingredients you must mix together in a jar 8 hours before you use it. The directions say to shake the jar every hour for 8 hours, but I have found this to be impossible - who could do that? So I just shake the jar once or twice over 8 hours, as I think of it, and it has always worked fine.

Once the GamVar is ready to use, take out your dry-to-touch painting and inspect the surface. Use tack-cloth or adhesive tape to remove any dust or lint that has accumulated. If there is a lot, you may want to wipe down the surface gently with a clean, low-lint cloth dipped in a bit of OMS.

Next, set your painting on an easel and shine a lamp on the painting for a good 30 minutes (don’t lie the painting down flat or it will just accumulate more dust). This will evaporate any moisture on the surface. If there is moisture on the surface, the varnish will “bloom” - a horrifying phenomenon, where you may think you have achieved a perfect varnish finish, only to find that within a few hours that the surface has developed a opaque white haze. Don’t let the painting get too hot, but it should warm a bit under the lamp.

Ready, set…. VARNISH


When you ready to apply the varnish, use SPONGE brushes. They are cheap, they don’t leave any stray hairs behind, and best of all you can just throw them away when you are done. I keep a batch of fresh my new ones in a plastic ziplock bag, so they don’t gather dust before use.

Pour a very small amount of GamVar into a clean, lint-free dish. It’s easier to dip the brush in a shallow dish, and also you won’t be contaminating your nice clean varnish jar with the inevitable dust or debris on your brush.

Dip the tip of the sponge brush in the GamVar, and then brush on a thin coat over the painting, using long, horizontal strokes to cover the entire surface. Then, blot (don’t rub) the brush on a clean, low-lint cloth.

Brush again with the slightly dry brush with strokes perpendicular to the first ones. Blot your brush on the towel again.

Repeat over and over, brushing and blotting, in perpendicular strokes, until the surface starts to tack up the tiniest bit, and “grab” the brush.

This is reducing the glossy shine of the varnish, which can make the painting look too wet, and will make it too shiny, especially under bright gallery lighting.

Waiter, There’s a Fly in my Soup!

What to do when you get lint in your varnish: Use the small #1 filbert to carefully “back brush” and lift the lint out with one swift flick, and wipe on the cloth. If you don’t dig around too much, the varnish should “heal” and there should be no sign you messed with it.

The Inevitable Do-Over

At some point everone has to re-do a varnish job. If you have lots of lint, or bloom, or if the surface was touched or damaged, you’ll have to remove the varnish. To remove, dip your clean lint-free cloth in odorless mineral spirits, and gently wipe (or even roll) the cloth on your painting. Be careful not to damage the painting, but keep in mind, it’s probably more resilient than you think. Dry paint film is pretty strong. Wipe until it seems like all the varnish is gone. If you are not sure, wait a few minutes for the OMS to evaporate, and then look for glossy areas. Start all over again, starting with removing any dust or lint.

Varnishing a smooth painting

My paintings have a pretty smooth surface, which adds another issue to varnishing: Beading up. Sometimes the varnish immediately beads up just like water on a new car. This is because the surface is so smooth that the varnish has nothing to “grab”. You need to get some tooth in your surface. Wipe off the wet varnish with a cloth dipped in OMS. Then brush on a generous coat of OMS, and keep brushing until there is no longer any beading up. You may want to let the painting sit for a while, to let the OMS “bite” into the surface.

Be gentle, don’t rub hard, and the painting should be fine. When a coat of OMS does not bead up, the varnish won’t either. Put your painting under a lamp to evaporate the OMS, and then go ahead and varnish. Now I always brush on a coat of OMS before applying the varnish, to test for beading before I ever try to apply the varnish. NOTE: use one brush for OMS and a different brush for varnish. You don’t want to dilute the varnish with the OMS left on the brush.

Varnishing is tricky, and it’s always a good idea to practice on a small painting you don’t care much about before varnishing your masterpiece.

Good luck! If you have other tips or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Thanks to Sadie Valeri for allowing me to post this great article.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Odd Nerdrum Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

I am saddened to be the bearer of such shocking news.

My mentor and dear friend, Odd Nerdrum, has been sentenced to two years in prison by a Norwegian court. He is a man who has dedicated his life's work to defending human dignity, a man who has given his profound knowledge freely to thousands of students without charging a single penny, a man who has inspired millions with his masterly and empathetic paintings - a man who generously opened his home and family to my wife and me when we lost our jobs in New York City, in the midst of the financial crisis, and were quite literally homeless...
This man has been sentenced to two years in jail for tax evasion for $1.5 million USD. Oscar Wilde never recovered from his two year imprisonment for homosexuality and died just a few years after his release, at the young age of 46. At Odd's age (67), and considering that he has tourette's syndrome, this sentence could kill him.

Let's be clear here: the charges against him are not that he didn't pay his taxes. He has already settled that with the Norwegian tax authorities, and this was acknowledged by the court. No, the charges are that he intentionally hid money in order to evade taxes. Of this he is not guilty.

Call me biased, but Bernie Madoff, he is not.

For a little context, consider that Ai WeiWei was accused of tax evasion in China, a communist country, and released on bail after two months of house arrest and a fine.
"Xinhua reported that Mr Ai had offered to repay the taxes and would be released because of "his good attitude in confessing his crimes". " - from article in BBC above

Conversely, Odd has already paid his exorbitant back taxes, he is not allowed bail and must serve his sentence in full, without being allowed to paint, as well as pay a fine. If the sentence itself doesn't sound appallingly harsh for the circumstances, there's also the fact that they have no solid evidence, and have convicted him based only on some bureaucrat's "suspicion". Wait, doesn't that sound familiar? Why, yes, that's exactly what China did with Ai Weiwei. Yet, why is Norway imposing a more severe punishment than China, a country known for it's human rights violations? But of course, the Norwegian press doesn't present it that way. Why would they? Just as China controls it's press, the Norwegian press is funded by the Norwegian government.

Artist Pleads Not Guilty to tax evasion.

Odd Nerdrum Sentenced to Two Years in Jail

Here's what they don't tell you in the Norwegian press. First, they claim that a $900,000 fund in a safe deposit box, was placed there to evade taxes. Odd set aside the money for claims on large compositions that he made in the 1980's with an experimental medium of mastic and linseed oil. After several years, collectors complained that they began to melt if they got too warm. Though he generously painted 36 new paintings of the same images between 1989 - 2002 in order to replace the damaged paintings, many of the collectors wanted to be compensated with money instead of new paintings. This problem is quite well known and extensively documented, and the fund in question was stipulated in the contract with Forum Gallery. And considering the price of his work, this fund for potential claims is quite small.

Odd's explanation is backed up by documents. The courts case is built upon conjecture.

Secondly, Odd's bank keeps records up to ten years back. So, despite the fact that Odd provided all the necessary papers to prove his innocence for the years 2001-02, (just before he renounced his Norwegian citizenship and became an Icelandic citizen) he could not get any records for 1998-2000. They had no evidence to prove that he evaded taxes: no documents, no witnesses, no fingerprints, merely suspicion. Do you keep your tax records from over ten years ago? In the U.S we have what's called a statute of limitations, but apparently Norway doesn't. We also believe that it's the responsibility of the court to prove a man's guilt, not his responsibility to prove his innocence. Again, apparently this doesn't apply to Norwegian courts.

Is this worth a court case and two years in jail? Even if he were "guilty", why is this a criminal case to begin with, why not just a civil case?

It shocks me that this kind of persecution can be so blatantly pursued in our day, against such an international treasure. As this so profoundly effects our intellectual and creative community, I thought I must tell you. So, what is it that they want? Do they want Odd to demonstrate "his good attitude in confessing his crimes"? Do they want to make a political scapegoat out of him? I'll let you decide for yourself, but if you ask me, something is rotten in the state of Norway.


The vilest deeds like poison-weeds
Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate
And the Warder is Despair.
- Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol.




P.S. What can you do? Sign the Petition and contact your local papers and news channels. Spread the word!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

L'Esthétique

La galerie L’Oeil du Prince has the pleasure to invite you to the vernissage:
"L'Esthétique" de Richard T. Scott


Vernissage le mardi 10 mai de 18h30 à 22h
Exposition du 11 au 31 mai

" Not content to be merely a master in all the techniques of classical painting, each of the works of this young prodigy invite us to rediscover a part of the history of our culture - all the while, never forgetting to preserve his own part of shadow and mystery [...]


Before one of these paintings, blended with the greatest technical mastery and brilliance of composition, how can we not bow before the figurative genius of Richard T Scott - and celebrate, in advance, his next compositions? "

Frédéric-Charles Baitinger, art critic, Artension

Galerie L’Oeil du Prince
30 rue Cardinet
75017 Paris
Métro Wagram ou Monceau
01.42.26.50.49
du mardi au samedi de 11H à 19H30
et souvent le dimanche à partir de 15H00