Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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
with Richard T Scott
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
|Among the Ruins|
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
|End of the Road|
|The Lotus Eater|
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Sign the Petition to Free Odd Nerdrum!
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).
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.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Lee will have an exhibition at EMPAC Aprill 21, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
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 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...
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).
The answer to the question of this double standard, is that the zeitgeist (spirit of the time) is modern....
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!