Bernat Martorell

St. George and the Dragon
Bernat Martorell
The Art Institute of Chicago

One of my favorite paintings. Below, detail showing the sculpted, 3D elements, gilt of course. This painting is a wonderful example of a great 15th. century painter, and his studio, quietly showing all of their repertoire. The carved wooden panel, gilt, and the painting itself, with it's wonderful, "rolling" perspective. Every time I'm in The Art Institute of Chicago, I visit this painting; it is an old friend.

Another detail; note the fly on the bone, and the splatter technique for the dirt and sand.


Works Progress Administration

Another painting in process, top, and a better image of the one in the previous post. The one on top is essentially done, only needing some air brush glazing with egg yolk and water to even the sheen. The one on the bottom needs a little tonal "fussing", but is also, essentially done ... but, they both need the frosting ... the FRAME. I feel such a dinosour, frames, how quaint.

The "dune" painting started from a photo, but has wandered off in directions of it's own. It is somewhat large for me, 12 x 24. The "sunset" is based on an existing watercolor, but it has also wandered off, seeking it's own path I guess. It is dimensionally, 6 x 12. All dimensions are in inches, and height precedes width; customary museum practice. Some picture framers and some wood butchers reverse that ... but they are just wrong. I asked my wife, a former museum registrar, whether the American Association of Museums had set the standard; she laughed, and said no, it came from the "book". Dorothy H. Dudley and others, Museum Registration Methods.

Here, from the Museum of Modern Art, a brief bio of Ms. Dudley.

So, just for the record, height precedes width  ....  OK?

Get it right ... and the bluebird of happiness will do ...   whatever ...  OK?


Work in Progress

One of several egg tempera paintings I'm working on at the moment. Untitled, as of yet, 6"  x  12", on a panel.Traditional gesso.And the photo was done quickly, and is ever so slightly off. Once it has a frame, I will spend the time to photograph it properly.

Loosely based on a watercolor of mine. One of the pleasures of egg tempera for me is the subtle changes that can be rendered by glazing; and the glazing can be done in cross-hatching, scumbling in a color, or even air brush. Sometimes the paint is just "pushed" around. Unlike oils, there is no tendency to produce mud by repeated working of a passage. 

The painting is nicer in person than on the interwebs ...

Addendum to a previous post. Here

I'm pretty sure the last three words on the top line are: "laid to rest". In the bottom line, the last words are? "all their country? wishes blest. I've jacked up the contrast and sharpness for this file. I've thought of doing a rubbing, but I suspect that doing a photo as I did, with a corded flash at a right angle to the stone is just as good. Help would be appreciated; I have several raw files; if there is anybody who reads my meanderings and is interested in this sort of thing.  It's just an itch I feel like scratching. This small cemetery went through a period of neglect, but seems to be being cared for now, and my interest in that bloody war continues unabated.


Modernist frame

Peter Blume, "The Buoy", Art Institute of Chicago

This is an example of the delightful polychrome finishes from the "Modernist" period of the 1940s-50s. They are characterized by broad, but simple moldings, and in lieu of ornaments, textured gesso, followed by washes of polychrome that are rubbed, scrubbed, and abused to achieve some beautiful effects. The textures range from the combing, seen above, splattering, scumbling, and sort of slathering with a palette knife, like impasto knife painting.

The above frame is a touch "loud" for my taste, though I think it works. I'm from that ancient school of framers who wants the frame to enhance rather than announce it's presence. Not that I'm always innocent. Here, though it hides it's freak flag well.