Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The seascape project again and the passing of a well known artist

Here is the seascape project to which I have returned. I signed it, but there are still a few little tweaks I want to give it before I deliver it to the dealer. I put it aside for a while so I could return to it with a fresh eye. That is often very helpful. The painting is a 26 by 36 and I worked on it about eight days.Plus another day for the field study from which it originated. Seascape is the hardest thing I do and I always feel like I have been beaten with a stick when I finish one. I have done a lot of them, but only recently have I felt confident about what I am doing. I believe I will paint another. I did an 18 by 24 for the show in Kennebunk. I worked on that one day outside and one in the studio, as I said before usually I make sketches outdoors and seascape in the studio, but that one seemed to work.

I am doing a demo tomorrow at the ocean point studio/gallery in East Boothbay, Maine the address is 130 Van Horn road. If you are in the area, and want to come, I will see you there. I am going to do a seascape demo, I hope it goes OK, that's always a gamble. But I like doing that because I use no references. That means people don't get the idea that I copy them from photographs. It sort of proves that I can do it.

I got an e-mail the other day asking me about using cool lights and warm shadows the question was "doesn't that break the rule of warm lights and cool shadows in sunlight?" Yes, it does, generally outside on a sunny day you will see warm lights and cool shadows. And usually that's how I paint it. However it is always useful to have a trick or two up your sleeve, and reversing the temperature of the light is one. Sometimes in the morning or on gray days you will have cool lights, and always in a north light studio. But I have said before in the blog EVERYTHING is a servant of my design, including my color, and if I can make a picture look better by changing this or most anything else I will. This is grad school level stuff though, before you start doing this kind of thing you need to have command over how to play it straight.

I also wanted to mention the passing of William Reese, a well known western artist. I never met him but he was well known and did some fine paintings. Here is a link to his web site

Below is a page from that site.

William Reese

Born in South Dakota and raised in Central Washington, William F. Reese has been painting now for over 50 years. Like most everyone he started drawing at 3 or 4 but went on to begin painting in oil at 12. After high school Reese went to study fine art at Washington State College and then on to Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles. He worked as a sign painter and a sign pictorial artist for thirteen years, in Washington, Oregon, and California while he was building a following for his easel paintings. In 1971 he left the sign business to work full time in his studio in Bellevue, Washington, where he also taught privately the art of drawing and painting. Currently his studio is in Wenatchee, Washington where he and his wife Frances now live.

His work is basically the diary of his life. Working mostly in oil, but at the same time he has produced a large body of works in other media, such as watercolor, pastel, and sculpture as well as his drawings, lithographs, and etchings. He works entirely from his life's interest and experiences. Working from live models and in the field Reese relies heavily on personal observation, each piece a personal statement from and about his life. Reese's work has been shown throughout the United States and in many exhibitions abroad. His work was included in the first exhibition of contemporary art from the western world in mainland China since China's reopening.

Many art magazines in the last 35 years have published articles on Reese's work, he was the subject of an award winning book by Mary N. Balcomb entitled Wm. F. Reese, American Artist published in 1984, as well as one written by Arlene Kirkpatrick entitled Masterworks of American Art Published in 1985.

He has received many national and regional awards over the last 40 years including the Robert Lougheed Gold Medal from the National Western Heritage Museum, two silver medals from the National Parks Academy for the Arts, and the Best of Show Colonel Smith Award from the National Wildlife Art Museum.

Because of his broad interests, great range of subject matter, and diversified media Reese is a very a difficult artist to categorize and label as to style and school, most will probably label him as a post impressionist with a touch of expressionism.


Anonymous said...

Hi Stape,
This is the saddest news, Bill and Fran are dear people, a wonderful team. Bill has been battling health problems for many years and had stopped painting a year ago. Painting in oil in a little closet of a room in Bellevue, WA when I first went to take lessons in the late 70's, he was already feeling the affects of the fumes etc and we had to be careful about turps. He was a tremendous force for realist painting from life, a major influence on artists young and old and the curators of museums. He had an old ranch in the mountains between Seattle and Ellensburg, in the summer we would go up and paint for a week and he would have us set up and costumed mountain men would ride their horses around us slowly while we tried to capture it in paint! One morning he had a huge wagon full of fresh cabbages and Fran and a friend dressed as Russian peasants. Sitting around a campfire listening to him and Ramon Kelly talk about art history. He helped found the Northwest Rondesvous Group and they had this thing they did called a 'shoot-out' where they painted a painting from life in 45 min that put them on the map. Those guys lit a fire under realism at a time when abstract art ala Mark Tobey had taken over the museums and galleries. You would have liked him; he called it the way he saw it and was totally committed to excellance in art. Never saw him in a suit just well worn jeans and a plaid shirt and a devilish sense of humor. Saw a small showing of his oils,watercolors,a pastel and several sculptures last month here in Palm Desert but he and Fran didn't come down. His legacy will go on for a long time not just in his work but in the work of the many wonderful painters he mentored. Terry
I love the sea scape!

Robert J. Simone said...

I was privileged to have Bill Reese leave a comment on one of my blogs last fall. Had no idea someone of his stature might be reading. Bill also put out a pretty good book called The Painter's Process. I am sure it is available on his website.
R.I.P. Bill.

Nice seascape. Like the stacked values rock to rock and rock to water.

Deborah Paris said...

I didn't know Bill Reese personally but felt like I did- he was a good friend of Hollis Williford (two time Prix de West winner, died in 2007) who was a good friend and mentor to me. Hollis told me many stories about Bill and obviously admired him a great deal. He had several of Reese's works in his private collection. Their generation kept the flame of realism alive in the West- they will be missed.

Mary Byrom said...

This is so sad to hear about Bill. He was totally accessible and actively mentoring artists.(even long distance) What a great artist & great person. His thoughts and contributions will be sorely missed in our discussions. (plein air ning)

Your seascapes are look good on the internet but Stapleton, I have to say nothing like seeing them in person. They are really rich! Nice going.

M said...

wow I have never heard of this guy but his paintings are AMAZING. I viewed the thumbnails and was shocked to view the detail to see how spare his brushstrokes are. If a picture paints 1000 words, his paints an encyclopedia. Just gorgeous.

willek said...

Just a terrific picture, Stape I like that nice airiness and the associated colors in the shadows of the middle and distant ground rocks. The moist air is a very present element in the picture. Just great.

I did not know much about Mr. Reese but I have heard of him and I have looked him up once or twice. Wonderful work. That western and south western art is quite a phenomenon. Our eastern news stands always have 3 or 4 magazines devoted to it. I do not think the reverse is true. New England art magazines in the Northwest or in Texas? It must be a big market in one way or another.

Woodward Simons said...

Hope you had a good day painting at Ocean Point. Say hi to Corinne for me! I visited her last year while I was there. She and her husband were nice enough to treat me to dinner.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It was hardest for that generation of traditional painters. We should be thankful to them for opening the trails for us.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am pleased to have you comment on my blog.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That generation is all but gone now. I didn't know Reese but I knew a lot of others who persevered in what was the low ebb of traditional painting.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you! I worry over them, they are, as I often say, the hardest thing I do.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I wish I had met him. I think I would have enjoyed him.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Very few of the art magazines pay much attention to New England. Charles Movalli used to write about New Englanders for American Artist, but that was years ago.I would like to be in there some day myself!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I got dinner too! I had a great time and put on my usual ridiculous show.