Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Archive February Newsletter, featuring Barbara Mcevitt

February 2011

If somebody forwarded this to you and you'd like to receive it, you can email me at rv@nerdlypainter.com. There is a link at the bottom of each newsletter to unsubscribe.  Subscribe to our newsletter

Upcoming Events:

  1. Melrose Arts Festival, April 8 -10; Memorial Hall at 590 Main Street in Melrose Massachusetts.  The Friday evening Preview Party with live music from 6:30 to 9 PM.  Saturday 12-7 PM and Sunday 11-5 PM.  

  2. If you happen to be in Budapest ... My drawing "Leafy Jewels" will be on exhibit at Ferencvarosi Gallery, Budapest between May 26 - June 21, 2011 as part of a Juried exhibition organized by the Hungarian multicultural center.

  3. I've entered the Saatchi online showdown contest.  People tend to beg for votes, but I'd like to see us try and restore some fairness.  If you like to look at art, consider going and voting in a few of the matchups.  My matchup is here, but I won't be offended if you vote for the other guy (I will never know).
Archived newsletters can be found on my blog, The Nerdly Painter, where I've also been adding information about the chemistry of paint, post by post.


Follow the in-text links to jump to a section.  New work is at the end of the letter.

February already!  Is anyone else trying very hard to convince themselves that Spring is almost Sprung?  It looks like the mounds of snow have melted somewhat, and there is now a snow free space to photograph some paintings.  You can see them in the New pictures section (New pictures for you at the bottom of the newsletter)!  I also have an interesting local artist to introduce, Barbara Mc Devitt (the local artist section).  She lives and works right here in the greater Boston area and her paintings and photography have a fresh lyrical quality.  She has also done some very charming Folk Art paintings on slate.  An example is the commisioned piece below, "New England Winter", which captures the warmth of a New England home surrounded by snow.

More about featured artist Barbara Mc Devitt after the news (or jump below)

I've been developing a series of paintings around a common theme, and with the input of my Sweetie, PI Krastev of neutrino mass notability, the work is headed in a distinctly nerdly Physics direction.  Having a coherent series of paintings has helped as I've applied for a bunch of contests and shows.  Here's hoping there's some good news to share in March! Series are important to approach venues like galleries and small museums, but they take up a lot of storage space.  As an example of this bold new nerdliness, The painting below is titled "Tadpole Diagrams at Play", and is a bit of a visual play on an exotic Feynman diagram. I imagine the squares and chunkiness in the background are a failed attempt at renormalization.

A number of older pieces really need to leave my home to make room for the new paintings.  I also have some very good drawings which really should be on somebody's wall and not stashed away.  If you've had your eye on one of these pieces, my Spring cleaning section may be your art opportunity.

I also have two new homes on the internet, at Saatchi online and on TurningArt, and the Nerdly painter blog is off and running with new posts about the science of paint.  There's more information if you read on, or skip down to the internet section.

And now a bit of news that has everything to do with creativity, even if it's not art-related.  Some of you may know my friend Dr. YuYing Tang.  She's also an MIT Material Scientist, but she did her PhD at the 'Tute, whereas I did my BS.  YuYing is an inventor.  She's taken some very cutting edge advances in surgical materials (no pun intended) and re-engineered them into an advanced skin exfoliation technology - a specialized tape that removes only dead skin. This invention forms the basis of her start-up company, Ina-Mei.  She'll be speaking in Boston on a panel on the Innovation Ecosystem (I'm a volunteer), as part of the MIT alumnae association's celebration of the Institute's 150th.  Anyone is welcome to come - interest is the only prerequisite.


Featured Local Artist ... Barbara McDevitt

Barbara McDevitt is a painter and photographer living in Saugus, MA.  In both her photography and her painting she manages to convey a sense of time, a suspended moment, motion and stillness.  Looking at her photographs, one is struck not only be the interesting compositions and vivid color palette, but also by a meditative sense of place, and of the past and future of her subjects.  Her work is somehow simultaneously lively and contemplative.  She is currently showing several of her photographs at the Brighton Allston Heritage Museum as part of a group show, ReNew.

Barbara has had a long-standing love of art and painting, beginning after receiving a gift of her first set of paints as a child.  She quickly realized that she wanted to pursue her love of art, and was accepted into the Art Students' League of Marblehead, where she refined her drawing and rendering techniques under the tutelage of Kenneth Horowitz.  As she progressed from drawing studies to painting, she developed a fascination with movement and the artistry required to portray scenes such as oceanscapes in a manner that conveys the dynamism of the living natural world.  She has also delved into craft painting as well as curation, and operated the Rose Cottage Gallery as a brick and mortar fine crafts consignment gallery for a number of years.  Recently she has been focused on photography and painting once again.  Look for Barbara in shows and Festivals around town.  One of her photographs will be in the "Gaff" display exhibit, opening February 28 in Waltham, MA.

Barbara's Website                     Barbara's Prints                       Contact Barbara

I've selected a few paintings of her's and a photo that I really love, and I'd love to share them with you.  The first is a painting, a seascape called Coastal Maine.  I love the way this evokes surf and feels like Maine.  She has captured not only a sense of movement in the surf, but also the sense of peace one can find while facing the power of nature.

The next image is quite different, and has a sweet ethereal quality.  It's a painting called Girls in Wildflowers.

She also has photographs and paintings that capture the essence of parts of the North Eastern US (and Ireland, where she retains ties).  A covered bridge in Pennsylvania evokes the rural areas in that state in her painting Pennsylvania Covered Bridge, whereas her photograph Nubble Lighthouse One, perfectly captures the cripness of the air on a clear New England day.


If you've enjoyed Barbara's work as much as I do, you can always drop her a note.  There's a link to her Email right before the pictures.  Perhaps you'll meet some of her work in your neighborhood!

Internet and Blog

The Saatchi online website is a new discovery for me.  It's the first art website I've found that makes an attempt at a recommendations engine.  Think about how cool and useful good recommendations can be.  Instead of trudging through hundreds of tiny thumbnails or slow-loading larger images at random, or trying to find just the right keyword to describe a piece of art, the engine serves up cool and interesting stuff automagically! I spent some time playing with it, and after only about 20 or so "likes" the recommendations became noticeably more targeted and accurate.  Right now the mind in the machine selects more than 50% work I really like.  It's worth a look, and there's easy registration using Facebook.  My profile on Saatchi is here, and you can find my entry in the Saatchi Showdown contest here.

Another interesting website is TurningArt.  TurningArt is a juried online gallery, but it's also a bootstrapped start-up with a really interesting concept.  They've taken the idea of art leasing and melded it with the latest advances in art reproductions technology.  The result is a subscription service that's been referred to as the "Netflix" of fine art.  People subscribe and recieve a frame with a high quality print of one of the original pieces offered by the gallery.  Subscribers receive a new print from their queue every few months.  If they decide to get an original, their subscription costs are applied to the cost of the art.  It's like a combination layaway and Netflix, and theTurning Art team has put together a nice collection.  As a start-up Turning Art is also interesting. When they talk to people about their new business idea, some of those same people may end up becoming customers for their product.  When I found out about them, I checked out their site, signed up, and now I have 5 pieces accepted!  So TurningArt is also my first gallery representation. They have a 3 month exclusive on several of my Abstract originals, including Elastic Dialog, Song of Solar Fusion, Subtle Machinery, and Nano Night Music.  The thumbnails of the Turning Art peices are below, and you can also see my page on Turning Art.

Destashing Art

I have a number of pieces posted on Facebook in a gallery called "Make me an offer".  I'll consider offers over $150 for paintings and lower offers for the small drawings.  For large paintings in the 3 foot and larger range I'll have to add shipping (for the smaller ones and works on paper I'll cover the shipping).  Flowers up a blue wall and Cave painting are already spoken for.    Drop me an email for more information.


A Tale of Two Rose Paintings

I sometimes paint flowers in landscapes where the patterns made by the flowers are the subject of tha painting.  Roses are a favorite motif.  I have an older painting, one of my first 3 flower paintings ever that's titled Red and Blue.  It's on the left.  I have a new painting, from this year (2011), titled Bed of Roses.  It's on the right.  There are some similarities between the two paintings, but there are also clear differences. The differences mark my evolution as a painter, as I've found my own style in the use of paint and other oil painting materials.


 Red and Blue, the older painting, was painted using a palette of transparent oils with deep colors.  The unprimed side of the canvas was saturated with oily loose washes of paint creating a bleeding watercolor effect, but with a color saturation that can only be obtained using oil.  Because the paint from the washes sank into the unprimed canvas, I was able to work up in thick paint layers that sat more on the surface, and to enhance the delineation between different color regions.  Textured impasto was worked in as well, making a more or less smooth transitionfrom paint soaked into the canvas to paint smoothed onto the surface to a texture tha sits above the canvas. Light opaque impasto, appliqued onto the canvas, was used to bring light into the darker areas and texture the blue toned shadows.  If you were to look at Red and Blue as a gray scale image, there would not be a lot of contrast.  Most of the contrast in the painting comes from the different hues, and the saturation of these hues makes the painting vibrant.  This older painting was painted by mixing colors from a fairly limited palette, and linseed oil was used in the washes.  The yellow tint of the oil noticeably greens the sky in certain light.

Bed of Roses, on the right, is a new painting (and not a professional photo - sorry).  The same technique was used, but the reds and blues in the wash are more finely textured.  The impasto used to create the roses is also more distinct raised and textured, as if the roses were sculpted onto the canvas.  The newer painting has more of a feel of depth and is in some sense less abstracted.  The colors are cooler, and were created using a wider range of pigments in the palette.  White was used in the red impasto to make the transparent pigments opaque and bright.

One thing that strikes me about some of my newer paintings, compared to older paintings with a more limited palette, is the way that they react to changing light.  Bed of Roses retains much of its appearance in even a fairly dark room.  My older floral paintings and landscapes behave like, well "pictures" in changing light.  As the light in the room dims, the painting just becomes dark and indistict.  With some of the newer ones it's almost as if the light moves within the painting and night falls within the scene.  I believe some of this may be an illusion, but there may be a real effect of different chemically and optically complex pigments (less mixed in the newer work) reacting to the changing spectrum and intensity of light differently.  Pretty weird.

New Art

I have a brand new ink drawing loosely based on complex fluids.  It's called Complex Fluid, a Novel Surfactancy, and prints are available online.  The original is slightly smaller than a notebook page and it was done by hand using a very fine point felt pen.  And yes, I do realize that the two-tailed moleculed that form bilayer membranes generally don't also form simple micelles. It's not a technical diagram - the differences are useful talking points.

Complex Fluid, a noc=vel surfactancy

The next new painting is actually a bold paint over of a piece that I just couldn't get to work.  I do need to move my signature.  This is called Transition to Chaos, and I think the title is pretty self-explanatory.  Weber Resingel was used in a lot of the over-painted pattern.  The resingel dries to a slick and shiny finish, rather like Jolly Ranchers candy.  The slick finish keeps the piece light and fun, which makes the business of the chaotic machinery work.

Another Nerdly science themed painting is titled Percolation on a Lattice.  Percolation is the technical term for the point when soft aggregates or tiny structures in a fluid all find each other and connect into a giant network or maze of matter.  We're almost there in this painting.

More New Art, Clockwise from the upper left:  Ahead of the Storm (12" x 15", oil), Barrier Islands (12" x 15", oil)  Cephalopod Valentine (Happpy Squid Valentine's Day), Fishscape with Squid (30" x 30", oil), and Frolic in Tortuosity (30" x 30", oil)



That's all until March.  In the meantime, find me and my work

by email: rv@nerdlypainter.com,

online at http://www.nerdlypainter.com

on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Nerdlypainter

or on my blog  http://nerdlypainter.blogspot.com

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