Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Salmagundi in the Seventies/Chuck Sovek and Me

Flashback Fridays continues/Salmagundi Club in the Seventies

Charles Sovek, Claudia Post, Paul De Lorenzo, Richard and Naomi Clive

This was taken back in the seventies of Charles Sovek beginning a portrait demonstration using me as his model. I introduced Chuck to Salmagundi Club way back then when I was one of just a few women artist members there. It was an all male artist club with a downstairs pool room and bar and smoking was allowed and even encouraged. My sponsors back in the seventies were Dana Gibson Noble (a Connecticut Seascape painter who graduated from Yale), Maryanne Maier and Patricia Yaps both seascape painters as well. Dana was the nephew of the famed illustrator Charles Gibson the originator of the "Gibson Girl". Dana called me "the kid"back then as he first saw my work in pastel when I was just 17 yrs old and in local state art competitions. When I dated Charles Sovek during the seventies I brought him to Salmagundi Club and he followed up with membership there. There were nights we would stay there late and he would play the piano for me in the big exhibition room. He played beautifully and the music echoed in the large space. 
Charles accepted an invitation from the then President of Salmagundi  Artist Richard Clive (who followed Raymond Goldberg), to do a portrait demonstration at the club. He asked me to model and I wore my hair up and used a lovely handmade shawl that my mother knitted for me over my shoulders.
It was an oil demonstration and Chuck believed in working from the outside to the inside of the portrait. He believed in and worked to accomplish simplicity and  minimun of brushstrokes.
This was me smiling but couldn't pose that way for the duration.
This was the actual pose and expression. I would have much preferred being at the easel painting!
You can see how he concentrated to put down only the values and colors that were absolutely necessary to paint. He worked diligently to compare value to value and color to color.
We had a nice crowd of interested people that night and you can see that an exhibition was going on in the background too.
Charles was a good teacher and had strong beliefs about how one should see, express themselves and to paint. I was more classical in my approach and drawing was paramount to me. I worked in pastels, oils and some acrylics.
He looked like a musician here, moving his hands around like a conductor while he spoke
Here is a more complete study however I had only black and white "film" for these shots. But you can see how accurate his values are, even though he was painting with intense color alla prima.
His hands were beautiful for a man even though one hand was deformed. He was elegant when playing the piano and painting
Both he and I went to The Art Center College in California. At this time in the seventies he was an instructor at Paier Art School , now officially a college and we went to many functions together. I remember going to a Christmas Party one year with Chuck to the senior Dean Keller's home in Hamden Ct.  Dean Keller was the official portrait painter for Yale University for many years. Then Artist Joe Funaro took over and since then has passed away.
This lady with the white hat was Naomi Clive and next to her was her husband artist Richard Clive who was the then President of Salmagundi Club. I was very friendly with both of them for years before they passed on. Richard and Naomi bought a home/studio at Rocky Neck Art Colony in their older years and I visited them and they visited my at my home/studio in Cheshire Ct. where I started an art school that grew so fast and big, I got scared . When I was told I had to incorporate and become more of a business person, I folded! I was an artist and wanted to paint!
Richard Clive did some lovely little figure paintings of me in oil on mat board and some wonderful still life work. I still have one of his still life paintings today. I also have a little detailed drawing of a tree that I love and remember what he said. He said "Trees were like beautiful women dancers!" I could see and understand that, especially when all the leaves are gone.
Richard left me one of his one armed chairs that he always used for models in his studio and I still use it today and fondly remember him each time I do.
I will write another blog on Richard Clive and our friendship another time. It is very interesting.
This is the late artist and classical portrait painter, Paul De Lorenzo at the Salmagundi Club the night of the demonstration. I admired his incredible work and at the time he was commissioned to paint the former President of Salmagundi Raymond Goldberg. The portrait was superb and meticulously painted. Everything that Paul painted was that way. I was truly inspired with his sensitive portrayal of his subjects. It was before I knew about Ives Gammel and his school of painting passed down from William Paxton. His teachings were going to generate some of the best contemporary realists of our time. It was Charles Movalli who suggested I study with Gammel after studying with Daniel Greene however I was a single parent supporting my family with my are and had to work non stop to do this.
I am sad to see the world lose artist  Paul DeLorenzo who was one of your finest painters. I was coincidentally just downloading this photo of him to send to Paul on facebook (I had just friended him one month ago) and to use it for this blog.
Also coincidentally while going through these old memory photos of Sovek etc. I was emailed by an artist who read a previous blog of mine, Bruce Bundock from Kingston, NY who used to paint in a painting group at Chuck's studio on Riverside Dr. in Westport, Ct while I dated him. In that group was Howard Munce, Christie Gallagher, and Suzanne Lemieux. 
 This is a portrait of Artist Bruce Bundock by Charles Sovek during one of those painting groups. Check out Bruce Bundock today at Sent to me today!
Drawing done by Bruce Bundock, artist who used to go to Sovek's artist group weekly . This is the back of Chuck Sovek and model inside Sovek's studio in the seventies. I remember well.
Thank you Bruce for contacting me yesterday and sending me these images to share.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In the Seventies with Chuck Sovek/ Flashback Fridays with Claudia Post

In the Seventies with the late artist, Charles Sovek by Claudia Post

Continuing my "Flashback Fridays" my memories of people places and things related to my life as an artist.

This is an acrylic plein air painting by the late Charles Sovek before painting on location became so wide spread and popular.  It was painted at a quarry in Lanesville, Ma. on Cape Ann Island during the fall of the late seventies. The home in the back ground was the home of the sculptor Paul Manship, the creator of the gorgeous gold sculpture at the bottom of Rockerfeller Plaza and in his yard was a magnificient casual sculpture garden displaying his various art works. On the left standing was my dear friend the late Michael Stoffa, artist and painter of Rockport for over 40 yrs. On the right sitting with pastels is me with the reddish color hair. This painting was given to me the following Christmas by Chuck as a gift and I gave him a large set of Rembrandt Pastels to encourage him to work in the medium.

I treasure this old painting today. I just had it reframed by my framer Joel Marzi, Essex House of Framing in Centerbrook, Ct. so that it reflects the respect and dignity of the work itself and preserve the painting with museum standard framing. I am a stickler about archival supplies and framing.

This is the sculpture by Paul Manship in NYC that we have all been brought up with throughout our youth. It was his white house by a quarry that is in this painting by Sovek.

So back in the Seventies, when Charles Sovek and I were wandering around the yard of Paul Manship admiring his many sculptures, I took this photo of him in front of one of our favorites. It is three giant black bears.

I took this photo of Chuck as we admired the art and played in the yard. This sculpture has recently been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as I discovered last year when I brought two of my students and my friend artist Jan Blencowe to the museum and we had lunch next to the Sculpture Garden there and I was totally surprised to find the three bears sitting right near our dining table.
It brought back so many memories.


In the late seventies, I dated the late artist Charles Sovek for a period of about one and half years during my first 10 yr. period of being a single woman with 3 children to raise. Chuck was also divorced at the time with two children and he was the first serious artist I spent time with man to woman as well as artist to artist.  He was an instructor at the time at Paier Art School (now a college status) and was working on his first book. He also attended the same art college that I did out in Los Angeles, Ca. called The Art Center College of Art, still a very reputable and outstanding art institution for serious talented artists to attend. We had much in common. In the photos above, Chuck and I were visiting and spending time on Cape Ann Island , the south shore of Massachusetts, where many hard working and famous artists resided. I knew it well and had good friends there and I introduced Chuck to the art colonies there as well as the many many areas around the island to paint. We stayed with the late Michael Stoffa, who had an apartment at the time overlooking Motif #1 on the harbor in Rockport (before the big snow storm that took the Motif down).

This was the view from Michael's apartment that year. He was such a genuine, giving artist, teacher and friend. He spent the later part of his life in Rockport, painting every day and running his gallery on Main St. and married his student Dorothy Ramsey a wonderful artist and person. They were authentic spiritual people and I was always welcome to their home and to paint with them.
Michael died some years ago and Dot continued for years with the gallery on Main Street across from the Rockport Art Association until she sold it and still remains in Rockport today.  They were very involved with the RAA in fact Michael was President of the RAA for a number of years. There were some wonderful old artists back then who painted daily and communicated and influenced one another. Emile Gruppe, Don Stone, Paul Strizak, a young Charles Movalli and Betty Lou Schlemm, Roger Curtis , Tom Nickolas Sr., and so many many more great artists.
This is an old photo of Lanesville in a sweet little area.  Michael used to bring me out to his favorite locations to paint . It was like him sharing what inspired him and teaching me to see what he was "feeling" about what he "saw". He was a great teacher and shared generously.  I was just a young single mom fighting her way in the art works to discover what worked for me. Michael knew this and respected me.  I needed to support my children and myself but also needed to be true to myself as an artist. I figured things out as I went along.
I knew that if I were creative , that I could be creative in life too.
I introduced Chuck to Michael Stoffa and they found much in common and Chuck was stimulated and excited with his newly found location and friend.
This is a photo of them painting together in Gloucester, Ma. It was cold so Chuck always used an old sock with a hole in the end where he could stick out his painting brush. Michael was well known for his style of hat that he wore. You could always find him in a landscape that way!
Yep, he smoked back then .
The guys are painting on the dock with the town of Gloucester in the background.
More old Gloucester Fishing boats. I can smell the ocean and the fish from here! Gortons fishery right down the street and Fitz Hugh Lane's big stone house high on the hill overlooking the harbor where we painted his work. And the smell of Virgillios Italian Bakery too.
Old boats like these where what Emile Gruppe lived for.
Here is Charles Sovek posing for me at the end of the dock.
I will continue to post old photos and write interesting memories in the next blog. In the meantime, why not google some of these well known established artists and learn about them and their work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Painting Peter Trippi, Editor of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine" CSOPA Event 2012

Artists paint model Peter Trippi at CSOPA Portrait Event July 2012

Jeanine Jackson founder of Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists and president put together an amazing event. The following artists: Peter Arguimbau, Betsy Ashton, Kelly Birkenruth, Carol Boyton, Grace DeVito, Susan Durkee, Nanette Fluhr, Sonia Hale, Jeanine Jackson, Claudia Post (myself), Ed Salazar, Mau Saluja, Joseph Sundwall, Cindy Wagner, and Joyce Zeller all were given just 3 hours to set up and paint an "Art Celebrity" Peter Trippi who is the Editor of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. Mr. Trippi who is an art connoisseur himself offered to model for 3 hours for a portrait session under hot lights (without air conditioning) yesterday in a civic center in Greenwich Ct. to experience what a model goes through as well as what each artist goes through to achieve a likeness and create a work of portrait art.

Jeanine Jackson worked tirelessly to put together this event for both the artists and the audience and once again she succeeded in producing fine results.
 These are the portrait artists almost all working in oils (except me in Pastels) and each one approaching the portrait with a different procedure and with different palettes of color. All were like composers, musicians or dancers all ready to perform and create art.

I brought with me two of my art students in my gifted atelier program, Lydia Tonkonow and Anna Schull and also my cousin Lynn who is very interested in the arts, who owns a great number of my early works. Lydia, Anna, and Lynn made me extremely proud as they showed so much interest in the artists working and they helped anyone with anything during the 3 hours of working. They even helped with all these photographs so that I could concentrate on my own work. Thank you ladies . 

Most artists used French easels. I brought a straight up and down easel for myself because I was going to work on a large sized compressed drawing board with a full sized sheet of canson paper on it.

This is one corner of the room where I was situated as close as I could be to our model to see his features. I am standing here like a tripod to steady myself and wore extremely comfortable clothing. I wore my painting shirt with a photo of my painting on the back with my website information! I was a walking advertisement. It was very warm and Peter was an amazing model. He wanted to learn what it would be like to be a model for a portrait and to learn about the artists who paint portraits. He has warm friendly personality and a sensitive look in his eyes. He talked freely to each of us with enthusiasm and interest. Peter Trippi plans to write about what it is to model and to paint a portrait, the process using this experience and CSOPA artists as examples. I would post the work of other artists but they are not finished at this point as they would normally do if they had more time to work. I would not want someone to post my work in a state I wasn't 100% pleased with. So you will just have to wait to view the work of my fellow artists.

This is me working on my pastel drawing. I worked on Steel Gray Canson paper and used only Nu Pastels sharpened with a razor to a point and then finally with a sand pad. I am a draftsman. I knew that I could not finish a full soft pastel painting in just 3 hours the way that I work so I decided to do an under drawing using a limited color palette. Using mostly values , I started my proportions with a very light cocoa brown, then graduated to a darker cooler brown and then finally to a darker green and a darker cordovan color with touches of black for his pupil and hair and lightened the lights with ivory, peach, ochre and reddish colors. I left much of the paper showing through .

Here is part of the group of artists on my side all working and concentrating.

Here we all are concentrating and taking advantage of every minute each of us has to look at our model and express all that we can in a limited amount of time. It is performing.

I believe that I draw or paint what I see and feel at that very moment in time I am painting that subject. And the subject sits there thinking about things every minute they are still and it shows in their face. That is why good music (preferably music that both the sitter and the artist enjoy) is good during the process of creating.

Here is a good photo of me, the model and my drawing.

Here is the entire group of the CSOPA artists after working on their portraits with Peter Tripp in the middle

We all had fun!

Peter, my portrait drawing and me

My completed Drawing photographed by Caryn Davis Photography from my town of Chester, CT.
Robert Henri in the Art Spirit said that when the thing that you have to say about your subject is said, then it is finished! Well should I proceed and complete this pastel portrait in full soft pastel? What do you think?

*Thank you Jeanine Jackson and Peter Trippi for a great painting experience yesterday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Oil Painting beginner and intermediate July 2012 Part two

This is one of my plein air palettes with not much of a system at all. I was in France and had to work quickly. Having the time to paint leisurely at your easel and teach it is a procedure, organization and system of working that I rely on.

By the time you have observed and studied your subject matter, drawn it, laid in values, (darks, middle tones and lights), you are truly getting familiar with your subject and you develop a relationship or intimacy with it. You know it. So by the fourth and fifth day of working on your painting, you are beginning to see more and the refining begins and there are lots of decisions to be made with each step of the process. Continual stepping back from your work, making corrections, discussing the process and the next steps to be taken.

For my palette I use a warm and cool of each primary color.
Lemon Yellow
Cad Yellow
Cadmium Red Light
Alizarin Crimson
Ultra Marine Blue
Prussian Blue

and then I add:
Utrecht White
Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Burnt Sienna
Sap Green

Cadmium Red Medium
Chromium Oxide Green

I used Liquin for a light medium with the students and Gamblin Odorless Spirits for Turpentine
A daily spray of retouch varnish in between painting sessions.

This is Anna using the medium after
the third day. You can see how
the light interprets the reflective
quality of the surface now.

Shannon building up her layers of paint with various palette knives and making decisions of hard edges, soft edges, toning down intensities, changing directions of strokes and correcting drawing here and there.

This is Anna's last day and her finish on the very first oil painting she has done.
By the way the intricate glass in the background right is Venetian glass from Murano in Italy and is 24 k. gold (a typical glass design from the world famous glass artistry) and the vase on the left is hand made and you can really tell be it's handmade handles. This painting professionally photographed would show more accurate warms and cools of each color.

Last day touch ups and a pleased talented and confident art student!

The demonstration oil painting by me completed on day five.
Get out your oil paints and enjoy creating and observing the world around you!
Claudia Post

Oil Painting -beginner and intermediate Intense 5 days July 2012 part one

Once each year I conduct a five day Intense Oil Painting Class for serious beginners or intermediate art students. It is important that students have drawing experience. This class is based on an academic approach to realistic oil painting but does not require an under painting in value. I work with a few students at a time because I set up my easel right in front of them so that they can work step by step with me and I can talk about the steps that I take in achieving my results. It is intense for my students and for me as well as I work the entire length of my classes with my students.

I select a variety of basic shaped items that I find interesting and throw in one item that is more intriguing and more difficult and of course fruits or vegetables that are colorful and go along with my color scheme also. Then I use a light box and put out various values and colors of fabric for a backdrop and several choices for a contrasting cloth. Then I give my boxes of items to my students and they try out their given items and mutually decide the final still life. *If they don't succeed in designing a good composition that will look enticing from various locations around the room, then I would intervene and make suggestions. However one of my student this week, Shannon Blencowe has an excellent sense of composition and designs well. So her leading the effort was successful.
 Below is the chosen composition of subject matter that the girls (Shannon Blencowe and Anna Schull) put together. Shannon and Anna are part of my Atelier Program that prepares exceptionally talented youth for Art College or further Atelier Study. Shannon is 18 yrs. old and Anna is 15 yrs. old.

Still life to be painted

The students selected the items that inspired them, as well as the color and value of the drapery and cloth in the set up. They chose their location and view for their easels and I set my easel up directly in front and below them so that they could watch me work step by step while teaching them and painting myself.
I used Ambersand Gessobord, museum series panel that is archival and then I double coated another coat of gesso to insure the students would have a good "feel" with the oil paints. I had them each tone their surface with a transparent wash of cadmium red light , the opposite color of the aquas or greenish blues that were prevalent in their still life choice.

I had the girls do a few thumbnail sketches first to decide which would be their best choice for a finished oil painting. Usually it is the second or third sketch that makes the grade for a painting. They both chose to crop into the still life and also created a vertical format. I chose a horizontal and used much of the drapery and cloth for my own work.

This was Shannon's second oil painting class with me so I let her do a wipe up technique for her beginning drawing and proceed step by step with using palette knives instead of brushes. Anna followed with a more tradition method and began with a careful and light vine charcoal to draw in her work.
I was at the same eye level as Anna and Shannon was above our eye level and that of the still life view. We used one soft spotlight on our still life and we were careful to minimize or eliminate other lights around my studio.

Anna drawing in with her painting brush after charcoal.

As you can see, Anna can see my beginning drawing from her easel and over on right Shannon can also glance over at me working. There is conversation intermittently during the hours of work to teach, remind and alert my students to what is coming up in their painting.

This is the studio with Anna on left, my easel in the far middle, Shannon on right and still life set up far right.+

This is the beginning of Shannon's lay in with color letting some of the cadmium wash show through.

This is Anna establishing her values in her work, slowly establishing the dark and light relationships.

This is my drawing established first with the light charcoal, then with a turpentine wash of ultramarine and burnt sienna.

This is Shannon's still life compared to the set up.Values laid in loosely and still transparent.

Shannon's work end of second day working. Using a palette knife she is laying on darks, middle tones and lights.

Mine at the end of the second day laying in darks, middle tones and lights

Anna working at the end of the second day of five. (dog is studio!)

Working with the palette knife here.

Anna's work third day. The paint quality beginning to build up and she is just beginning to learn what the paint can do for her with it's day. She has never worked with oil before.

I made this blog in two parts as I didn't want to bore my viewers. So stay tuned for part two. Do you feel like painting yet?