Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jury's Top 60 Award....

Out of the 392 paintings selected for Salon International 2010, the Salon International Jury chose what they considered to be the top 60 pieces. My piece "Radiance" was one of the 60 chosen. I considered just getting in this show an award. I don't have the words to express how I feel about being in the top 60. I am thrilled....


We left for San Antonio about 9am Thursday, the 8th. It took about 8 hours because we wanted to take the back roads. It probably took a couple of hours more than had we gone through Austin, but then again Austin has some of the worst traffic conditions in the country, so who knows. The wild flowers, and especially the blue bonnets, were in full bloom.
There were interesting sights other than the flowers. I do wish I'd taken a picture because we saw "Mater" parked at a gas station in one of the little towns we went through. I'm not kidding! Someone had taken their old pickup and made it look like the character from the movie CARS.

We arrived in San Antonio at the home of our friends about 5pm. For dinner Mike and Elizabeth took us to one of their favorite restaurants. Of course I can't remember the name but they specialize in Persian food. Before the meal they brought out a huge piece of flat bread and a dipping sauce made with spices and olive oil. The spices smelled heavenly. The salads were beautiful and everything tasted wonderful.

The following day we went to the missions. There are a lot of them around San Antonio with remarkable history's. The largest being San Jose. While there, John said he saw a woman over in a corner painting. That perked my interest, but when I looked she was gone. A little while later I saw her so I walked over to say Hi. Life can be so funny. Can you believe it? I knew her and of her. Well, we'd not actually met. She was in charge of bringing artists in to do demos for the Richardson Art Society so we'd exchanged emails. Unfortunately she was out of town when I did my presentation, but just about everyone in the Dallas/FtWorth area knows Cecy Turner. She said she was in town for the Salon International banquet and artists reception. Small world. After exchanging a hug I left and continued to take pictures however very few turned out. The light wasn't great for picture taking but the weather was wonderful for wandering around San Antonio. It was unusually cool which I appreciated very much.

That evening John, Mike, Elizabeth and I went to the awards banquet. This was the first time I'd ever been to the Greenhouse Gallery however I've known about it for years. This is also the first year they'd had the banquet at the Gallery so everyone who attended got to see the show before dinner. They gave us an hour to look then gently prodded us toward our tables. Who cared about eating. I've seen a lot of art shows and all of them are incredible, but I've never seen one that had nothing but oil paintings. There was just something different about it, the paintings seemed to glow. Maybe it was the varnish. Anyway, seeing them for real and not in a magazine or on the internet makes a huge difference. I was impressed. After seeing the quality of the work I was embarrassed. I could not see my work as qualified to hang there with all the rest. I never did get used to it. I also met quite a few people who's names I was familiar with but for some odd reason could not picture their work. Anyway, as I said, who wanted to eat. Surprisingly enough the food was remarkably good. The judge was Everett Kinster. He was a hoot, funny and entertaining. I did not envy him having to pick winners from this show. Not only was it huge and impressive, 392 paintings, but he had to narrow it down to a few. Many of the winners were not there nevertheless the banquet was full to capacity. Whew!

The champagne artist reception was Saturday from 5 to 8. That was fun. The gallery was packed, people were milling around and paintings were selling. One couple bought six that I know of. Who knows where they stopped. Again I met some wonderful people. By 7:30 our friends and my exceptional husband were exhausted, as was I, but they had to drag me out. I still never felt like I saw the whole show.

Sunday morning John loaded the truck then asked the dogs (our Yorkshire Terriers) if they wanted to go home. Bossy Belle insisted, but she's demanding about everything and Bazil in his easy going way had to be helped into the truck. We decided to go through Austin on the way home, we'd seen enough flowers, but it was still early Sunday when we went through. I tell you, I'd hate to see Monday morning on the Austin freeway. We got home at a decent hour but I came down with something Monday and started sneezing my head off. I felt lousy for days. I'm feeling better now, a week later, and it's raining so here I sit. By the way, I'm no longer on the edge, I'm somewhere completely different, and quite frankly, I'm glad to be here.

Hope you are all doing fine and painting happily...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's titled "More Than Coming And Going"

This is my latest oil painting. Well actually I finished it a month or so ago. I'm well into another one. Anyway, this one is 24 x 36" and if you didn't know it, it's Venice. I've never attempted to paint anything this big but I managed without having a complete breakdown. Just kidding. I really did enjoy painting it. It was the 18 x 24" of a house boat in Seattle that turned me upside down. Funny how when you do something that's really difficult, but you keep at it, everything seems downhill after that. I planned to take it to Southwest Gallery but decided to enter it in a show first. I'm waiting to hear back.

So what am I painting now? Cows...I know, I go from Venice to cows. There must be a story behind this right? I was on my way to Plano one Tuesday to teach my class when I happened to glance over my right shoulder. What I saw was a photo op that I could not resist. And let me tell you, sometimes you only get that one opportunity. The sun was coming up, there was a heavy fog, the colors were beautiful, I was in awe. What's more, I have not seen those cows in that pasture since, much less fog, so I'm happy, and it's smart, to have a camera with you everywhere you go.

Because of that day however, I bought a new camera. My little Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX3 has always served me well but I realized a 3X zoom was not enough. I'm actually working from the photo that taken from the greatest distance and it's not very good. So I bought another Lumix. I got a DMC ZS3 which has a 12 X zoom. Woo Hoo! So if those cows ever come back I'm ready. Other than being a little bigger and a little heavier it fits in my purse just fine.

As soon as I'm finished with my cows, I will post it....stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I am soooooo excited....!!!!

As you can well see I have not posted here for quite some time. It's not that I have not been painting, I have been, diligently, I just wasn't pleased with the results for about half of 2009. So what was I to say and what was I to show?

The biggest problem I discovered was I'd been fighting myself. It wasn't until I decided to let what I know about colored pencil transfer over into what I did "not" know about oil. Once I decided to approach oil like I do colored pencil, oh my, things got much easier.

So even though things have appeared quiet, a lot has been going on. One year has passed since I started this adventure. At last I am comfortable. I'm no longer perching precariously on the edge and I have a sure path to follow. That kind of change is always exciting but that's not why I am posting and that's not why I said I was "soooooooo excited". I am sooooooo excited because two of my paintings have been accepted in the very prestigious Salon International 2010.

I have viewed this show on line for years but could never enter because it's a competition for oil paintings only. When saw the deadline for entering was coming up fast I had a choice to make. I
still needed to tweak "The World Outside Your Door" and lacked a few days finishing "Radiance". I felt a bit rushed and not really ready but I've always believed there's no time like the present and nothing ventured nothing gained.

"The World Outside Your Door"


Anyway, here's the letter I received:

Dear Friends,

I want to take this opportunity to say that each one of you who submitted entries to Salon International 2010 is to be commended for your part in creating the largest number of entries submitted in any single year in the nine-year history of the event - almost 1,300 entries!

You are also to be commended for creating the strongest group of entries in the history of the event. Of course, this creates a much more difficult task for the Jury and Judge, but that’s a good thing! Because of the strength of the entries the Salon International 2010 exhibit will be the largest ever - almost 400 paintings! This exhibit will be truly spectacular. I promise you it will be a visual overload!

Again, I thank each one of you for your part in making all this happen and for creating another successful Salon International exhibit. Together, we will continue to grow this exhibit and to make it the largest, most respected and most prestigious of the juried exhibits.

Warm Regards,


So there's been a lot of screaming, jumping and yahooing around here the last few days. I call it the happy dance. I'm sure it's a sight to see. My husband seems to like it......he followed me back to my studio and said he wanted to see it again.

Now it's time to get them framed
, boxed up and shipped out to San Antonio. The exhibit opens and will be on the web site April 10. Woo Hoo!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Habits for Success....

I copied this quote from a Robert Glenn newsletter and thought you might benefit from it as I did. It struck a chord in me especially since I've been frustrated because I have not been painting. I haven't been able to find the time. Maybe this is why.... "I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed--you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men, and, alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man. You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin--it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I? I am a habit!" by popular business coach John Di Lemme

When I get new students I know I can not count on them until they make a "habit" of coming to class. If they make class a priority they generally stay, if not, they drift away. I see that and I know that.

For the last three years or so it's been easy for me because I love what I do. Loving what you do can certainly be an incentive. I'd be in my studio at 9am and many times I would not leave until 9pm. Not that I was doing art for 12 hours, please don't think that, but it was always something art related. Now I seem to be doing stuff that's art related but not the art. It's interference...I'm letting unimportant things interfere with my time...well some of them are important, like taxes.

Part of the reason it worked for me was because I always knew what I was going to do next. In fact I usually had the next piece started before I finished with the one I was working I never stopped. I had momentum built. I was focused and ready before I ever walked through my studio door. But now it seems like there's always something other than art that has to be done which keeps me from getting back in the habit. I'm not complaining, at least I hope I'm not complaining. I have a great place to work, the light is great, I'm happy, healthy and's just...gettin back in the habit and doing the things that have worked for me in the past. Why does that seem so difficult? I ask the question but I know the answer. Hummmmmm, habit. I'm in the habit of doing other things.

Anyway, I'm determined to get back in the habit of doing art. I do think determination is a huge part of it. Once I made the decision to become a professional artist I never lacked in determination. I guess that means it takes a decision, determination and commitment then the habit develops. Sounds good to me! So I'll be back on track soon. There's just a few other things however that I...."have" to do....hahahahahaha

Esoterica: John Di Lemme was a 24-year-old stutterer working in his family art gallery who dreamed of becoming a motivational speaker. Over a seven-year period of hardships, challenges and obstacles, John focused on his dream and ultimately built a marketing team of over 25,000 representatives in 10 countries. His idea was simple: with the right habits one could see progression to a higher state. In the words of the great art mentor and teacher Robert Henri, "If a certain activity, such as painting, becomes the habitual mode of expression, it may follow that taking up the painting materials and beginning work with them will act suggestively and so presently evoke a flight into the higher state."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My studio's new look...

It's been so long since I've posted anything on this blog you are probably wondering what happened to me. It all started when I said I wanted to replace the floor in my studio. You know how one thing leads to another. Before the floor could be redone I was told the ceiling should be painted and the walls, then the floor...

So in early November I moved everything out of here. Let me tell you, I knew ahead of time that I had a lot of stuff but I was still amazed at the amount of stuff I had. The worst thing was it had no place to go where it would be organized. You know how it is, you put it somewhere then you can't find anything or it's buried under tons of other stuff. In order to get to something I had to move something, then if I wanted out of the room, of course I wanted out of the room, I had to move things back. Before I knew it, it was Christmas. That was not a problem. The problem was my husband and I got sick over the Holidays. Sick enough so that it took about six weeks before we were better. During that time John worked on the studio some but the going was slow. After I felt a little better I made a concerted effort to get back in here but everything had changed. I didn't have a clue where to put anything, further more thinking about where to put it took a lot of effort and a lot of time.

As you can see I finally did find a place for everything and I could put my hand on anything except for my trash bags. I looked everywhere for days but could not find them so I gave up and bought more. Yep, you know it, as soon as I used one I found where I'd put them.

At last everything has a home and I am delighted with the results. I absolutely love to be in this room. Hope you like it too...

As you can see, this is where I keep my magazines, props and colored pencils. I bought the Prismacolor display case when an art store in the DFW area was going out of business. It sure has come in handy.

My oils are in those cute, ice blue ,filing cabinets. They come in four or five colors but I picked that color because, well because I liked the color. I was also concerned that red or green would somehow reflect color in the room. Anyway, I found them at the Container Store in Plano. They would also be great for storing colored pencils.

This is my office space. The photo below shows where I spend a lot of my time, at my drawing table.

My drawing table is solid wood. It originally belonged to a Jr College. I bought it at an antique store in Gilmer, Tx years ago. The store was closing for the day and they did not want to move it back inside. I think I paid $10 for it. The top of the table raises to about a 45 degree angle. I work on a drawing boards so I can turn the picture upside down, sideways and any other way I can get to it to work more comfortably. You can see two of them in the upper right hand corner of the picture.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Online magazine article....

The following is an article that appeared in the January 2009 issue of the online magazine I am really sad to report this wonderful magazine will not be published any more. I feel so cheated since I only found out about it about two months ago. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy reading the article....Linda


Living in a tiny town with no professional mentors around may seem like an obstacle for an aspiring artist, but Linda Lucas Hardy reveals how any artist can still make it big in spite of limited resources.

We've all heard this story: Young woman loves art but gets married and starts raising a family instead. Art gets pushed to the back burner until the children are older. And finally she has time to focus on mastering her craft and building a career as an artist. Most such women then rely on their fellow artists and local arts organizations for additional help. But what happens when that same woman finds herself living in a town of only a thousand residents with no other professional artists to turn to for education or advice? Linda Lucas Hardy would say that it's still entirely possible for a woman like that to succeed as long as she has drive, passion, confidence, and ambition. She is that woman, and she's living proof that dreams can come true.

Reaching Out for Education

When the youngest of her seven children started school, Linda found she finally had time to get back to the passion that has held her captive since her own childhood: her love of art. A neighbor suggested they take a class together at the nearest community college, and Linda jumped at the opportunity since it was a long distance away and they needed to carpool.

A year later, a new community college opened up closer to home, which made it much easier for Linda to continue taking college courses in art. Naturally, juggling her art with caring for her family required a great deal of perseverance. Ultimately, it took her eight years to complete her formal education, but it was worth it. Along the way, Linda discovered the medium of colored pencil, which has since become her favorite. "I love the control that colored pencil offers," she says, "especially because I also love well-defined realism. I am a pencil artist, plain and simple. Now I can't even talk without a pencil in my hand."

In addition to her formal education, Linda has continued to pursue informal opportunities to learn, primarily through taking workshops with artists such as Carrie Ballantyne and Sherrie McGraw. As they do for all of us, taking workshops usually means travel, which is a sacrifice of time and money for most artists. But Linda encourages all aspiring professionals to take workshops since they offer a chance to develop and enhance skills, get other types of advice from modern-day masters, and network with peers.

Finding Her Personal Style

However, to some degree, Linda believes, all artists are self-taught in that much of what we learn is what we discover in the course of doing our own work in our own studios. Linda's methods are a product of trial and error, working with various materials, making mistakes, and learning to solve problems that then become good practices. "Mistakes bite hard," she says. "I don't like them. Nobody does. But if you pay attention, a medium will teach you." By doing her own work on her own time, she's established, for example, that she prefers to create artwork using exclusively Prismacolor wax-based pencils on fine, 800-grit UART acid-free paper.

Once, in the process of trying to disperse the wax bloom that often emerges most visibly in the darker pigments of wax-based pencils, Linda went over the pencil with an old, stiff brush. Not only did it get rid of the bloom, she discovered that the brush helped to work the pigment down into the fibers of the paper, thereby eliminating the fine specks of white that often show through even multiple layers of pencil applications. Now Linda uses a brush all the time to achieve that smooth, polished look that is the hallmark of her personal style. She starts by transferring her image with graphite transfer paper, then works each area separately from the darkest areas to the lightest values, developing each area to a fairly finished degree. A final finessing of the details and highlights followed by a coat of Krylon UV-resistant spray complete her paintings.

Landing on Still Lifes

Even when it comes to her choice of subjects, Linda feels that her small town life has somewhat limited her ambitions. "What I'd really like to paint is people because you can express so much emotion in figurative work," she confesses, "but in a small community like mine, I've found it very difficult to approach people and find models. Most people don't understand what I want from them--they feel they have to pose for me, as for a portrait, when what I want is something more candid and real."

Once again, though, she hasn't let this obstacle stop her. "I've had to learn to make do with what I've got or I can't do anything at all," she says, now laughing. "Pears and apples don't ask you what your motives are or look at you real weird, so it's been easier to work in the still life genre." Interestingly, Linda has now developed a signature series of works involving fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic bags, which are just as much about the human experience as any figurative work could be. She explains, "The plastic bags remind me of the facades we all try to hide behind. We think we're doing such a good job of masking our little deficiencies and minor little secrets, but in actuality, we're all exposed."

Over the years, Linda says, she has shot and stockpiled literally hundreds of photos that she would like to develop into paintings someday. "I'll never run out of ideas," she says. "I use this very easy and free software program called Picasa, which is available through Google, and it's just great for storing my digital images and doing a few modifications to them before I paint them."

Showing What She's Made Of

Eventually, Linda acknowledged that she was going to have to take some initiative if she was going to get her artwork into the public eye. Since there weren't any local opportunities, she cast a wider net. She noticed, for example, that the Bosque Conservatory in Clifton, TX held an annual competition. For several years she studied how that competition was run. Eventually, she entered and won, learning--much to her surprise--that she could have three works accepted instead of only one.

They say that knowledge is power, and Linda went about learning as much as she could about the art business through all sorts of varied avenues. She joined a regional arts organization, and listened to her peers there. She also tapped into the power of the Internet and the national artists' magazines to find competitions to enter. "I often didn't have the money to enter shows, but I did it anyway," she says. "I decided to enter the big money shows in particular, not because of the awards offered but because of the level of competition. I knew that if I got in, it would validate my work."

One of her earliest big goals she set for herself was to gain the recognition of her fellow colored pencil artists by getting involved in the national organization called the Colored Pencil Society of America. She was terribly disappointed when she was not accepted into the CPSA show the year it was held in Fort Worth, Texas, which was probably the closest it will ever be to her own home, but she made sure she attended the exhibition. "That was the first time I had ever seen other artists' colored pencil work!" she notes. "I was like a kid in a candy store." Today she exhibits with them regularly, and last year she won the CIPPY award and the EXXPY award--the two highest awards CPSA offers--in the same year, which was the first time ever that someone had done that. "What thrilled me more than anything was when I was invited (they invited me) to teach a workshop at Nationals," she says, still relishing the moment. "That made me cry. Somehow that validated me and all that I've been trying to accomplish."

Chances to sell her work in her own town are non-existent, so here, too, Linda has had to take the initiative to find gallery representation. She took herself down to the oldest and largest gallery in Dallas. "While I was there, I asked the salespeople if they took colored pencil art," she recalls. "They said no, but just to be polite the director suggested that I bring some pieces in ‘some time.' When I got home, even though I didn't really feel ready, I thought, well, when is ‘some time'? So I set up an appointment to take my work in the following Friday!" Linda ended up leaving several pieces at the gallery that day, only to have to wait two long months for a decision from the director. In fact, it wasn't until she tired of waiting for an answer as to whether she was going to be accepted and went to the gallery to retrieve her paintings that the director agreed to sell her work. She's been represented there ever since, and was recently invited to show her work at a second Texas gallery as well.

Learning to Fly

"Living in a small town and being virtually the only trained professional around has meant that I have had no mentor, no sounding board," says Linda. "Everything I've done, I've been flying by the seat of my pants because I haven't had anyone to guide me." Yet by paying attention, asking questions, networking beyond the confines of the city limits, and most of all persevering steadily and enthusiastically, Linda has made a successful career out of her love for painting. "I have such an amazing passion for art," she says. "I can't really explain it, except that it's something that I can't not do. I can't live without it."

Jennifer King

Monday, January 12, 2009

The New Reality - The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century

R. W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, LA

Yesterday my husband and I drove to Shreveport, LA to see the International Guild of Realism's traveling exhibit titled ''The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century". Not only were we impressed with the show we were very impressed with the Gallery's permanent collection. Even though it's called a gallery it's more like an art museum. So if you live anywhere near Shreveport it's definitely worth the trip. If not you'll find the current tour schedule at the bottom of my post. Maybe it will be somewhere near you.

My piece titled, "Now You Know" which is on exhibit.

''The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century" International Guild of Realism

“The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century” is the first traveling museum show of this century to not only look at the state of Realism painting around the world, but to also compare those artworks with their historical predecessors.

Fifty-six artists are represented with sixty-five paintings from the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, Korea, Russia, France, Iceland, Romania, Norway, and Finland in this juried show organized by the International Guild of Realism. The exhibition looks at such media as oil, acrylic, egg tempera, graphite and colored pencil to give viewers a snapshot of how Realism artists are approaching their art form today.

Each artist was asked to identify one historical painting that can be used by museum attendees to compare and contrast today’s work with the pioneers of this art technique. The artists cited such predecessors as Ingres, Da Vinci, Dürer, Vermeer, Harnett, Constable, Memling and Dali as starting points for their current work as they explored still life, landscape, figurative and even trompe l’oeil art forms. In some cases, the contrast between the old and the new is startling; in other cases, one can almost see the apprentice soaking up the Old Master’s techniques for modern visuals.

Each of the sixty-five contemporary paintings can be directly compared with an historic Realism painting.
Each wall label features an image of a related historic painting.

If you'd like to see some of the pieces on exhibit CLICK HERE Not all the pieces shown were in the show but quite a few of them are.

Keeping it Real: “The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century December 16 – February 15, 2009

This is the first traveling museum show of this century to not only look at the state of Realism painting around the world, but also compare those artworks with their historical predecessors. Fifty-six artists are represented with 65 paintings from the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, Korea, Russia, France, Iceland, Romania, Norway, and Finland in this juried exhibit organized by the International Guild of Realism. The exhibition looks at such media as oil, acrylic, egg tempera, graphite and colored pencil to give viewers a snapshot of how Realism artists are approaching their art form today.
This month the R.W. Norton Art Gallery is hosting, “The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century”, a juried collection of paintings by the members of the International Guild of Realism. The title of this exhibition cannot help but raise the simple question, why the “new reality”? What happened to the old one? The prevailing view for centuries was that art was the result of careful craftsmanship representing a heightened reality to evoke an emotional response and/or express a theme or story. Then came the Romantic Age, and with it the reassessment of the artist as less a craftsman than an (often misunderstood) individual with a unique form of expression. Artists began to take a more painterly approach to their work, using loose brushwork and bold colors to develop expressive, individualistic styles that resulted in works like Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People and Turner’s Ulysses Deriding Polyphemous. As photography usurped the role of replicating reality, painters like the Impressionists began to refine art to its essentials, focusing on the manipulation of color and light. The Modernists who followed them pared the image down even further, focusing on elements of form, volume, line, and color to the point of abstraction. Then, in the early 20th century, the Dadas, with Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and other innovations, refined art to the realm of the metaphysical – art was no longer about the object, or even the depiction of the object – it was about the concept in the mind of the artist and the interaction between that and the audience.

As execution became less important to the process, craftsmanship of the kind expected from artists ranging from the Old Masters to 19th century academics often fell by the wayside. However, in the late 20th century, a backlash against abstract and conceptual art began. Many artists began to embrace concepts and techniques borrowed from older masters. Thus was born the International Guild of Realism in 2002. The founders began by clarifying the number of styles they felt fit under the realist umbrella, including classical realism (ranging from the Renaissance Old Masters to Courbet) and extending to contemporary styles such as trompe l’oeil, photorealism, surrealism, and super-realism. The one thing common to all of these artists is the element stressed by Guild member Benjamin Orozco Lopez of Mexico: “The most important thing about the Guild is that we are a big group of artists who glorify the values of craftsmanship, which has almost been lost in modern painting.”

For this exhibition, selected artists are required to cite the example of an Old Master or other Realist painting which helped inspire their own in either theme or technique. However, while they may borrow their style or technique from the Old Masters, they are all determined to create an expression of their own contemporary world, including other styles of art as well. Kolbjorn Haseth, for instance, admits a debt to abstraction as well as realism in his landscape, The Colour Gray: “The massive rock on the right meets us like an abstract image, and had to be balanced with a more interesting area to the far left . . .” And while George Gonzalez’s still-lifes and trompe l’oeil paintings capture contemporary, often mundane objects, he also draws inspiration from a diversity of predecessors ranging from Mannerists to surrealists.

Other Guild artists have more allegiance to specific schools of the past. Damon Denys admits, “My first love was the paintings of the British classicists and romantics of Victorian England,” while Bryce Cameron Liston is equally clear about his debt to academic artists: “Inspired by 19th century artistic values, I traveled abroad to study first hand, the works of artists such as Waterhouse, Bouguereau, Gerome and Tadema. It is important to me to keep alive what these and other artists like them were doing.” Another inspiration for the new realists is the 17th century golden age of Dutch and Spanish masters. A still-life artist like Grace Kim echoes the concerns of the 17th century Dutch masters, saying, “Although my subjects are often what appears to be simple flowers and fruit, I always see something unique and beautifully complex and intricate in all that exists in this world.” Cuban artist Jorge Alberto admits, “My paintings spring from a life-long fascination with lighting and how light affects mood . . . I take inspiration from the 17th century painters, like Caravaggio, Velasquez and Ribera, emulating the strong use of lighting contrast so evident in the work of these masters.”

In their veneration for the Old Masters, some of the Guild artists even borrow their materials. Mark Thompson specializes in egg tempera work and etchings, admitting, “I have long been fascinated by the beauty of line and the work of the Renaissance and pre-Renaissance masters. Etchings are essentially the distillation of balance and rhythm, volume and line in a medium over 400 years old.” And artist Lee Alban actually grinds his paints from powdered pigments and prepares his canvases by hand the way the Old Masters did. Still others have learned how to incorporate the Old Masters techniques into new media. Arlene Steinberg works in colored pencil, but that hasn’t prevented her from taking inspiration from the technique and styles of Renaissance painters.

While many if not most of these artists draw from the distant past, there are some distinctly 20th century forms of realism, the most prominent of which is the one wrought by a 19th century invention – the camera. Photorealism requires the painter to create a work so detailed and precise that it replicates the effect of a photograph – craftsmanship of a very high standard indeed and which draws perhaps more than the others on the availability of modern inventions and techniques. Kory Fluckiger, for instance, “has developed his own technique of watercolor painting in which he airbrushes the background to highlight the colors in the foreground, so that the painting appears to be a magnificent photograph.” Fellow photorealist Anne Kullaf has found her work compared to Edward Hopper in its grasp of light as well as its ability to raise the mundane world to the sublime nature of art.

This is only a fraction of the artists whose unique visions and superb executions are represented in the exhibition. Fifty-six artists from nations including America, Canada, The Netherlands, Korea, Russia, France, Iceland, Romania, Norway and Finland have contributed 65 paintings to the show. While they all share a common goal, each of them has a unique vision and style in which to depict the world around them. Charter member Lorena Kloosterboer explains that while abstraction and modernism have dominated recent art, she, like her fellow realists reject the idea that their work is “unevolved”, declaring, “One only needs to visit one of our exhibitions . . . to appreciate the incredible array of exceptional Realism.”

With this in mind, the R.W. Norton Art Gallery invites you to join us for “The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century.”

Everl Adair, Director of Research and Rare Collections

Museum Tour 2008-2010 of Art by Realism Guild Members - Current Tour Schedule

Wichita Art Museum
Wichita, Kansas: April 27, 2008 through June 22, 2008

The Springfield Museums
Springfield, Massachusetts: July 13, 2008 through September 7, 2008

The Springfield Museums
Springfield, Massachusetts: September 28, 2008 through November 23, 2008

R.W. Norton Art Gallery
Shreveport, Louisiana: December 16, 2008 through February 15, 2009

J. Wayne Stark Gallery, Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas: August 9, 2009 through October 18, 2009

Museum of Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas: November 8, 2009 through January 3, 2010

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Wausau, Wisconsin: June 27, 2010 through August 22, 2010

Indian Hills Community College
Ottumwa, Iowa: September 12, 2010 through November 7, 2010