What To Watch: Films for Art Lovers

If you like to learn about art, while being entertained and enjoying a bit of screen time from the comfort of your sofa, here are my top picks from Netflix, iTunes and RTÉ. Make some popcorn.

iTunes: Woman in Gold. (2015) IMDB rating: 7.3  (when it’s above a 7, you know you’re in for a great film)

Women in Gold, is a remarkable true story surrounding the Gustav Kilmt painting “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”, often referred to as the Austrian Mona Lisa.

The film is set sixty years after Maria Altmann’s (played by Helen Mirren) nerve-wracking escape, fleeing her home in Vienna during World War II to emigrate to the United States with her husband Fritz. Adele Bloch-Bauer I, is Maria Altmann’s beloved aunt.

The portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is one of many of her family possessions seized by the Nazis. However the Gustav Klimt painting, now more than a portrait of her aunt, has become a national treasure hanging in the Belvedere Gallery and valued at 135 million dollars. It becomes clear that the Austrian’s are not going to give it up easily.

Together with her young and inexperienced but courageous lawyer (Ryan Reynolds), she sets out on an incredible journey to reclaim what she believes is rightfully hers.

Woman in Gold is available on iTunes. You can watch the trailer here

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt

Picture Reference: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Netflix: Girl with a Pearl Earring. (2004) IMDB rating: 6.9 (so close!!)

You can check out a previous post Netflix for Art Lovers for a Renaissance inspired series but if it’s a film your after Girl with a Pearl Earring is beautiful. Now available on Netflix, Girl With A Pearl Earring, imagines the story of the model behind the famous Dutch masterpiece of the same name.

Based on the book by Tracy Chevalier it is not a factual story, we simply do not know very much about the real sitter for the Johannes Vermeer painting. Yet it gives us a glimpse of life in 17th century Delft and what it may have been like to live and paint there.

Vermeer is known as The Master of Light and this is reflected in the way the film is lit, in keeping with the style of his paintings. It is beautifully shot. I wasn’t sure how the book would translate on screen, given it is written from the point of view of the private thoughts of it’s heroine but it works. Scarlett Johansson is ideally cast as the protagonist  Greit.

You can check out the art based on the famous Vermeer painting, by the young artist’s of Art Academy’s Easter Camp here.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Picture Reference: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

RTÉ One Citizen Lane (2018) IMDB: Not yet rated

“The contemplation of beauty is no idle practice, beauty speaks for the soul of man (or woman) , to our higher selves and any city that celebrates such practice, can truly be considered great.”

The cleverly named “Citizen Lane”,  tells the story of the man behind one of my very favourite and often under rated, art galleries here in Dublin, Ireland The Hugh Lane Gallery.  Hugh Lane is played by an unrecognisable Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, best known as Nidge to Love/Hate fans.

According to RTÉ the feature-length documentary is due to air on RTÉ later this year

“CITIZEN LANE – In Irish Cinemas May 18th
A Portrait of Hugh Lane: aesthete, collector, dealer, philanthropist.”

On Saturday 19th  there will be a screening plus Q&A with Mark O’Halloran, Sheila Ahern hosted by Esther McCarthy in Light House Cinema Tickets here https://lighthousecinema.ie/showing/showing-39821

You can watch the trailer here. 

Picture credits: Still from the trailer by Eclipse Pictures.

Upcoming Summer Camp at Art Academy:

 

Netflix for Art Lovers

Dark evenings and constant talk of “it’s expected to snow” call for staying in by the crackling fire, comfort food and Netflix. If you love art and simultaneously are suffering Game of Thrones withdrawl, Medici, Masters of Florence on Netflix is just for you.

Medici: Masters of Florence tells the story of the rise to power of the Medici dynasty. The drama unfolds against the beautiful back drop of Renaissance Italy, in all of it’s architectural and artistic glory.

If you are missing “Robb Stark” Richard Madden plays the lead character Cosimo De Medici. John Bradley West of “Sam Tarley” fame plays a Medici cousin. Another GoT favourite Dustin Hoffman plays “Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici”

IMDB rates the series 8/10. Season 1 was released on the 9th of December 2016 with Season 2 promised “by the end of the year” (2017?) Check it out on Netflix here

   

      Image Refs: Stills from the Netflix original series Medici Masters of Florence.

 

 

The Artists’ Cookbook launches this Friday and you are invited.

This painting “Sweet Ramiro Pepper” 40 x 30 cm by yours truly will feature in the upcoming The Artists’ Cookbook. This coffee table must-have, features a compilation of specially commissioned food related art works and a favourite recipe by each artist. I promise none of the recipes involve oil paint or turps.

The book will launch this Friday the 18th of August 7-9.30 pm. And you are invited. The event is taking place at Airbnb’s Headquarters at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin City. Sign in is at 7pm. The book will raise funds for the charity Syrias Vibes.

“It’s free in and each attendee gets a free copy of the cookbook (worth €25). There will also be complimentary canapes from the Airbnb chefs, free wine and beers courtesy of Rascals Brewing Company.

We will also have a bumper raffle with original artworks from the cookbook (Pato Cassinoni, Cathy Callan, Rikki Van Den Berg), some art prints from Danleo, Senir X and Gintare Venckute), a $250 Airbnb voucher, vouchers for top Dublin restaurants (Coppinger Row, Dublin Pizza Co, Charlotte Quay, Dockyard No. 8, The Fumbally, Chez Max, Diep etc) as well as sweet Syrias Vibes merch.

Raising funds for the doctors and ambulances at Raqqa, Syria and for the Psychology Programme in the Bajed Kandala camp on the Iraqi borde.” – Andy Sweeney, Project Director

There is even an after party in Charlottes Quay afterward. Facebook event link here. See you there

 

My page from the book. Pick up a copy to check out all of the art and recipes.

Art Camp for grown-ups at Block T

As an artists and/or art teacher I believe that it absolutely imperative that we are  the perpetual learner. Here in Ireland there are little hidden pockets of artistic gold waiting to be absorbed. I  intend to seek these out, enjoy them for myself to build on my artistic knowledge but also share them with you.

One such gem can be found in Block T. Recently I have had the pleasure of completed the realism oil painting course there, under the expert tutelage of Florentine academy multi-award winning artist  Nicholas Benedict Robinson. I will share with you my journey on his course in the images below. It being by no means the poster model but it gives you some idea of how I progressed the painting. We worked from direct observation of the live model for 6 Wednesday evenings. Nicholas is an excellent teacher of this method.

The good news is there is another such upcoming workshop so don’t feel you have missed out. There is a full week coming up 31st July – 4th of August. Keep an eye on the Block T website and Nicholas’s website for further courses. You can check how I got on at the last workshop below:

Flesh tones; inspiration by the Great Masters at the newly refurbished National Gallery of Ireland

Detail from Head of a Bearded Man by Peter Paul Rubens

I am working on a painting at the moment. Experimenting with oils. By painting I mean realist, representational painting from life. It is a return to a childhood ideal.

As a teenager and even a child, my vision of what I thought attending art college would be like, was unbeknownst to me, already extinct. I had visited the National Gallery of Ireland as a child. Standing in awe before Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ, I could feel that art was powerful. I needed to be involved in this alchemy. I wanted to learn to create it. I imagined, after school, I would attend something like, what was once The Metropolitan School of Art. There would be easels and drawing classes. There would be artists.

Art college was different from what I expected. I studied Graphic Design and Art and Education in the end. Learned plenty but something was missing. I practiced life drawing in my evenings and free time. Recently at a loose end, I tried oils. I didn’t know how to use them but from the moment I picked up a piece of oil paint and placed it on the canvas, I knew, there is magic here. No other medium will ever compare. It holds a richer and bolder quality than anything I have tried. And as much as I enjoy the graphic side of my work there is a realness to oil that no computer screen or camera can quite live up to.

I understand and believe we reside in an era of a New Renaissance. It is evident in every arena. Where once stood Galileo Galilei , we now explore space. Where Leonardo Da Vinci excelled in engineering, we are speeding ahead with technology. Science, music, theatre, film, literature and art are evolving. To progress the field of visual art we can look to the Old Masters as those in the Renaissance looked to Ancient Greece and Rome. It is my opinion that we must build on this past mastery and raise the standard of art here in Ireland. The National Gallery of Ireland is one place to start.

In order to better understand how Masters like Rembrandt and Rubens approached painting flesh tones, I returned to the place that inspired me as a child, the now recently refurbished National Gallery of Ireland. The NGI is stunning. Below are some studies from todays visit, concerning skin tones. It is wonderful the variation and wide spectrum of colour used to paint skin especially the unexpected colours like violets, greens and greys.

Detail from Lady Gregory by William Orpen

Detail from John Count McCormack by William Orphen

Detail from The Dead Ptarmigan by William Orphen

   Detail from Portrait of Henry Shefflin by Gerry Davis

Detail from Portrait of Philippe Roettiers by Nicolas de Largilliere

Full portrait 

Detail from Lady holding a glove by Rembrandt van Rijn

 

Image of the full portrait

I was especially drawn to the depiction of hair in this detail from Thomas pooley’s Sir Phillip Perceval

As above

Detail from Jupiter and Ganymede by Nicolaes van Helt Stockade

Detail from Saint John  the Baptist in the Wildereness attributed to Michele Desubleo

Detail from The Penitent Magdalene by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Bretonne by Roderick O’Conor

The Grand Gallery at the NGI

These images are a point of reference for my portrait studies but are best enjoyed in real life. A visit to the National Gallery is a must.

The story behind the winking playing card on the canal

Photo credit Instagram: @bmv_20th_century_boy

Each Summer Dublin Canvas pours it’s kaleidoscope of colour across Dublin city.  Traffic light boxes are adorned with a rainbow of public artworks and our city becomes a wonderful outdoor art gallery curated by David Murtagh. An exciting group of exceptional artists are painting again this Summer and I am honoured to be counted among them.

Tomorrow morning you might spot Queen Ester winking at you, from her corner at Canal Road / Grove Road, near Rathmines bridge.  Ester was originally designed from my degree show, storytelling by choosing two elements from my childhood, namely Mass and memories of Daddy playing card games.

Ester is a biblical story from the Old Testament. At the time a graphic designer I chose to tell the story using the medium of re-appropriated playing cards. She is a queen with a kind heart, a dangerous secret and a precarious plan.

Photo credit Instagram: @cristinlarkin

 

In the story, Ester is a poor girl but chosen by the king of Persia for her beauty. The King passes a law to “exterminate” all of the Jews in his lands. Brave and kind Ester hatches a dangerous plan to save her people. She herself is secretly a Jew. Hoping the king will avoid the bad PR of having to kill his queen, she reveals that she is Jewish, forcing the hand of the king to revoke the cruel law. Her plan is as precarious as a house of cards.

       

She plays a dangerous game, gambling with her own life. On the canal Ester winks and shares her secret plot with passers-by. Secret codes and symbols are hidden in her image.

  

The painting process employed, is that similar to screen printing or reduction block or lino print. This design uses only 4 colours yellow, red, blue and black.* Each colour is applied separately and in order from light to dark. It was fun to work on, especially on a glorious day like today.

Yellow is primarily applied

Next some red

The blue is put down

And finally voilá, the darkest colour, black

I actually did the back and sides before the face:

You can look forward to more Dublin Canvas art popping up all over the city in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on the website and follow on Instagram for more pics of all the work.

Photo credit Twitter handle:

A little behind the scenes stencil cutout

*yes, I know, I cheated. I decided to pop on a bit of green paint marker on the stem of the flower at the 11th hour but hey.

 

 

 

 

Incognito Exhibition, what you need to know.

For those unfamiliar, Incognito is an exciting exhibition in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation. Artists from all over Ireland have donated postcard sized artwork to the exhibition (including yours truly).

They are all priced the same. For €50 any piece is yours. The fun part is, it is only after you purchase the art, that the identity of the artist is revealed. Fancy yourself as an art critic. There are so many styles so choose wisely and see if you have a good eye.

The incognito website is now open and so you can view all the artwork online at  www.incognito.ie. Call into the Solomon on Friday 21st April (10am-7pm) to see the exhibition. 

Check them out online www.incognito.ie where you can register your interest in a piece. Here are a few of my personal favs so far:

This dreamy textured painting above

I have a weakness for realist art, where the everyday is elevated to the divine, like the oil tube above