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:

 

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.

Artist Colette McDonagh’s exhibition opens this weekend

This evening sees the opening of an exciting solo-show by Galway based artist Colette McDonagh. Avid supporters of the arts, News Cafe, Books n More (formerly Easons) of Tuam, Co. Galway present the substantial collection of oil paintings.

The exhibition includes a collection of over forty artworks inspired by the great Masters, the human form, the beauty of the West of Ireland, abstractions, flora and domestic still life.

The exhibition opens at 4pm today and will run until June 30th 2017. The great news is all paintings are for sale and individually priced. Check out the event page on facebook for more images.

Pop in early to have your choice. Everyone is welcome to come along, view and enjoy.

A personal favourite: “Storm” after Turner. Oil on Board. €250.00

“Praying hands” after Durer Oil on board framed.

“Summer Meadow”. Oil on board. €95.00

“Farmyard at Ashford”. Oil on board framed. €55.00

“Flowers” Oil on Board framed. €65.00

“Lily Pond”. Oil on canvas. €95.00 

“Jump”. Oil on Canvas €95.00

“Connemara Scene” Oil on Board framed €75.00

“Naked Lady” Oil on board framed €95.00

“Sunset” Oil on board framed €350.00

“Canna Lily” Oil on Canvas €170.00

“Still life” Oil on Board framed €75.00

 

 

 

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

Upcoming Oil Painting Workshop in Dublin City Centre with Artist Will Nathans

On the 15th of April next, artist William Nathans is opening up his art studio above Kennedys art supply shop  to host a life painting oil workshop. I have twice attended previous workshops and found them wonderful.

A small group of artists gather in William’s art studio on Harcourt Street. There is a live model, posed on a stage of drapery and considered, controlled lighting. You arrive with your canvas primed with a medium grey ground. Chose a view point that suits you and prop your canvas on an easel.

Will gives a demonstration on marking out your painting, using the brush and paint as drawing tools. Each artist makes a start. This is a one day workshop, so it is quite a fast pace to work at and you can’t expect any great polish on your piece, just the“Premier-Coup” approach so to speak.

There is a break for lunch,  you clean your pallet before and return to begin anew. Will gives another demonstration at this point and lots of pointers throughout the day. It is helpful and interesting to see the other artists approach to the same subject matter and an enjoyable day of painting.

Kennedy’s offer a discount on materials purchased on the day of the workshop. You need to bring your own paints and materials, outside of the easel and they will email you a list ahead of the event.

Saturday 15th April: Will Nathans – Painting the Nude Figure from Life

Fun Art Exhibition with a Twist and all for a Good Cause.

I have just popped my donation of a tiny oil painting in the post to Jack and Jill for their “Incognito” fundraiser. However I can’t share an image of it just yet because as the exhibition name suggests, the artists identities remain anonymous until after they are sold.

This fun art initiative, will see 1500 postcard-size pieces of art exhibited at the Solomon Gallery in Dublin on April 2016 and also online. Each piece will sell of fifty euro, with the artists signature revealed after purchase. Have fun guessing who painted which piece. You never know you may pick up a piece by a very well known artist if you have a sharp eye.

All of the proceed are going to Jack & Jill. They have just collected all the art but I’ll leave a link below so you can have a peek when they go online.

Jack & Jill is calling for artists to participate in its newest arts initiative entitled ‘Incognito’