Karin Jurick’s Museum Hours

Karin Jurick's Museum Hours
Who would think that paintings of people with their backs to you could be so compelling?

When I first wrote about Atlanta based painter Karin Jurick back in 2006, one of the things I admired, in addition to her bright, fresh, painterly approach, was her series of paintings of art museum patrons, in situ, as it were, their backs to the viewer as they stood engrossed in the artwork before them.

This has turned out to be one of Jurick’s favored themes in the subsequent years, and she has recently published a collection of over 100 of those paintings in a book titled Museum Hours.

You can see a preview of the book on the Blurb site; be sure to use the controls below the image to view the preview in full screen mode, allowing you the pleasure of seeing Jurick’s work larger than it is usually reproduced on her site and blog.

The book has a nice feature in the form of an illustrated index of the paintings. In addition to the titles of her paintings, it lists the works being viewed by the patron, (of which Jurick has painted at least a partial interpretation), and the museums in which they are to be found.

Jurick’s work is part of a three-woman show, along with Karen Hollingsworth and Suzy Shultz, at the 16 Patton Gallery in Ashville, North Carolina that opens tomorrow, October 22, 2011. I don’t know how long it runs; the gallery’s website, such as it is, hasn’t been updated with show information and does a poor job of presenting the artists they represent. [Addendum: Jurick was kind enough to let me know the show runs until November 26, 2011. See also my recent post on Karen Hollingsworth.]

You can see a preview of Jurick’s pieces in the show on her website. She has chosen a theme of “New York Life” for her part of the show, and the selection includes some of her art patrons pieces, as well as other New York scenes (love the Flatiron Building).


Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard

Cherries from Chauvet's Orchard, Ruth Phillips, cover by Julian Merrow-Smith
Ruth Phillips is an English cellist living Provence, France. She is married to Julian Merrow-Smith, an artist I have written about previously.

After Duane Keiser, Merrow-Smith is one of the earliest pioneers of the “painting a day” painter/blogger model of creating small daily paintings and offering them for sale over the internet. He also happens to be one of my favorite contemporary painters. I’ve been following his daily paintings blog, Postcard from Provence, since 2006.

In one of my previous posts about Merrow-Smith, I pointed out that watching the images of his postcard paintings arrive by email day after day, as well as traveling back through time by looking through his extensive archive of previous work (over 1,600 at this point), was particularly appealing because I saw within the series of paintings a story, as the landscapes and the fruits and vegetables gathered from local markets for still life paintings changed with the seasons, and as Merrow-Smith worked, experimented and grew as a painter over time.

Here, then, is another side of that story, along with Phillips’ own, as she works to balance her life as a cellist, a wife, an artist’s assistant, an Englishwoman in Provence, a homeowner and an observer of the life, and lives, around her.

In her book Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard: A Memoir of Provence, Phillips has given us a verbal parallel to her husband’s postcard sized paintings — small colorful glimpses of other places and other lives.

In succinct, three or four page chapters, she paints vivid short scenes of life in Provence, lives of the villages in which she and her husband have lived, lives of the individuals they have encountered and lives of some of the people who have purchased Merrow-Smith’s paintings.

The latter glimpses are often told in the individuals’ own words, included in italics as chapter beginning or chapter ending quotes. They were gathered in response to a request Phillips sent out for the purchasers to write with short accounts of their particular Merrow-Smith painting or paintings, where they were hung and what they meant in their lives. She received a much more extensive response than expected, from which she culled down selected accounts to season the book.

Each chapter of Cherries is titled as one of Merrow-Smith’s paintings, sometimes directly related to the subject of the chapter, sometimes just in a metaphorical relationship. The quotes, likewise, are sometimes directly and sometimes obliquely related to the subject of the chapter.

Within these short postcard-like glimpses, Phillips manages to tell the story of her relationship with Merrow-Smith, the beginnings of their marriage and their efforts to make an uninhabitable shell of a house in Southern France into a living home and studio against the tide of an arcane rural French bureaucracy, as well as the story of how “the painter who never painted” became an early practitioner of the “painting a day” discipline, and eventually one of the most successful of the painter/bloggers — artists who pioneered the use of the internet to bypass traditional gallery markets and take their work directly to their patrons around the world, even from a small village in rural France with spotty dial-up internet access.

Postcard from ProvenceThe book, save for its cover, is not illustrated, but the perfect companion volume exists in the form of Merrow-Smith’s beautiful collection Postcard from Provence: Paintings by Julian Merrow-Smith (my review here). Of course, if you already have Postcard from Provence, Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard makes the perfect companion to that book.

I found it particularly enjoyable to have my copy of Postcard from Provence handy as I read Cherries, and leisurely turn between them, each providing “color” for the other.

Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard can be ordered directly from Merrow-Smith’s website, as can the Postcard from Provence volume. Both are also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers in the US and UK (links are provided on the site). You can read a sample of Cherries on fReado.

In addition to her website, Phillips writes two blogs, cello notes and meanwhile (here in France). In the latter, she chronicles her life in Southern France, in some ways providing a continuation and extension of Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard.

The episodes in the book’s short chapters, some sweet, some sour, are like the eponymous cherries picked from their Provençal neighbor’s orchard. They can be read as a memoir, a love story, a series of character sketches, an account of an artist’s progress or the chronicle of the early stages of a shift in the paradigm of how art is created and sold in the 21st Century. Take your pick.


Artist Carol Marine’s house lost to fire

Carol Marine
Artist Carol Marine, who I have previously featured here on Lines and Colors, has lost her house and studio to the wildfires currently ravaging parts of Texas.

The fire devastated their entire subdivision. She and her husband and their son were not harmed, but they were able to take only what they could carry when evacuating, and the rest is lost. The good news is that they have fire insurance, but the bad news is that it will take time for that to take effect, and they are living in a camper with few possessions.

If you’d like to help the family get back on its feet, a family friend has started a fund to immediately assist them.

You could also, of course, bid on some of the wonderfully bright and energetic small paintings that that Marine currently has up for auction through Daily Paintworks (images above). These will change over time as the older auctions end and newer ones replace them, as usual.

As Marine describes on her blog, her small paintings are one of the few things she was able to grab, so the auctions can be fulfilled.

[Via Katherine Tyrrell’s Making a Mark and Karin Jurick’s A Painting Today]


Duane Keiser’s Peel

Duane Keiser's Peel
I just love this.

Back in December of 2004, Virginia based painter and teacher Duane Keiser originated the phenomenon that has come to be known as “painting a day“, in which painter/bloggers paint a small work and post it to a blog each day.

He painted a small painting everyday for about two years, and has since then painted his small works on a varied schedule, but has maintained a strong painting practice.

Keiser has a wonderful recent post on his blog, a short time-lapse video called Peel, in which he paints a tangerine, peels it partway, repaints it on the same panel, peels it some more, repaints it again, sections it, paints it again, reduces it to a single section and paints it again. Wonderful!

You can view the video on Keiser’s site, or on YouTube somewhat larger.

You can see the finished painting here. As of this writing, the painting is up for bid on eBay.

To me, this is not just a fun and novel painting demo, it’s also a vivid demonstration of the real rewards of a dedicated painting regimen.

The accumulated years of frequent practice grant him the skill with eye, hand and materials to not only repaint his subject multiple times on the same canvas, passing up multiple opportunities to say “finished”, but to consider an experiment like this in the first place, in which painting is the point, rather than a painting.

[Via MetaFilter]


Justin Clayton

Justin Clayton
I first encountered painter Justin Clayton when I included him in one of my early posts about Painting a Day blogs (and a subsequent post). Clayton has since moved away from the painting a day convention, but still posts small still life, landscape and figurative paintings to his blog on a frequent basis.

Clayton’s approach is direct and painterly, often with roughly textured backgrounds in his still life compositions, in which he also shows his fascination with the play of light and shadow.

Clayton studied at BYU, the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art and the California Arts Institute; and cites as inspiration painters like William Nicholson, John Singer Sargent and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

In addition to his blog, Clayton has a website on which his paintings are arranged in thumbnail galleries by date or subject. You can also start with the latest work and click through them in sequence.

He also maintains a secondary blog devoted to his Beach Paintings, in which he continues to post paintings and photographs from a 2007 trip down the California coast, and additional work of a related nature since then.

He is also a member of the Daily Paintworks group of painters, who display their latest work together on a joint page. In addition there are three of Clayton’s process videos available on Vimeo.


Karin Jurick (update)

Karin Jurick
When I first noticed Atlanta based artist Karin Jurick, it was from her early participation in the “painting a day” discipline back in early 2006, a then still-young practice among perhaps a dozen or so serious painter/bloggers.

I then wrote a dedicated article about her work, noting my admiration for her direct, painterly approach, and a particular fondness for her series of paintings of museum goers in front of various works.

Recently, I’ve posted about her side project of hosting a group painting blog, Different Strokes From Different Folks (also here and here), in which she periodically provides a painting challenge for numerous artists who paint the same photographic subject, and can then compare their work with the approach of others who take on the same subject.

In the time since I first wrote about her work, her own painting practice has evolved, as she has reaped the rewards of frequent painting, refining her approach and becoming more confident in her command of color, value and edges.

She has also shifted her focus away from small daily paintings somewhat as she becomes more in demand as a gallery painter and devotes more time to preparing for gallery shows.

A new show featuring her work has just opened tonight (I’m remiss in not getting this post up soon enough to make more people aware of the opening) at the Morris & Whiteside Galleries in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It is a three person show that Jurick shares with California Painter Ken Auster (who I recently profiled) and sculptor Jane Decker.

The opportunity to have her work in a show with Auster was particularly pleasing to Jurick, who cites Auster an influence before she even started painting, inspiring her to strive for that loose, impressionistic feeling that is the foundation of her approach.

As is evident from the works she has prepared for the show, Jurick has found a depth of interest in her continuing series of paintings of museum patrons viewing art, a subject that also allows her to do brief notational versions of great paintings, like Carravagio’s Supper at Emmaus, which was recently on loan to the Art Institute of Chicago from the National Gallery in London (image above, top), as well as paintings from the Art Institute’s own collection like Franz Kline’s Painting (second down) and one of the Art Institute’s most popular works, Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte.

Her other series for this show concentrates on beach scenes, in which she also observes those who are oblivious to being observed and lets the sea and sky serve as the “artworks” that capture their attention.

Jurick has not only refined her painting technique over the years, but also her compositions, which have become more strongly geometric and graphically bold, while still retaining a warmth and sense of place (even in gallery scenes in which the observed work is less than warm).

In preparation for this show, she found it necessary to beg off from providing a subject for the Different Strokes blog for a while, urging participants to find their own subjects in the interim; only to be surprised some weeks later to find that they (119 of them) had organized and chosen to all do portraits of her as a thank you for the inspiration she has been providing for them (unfortunately the Picassa Gallery of those paintings is not available at the moment).

Jurick’s web site has a selection of available works, current works that are “Still Wet”, sketches and studies, videos, mentions of her work in various art publications and an archive of past works in which you can see her past paintings in a variety of genres.

On her blog, A Painting Today, you’ll find her small paintings, which you can still sometimes bid on through her store on eBay, and posts about her larger paintings, sometimes with detail crops (as in the details at bottom, above from the two paintings above them) and discussion of technique.

Painter Jeffrey Hayes, who I’ve written about before, featured Jurick as one of his Guest Artists, along with a short interview.

Jurick remains a favorite, whose work I follow often, and though I miss some of the older subjects that she has moved away from, like her warmly lit room interiors, I look forward to wherever her constant study and continual painting practice take her.