Monday, June 15, 2015

Spring Sale 2015

James Hajicek

I can't believe this wonderfully melancholy model study was priced  as low as $75


It looks like she's about to burst into tears.

Larry Paulsen

A fine back rendered by our resident classicist.

Darius Lipinsky
The dramatic emphasis on  booty reminds of this wonderful couch scene by Alexander Brook that I recently saw in Minneapolis.


Meanwhile,  this ecstatic explosion reminds me of this piece by Grace Hartigan that was also in the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Stephanie Weidner

This is an simple, moody, evocative landscape all by itself.  But  wouldn't it  also make a nice trompe l'oeil painting with the label attached in the upper left corner?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Joseph Tomanek and Archibald Motley

According to a wall display at the current Archibald Motley exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center, the above photo documents a model that Motley shared with Palette and Chisel member, Joseph Tomanek, in  his studio in Berwyn.

And this photograph may have been taken in Tomanek's studio in 1921.

Motley is holding the umbrella in back -- and I suspect that Tomanek is holding the violin at the far left  ( he was a prize-winning fiddler)

These pictures were taken soon after both were fellow students at the Art Institute.

Motley would go on to earn a reputation for his scenes of jazz clubs - while Tomanek would paint murals for churches and pin-up girls in the great outdoors.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Exhibition: For the Love of Color


"I spent many years living overseas in Europe, Australia and Asia raising a family and seeing the sights and art of the world." .... Tamara Beeler

Yes, I believe she has been looking at more kinds of  painting than are usually found at the Palette and Chisel.

This is a person who loves painting at least as much as she loves children, beaches, and river banks.

I hope she shows more of her work here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Lost Treasure

Bought for $.50 at a yard sale in Indiana, here is a memento from 1915, recording the two cherished  pastimes of the P&C membership:  oil painting and billiards.

Hopefully more information, and better images, will be forthcoming.

So far, only Victor Higgins and Oscar Griffith have been mentioned - but I'm sure Otto Hake must be in there somewhere.

Here's the list, from left to right:

John Phillips (painted by August Petrytl)
 August Petrytl (painted by Harry Leon Engle)
Rudolph Ingerle (painted by L.O. Griffith)
Otto Hake (painted by John Phillips)
L.O. Griffith (painted by Victor Higgins)
 Harry Leon Engle (painted by Rudolph Ingerle)
Victor Higgins (painted by Otto Hake)


Auction results: the P&C  bid on it -- but it actually did sell to someone with deeper pockets for more than $10,500.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Faculty Show - 2015

Another wonderful scene from Andy Conklin.  It reminds me of  Paolo Uccello and  Renaissance Italy, back when fashionable men wore similar tights.  It's hard to imagine the design of this painting without each girl having one leg in white, and the other in black..

Paolo Uccello


Cool, relaxed, healthy, young, enjoyable:  the kind of life I'd like to lead

A larger scene where Andy explores his favorite topic:  C.G.I. (Computer Generated Imagery) as depicted by D.O.M.P. (Dutch Old Master Painting)

One of  our favorite models - though without her chaotic dreadlocks.

And isn't she leaning on the kind of gray metal stool found in our third floor studio?

A priapic salute offered by Errol Jacobson.  (or, perhaps it's a defiant middle finger)


This is Errol's sharper, cleaner style -- and  this  feels like a bleak contemplation of mortality, reminding me of Van Gogh's  famous depiction of a path to nowhere:

Helen Oh

A painterly conundrum: how can you ever have too much beautiful stuff?

Every item feels like it mysteriously appeared for no good reason -- and yet, the pieces seem to be talking with each other.


I guess that's why I like the Dutch school - it's more about visual appearance than painterly expression.


Nothing can be feminine-sexier than a sea shell.

The egg -- and the broken egg.
The blooming flower - and the fallen flower.
I guess there's a story there.


This minimalist piece doesn't really work for me - but I don't want Helen to stop trying.

Larry Paulsen

Some might call this drawing unfinished - but everything feels just about right to me.

Clayton Beck

Love this area of detail.


Clayton Beck

The P&C used to have property up near Fox Lake where we could paint models outdoors.

We gave the property up during the Great Depression -- but some of us are still  painting figures in landscapes.


Ed Wentz

A swinging vision of the Grand Canal.  That looks like Santa Maria Della Salute in the background.

Steven Assael

A bit more poignant with this severe cropping.



Monday, January 12, 2015

The Soulful Subjects of Mary Qian

I stumbled upon these three paintings by Mary at Ann Nathan Gallery yesterday, and it occurred to me that this was a good time to write a brief panegyric on her behalf.

First -- because these paintings were outstanding.  Denser, somehow,  than her earlier work that I've seen at the club over the past 10 years.

And second -- because I fear that Mary may never get a retrospective - or even a solo show - here in Chicago in the foreseeable future. So I may as well just write about her now.

 Her work just doesn't have much in common with what this gallery, or any other Chicago gallery, can sell and therefore show in contemporary figurative art.  And even less in common with  galleries elsewhere that specialize in  popular realism and Western Art.

I don't know whether Mary is a woman of faith -- but she paints like she's living in the 16th-17th Century, when faith was a matter of life-and-death, and the great painters, like Titian, Rembrandt, El Greco,  and Velasquez felt compelled to reveal human souls.

That's what Mary does : she reveals the soul of her subjects -- as if it still really mattered.  You almost want to weep as you feel the drama in the characters that she is depicting.  The despair - the tenacity - the idealism -  the sorrow - the confusion - the destiny.

This kind of painting has great technical challenges  because it's not just about self expression. And as everyone knows, Mary is a fanatic for techniques.  She always wants to learn one more. But  obviously, for her, techniques are the means, not the ends.

Someday, this kind of painting will probably  be considered  as contemporary as it was 400 years ago because it's subject will always be compelling.

But for now, it's made,  shown, and appreciated at the margins of the contemporary art world.

Friday, January 02, 2015

New Years Drawing Marathon 2015

Here's a shadowy self-portrait by Del Hall, official Academy photographer, as wanders through the studios during the drawing  marathons, recording the activity within.

Though each and every artist is  not recorded -- and often the same familiar faces re-appear year after year - he does provide the best documentation these events will ever have.

Arturo Vera

Bernard Beneteau

Beth Kordick

Bill Harbinson

Brian Kotwica

Chris Miller

Christopher Sontheimer

Eileen Fergusen

Eva Tupa

Henry Maron

Henry McAlevy

Iaos-Daphne Hoouasnia

John Youssi

Joseph Gruber

Junad Rizki

Larry Paulsen

Lee Radtke

Lena Crumbaugh

Madison Stubbs

Marion Berg

Mary Beth Bellon

Maureen Warren

Ned Waith

Pat Bruchin

Phyllis Brodny

Ralph Paquet

Randall Mathais

Rong Liang

Sandy Kowerko

Scott Moore

Stuart Fullerton


Timothy Kloss

Vince Lisnic

Xiao Dong