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Charles Sovek, one of my artist heroes, has passed away. I learned this from Beth, who visited my web site last night and left me an email to let me know. Thank you, Beth, for taking the time to tell me of this. She let me know in the email that she attended one of his workshops in Maine.

The great thing about Sovek was his deep love for painting, and more specifically for color. I've learned more about color and its use through his books and his artwork than through anyone else.

When I started painting, I visited a couple of forums and read one person's glowing review of him and so I checked out his web site. I loved his artwork and I bought a few of his books, which are exceptional. Sovek not only signed each book that he sent me, but he also sent me postcards, each featuring a painting of his.

So, on this Father's Day, I give great respect to Charles Sovek, a father to many artists who grooved on his passion for painting.

Tags: charles sovek | artists
by Brett Rogers, 6/17/2007 11:30:15 AM

The Sun

I was browsing through Barnes & Noble a couple of weekends ago with Austin and Jacob when I ran across a watercolor book on painting the sky. Most of what I saw was pretty standard fare, except this:

I'd wondered for a while if any watercolorists had managed to capture the brightness of sunlight. Yes. Paul Jackson has. And it's not the only one in which he does this. The above picture doesn't let you close enough to see how he did it, but the book copy of this painting does, and I've filed that thought away.

I've started painting a little landscape picture of the New England coastline to get back into painting. No bright sunshine to show, but it's nice to paint again.

And speaking of sunlight, an overabundance of it and of the humidity here in Iowa will prevent the camping trip planned. The heat index is to climb around 108 over the weekend. Camping in a tent in a sauna won't be fun for the kids, so we're driving up to Ledges Park instead on Saturday just to play around in the water in the morning. Should be a lot of fun. I hope to take lots of pictures as painting fodder later this fall. Maybe I'll catch some good sunlight and try my hand at the brilliance of sunlight.

Tags: artists
by Brett Rogers, 7/22/2005 7:51:12 AM

Painters: Otto Dix

I'm starting a new thread on BeatCanvas about famous painters. Their work is interesting and I want to know more about them. I'm starting with Otto Dix, who was a German expressionist painter around the time of the two world wars and served in both - although the first time voluntarily and the second time involuntarily.

He was seriously wounded several times. In 1917, his unit was transferred to the Eastern front until the end of hostilities with Russia. Dix was profoundly affected by the sights of the war. He would later tell about his recurring nightmare where he was crawling through destroyed houses. He produced a series of drawings and prints that reflected that traumatic period.

In the Weimar Republic Dix studied at the Dresden Art Academy, became a founder of the Dresden Secession, and was a contributor to the Neue Sachlichkeit exhibition in Berlin in 1925. His paintings became his expression of the bleaker side of life, especially war. He used realistic pictures of disfigured soldiers as his model.

When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they regarded Dix as a degenerate artist and had him sacked from his post as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy.

He had this to say about painting portraits, which was how he made a living.
You know, if one paints someone's portrait, one should not know him if possible. No knowledge! I do not want to know him at all, I only want to see what is there, on the outside. The inner follows by itself. It is mirrored in the visible.
Here are a couple of samples of his work:

The paiting on the left is a portrait of a German dancer named Anita Berber. The painting on the right is The Triumph of Death.

His most famous work is probably a series called "Metropolis." It depicted Germany's "Golden Twenties" post-WWI life and the contrasts therein - between the high society folks who had discovered American jazz and the homeless veterans and prostitutes.

Dix did a lot of etchings of very graphic and disturbing images from the war. There's some question as to whether these etchings constitute "art." I would say that the etchings constitute communication. And isn't that what art is supposed to be? Whether communicating an experience, a view, a feeling - something - art is communication. I think it's absurd to suggest that something may or may not be art. It may not sell, and therefore be commercial art, but it's still an expression of the artist - whatever they wanted to convey.

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Tags: otto dix | artists
by Brett Rogers, 5/7/2005 11:17:24 AM