Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010

Just Hanging Out in Hoboken - Photo by Deborah Bornstein Gichan

Hard to believe it’s time to say goodbye to 2010! It was a great year filled with exciting things happening: my first workshop abroad in France, a successful solo show right here in NJ, 3 awards from the Salmagundi Club and the best year ever for painting sales! I’d like to thank all of my students, galleries and collectors for all your support in making this such a great year.

I’ve got lots of new things in store for 2011, here’s a sneak peak:

  • Over 10 courses in drawing and painting scheduled at NJ Visual Arts Center in Summit, click here for more information.
  • My popular “all day with Anne” painting course at the Center for Contemporary Art is back on Thursdays along with an evening class for those of you who work during the day, 908-234-2345 for more info.
  • I’m back teaching at the Hunterdon Museum of Art! I’ll be offering an Advanced Drawing and Painting class on Monday evenings, click here for details.
  • Two solo shows: in May I will exhibit a new series of Urban Figurative paintings at Gallery Egan in Morristown; in June I will have a solo show at the NJ Visual Arts Center themed “Loosely Structured”–each show will feature new works not previously exhibited
  • I am thrilled to be offering a 5-day painting workshop at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, Vermont! The workshop will combine plein air sketching with studio painting in a fabulous Vermont setting, click here for details.
  • I will of course be participating in all member shows at Salmagundi in NYC and group shows at JAG Fine Art in Philly

I’m really excited about the coming year, I hope you will join me in a toast to success and happiness in 2011! 🙂


Every Stroke Counts

December 28, 2010

Pastel study, 18x12 in. on Pastelmat

This is a study for a larger painting, I’ve already done a version of it very small in oil, and I wanted to explore the gesture of the figures a bit more before venturing on to a very large version of this.

Two questions I am asked frequently: How come you never blend your pastels? Don’t you get bored painting the same subject several times?

As to the first, I don’t blend because I believe every stroke and bit of color is as important in and of itself as it is in making up the whole image. Strokes are meant to be seen in my work, they are what create the movment and vibrancy that produces the feeling of spontaneity. Smooth, photographic rendering does not interest me as a painter, expressive brushwork does.

On painting things more than once, first, I never paint the same composition twice. I may use the same subject or initial reference photo, but the paintings are usually done in different mediums, in different formats and the studies are my reference for the larger works. I barely rely on reference photos for my paintings, I use them in the studies and as a departure point for the paintings, but the prototype paintings are far more important to me than a photograph. Therefore, multiple studies are usually required and I never tire of painting something that interests me in the first place.

So I plan to do this large, perhaps in oil, perhaps acrylic, not sure yet. It will be part of my “Urban Figurative” theme for my solo show at Gallery Egan in Morristown, this coming May.

Evening Light, Hudson Street (NYC)

December 24, 2010

Evening Light, Hudson Street (NYC), oil on canvas, 30x30 in.

This is the finished version, I am quite happy with the warmth I was able to get by using such a limited palette (burnt umber, ultramarine, naphthol red, cadmium yellow and titanium white). While I did miss certain colors (yellow ochre, king’s blue and naples yellow), I found the challenge of working just with one primary each interesting. I plan to do a few more experiments like this with other colors as the single primaries, working this way forces you to truly understand colors and how they interact with one another. And it’s a lot more interesting than making up a million color charts!

A bit more done on this one…

December 22, 2010

A few more details added, figures refined

For no reason in particular, I am really determined to keep this painting to the 5 colors I have on my palette – burnt umber, ultramarine, naphthol red, cadmium yellow and titanium white. I like the way these colors are picking up the “grit” of the city while capturing the glow of the evening light and contrast in the shadows. However, I find I am really missing my yellow ochre (no surprises there! I don’t think I’ve ever left yellow ochre off my palette before!), and a hint of cobalt or king’s blue would be nice. Of course, I can always choose to add these in at the end if I wish, but I want to just see what I get without them first. I hope to finish this before the holiday…

Work in Progress

December 21, 2010

underpainting, burnt umber on yellow ochre toned canvas, 30x30 in.

Work-in-progress, mapping in color

This work-in-progress is a larger version of a small study I did a few weeks ago. I am using a very limited palette on this (burnt umber, ultramarine, naphthol red, cadmium yellow and titanium white), trying to emphasize the warmth of the late evening sun. I did the earlier version using a few more colors, I am aiming to get more drama in the large version, therefore using less colors will push the harmonies and create a unified, finished feeling while keeping things bold and simple, particularly in the strong light to dark shadow areas.

The Strand

December 19, 2010

The Strand, charcoal and greyscale pastel on grey Canson paper, 11x14 in.

This is a drawing I did of the famous Strand bookstore in NYC, a great place where you can buy new and used books, out of print editions, etc. The place is currently covered in scaffolding, so it made for a perfect subject given my current fascination with all things structurally skeletal.

I did this as a drawing for several reasons. First, I love to draw, and this type of complex subject is always wonderful for breaking up space and pushing the limits with forms and values. I also wanted to see if this could hold up monochromatically, as I plan to paint it in color, but it will have a decidely “grey” feeling to it, with splashes of brighter colors on the signage and some of the figures.  My paint greys will of course be made up from the primary colors and white, as I don’t use tube greys or black on my palette. Mixing up greys is always more interesting that using them out of the tube, the subtle variations in color you can get are endless, and with layering and glazing, you get a luminoscity that just isn’t there with tube colors.

I plan to do this large, in oil, on canvas. The drawing above I plan to enter in the Salmagundi Club’s Black and White Exhibit this coming January.

Winter Landscape Workshop

December 17, 2010

demo from Winter Landscape Workshop, 8x10 in., oil alla prima on board

This was the demo from my Winter Landscapes Workshop held at the Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster last week. I will be offering another version of this workshop in pastel at the NJ Visual Arts Center in Summit on February 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here is a description of the workshop:

Working from their own reference photos, students will create a winter landscape using hard and soft pastels on sanded pastel paper. Students will learn how to realistically depict snow, bare trees and atmospheric lighting (sunlit snow, fog, and mist) present in winter.

The registration fee is $100 for the workshop, call the art center at 908-273-9121 to register and request a materials list. Or, visit their web site and register online.