A few months back, I wrote a post about receiving my second Elizabeth Greenshilds Foundation grant, and my plans to use a portion of those funds to help me put together a show of portraiture. Since that initial post, my focus has been more on the development of my own work, than it has been on the development of that show. However, now that I am starting to find my way through these glitch paintings (more about that soon, for now see what’s up with those on Instagram), it’s time to talk more about the show. I think the best way to start, is to introduce the artist that inspired me to consider stepping out of the studio and pulling an exhibition together.

karen_kaapcke-1

When it comes to works of art, I would like to think that my tastes are pretty varied. I try to approach different styles of work the way I would approach people speaking different languages. If you are open to it, once you can pick up a few words, you will find that new worlds and experiences will quickly open up to you. As a realist painter, I do have my biases. I don’t expect all artwork to be speaking the same language, but I do prefer work that is visually appealing. For me, successful pieces of art combine interesting ideas, with beautiful execution. So often work is beautifully crafted, but lacking a voice; or incredibly insightful, but looks like the page of a sketchbook. But there is something else. Above all that, successful pieces have the ability to force me to see something in a new way. Exceptionally successful pieces find a way to fight through my biases and change the way I think.

karen_kaapcke-5

A while back, there was a bit of a trend in the realist art community. Like a lot of trends, it showed up in a many different forms, but the general idea was always the same. Do a painting every day. The internet was flooded with blogs documenting peoples attempts at this challenge. Some were run by skilled artists, selling small pieces or offering demos. Others were run by students documenting the development of their work. A lot of the work that these artists were creating was beautiful, but like a lot of trends, I never found much to get excited about. At best, it seemed like a nice exercise to build some painting skills. At worst, a silly gimmick.

Every time I start heading down the path of dismissing an artistic process like this, an artist will inevitably turn up and show me how wrong I am. In this case, that artist in Karen Kaapcke. Like I said, successful pieces can find a way to fight through biases and change the way you think. When Karen and I fist met, she was in the midst of a project that had her creating a self portrait every day, starting on her 50th birthday.

karen_kaapcke-3

“I woke up, thinking – what to do today? What does one do when one turns 50? My paints were in my studio, but the only thing that made any sense was to sit myself down right away, and take a good honest look at myself before I had any time to think. I found a watercolor block, and my drawing box and thus began a project of drawing myself every day for my 50th year. To live 50 as a painter, taking a good look each day, whether I have 2 minutes or an hour, and whether I want to or not. And in the way that iterations are not just repetitions but change due to the very fact of being repeated, I will live the year of 50.”

Within the first five minute of talking with Karen, she had already found a way to completely flip my opinion of the painting a day projects. She had taken something that seemed like a silly gimmick and made it feel honest, given it substance.

karen_kaapcke-2

The more I looked at her project, the more I loved it. Each piece, in most cases, was small and simple. Some were nothing more than quick sketches, others were more developed pieces, but taken together they became something bigger. As the series grew, the individual pieces stopped speaking on their own, instead creating a chorus of voices working to deliver a more powerful message. Viewing a week’s, month’s, or a whole year’s worth at once told an amazing story.

As we talked about this project, I started thinking more about my own work (I am still an artist, so unfortunately everything comes back to my work). I am spending two months on a large portrait, while she is spending the same time creating a portrait consisting of 60 small pieces. The intent of both of these processes is to tell a similar story. Taken together, the dialog created between these two approaches adds a little something interesting to both.

karen_kaapcke-4

Sometimes these things just stick around in your head until you can’t ignore them any longer.

For everyone who wants to learn more about Karen, see more of her work, and see where she has taken this project, head over to her website. Her work is always interesting, and constantly evolving. http://karenkaapcke.weebly.com/

To see where the project mentioned above ended up after a year, check out the project blog: http://unprimedcanvas.blogspot.com/

karen_kaapcke-6

A few weeks ago, I made a decision to start doing weekly posts on my site. Not that I think everyone is really sitting around waiting to hear what I have to say but, as an artist it is important to put thought into the work you are making and be conscious of what the decisions you make with your work are communicating (or not). Right now, I have a lot going on, and writing about it is a good way to keep myself on track, and engage with anyone who happens to take an interest.

Obviously, I have already failed.

It has been weeks since I have published a blog post so, I am going to publicly state my goal so that it becomes a bit more tangible. Before I got off track with my goal of weekly posts, I started writing a little about preparing for this show but, I never finished the piece. I think in this case, putting the post off may have been a blessing in disguise because, while I have a lot to say, this show speaks best for itself.

My last text message painting is headed down to Miami this week and, will be included in a show that opens at the end of the month and includes a reception during Art Basel week. Now, I am not someone who is against the important aspect of commerce in art but, during a week when so many exhibitions will focus primarily on commerce, I am proud that my piece will be in a show that has something to say.

Details, along with a few teasers from the show below.
Help support the event, join and share the event on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/events/1253323308027943/

Yeelen Gallery Art Basel

what’s INSIDE HER never dies… a Black Woman’s Legacy.

Nov 30th, 2015 – Feb 28th, 2016

Panel: Wednesday, Dec 2nd 1pm

Artist Reception: Saturday, Dec 5th, 10pm- till

Yeelen Gallery

294 NW 54th Street

Little Haiti, Miami 33127 954.235.4758

Patrick Earl Hammie F.B.J., 2015, oil on linen, 80 x 68 inches Patrick Earl Hammie – “F.B.J.” – oil on linen

(Miami, FL) October 2015 – Yeelen Gallery presents what’s INSIDE HER never dies…a Black Woman’s Legacy, a group exhibition curated by Karla Ferguson and in collaboration with Poets & Artists Magazine; on view through Art Basel Miami Beach week from November 30 to February 28, 2016. Bringing together a select group of like-minded artists, curators and cultural tastemakers, Yeelen celebrates the legacy and influence of the Black Woman.

“what’s INSIDE HER never dies…” will mark the three-year anniversary of Yeelen Gallery and will include a compelling body of 25 artist/activists including: Sylvia Parker Maier, Tim Okamura, Joseph Adolphe, Jerome Soimaud, and Numa Perrier. Yeelen’s annual Art Basel reception will be Saturday, December 5th from 10 pm-till attracting one of the largest constituencies of artists and influencers outside of the usual fair grounds; this gathering has become the ultimate expression of creativity during Miami Art Week.

“We are proud to pay homage to the beauty and resiliency of the Black Woman, we aim to continue to fight for her rights and equal respect,” said Karla Ferguson, gallery owner and director. The exhibit will present through portraiture, drawing, photography and installation, the beauty and the emotions of these heroines whom inspire us generation after generation.

Judith Peck - Pulled Over, 40x30 inches, Oil and plaster on boardJudith Peck – “Pulled Over” – oil and plaster on board

Artists include:

Joseph Adolphe - "Fragile" - oil on canvasJoseph Adolphe – “Fragile” – oil on canvas

Yeelen Gallery – 294 NW 54th Street – Little Haiti, Miami – 954.235.4758

Last week I wrote a post that I was going to call “I’m Part of the Problem,” but I held off on uploading it.

If you saw me a couple weeks ago, you may have been on the receiving end of my rants about the Big Red and Shiny fundraiser. It went something like this: the only time we get more than a post or two every couple months is when they want more money. Why would anyone start an art magazine if they don’t actually want to write about art?

Now, I honestly respect what the people at Big Red and Shiny are trying to do and I would hope that at least a couple of them would consider me a friend, so I wanted to write something that took my rant somewhere a little more useful. I wanted to write a post about how the Boston art scene was “all bark, no bite” and resurrecting an art magazine when you don’t actually want to write about art on a regular basis was the epitome of that. I wanted to write about that and call some people out… including myself.

For a long time, I have been thinking about putting together a show of portraiture. Not just a show of portraits, but a show that shines a little light on ways that people are using the general concept of portraiture for something more than simply documenting faces. I am sure a lot of you have heard me toss this idea around, maybe I even asked you if you might be interested in participating, but the reality is, I wasn’t sure it was going anywhere. I think you see where the post is headed; just like everyone else, I had a solid idea, and idea that I was passionate about but…. You know I need to be in the studio, I’ve got bills to pay, I am not a curator. Just another scared puppy, all bark, no bite. I am part of the problem. You get it.

Before I uploaded this post, I decided to sit on it for a while. First off, is it really a good idea to call out one of the few organizations that might actually review a show of my work? More importantly, I was not really ready to admit that I was going to give up on my portraiture show.

Sometimes a few days cooling off period makes all the difference. In this case, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and try to make the show actually happen. Actually… that is not entirely true, someone else has decided to put their money where my mouth is.

While I was taking a weekend off, enjoying fall in Maine, I got an email from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation explaining that they were going to give me a second grant. The proposal I sent them consisted of two parts. First and foremost, I laid out my current text message portrait painting project. This series has not even found its final form yet, but it has already gotten a lot of interest. The grant is a huge vote of confidence and means that it will happen faster, with less compromises. Second, I proposed the portrait show, not only bring together some artists working in a field I am passionate about, but also as a way to frame this new series of painting within the world.

So, now I find myself in this position, all dressed up and nowhere to go. I have an idea for the show (that I will elaborate on soon), I have money to make it happen, I even have some really good artists on board, I just don’t have a space (yet).

"Self-Portrait as Insomniac" by Karen Kaapcke

Cover image is “Self-Portrait as Insomniac” by Karen Kaapcke, who planted the seeds in my mind that inspired this (potential) show.

I have a bad habit of exploring ideas out loud. As I am thinking my way through problems, I will ask questions, spit out ideas, request feedback on half baked theories and generally allow most any thought that passes through my head to escape as sound. In the world of bad habits (even in my own world of bad habit), this one is fairly benign but, it does have a way of confusing, annoying and generally making me look foolish to anyone with the poor fortune of being within earshot at one of these moments.

I feel like I have allowed this habit to infect my writing lately as I have been publicly working my way through the pixelated private message paintings. In other words, it has been helpful to send my ideas out into the world, to receive the confused glances that come with bad ones, along with the excitement and support that come back from the good ones but, I expect that everyone is just about ready for me to shut up about it all ready.

With that in mind, I am sending my latest study for this series to a show at the Dorchester Art Project.

Private Message Study #2

I am sending my piece to this show and I am telling you not to worry, you are not going to this show to see my latest exploration into this idea, you are going to DAP to see the other artists. You are going here to marvel at latest group of amazingly talented artists coattails that I have somehow managed to ride.

Here are a few teaser pieces from the show, keep reading below for official press release and dates.

Steven Carvalho "Sunday Morning"
_E_Petitti - The Liu-Casco Theory About the Loss of the Golden Pear (version4) - Drawing
Retrofit Painting by Thomas Willis

BETWEEN YOU AND ME: RESIDENT GROUP SHOW

Exhibition: August 14­ – September 18

Artist talks: September 12

Closing Reception: September 18

Dorchester Art Project

1486 Dorchester Ave Boston

The Dorchester Art Project is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition, B?etween You and Me: Resident Group Show. C?urated from work produced by DAP resident artists, B?etween You and Me locates the tenuous threads that bind together artists working within communal space.

In the front gallery, photographs consider how individuals relate to their worlds and constructed tableaus explore otherworldly scenes. Paintings of faces fall apart into pixelated squares, mimicking the failure of cellular communication between people, while in other works, intertwined figures emerge from abstraction. In the back gallery, a site­specific installation of sculptures that reference painting recreates the artist’s studio within the gallery space. Collages made from phone books and other paper detritus sourced directly from the Dorchester environment are as much about absence of information and individuals as their presence. Across the paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings, there is a commonality of artists engaged in critical discourse and thinking as the artists interpret their environments and interact with the surrounding communities.

Operating in the space formerly occupied by the Howard Art Project, the Dorchester Art Project is dedicated to fostering a collaborative environment for critical discourse and creative engagement for emerging artists. Located in the Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester, DAP provides studio and communal space to artists, while programming our gallery space with regular exhibitions of critically engaged, emerging local artists, as well as artist talks and lectures. DAP aims to engage a wide audience, and bridge the gap between urban residents and the critical art establishment.

Join and share the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/494095904089321/

When I was first starting out, trying to figure out how to actually make a living as an artist, I would sometimes wake up late at night in a panic and apply for jobs. I couldn’t picture myself working at any of these places but, I didn’t want to be wasting my life.

Later, I started to figure things out and sell some paintings. At this point when I woke up panicked, I would apply to galleries. I couldn’t picture my paintings at many of the galleries but, I didn’t know if I could keep selling without help.

It should go without saying that my 4am cover letter game is pretty weak and, even the cleverest of late night ideas do not necessarily stand up to the light of day. I didn’t get many callbacks.

As I have mentioned here before, life has been getting in the way of art lately and, I have been worrying that I have not been showing enough this year. So, in a decision slightly better than sending love letters to gallery directors, I decided to apply to some shows.

This time I actually got a response.

So, while I’ve never pictured my work fitting in there, I am happy to be sending a piece to the annual members show at The Danforth in Framingham.

The piece I am sending is my Portrait of Matthew Cherry that I did for Poets & Artists magazine. The piece was originally painted to be the cover art for the issue so, the composition is a little quirky. That said, I actually love this painting so, I am happy that it is finally getting an opportunity to escape the studio and hang in the real world.

Portrait of Matthew Cherry (for Poets and Artists Magazine)

The show is up from June 7 through August 2, 2015 and, there is a Members Only Exhibition Preview on Friday, June 5 from 5–7pm.
Head over to the Danforth website for more information and a complete list of artists. Here is a buying guide by CutterWelderMaestro, one of the best on market right now!

FY15 Annual Juried Exhibitions OTW COA Evite

You have seen a lot about my piece for this show here, now it is time to shift gears and talk a little more about the show that inspired this new direction.

First off, let me give some credit where credit is due. The driving force behind this show, and a lot of others, is Didi Menendez of Poets & Artists magazine I know I mention her a lot on my site but, that is because she is doing a lot. She is a strong supporter of contemporary realist painting (and sculpture) and, while the work I make does not always fit neatly into that box, she always seems to find a place for me in her magazine, and the exhibitions she is involved in. Working in a style of art that could be described as unfashionable (or worse), it is often frustrating trying to find suitable places to show. I know I speak for a lot of artists when I say that her support, and the work she puts into these shows, is very appreciated. I am not sure how to really repay that, except to ask the people that enjoy my work, to support her in return. Buy an issue, visit a show, let her know that there are people out there that enjoy the fruits of her labor.

Check out the latest issue (that covers this show) here: http://www.magzter.com/US/GOSS183-Publishing-Group/PoetsArtists/Art/

You can find more information about the magazine, including where to buy hard copies at the Poets & Artists site.

Now, about the show.

Immortality & Vulnerability is a collaborative effort between co-curators Didi Menendez and Sergio Gomez (who runs the gallery at the Zhou B Art Center, along with his own space 33 Contemporary), and the artists involved. The way they tell it, Sergio came up with the concept, As luck would have it, this meshed with a new series that Didi had been discussing with artist Nadine Robbins.

See Nadine’s explanation of this piece here.

"Double Gulp" by Nadine Robbins “Double Gulp” by Nadine Robbins

The title Immortality and Vulnerability was given to all the invited artists about one year in advance. Artists and poets were selected from across the country to participate. Each artist and poet was asked to respond to this theme from their own point of view and with their own visual language and writing style. The ideas of Immortality and Vulnerability have been part of the human experience for millennia and have been subjects of exploration by numerous artists throughout time.

I don’t want to give too much away, because the show looks great and I want you to check out the magazine to see it all, but here are a couple more teasers:

Cesar Conde's piece for Immortality & Vulnerability Cesar Conde‘s piece for Immortality & Vulnerability
VictoriaSelbach Victoria Selbach's piece for Immortality & Vulnerability

Immortality & Vulnerability will be in Chicago at the Zhou B Art Center.

Opening reception April 17th at 7:00 pm

On view from April 17th through May 9th

Once again, I am about to do a longer post here to set up a new piece and talk a little about it and the show it is headed to. If you are just interested in seeing a picture or finding out where to see some of my art in the real world, feel free to skip to the end. For the few people out there that like my art AND have made it too the year 2015 with your attention span in tact, I am going to talk about the process I took to create the piece.

Creating art is always full of struggles, wrong turns, accidents and mistakes. Some artists are fairly open about the methods that brought them to the final piece, a lot more would rather keep most of the route hidden, but most would agree that the process used to create a piece of art is just as important and revealing as the finished product.

In my last post (The Rules) I started to talk a little about this and made an offhand comment about using studio assistants. I said that, if I manage to reach the level where having studio assistants work on my pieces makes sense, one of “the rules” to creating my work would be never using them. The reason for this is simple: as a painter, if you lined up two pieces of work by a painter I am familiar with, one created partially by studio assistants and one created entirely by the artist, I would be willing to bet that I could tell the difference. Maybe a studio assistant cares about keeping their job, where the artist is only focused on working through ideas, and helps make the final piece higher quality, but the fact remains that there will be differences.

A lot of artists take a similar stance about the use of photographic references.

The thinking goes something like this: the camera has already translated a three dimensional object into a two dimensional image. The camera has already taken away a lot of information that could be used to create a more dynamic piece of art. And also, isn’t that kind of cheating, do you even know how to draw? Are you just tracing that shit?

I think that the people who feel this way would give you a similar story to the one I just told about studio assistants. Line up two paintings by an artist, one done from life, one from a photo reference and they can spot the difference. I have to admit that as a figure painter, as a realist painter, I have often found myself leaning that way as well. However, the kind of paintings I am making do not lend themselves towards working from life. Compromises must be made, so I have my own set of rules for using photo references. I am about to tell you all about how I broke those rules, so let me first lay them out for you:

  • Be familiar with the subject. I paint humans, so, you know, talk to them, look them in the eyes, drink a beer with them, ask them if they feel things, etc.
  • Only use photos that you have actually taken.
  • Take photos from many slightly different angles, with many different focal points, to collect as much information as possible.

Pretty basic stuff. I think a lot of artists (who are not trying to create hyper-realistic copies of photos of banal daily life) (or whatever hyper realists are into these days) would probably have a similar list.

Recently, I have began work on a piece for what has become an annual event, a show of (mostly) figurative paintings that Poets and Artists Magazine curates at the Zou B Art Center in Chicago. This year, the theme/title of the show is “Immortality and Vulnerability”, which immediately set me off in a direction that begged for a new approach.

Because I spend an estimated 99.9% of my time in the studio surfing the internet and reading trashy news sites, it should not be surprising that when I received the information for this show, I was reading an article about (yet another) celebrity’s private photos being stolen and shared publicly. In a time when nearly every person you know is walking around all day with the ability to cheaply and easily take photos and videos of anything they like, it is not hard to see why this is happening more and more. And obviously, not just to celebrities. With photos so easy to take and share, I don’t think it is a huge leap to link the idea of “immortality and vulnerability” to the fact that so many people’s private images will be outliving them on the internet.

For a while, I resisted using this idea. It seemed almost too easy and silly to be worthwhile, but I realized that the opportunity this idea gives me to break my own rules and explore new processes mattered more than the idea itself.

So I set out to break all of my rules for using reference photos.

In order for this idea to really work for me, I would have to take a private moment from a stranger, and make it public in a way that has the potential to outlive them. Now, I don’t feel right about stealing peoples photographs, so I did the next best thing. I went online and asked people to email, or text, me photos of themselves. I asked strangers to send me the kind of images that they would normally only send to their lovers. Because of the internet, this is surprisingly easy and non awkward, and I got a lot of responses.

I picked two women with interesting faces and asked them to send me some images. First, a couple where their identity was hidden (camera obscuring their face, or cropped in a way that it was hard to tell who they were), that were the kind of images that they might send to their husband (or boyfriend or a random person on the internet, whatever) to tantalize them.

I took the images and did everything I could think of to corrupt the digital files, while still keeping the image identifiable. I wanted to mimic the sort of distortions and degradations that happen when digital files are shared over and over. I saved the jpegs over and over at low quality. I shrunk the image smaller, then blew it back up big again. I opened up the file deleted some bits of the code. I took a photo of the photo on my screen.

The process created all sorts of different glitches in the images from which I selected my favorites and made a composite that looked as glitchy as possible, while still being an obviously sexual image. I used this version of the image as reference for a painting. In the end, I used a single image that I did not take, of someone I have never met, as reference for the painting.

The idea was for the final piece would be a diptych, with this image paired with a more traditional portrait that revealed the subjects identity, and hopefully allowed the viewer to connect the sexual image with something that felt more like a real person. As I started working on the portrait, I ran into a problem. The problem was the same problem that led me towards my original rules for using photo references. The problem was I did not know this person, I did not have a feel for her expressions, I didn’t know anything about her and therefore, I was making a lot of guesses as I worked on the portrait. The kinds of guesses and assumptions that you have to make when working from photographs that you did not take of an unfamiliar subject. The kind of assumptions that lead to the kind of paintings that make people say things like:

“Line up two paintings by an artist, one done from life, one from a photo reference and I can spot the difference.”

In order for the piece to work, the portrait had to be as relatable and human as the second panel was digitized and anonymous. I did the only thing I could think of to make this happen. I called up the models and asked them to come in to the studio and sit for the portrait.

The painting is not complete but, it is coming along nicely. I still need to refine a lot, come up with some elements to tie the two panels together, and obviously finish painting the blank parts, but here is the piece as it stands:

immortality-vulnerability-1
immortality-vulnerability-2

If you want to see more images of the development of this piece, and continue following along as I finish it, follow me on Instagram.

Recently, I finished a piece that I have been keeping under wraps a bit longer than normal. I think I have mentioned before that this piece is headed to Florida for a show organized by Victoria Selbach for Poets and Artists Magazine, that will be held at Sirona Fine Art this February. I am working on framing and packing the piece this week and I wanted to talk a little about my process behind making the painting. If you can’t sit through a little art talk, feel free skip to the end and just get the details about the show.

nick-ward-artists-gaze

It is no secret that what separates bad art (and mediocre art) from the good stuff is often (always?) some element of suffering. Just like riding a roller coaster, a song that tells the story of pain that we can relate to (or glamorizes pain that we will never feel) lights up our brains in the most pleasurable ways. Something about facing suffering, in a controlled manner, is just extremely satisfying. I won’t pretend to understand why this is, but if you have ever faced two similar works of art and tried to understand why one makes an impact, while the other falls flat, this is usually a big part of the answer. Good artists have a (sometime unconscious) fundamental understanding of this and that is where “the rules” come into play.

First off, it should go without saying but I am going to say it anyway, good artists are good at making art. Seriously. I am going to go out on a limb and just say that every good artist has gotten to a point in their art making where making art got fairly easy. They got to a certain level of technical proficiency, they started to understand the aesthetics of their particular artistic language, whatever… making art started to become second nature. This is where “the rules” come into play.

If good art is about allowing people to safely suffer, to face difficult subjects, and it is coming out easily, you have a problem, you are not pushing hard enough, and the final product (art) is not going to be effective. If you do not feel anything when you make it, people are not going to feel anything when they look at/interact with your art. Hobbyists enjoy making art, artists work hard. When making art starts getting easy, when there is not enough suffering in the studio anymore, artists start creating barriers for themselves — they invent rules for their art work and process to follow. Ultimately, understanding the rules that an artist has set for the creation of the art can reveal a lot about the final piece.

Are you still with me? Am I completely wrong here? If you are an artist, do you not work within a set of (ever tightening) regulations?

As I was working on the piece that I would ultimately decide to send to this show, I was posting a lot of images of my progress on my website, on Instagram, on Facebook, and I got a lot of interesting feedback. Mostly, it could be separated into two distinct groupings:

 
The people that think my paintings are kind of weird (in a good way) thought I had pushed it too far towards realism, therefore I had created a somewhat less interesting piece.
 
The people that think I am a pretty good realistic painter thought this was a step forward in my ability to paint things that look like the thing I am painting, and therefore this was a more interesting piece.
 

In my mind, both of these groups of people are missing something. I am not intending to paint people as entirely weird caricatures, I am not trying to accurately render things to the best of my ability. What I am trying to do is create interesting paintings that communicate something, while working within my own set of artistic rules, and there is one rule that all my pieces follow. One rule that really defines the look of my paintings, even this one.

If there is one thing that really makes painting images worthwhile in a world where photography is so prevalent, it is the act of painting itself. The fact that some foolish human took the time to painstakingly create an image, gives paintings a weight that photography can not achieve. With that in mind, I go out of my way to make my paintings as labor intensive as possible. I use a small brush and mix every stroke individually. I spend more time than is necessary on pieces and try to leave obvious evidence of this in the finished product. I want to push the fact that some idiot human (that’s me) just spent a month creating something that a camera could have done better in 5 minutes. Painting this way is not the right way to do it, it does not produce the most realistic results, it distorts colors and adds strange textures, it complicates things. If I was more successful, this is the part where I would make a stink about doing it all myself and not using studio assistants, but I think at this point in my career that goes without saying.

In this piece, I have toned down the textures that are normally created by working this way, and people seem to have noticed. I did this so that other distortions could take the stage. I wanted the piece to feel unstable. The skin is not as textured and the colors are more even, but I tried to play with cool and warm areas within the body, allowing some parts to push back into the blues of the background and then shifted the lines of the blanket so the figure felt as though it may also be in danger of falling forward. I wanted the figure to feel pushed back into a corner, while still maintaining a strong gaze toward the viewer. There are a lot of small things happening in a simple composition and allowing too much texture in the skin made the piece feel overly busy.

The painting is being sent off to Florida, so be sure to check out the show if you are in the area, or in Poets and Artists Magazine, if you are not. The show has an amazing array of artists, all with a unique way of looking at women in their art. Best of all, it gives me a good excuse to get out of frozen Boston and work on my sunburn in Miami.

If you want to join me there, check out the opening reception event on Facebook.

artists-gaze

Artist’s Gaze, Seeing Women in the Twenty-first Century

Curated by Victoria Selbach

At Sirona Fine Art

Dates: February 21 to March 22, 2015

Opening Reception: February 21, 2015

Featuring work by:

  • Aleah Chapin
  • Alison Lambert
  • Alyssa Monks
  • Bernardo Torrens
  • Brian Booth Craig
  • Cesar Santos
  • Christian Johnson
  • Cindy Bernhard
  • Daliah Ammar
  • Daniel Maidman
  • Delita Martin
  • Dorielle Caimi
  • Erica Elan Ciganek
  • Erin Anderson
  • Hollis Dunlap
  • Jamie Valero
  • Jason Bard Yarmosky
  • Jeff Faerber
  • Jennifer Balkan
  • Judith Peck
  • Krista Louise Smith
  • Lauren Levato Coyne
  • Maria Kreyn
  • Mark Horst
  • Mary Beth McKenzie
  • Matthew Cherry
  • Melinda Whitmore
  • Mia Bergeron
  • Michelle Doll
  • Nadine Robbins
  • Nick Ward
  • Park Hyun Jin
  • Patrick Earl Hammie
  • Reuben Negron
  • Richard Thomas Scott
  • Ryan Shultz
  • Stephen Early
  • Stephen Wright
  • Susannah Martin
  • Tim Okamura
  • Victoria Selbach
  • Wesley Wofford
  • Will Kurtz

A friend of mine recently asked me to hang some pieces in the lobby gallery at the FP3 building in Fort Point. The room is beautiful and, in the back opens up into a large space with 20 foot ceilings, which makes it the perfect place to hang some of my larger paintings. I am always surprised at how nice the paintings look when they get out of the studio and into a proper environment and this is no exception. The space really gives the paintings some room to breath and, its great to see the new 5’x7′ large piece in a space that makes its scale work.

In any case, they are holding a little opening reception this Thursday from 6-8 (I hear there may be tasty snacks). So, if you are around Boston, come on out, say hello and check it out.

Nick Ward's Paintings at FP3 Fort Point

Nick Ward’s Distorted Memories
Opening Thursday November 14th 6-8pm
FP3, 346 Congress Street Boston, MA
https://www.facebook.com/events/1378107369099991/

It has been an exciting summer at my studio, which has taken its toll on my artwork. I got married, did some traveling, enjoyed the small window of warm weather that Boston offers and now, I am refreshed, ready to hit the ground running in the lead up to Fall. With that in mind, its time for a summertime wrap-up post.

First things first, crucial thanks to a few people that helped make the wedding great. Nathan Fried-Lipski took amazing photographs of the event. Not only did he risk life and limb by laying down in the middle of Atlantic Ave (a very busy three lane road for those of you not familiar with Boston) to get the shot he wanted, he also went above and beyond the call of duty by helping keep Margaux sane and happy during the days stressful moments. I can not recommend him enough, everyone should head straight to his blog to take a look at a few photos from the day, and then go ahead and like his page on Facebook. Seriously, he is a great guy and a talented photographer.

Next up, Eli at Alabaster and Chess. He does custom tailored suits for a good price and had me looking better than I probably ever will again. Beyond that, he was also just a really great guy and super easy to do business with, which counts for a lot in my book.

If you want to live vicariously, you can check out some photos from my travels by following me on Instagram.

Okay. On to some art related news. I know I have been talking a lot about the Street Diamonds show but, that’s because it is good. Silva Naci pulled together a nice mix of artists and it really is worth seeing. You’ve already missed the closing party but there is still time to see the show. It will be up through September 7th so, head out to Fourth Wall Project and have a look.

Speaking of the Just Platinum Rings and Street Diamonds closing party, I am told ALLDAYEVERYDAY was there shooting video for an upcoming Cheryl Dunn documentary. It should come as no surprise that I happily ride the coattails of those above me so, I am interested to see what they do with the video they took Saturday night. Keep your eyes open for that and, maybe I will be in the background of some shots, lurking awkwardly behind people, trying to gauge their interest in my paintings.

On to some paintings. I have done a little editing on this piece and plan on dropping it off at Sloane Merrill Gallery tomorrow (there is a good change that a couple new pieces will follow closely behind). I really loved the idea of consistent using four panels for this entire series of paintings but, I have just never thought it worked right for this particular piece. So I have dropped one. It is now a triptych and, since Sloane Merrill is interested in selling paintings, they have convinced me to allow them to split up the series. I still hope to keep all three together but, if you have had your heart set on a single panel from this painting (I know there are some of you out there), this is your chance. Head over to the gallery before I change my mind…

And finally, here is a quick update on my latest, large scale, piece. I lost my way a little bit with this one but, the solution has finally come to me. There will be some moderate editing done on this piece—don’t get used to her red hair—but, it is still turning out to be a pretty good looking painting. Stay tuned for the completed image and, enjoy the final days of summer.

casey_progress_8-26-2013