Kenneth Tyler remembers Helen Frankenthaler's groundbreaking printmaking work at Tyler Graphics. He not only fondly recalls working with Frankenthaler, but also describes in detail the collaborative process involved in creating her large-scale woodcut prints.
Tyler describes: "For the Genji and Madame Butterfly woodcuts, she made wonderful painted wood panels that were used as the guide for making the color woodcuts on colored handmade papers (made by John Hutcheson and Tom Strianese). Yasu [Shibata] carved the many blocks, closely collaborating with Helen on every nuance of carving and printing. For Radius and Freefall, she painted color paper pulp maquettes, splashing away in our paper mill. These studies were interpreted by Tom into numerous stencils, the stencils then employed to apply color pulp to handmade paper substrates. These lushly colored sheets were used for the woodcut editions."
Painter Robert Anderson considers Edward Hopper's Sun on Prospect Street (Gloucester, Mass), 1934, in the collection of the Cincinnati Museum of Art.
Anderson writes that "The piece is very familiar yet foreign at the same time... the painting pulls you in and makes you stay with it. In its bold use of economy, it opens up the possibility for a greater narrative. Hopper removed all of the superfluous elements of the scene, and shared just enough with the viewer to create a magnificent sense of a common shared experience."
Frank Hobbs finds contemporary relevance in the 18th century Discourses of painter Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Hobbs writes that Reynolds' discourses "are rich indeed, and still speak to the concerns of students of painting today, if you have the patience to parse the meat from the embroidery of 18th century rhetoric... My favorite of the Discourses is number XI, in which Reynolds addresses himself to the problem of 'finish' and the relationship of parts to the whole."
Alison Pilkington posts about "Sunday painter," Croatian artist Ivan Generalic (1914-1992).
Pilkington writes that "Most of Generalic’s paintings are done on the back of glass, a technique that he mastered over several decades and one that reflected his folk roots and craft traditions... Generalic's painting are a visual delight but also an inexplicable blend of the logical and the illogical, the personal and the universal, the poetic and the realistic."
Yau writes: "Gouverneur sought to author a universal language of signs and symbols, which makes him an heir to Hilma af Klint, as well as places him in the company of artists that includes Forrest Bess, Alfred Jensen, Jess, Myron Stout and Charmion von Wiegand. In this regard, Gouverneur belongs to what might be call the occult or hidden tradition in painting, which has its origins in spirituality."
Dougal McKenzie considers origins (and possible origins) of Barnett Newman's Who's Afraid Of... titles, noting connections to "Jasper Johns' use of the primary colours and stencilling of the words onto his paintings around the same time," as well as to a play and a film, by Edward Albee and Mike Nichols respectively.
Frank Hobbs blogs some thoughts about the painting process by the painter Philip Guston as well as a link to a video of Guston in his studio painting and discussing his work.
Hobbs quotes Guston: "Destruction of paintings is very interesting to me and almost crucial. Sometimes I find that what I destroyed five years ago I'll paint now, as if when the thing first appears you’re not ready to accept it. There's some mysterious process here that I don’t even want to understand..."
Sara Angel reports the story of painter Jack Chambers (1931-1978) and his unfinished masterwork Lunch.
Angel writes that Chambers was encouraged by Picasso to study painting in Spain and became enamored of "baroque masters Juan Sánchez Cotán and Francisco de Zurbarán, whose works became a continuing inspiration and influenced his development of perceptual realism." She notes that the painting Lunch's "genealogy... stretches back to seventeenth-century Spain and a spiritually charged style that 300 years later would stop Chambers in his tracks."
Sharon Butler posts thoughts from the painter Adolph Gottlieb on the loss of a "tradition of revolution in modern art."
Butler quotes an interview Gottlieb gave to the Washington Post in 1966: "The tradition of modern art is a tradition of revolution: there’s one revolution after another – for better or for worse. And I think that’s what we have today: there's been a revolution, the older Abstract Expressionists can legitimately continue working in their way, but young people have to find some other way... We felt that we were living in an underground; we felt that we were a bit outside of society and, in a sense, outcasts. If such a mood could develop among artists, this would be a good sign – but I haven’t seen any signs of it. They all want success more than achievement."
Sheldon Tapley takes a close look at the painting Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens in the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Tapley writes that "Rubens created flesh masterfully, so that it seems supple or firm, ruddy or pale, wrinkled or smooth, as he needed. Where it is illuminated, it has substance, in contrast to the translucent browns that make the shadows. The flesh in light would have been the third and final layer of paint, applied most slowly, blended with soft brushes, to build up the illusion of sculptural form."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.