In all my years of studying art, I never paid much attention to Anthony Van Dyke. For years, I thought he was a cousin or a brother of Jan van Eyke who died in 1441. Anthony van Dyke was born on 22 March 1599 and he wasn’t Jan van Eyke’s cousin. I grew a whole new appreciation for Anthony’s works when I visited The Frick Collection, located in New York City, in 2019.
Artists will begin to see more than what we used to see after some months of training to become a draftsman. Perhaps, that’s what had happened to me on that fateful day. I remember that it was early Spring. It must have been late March or early April because I remember that people were still wearing winter clothes and the museum was a safe escape from the cold. I had gone to the museum to see a special painting exhibition of Giovanni Battista Moroni.
There are many great paintings in museums around the world, and there are a number of famous paintings because of their historical value and all, but then there are some paintings that stand out to each artist. I have grown to admire a few artists and their paintings. And, I thought I would share them with you starting with this story.
New York City hosts a few paintings by Anthony Van Dyke. Here are 3 of my favorites. Click on the links to read more about them.
Everybody has been disrupted by Pandemic. #100HumanChallege is something that I started–to motivate myself to draw and paint with all the social distancing measures, and to keep track of major events that are related to each create day–but everyone is welcome to participate. Follow the following simple guidelines.
Draw or paint a human face or figure
Post your work on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media channel
Tag your posts using #100HumanChallenge
Optional: Include a sentence or two of one major (or minor) current news from your part of the world (e.g. Covid-19 case counts)
The pandemic has separated all of us, but it also has brought people together in unprecedented ways: we have been connected virtually like no other time in human history thanks to the advent of incredible communication technology.
Artists have paved the future throughout human history with their visions of the future. As artists, we have a unique opportunity to share our world as we fight and emerge out of this pandemic. To take a part of that vision, I am recording my thoughts and progress one portrait, one figure at a time. Join me or check it out: #100humanchallenge
At the near tip of Manhattan, under the George Washington Bridge, stands a famous lighthouse. It’s the Little Red Lighthouse, also known as Jeffrey’s Hook Light. It has stood there over 100 years.
I was pleasantly surprised when I accidentally discovered it over 10 years ago, hiding under the George Washington Bridge. In the years that followed, the lighthouse would become one of my favorite structures to draw and paint. Mind you, as a figurative painter, I am usually painting people, but this lighthouse has been one of the exceptions. This painting of the Little Red Lighthouse was painted from life on a beautiful sunny day.
While painting it, many visitors wished to have a copy of it, so I dedicated time to research the best possible way to reproduce the painting. Both limited edition and open edition prints are produced from New York City. When you purchase these edition prints, you are also supporting New York Businesses.
As the world fight the Covid-19 outbreak, I entered my Little Red Lighthouse Painting to the Northern Manhattan Art Alliance 2020 Arts Stroll Exhibition, as a way to ignite “hope” and a “way forward” as I reflect on myself, my past, my life, my family, current situation, and where I am in the world. You can download the exhibition catalog using the link below.
In the spirit of educating a new generation of figurative painters, I will post a few easy to follow instructional content. If you are serious about learning, you should visit the nearest Ateliers, which have been springing up all over the world. In my mind, there should be more of these places.
If you are starting to paint human portraits or figure, you can purchase almost unreasonable number of oil paint. Well, you can, but I suggest starting with 2 basic colors: Ivory Black and Titanium White. With these two basic colors, your focus should be experimenting with the oil colors, thinner, and linseed oil. All these materials are listed below for your convenience.
Note: Instead of the Ivory Black, you can also use earth colors such as Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna. The following is a sample underpainting.
One you have the basic material and a few brushes, you want to try drawing a face. Here is a quick oil painting demo on my Instagram Page. If you have questions, feel free to post your question as a comment.
Titanium White without Zinc – (Williamsburg: PW6-Titanium White) – This pigment is considered completely non-toxic. Titanium became the most commonly used pigment since 1940s. Be mindful that this Winsor Newton Titanium White contains Zinc White, which has been known to be problematic in the recent years.
Ivory Black (PBk9-Ivory Black: Lightfastness: Excellent) – Ivory Black is a misleading name since it’s no longer made using Ivory. The ones that are in the market is made from Animal Bones, and is referred to as Bone Black.
Linseed Oil – Oil Holland Bleached Linseed oil. From all the linseed oil types I have used, I like this one the best.
Gamsol -What is Gamsol? It’s almost an orderless solvent that replaced its hazardous cousins such as Turpentine. When starting to paint, you can use Gamsol to thin the oil paint, similar to how you would use water to think watercolors. This solvent, while it doesn’t smell as bad and advertised as being safer, you should take all the safety measures when using Gamsol.
The Art Students League of New York Presents an Exhibition of Outstanding Student Works
The Art Students League’s Annual Concours Exhibitions from this past school year includes thousands of artworks. The Red Dot Exhibition celebrates the exceptional accomplishments of students in the tradition of the concours–French word meaning “competition” or “contest”–follows a long-standing French atelier tradition.
It’s a great honor to be placed in such distinguished ranks as those of past red dot honoreesfor my work “Daedalus & His Wings” which I painted in early 2020 while studying under Janet A. Cook. This painting is a memorable piece, one of the last paintings that was completed before the Covid-19 Pandemic quarantine & social distancing. I look at the painting now, and I keep thinking to myself that we could all use the wings to get out of the maze we are stuck in now. (New to Greek Mythology? Google “Daedalus”.)
Fun Fact: One of the earliest recipients of the red dot award was Georgia O’Keefe who studied under William Merritt Chase in 1908. You can read more about the league here.
For view and read more about the exhibition please follow the links from the Art Students League below.
The Portrait Society of America‘s International Self Portrait Project is an online-only contest during the current COVID-19 health crisis, challenging artists around the world to paint, draw or sculpt their quarantine self-portrait.
Click here to view my work and many other self-portraits from so many talented artists.
Why 4 Million+?
On 24 July 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 4 Million+ in the U.S. Hearing the news initiated this self portrait, eventually leading me to paint my left hand to symbolize 4 Million, and to name the painting 4 Million+.
In case you are wondering, the figurative painting painted next to my self portrait is from a life portrait class at the Art Students League of New York. This project was interrupted due to COVID-19 back in March 6th. On March 21st, when there were only 8,403 confirmed cases in New York City, I hung this painting near a window where I paint. I spent whole lot of my time painting and producing during this pandemic with the painting near me, so I was compelled to include it in my self-portrait.
I invite you to view my submission from the competition website below:
Learning to paint for me started gradually when I arrived in New York City. The toughest part, I remember, was knowing where to go. Here are some good places that I know.
NYC Figurative Painting Academy, clubs, and Schools
The Art Students League of New York – Founded by Artists and Supporting Artists Since 1875: The League educates students in the language and process of making art in an environment where anyone who wishes to pursue an art education can realize his or her full potential.
New York Academy of Art – The New York Academy of Art is a graduate school of fine art focused on progressive representational and figurative art
Spring Studio – Considered by many artists to be the best place to draw in New York City, Spring Studio is a professional art studio offering ongoing life drawing sessions 7 days a week.
The Society of Illustrators – Founded in 1901, the Society of Illustrators is the oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration in America. Notable Society members have been N.C. Wyeth, Rube Goldberg, and Norman Rockwell, among many others.
Salmagundi Art Club – Founded in 1871, the Salmagundi Club is one of the oldest art organizations in the United States. The Club offers programs including art classes, exhibitions, painting demonstrations, and art auctions throughout the year for members and the general public.