Tag Archives: drawing

Interview with Serge Zhukov

Serge Zhukov, "Drawing Lesson 3.," 36 X 24 inches, Oil On Canvas

Serge Zhukov, “Drawing Lesson 3.,” 36 X 24 inches, Oil On Canvas

F.A.N. Gallery will show the work of Serge Zhokov this month. Serge is a wonderful painter and a master at creating mood through is landscapes and figures.

Victoria Donohoe of The Inquirer said, “his figure drawings give us an easy sense of his subjects’ reality, but it’s the delicate mix of senses and substance that imbues the oils with an air of uncontrived refinement, while their milky hues set the spirit that appeals to the sophisticated eye.”

Serge Zhukov Harmony in Red 12 X 24 oil on canvas

Serge Zhukov, “Harmony In Red,” 12 X 24 inches, Oil On Canvas

I was able to ask Serge a few questions about his influences and how he works.

Who are your influences? Favorite artists or books or music.

My influences, naturally, are constantly changing throughout my life. At one point in time, I skipped through pages in Art History books, which were devoted to Giotto and De Chirico. Now they are my favorite artists. I am certainly influenced by Piero della Francesca, Giorgione. I can examine works like “Legend of the True Cross” or “Pastoral Concert” for hours. I like Balthus, mostly his late works. In literature, it’s Stanislaw Lem, Hesse, Sasha Sokolov, Osip Mandelstam.

Serge Zhukov Still Life with Glass Pitcher 12 X 24 oil on canvas

Serge Zhukov “Still Life With Glass Pitcher,” 12 X 24 inches, Oil On Canvas

How much planning and preparation go into your paintings, do you do a lot of drawing first and then move onto the painting?

It’s difficult to say. If, I have a clear idea about my next project, then painting goes smoothly. However, I have to envision the entire image in my mind first, prior to drawing. I do a lot of drawings. Often my vision is altered when I actually start painting. It happened with “Drawing Lesson 1” where my original idea changed after creating several drawings.

Serge Zhukov,, sketch of

Serge Zhukov, sketch of “Drawing lesson” 11×14 ink on paper.

What is your first creative memory?

I mixed toothpaste with watercolor paints and colored a window glass. I was 5 years old.

Serge Zhukov, "Evening Shadow," 48 X 36 inches, Oil On Canvas

Serge Zhukov, “Evening Shadow,” 48 X 36 inches, Oil On Canvas


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Al Gury on Collecting

Al Gury, Blue Moon, 8 x 10 inches, oil on panel

Al Gury, Blue Moon, 8 x 10 inches, oil on panel

Al Gury is showing landscape and still life paintings at F.A.N. in the month of February.  I interviewed Al last winter and we talked about nurturing the artist.  I recently got a chance to interview Al again. We talked about artists collecting works and objects.
Al’s studio and home is filled with wonderful pieces of pottery, prints, printings and sculpture he has collected over the years. Some of the objects turn up in his still life paintings and I was curious to know how the printings and paintings inform his works.
I wanted to ask you about your own collection of art and objects. Why do you collect?
As to collecting, I always have since childhood. Objects, like icons, have meaning to me. Like icons, they are windows to imagination and creativity.

When did you start collecting? What is the piece that started your collection?

There is no one object that started me on collecting, but there are some that stand out. On my birthday in 1980, I also happened to be moving. I was grabbing packing boxes out of a dumpster in center city to help with the move. In the dirt in the bottom of the dumpster I saw some shapes that didn’t seem right for the situation. So…, I climbed in. What I pulled out of the filth were two very beautiful decorated boxes. It turned out they were sewing boxes from the 1830’s, made in China*. They were also filled with the delicate ivory tools for embroidery. An amazing find that I cherish to this day. And a beautiful birthday gift.
Al Gury, Snow Fields, 20 X 24 inches, oil on panel

Al Gury, Snow Fields, 20 X 24 inches, oil on panel

What attracts you to a piece of art or an object?

Generally, the first thing I notice in an object, even in flea markets, will be the shape of the object. I have a strong feeling for shapes, whether it’s old hand made tools or pottery. When I’m looking for particular objects to add to one of my collections, I will often scan a shop or a market for particular shapes to identify the object of the search.  When I draw my sketchbooks or journals, I start with shapes.
Al Gury, White Peonies, 14 X 11 inches, oil on panel

Al Gury, White Peonies, 14 X 11 inches, oil on panel

How does your collection influence your art making?

I have surrounded myself with objects and collections that have meaning for me: icons, pottery, paintings, prints, sculpture… These create an environment that helps me keep alive the  feelings, beliefs, hopes and traditions I love, and nourish the aesthetics I wish to bring to my painting.  
*link to sewing boxes similar to Al’s collection

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New Talent: Nick Weber

Nick Weber, oil on canvas

Nick Weber, Streetlight, 11×14 inches, oil on canvas

F.A.N. Gallery is please to show the paintings of Nick Weber. Nick is an award winning artist and a graduate of Stanford University. He shows in New York and the Hamptons. Nick’s beautifully textured paintings of figures emerging out of shadow  are wonderful. His nocturnes depict points of light that faintly illuminate a setting.
Nick Weber,<em> Girl in the Sun</em>, 24 x 30 inches, oil on canvas

Nick Weber, Girl in the Sun, 24 x 30 inches, oil on canvas

What draws you to painting the figure? Do you like to paint the figure in your own studio or do you like to see the figure in their own environment/home setting?

“I think I keep painting the figure because I am one myself.  The impulse to paint is similar to the impulse to touch.”

Nick Weber, oil on canvas

Nick Weber, NYC Night, 24 x 30 inches,oil on canvas

What is your first creative memory or the first time you connected to something artistic?

 “When I was 7 I won the Kellogg’s ‘Stick up for Breakfast’ contest… a nationwide contest where kids drew Snap, Crackle ‘n’ Pop, Tony the Tiger, etc. I won a ten speed bike!   Then I became obsessed with drawing baseball and football players: Tony Dorsett, Terry Bradshaw.  I just found a few from 30 years ago, they have great rhythm.”

Come by the gallery and check out Nick’s work.

Group Show: New Talent and Gallery Artists

August 3 –31, 2012

Opening Reception August 3rd, 5 to 9 PM

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New Website Updates

Serge Zhukov, Fixing Her Hair, 20 X 15 inches, graphite on paper

Carlo Russo, Azalea, 12 X 20 inches, oil on linen

Lesa Chittenden Lim, On the Water, 22 X 33 inches, water color and pastel

We have added web pages for Lesa Chittenden Lim, Carlo Russo, and Serge Zhukov.

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Matt Greenway, F. A. N.’s July Artist

Matt Greenway, The Bridge, 30 x 62 inches, oil on canvas, 2011

I met F.A.N.’s July artist, Matt Greenway, when we were both teaching at Fleisher Art Memorial. I have admired his work for the last 10 years and I am glad that he is now exhibiting at F.A.N.

Matt and I recently talked about some of his working methods and inspiration. I was familiar with some of his older work and have been delighted with the direction of his newer paintings.

KM: Your work that I am most familiar with is from 2001 to 2009. It seems that the paintings are getting looser and the tone is warmer.

MG: There are definitely tendencies toward looser handling in my work. I hope as I mature as a painter, my handling will be less constrained, like many painters I admire.  Right now, the larger pieces are more controlled, finished pieces. I tend to be looser in my smaller works and especially my gouaches. I gravitate to smaller work, some my most favorite paintings are small.

KM: How have your paintings changed over the years and is it a conscious effort to change or is it evolving on its own?

Matt Greenway, The Gathering, 32 x 46 inches, oil on canvas, 2010

MG: My evolution as a painter has been influenced by who I happen to be looking at any given point and I paint in a style reminiscent of painters I like. Some recent autumn paintings were inspired by the work of Daniel Garber . I saw quite a few inspiring pieces at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art’s Museum of American Art a few years ago. I’m still processing that show. The Gathering was an attempt to paint a tapestry-like piece in Garber–like fashion.

KM: Has your painting process changed over the years and has that influenced your style?

MG: The gouache paintings have informed my oils.  They help me understand the importance of freshness in a painting because you cannot fuss with a gouache or it quickly becomes stale.  I think this is true of oil painting as well.

KM: Switching gears a bit. What makes you paint?

Matt Greenway, The Corner, 9 x 11 inches, oil on canvas, 2009

MG: Painting is one way I deal with my mortality – or at least avoid the thought of the end. My demise seems most distant when I have a paintbrush in my hand.  I am comforted by the silly notion that a few of these works will probably survive me. Painting has a lot of things going for it despite it being an antiquated medium.  It affords me a number of things; it is an effort to make meaning of what I see, it is a dialogue with paintings of the past; it gives me a sense of purpose or worth.

KM: What about the landscape or cityscape attracts you?

MG: There is a rich tradition that I am looking to when I commence painting a landscape. There are nearly always a dozen great artists who have painted what I have painted or something like what I have painted [before]. What I find exciting is how I will depict the scene and what this says about my work and who I am. In this sense, I find painting a process of self-discovery as well as mediation on the world and the tradition of painting.

I’m also inspired by what I think would make an interesting painting. This usually involves what I see during everyday life, as well how this intersects with photography and art history.  I cannot paint a pear without thinking about how a dozen other painters might go about this. And in the process of painting that pear I find, through what I choose to include and what I choose to leave out, what kind of painter I am.

Matt Greenway, Bermuda, 7 x 7 inches, oil on muslin, 2009

KM: Can you tell me about your process?

MG: With the exception of still-life, I usually paint an underpainting. In gouache, I paint it in yellows and reds and finish with a cool, then a full color final layer.  In oil, I begin with variations of dark reds and whites – what is a Venetian method, I think.  I try to keep the darks lean and build up the whites. Then I paint a whole other layer on top of this. This way, I find by essentially painting the image twice you learn how the painting works the second time around. Using such a method, Sickert said you may, “learn the song so you can play it by heart”.

Matt Greenway, Dollop, 6 x 7 inches, oil on muslin, 2011

KM: How do your paintings come together: plein air, in the studio, or a mix?

MG: The gouaches or opaque watercolor are often done on site. Still-lifes are done from life in the studio. Otherwise, I paint landscape in the studio from digital or scanned photographs. I sometimes manipulate images on the computer to better understand tonal relationships. Sometimes, I will work from three totally different images of the same picture and take what I need to create the painting. One needs a fresh eye. And when you work indirectly, depending on one image is frequently not enough.

KM: Do you mean three pictures of the same subject from different points of view or three differentially colored or valued versions of the same photo, i.e. a black and white version, a red version or blue version?  By “fresh eye” you mean the different images give you a fresh perceptive on the subject?

MG: Frequently, it’s the same image. I usually desaturate it, and simplify or amplify the tonal values of the image. It’s also important to know the right time to put the source material away and work on the painting on its own terms so that it can stand alone. After all, I’m interested in making a painting – not a painted photo, not photo-realism.

Matt Greenway, Dome, 30 x 40 inches, oil on canvas, 2011

KM: What type of size and surface do you like to work on?

MG: In oil, I work on canvas, muslin, or panel. Someone recently remarked that you can recognize a former Lennart student by whether he paints on muslin or not. In gouache, I prefer hot press [paper], the heavier the better.

KM: Do you do drawings to get started?

MG: On site I’ll do a bare-bones sketch but usually dive in [with paint]. With small oils, I usually work on the underpainting without a drawing and just arrange simple masses. With large works, I generally square them up initially, find a few key points and lay in the masses.

KM: Matt, I know it can be hectic right before the exhibition opening, thanks for taking the time to talk with me about your work and process. The new paintings are beautiful and it was great to get some insight as to how you work.

Please come to F.A.N. Gallery to see Matt Greenway: Recent Paintings, July 1st — 31st, 201, Opening Reception First Friday: July 1st, 5 — 9 p.m.

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Kate Kern Mundie is F.A.N.’s June Artist

Kate Kern Mundie is F.A.N.’s June 2011 artist… oh wait, that’s me!

I am excited about my third solo exhibition with F. A. N.  Gallery.  Fred, the man behind the initials, has nurtured me as an artist over the last three years — offering me valuable critiques, insight and encouragement. He challenges me to grow as an artist and to become a better painter.

For this exhibition, I have 34 new paintings.  These are mostly rural and urban landscapes from in and around Philadelphia and Ireland, but there are also a few intimate interiors. In these pieces, I focused on instances of  dramatic light on the landscape, or the controlled and atmospheric illumination indoors.

Here is a preview of some of Fred’s favorite paintings in the show.  I have added a little description for each one.

I have done two paintings of the Delaware Water Gap. For this painting, I looked to Cézanne for inspiration, especially at how Cézanne painted Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Cézanne used warmer colors like green in the sky, as if the sky reflected the earth instead of the other way around. I tried to bring some warmer blues and greens into the sky and use a lot of purple in the vegetation the way Cézanne did.

Now, all I need to do is go to the south of France and actually paint Montagne Sainte-Victoire for myself.

Kate Kern Mundie, 30th Street Station, oil on masonite, 6 x 8 inches, 2010

In the fall, my husband and kids and I went to Schuylkill Banks Park to see Light Drift. The installation of lighted orbs floating in the river was glorious.

I had not been in that part of the city at that time of day since my college days biking back and forth to Penn and the city has changed quite a bit since then. It is cleaner, there are bike lanes, and beautiful architecture is well lit so its features can be enjoyed.

Kate Kern Mundie, French Room No. 2, oil on masonite, 24 x 16 inches, 2011

French Room No. 2  was developed from drawings I did of one of the historic rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Back in the studio, I did a drawing in charcoal on the painting surface and then blocked in the color in oil. After that it was just a matter of putting in a few details.

I am a fast painter.  If the painting is not coming together in the first hour, I might stop and start a new painting. I usually do a quick sketch to figure out my composition. If I am painting an interior, I will use a T-square to lock down the perspective since I have a tendency to tilt to the right as I am a left-handed.

I completed the painting over the course of an afternoon while listing to NPR. After it was finished, I would refer to the painting as “the mob painting” because I was listing to a Fresh Air interview with mob informant Frank Calabrese, Jr.  Now the painting is completely associated in my mind with that interview. It seems a strange juxtaposition.

When I am painting on site, I do not want any music or distractions. I want to hear what is going on around me; it enhances the experience. When I am in the studio, I listen to music or the radio to help me keep track of time, but I may have to stop so I don’t end up with weird associations.

Kate Kern Mundie, Martha’s Room, oil on masonite, 20 x 16 inches, 2011

I recently confessed to my neighbors, Chris and Martha, that I had done a painting of their living room. I did a few drawings and took some photos in their house while I was cat sitting for them.

Chris is a sculptor and Martha is a writer and picture researcher. Their home is warm and inviting and filled with rich textures, objects, and art. I did some drawings of a few views in their living room, focusing on a chair or table. For this painting, I chose to edit out some of the objects in the room and focus on the warm colors in the carpet and the deep shadow cast by the ottoman. At some point I want to do a painting of their kitchen, which has a Vermeer-like feel.

To see more images from this show, please visit fanartgallery.com and mundieart.com.

June 1-26, 2011

New Paintings by  Kate Kern Mundie

opening reception: Friday, June 3rd, 5-9 PM

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