Tag Archives: Sorolla

F.A.N.’s Newest Painter: Evan Harrington

Evan Harrington, "Pears With Atomizer," 8 X 12 inches, oil on canvas

Evan Harrington, “Pears With Atomizer,” 8 X 12 inches, oil on canvas

For June 2012 we welcome a new artist to F.A.N. Gallery.  Evan Harrington is a Bucks County native. He received his fine art training at various ateliers here and abroad, and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

I wanted to find out a bit more about F.A.N.’s newest painter.

What advice has influenced you?

I am particularly interested in the advice given by musicians and athletes. They seem to experience the same situations and hurdles as a working artist, but from a different perspective. Two things stand out in my mind: practice and vision. Every time I pick up a brush or a pencil, I feel it is working towards improving my ease with the mediums. Each drawing and painting I work on, no matter how simple or complex, is working towards improving my hand-eye or hand-mind coordination. “Visual calisthenics” is what one of my friends calls it. Vision is the other major influence on my studio practice. It is important to be relaying some thought or visual idea through each piece of art. Some songwriters circle one theme their entire careers while others change it up with each piece they produce. Either way, vision is the backbone to the art I create.

Who taught you the most about art?

My father taught me how to paint and draw from an early age. My mother was instrumental in getting me to lessons and encouraging me. I had quite a few influential instructors along the way that helped me reach some of my own goals. I have always spent a good deal of time looking through books on various artists, which has expanded my knowledge and perspective of art. Of course, there is a huge component of self-discovery, which is also essential to a healthy growing artist.

Evan Harrington, "Abdul Holding A Toad," 24 X 18 inches, oil on canvas

Evan Harrington, “Abdul Holding A Toad,” 24 X 18 inches, oil on canvas

Your father is an artist.  Do you discuss art or your work with him? How is your work similar or different from his?

My dad, Glenn Harrington, has been working as a professional artist for over 30 years. We discuss art quite frequently. Most of the time, we bounce ideas off of each other.

It is hard for me to keep my work free and spontaneous while creating a large body of work for shows so it really helps that my father is constantly pushing me to branch out and try new ideas.

Many people do see our work as similar and some as entirely separate. I am so familiar with his work and so closely connected to mine, that I have no perspective in being able to see the differences or similarities. I rarely see him paint a still-life, and that is my main subject, so I suppose that is a considerable distinction. I can also sometimes detect our differences in brush work. One thing that I know we both share our interests in the same painters and paintings. Whenever we go to a museum or flip through a catalogue, we frequently agree on our favorite artwork.

When you are in need of inspiration are there particular things you read, listen to, or look at to fuel your work?

Every avenue of my life inspires painting. Seeing new places, meeting up with friends, a wonderful painting, all encourage me to get back to the easel. I thrive off of absorbing beauty and history while in the studio. A lot of times, this comes in the form of books. Sorolla, Degas, Kline, Sargent, Garber, and Velazquez are among my most frequently visited artists. I listen to every type of music available, it helps keep the energy and focus level up. My hobbies, which include tennis and aviation, help bring balance to my life and naturally inspire.

How did you get into aviation? 

As a kid, I spent several Saturdays going to the local regional airport to watch planes depart and land with my family. Also, I was fortunate to travel a good deal when I was young, so airports have always been an exciting place for me. A year ago I went up for my first lesson and have loved it ever since. It’s a great way to get out of the studio and gain perspective. It truly feels like another world when you are 5,000 feet above the ground. I have always loved looking at maps, so the visuals of aerial perspectives fascinate me. One flight early on in my training I remember seeing New York City and Philadelphia clearly at the same time, and only 3,000 feet above the earth’s surface. This was an eye opener for me; it was probably a similar feeling for those astronauts who were able to see the earth as round for the first time.

Do you have a pilot’s license?

I do not have my license quite yet. Painting is priority, then flying. My goal is to have it done by the end of summer so I can move onto getting my instrument rating. I have quite a few friends who are pilots,  so I fly with them frequently. I am unable to log flight hours with them, but I still gain the experience.

Evan Harrington, "Morning Flower," 20 X 20 inches, oil on canvas

Evan Harrington, “Morning Flower,” 20 X 20 inches, oil on canvas

How do you hope your work will grow? Are there any other themes you wish to explore with your work? 

I am not sure what direction my work will take this next year. Often I look through my latest body of work, select the pieces that I think are strongest, figure out why they are particularly successful, and then replicate those principles in my next body of work. I have practiced painting everything while I was in school and up to now, so I have prepared myself to be technically ready for whatever lies ahead. My goal is to dig deeper than the surface classifications of subject and theme and perhaps explore things like texture or pattern. The unknown is what keeps the process really exciting.


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Interview with Kathleen Weber

I could compare Kathleen Weber’s paintings to Dutch genre works, but there is much more to them than that. Her paintings are cinematic. It’s the use of punches of color and dramatic light. When I look at her street or restaurant scenes they remind me of Alfred Hitchcock’s use of color and the way he draws one into those street views or restaurant spaces in order to build tension.  In Kathleen’s oil paintings, the small groups or individuals engrossed in private conversations or solitary actions in public spaces are intriguing.

Image via: alfred-hitchcock-films.net: a film still from "The Birds"

Kathleen Weber, At the Craft Fair, Oil on canvas, 11" x 14"

I emailed Kathy to ask her a little more about her work.

KM: Your paintings are more than mere observations. I feel that if I could just get a little closer I might be able to eavesdrop on the conversation, or that I should pull back so I can look for someone else to enter the scene in the painting. How did your series of paintings public interior spaces start?

KW: I think of my figurative work as being in the tradition of contemporary genre painting. I’ve always loved figure and portrait drawing, but I wasn’t interested in being a portraitist. I wanted to show people in their everyday lives. I started painting street scenes with small, usually unrecognizable figures in them, but as time goes on I find myself drawn more and more to painting people, with their surroundings being less important. I think it’s great that you feel you could almost eavesdrop on the people in some of my bar scenes. After all, who hasn’t occasionally done that? We are social animals, and we’re fascinated by other people’s lives.

Kathleen Weber, "T is for Tavern", Oil on canvas, 20" x 24"

KM: How do you choose the composition? Do you do some drawing when you are in a restaurant?

KW: I don’t usually draw when I’m in restaurants and bars. I’ve tried it but I don’t like the attention that it gets. I love working from life, which is how I do still lifes and sometimes plein air landscapes, but I think it’s obvious that the restaurant and bar scenes are done from photos. I usually use Photoshop to play with the composition, cropping the photo until I’m satisfied with the placement of the elements. Sometimes I combine parts from several photos. I edit in my head, deciding to eliminate or simplify some things.

Kathleen Weber, "Afternoon at Rick's" Oil on linen, 8" x 10"

KM; Who are your influences?

KW: I’m influenced by many artists. I love and appreciate all kinds of painting, but tend to look for guidance to painters who are doing figurative work. Historically, that would include John Singer Sargent, Degas, and Sorolla, among others. Living artists that I admire are Kim English, Elaine Coffee, C. W. Mundy, just to name a few.

KM: You wrote on your blog, “I wish I’d been painting like this all along, I would have had all the work I needed weeks ago.” As you are building momentum for the show are you finding that you make bolder choices when working to get the paintings finished?

Kathleen Weber, "Ann and Otis", Oil on canvas, 16" x 20"

KW: I’ve changed the way I start a painting, somewhat — I’ve been working more wet-into-wet and really liking the more fluid, loose strokes I’m getting. I also feel that I’m loosening up and putting down the paint in a more confident way.

This will be Kathleen Weber’s first solo exhibition with F.A.N. Gallery.

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