Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Letters from America

I get two letters each week from Robert Glenn a painter of distinction in the United States. They are of course not always relevant to a busy sculptor but I find they often have some excellent words of wisdom and interest. They are a calming influence and give one hope that one day all the effort will be rewarded. "A regular super-charged moral boost."

Last week he showed us a painting trip he made in his car; beautifully put together and so was the car, especially as the steering wheel is on the right side in both senses of the word!

I recommend a visit and to watch "Forest Spirit".




Blogger Erik said...

I visited the site you mentioned and saw the Forest Spirit. I find it a good painting, nice colours, but "too American", or "too much painting-course example". Just the right colours, just the right forms, neatly arranged and showing rythm and freshness. I prefer German expressionism, or Finnish art such as by Akseli Gallen-Kallela or the Finnish woman Helene Schjerfbeck, or the Dutch impressionists. Anyway, it's always a matter of personal taste and experience, and it remains a good painting.

6:21 pm  
Blogger Robert said...

To be fair to Mr. Glenn Erik, he is an American and it is a painting-course example. It is very clear that he is extremely accomplished at what he does. Nevertheless I was looking for the "spirit" amongst the trees too!

and if it had been me I would have put some action in, a figure or an animal doing something interesting (you can guess perhaps) but there are many people who just like a forest glade that is why he is successful and I still hope to be!
Thank you for the introduction to Akseli Gallen-Kallela who I knew only by this apart from this painting:
I am googleing him like mad now!

Helen Schjerfbeck is a colourful painter and her self portrait reminds me of Edvard Munch.

I will search the Dutch Impressionists thoroughly before commenting on them!

7:48 pm  
Blogger Susanna said...

when ever I think of forest paintings I cant help but think of Bob Ross. DO you remember him and his happy trees. He would say "THis tree needs a friend." He was a white guy with a permed afro. I use to watch his show Joys of Painting. HE was so fabulous and peaceful.

Hope all is well with you.

12:42 am  
Blogger chris miller said...

Yes, it's always a matter of "personal taste and experience" -- but that's the best we can do -- and by my taste/experience Mr. Genn paints as ham-handed poorly as he writes.

And miserable as my country may be-- please don't blame America for Robert Genn -- he's Canadian !

2:31 am  
Blogger Robert said...

Wonerful! Made my day Chris!

8:26 am  
Blogger Erik said...

OK Robert I get you. I find "American" painting generally spoken a bit too smooth, too photographic, but that's very personal and I don't want to push my views on others. Another example is the Wyeth family (http://www.andrew-wyeth-prints.com/biography.html)I think they pay very much attention to composition, a "sketching" but yet accurate style of line drawing, and shadows in blue-ish colours. Rythm and perspective are also very important. Skilfull and admirable, but... You stimulate me to dedicate a posting on what I would call "my painting", stressing that it reflects my feelings and, as Mao Zedong said: "let 1,000 flowers florish".

10:16 am  
Blogger Erik said...

P.S. Oh, I forgot: Some names of the Dutch imporessionists: Breitner, Israels (the 2 brothers), Mesdag, Martens, Maris. Google under "Haagse School" and "Larense School" and you 'll find more.

10:32 am  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

Very funny, Chris!

One thing that is so difficult for artists living in very big countries like America is that they do not get the intimacy and nurturing that young artists in very small countries have. They must find their own way, often with little help and little attention from the wider community. They are essentially invisible, particularly if they're working against the mainstream.

Then people look at what the media promotes and make sweeping statements. I think that is not helpful. America is a very big place, and there is much to her--and much of the best only very slowly comes to visibility.

4:37 pm  
Blogger Erik said...

Robert, there is finally an exhibition going on about a Leeuwarden sculptor whom I admire much. He has been kept hidden from the Internet for a long time but now they want to present his work more publicly - it's Pier Pander, passed away and I think his family is (was) afraid for too much openness. The webiste where the exhibition is announced is http://www.pierpander.nl/, I asked them to add an English version which is unfortunately missing. If you click on one of the tabs you see part of his work that can be turned around so you can see all sides of a sculpture. I'm curious about your opinion.

10:54 am  
Blogger Robert said...

On letters from er... Canada

Some artists find that some of their work just doesn’t sell and gradually over the years it collects up clogging precious space!

There are of course lots of courses open, paint another picture on top and give the “clever” an interesting “find” beneath your masterpiece, lend it to a museum or hospital, lease it to a business for their foyer, put it in an auction, give it to your Mother (if she’ll take it) or get a friend to sell it on ebay ; but do you sell them off cheaply?

This is the subject of Mr Glen’s letter today. Sometimes his letters are relevant and sometimes not. At the very least, it makes some of us think about a practical problem we may not want to discuss with all and sundry! Artists are notorious at marketing and selling their own work.

I have a look now.

I will put a picture up on the Birmingham exhibition very soon, delayed for good reason (spelling of name!)

2:34 pm  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

I, for one, can put up with all manner of spellings. Spelling Reform is a twentieth-century mania.

2:36 pm  
Blogger Susanna said...

Robert, we are going to have to get you a myspace now that Marly has one.

8:15 pm  
Blogger Erik said...

Thanks, Marlyat for your comparison between artists in small and big countries. I never looked at it that way. America (both USA and Canada) is my view a place where on the one hand everything is possible - many European artists and authors move to it and stay there working, far more than the other way around - but on the other hand (that's not what you perceive here in the media) there seem to be vast areas with rather conservative, homogenous cultures where nothing out of the mainstream seems to be possible. In Holland we live close to one another and have to come to terms with all kinds of ideas, activities and views we don't agree with by ourselves, which makes us "tolerant" but also a bit superficial and casual. This is tested last decades by the Islamic immigrants who share nothing with our culture, and we share nothing with theirs, and nevertheless have to live with us. It's difficult not to generalize.

8:08 am  

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