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Cover Image: Amazing Watercolor Techniques You Have to Try

PAINTING

Amazing Watercolor Techniques You Have to Try

by Candace Osmond

Watercoloring isn’t just a thing for the artists: it is straight-up therapeutic regardless of whether you have any talent or not (by the way, did you know that talent can be learned?). But if you’re serious about learning a thing or two about watercoloring, even if it’s just for creating better projects for your own personal satisfaction, here are some watercolor techniques you have to try.

Underpainting

Vintage style monochrome illustration of young pine-tree forest. Watercolor sepia painting

This technique basically describes a monochrome wash that allows you to create the painting’s first layer. Then, you will add more layers of transparent washes over this initial one, creating luminous effects that seem very real.

You can use shades of green, blue, or purple to help you get started. Paint within the outline of your subject, making sure that you use light brush strokes and take into account shade and light as well. The entire technique is based on using a single color, which allows you to focus on the shape a little bit more.

Make sure that you use a soft brush for this technique. When you’re done underpainting and want to move on to creating the next layer, make sure you leave it to dry first. This will prevent muddy colors.

Watercolor washes

Watercolor ultraviolet, purple and pink abstract background with washes

There are basically two types of watercolor washes, dry and wet:

  • If you want to create a dry wash, you will have to use a round or a flat brush and an angled surface (if you have an easel, absolutely use it for this technique). Choose a color that you like and mix it with plenty of water. Soak your brush in the color as much as you can, then use it to draw a steady horizontal line on the top side of your canvas/paper. There will be water dripping to the bottom edge of your line, so you’ll have to quickly dip your brush in color again and use it to make another stoke below the first one. You want to make sure that the top edge of the second line and the bottom edge of the first line overlap. You want to repeat the process until you’ve reached the bottom side of your paper. When you finish your final stroke, blot the brush on a piece of paper towel. With the dry tip, absorb any excess water that might have dripped to the bottom edge of your last stroke. Leave the paper to dry before removing it from the easel.
  • Wet washes are a bit more interesting to make. While very similar to dry wash, in this particular case you will have to moisten the paper before creating the strokes. To do that, dip a clean brush in water and brush the entire surface of the paper/canvas. When you’re done, simply create the lines of color, just like you did for the previously-shown technique.

Watercolor layers

Abstract watercolor background with yellow, blue, red layers

Let’s assume that you’ve painted a basic item, like a fruit. You will have to leave the paint to dry, and then you can add layers that will add dimension to your painting, but also color variations. Leaving the painting to dry before adding layers will prevent colors from blending together.

Simple paint the second color on top of the first one, but make sure that you avoid using too much water, or else the base layer will get moist and the colors will blend. If you want your second layer to have less severe lines, simply dip the brush in water and use gentle stroke to feather the line.

Watercolor blooms

You might have experienced these wet paint spreads that look like really abstract flowers. Those are called watercolor blooms, and they’re actually a pretty cool technique that you might want to know about, for future references and projects. What actually happens is that the original pigment spreads out when you use wet paint on a damp wash.

Watercolor garden and wild red flowers. Watercolor Floral bouquet illustration

If you want to know how to make these, it’s pretty simple. Create a colorful wet wash and leave it dry for a few minutes. Grab your brush and soak it in water. Touch the paper with the tip of the brush, allowing the liquid to create the blooms.

Pigment removal

Yes, it is actually possible to remove pigment from the painting, which can help correct a mistake or help you add more white space to your painting. The technique you have to apply depends on the state of the watercolor:

  • If you want to remove wet watercolors, you will have to blot your brush and use it to lift color from the paper. What happens is that the damp brush will absorb a lot of water, so make sure that you remove it quickly to make sure it picks up the color from the painting. Some prefer to use a paper towel to remove the color, but that won’t render the best results in all cases (works best when you want less controlled white space).
  • Dry watercolor is a bit more complicated to remove because you’ll actually have to use an eraser to do it. First off, water the area and then use a dry brush or a piece of paper towel to lift the color. Then you should be able to finish the job with an eraser.

Gradients

Top view of female hands drawing papaya with watercolor paints and paintbrush on yellow table

Gradients will always be the kings of colored PowerPoint presentation backgrounds, so why not learn how to paint them as well? Needless to say, color blending and gradients add a stunning visual effect to your paintings.

To master this technique, you will have to add watercolor to a wet paint surface. Right next to it, you can add a different color or perhaps a more intense version of the hue. Since the paints are both wet, they will likely blend in together to create the gradient. The wetness of the paint will determine the gradient result.

Feathering

Gradient works differently when you’re starting off with an intense color and want to end up with a more transparent one. Adding more color won’t do it. Instead, you’ll have to add water. This technique is called feathering, and it goes like this: you will have to start by adding strong color to your painting. Then, by using a wet brush, diffuse that color in order to create the gradients effect.

Lines

watercolor striped lines background

Lines are an important part of every painting, but that really depends on the style you’re going for. You can easily create lines using watercolor because you can control their shape and thickness when you have the right set of brushes. To practice this technique, create a bunch of lines that are placed next to one another.

If you’re looking to obtain the hatching or cross-hatching effect, you can either make these lines perpendicular or parallel to each other. Those of you that want to obtain clear lines, can use a pointed brush with color and just a little bit of water. The amount of water you use will determine if your lines are crisp or flowy.

Splattering

Collection of colorful abstract watercolor backgrounds

This is a really fun watercoloring technique to try because it allows you to get messy. They can help create paintings filled with energy, but it’s also a technique that’s more difficult to control compared to others where you basically just draw using your brush. There are three ways to obtain the splattering effect:

  • The tapping method requires that you fill your paintbrush with pigment, and then gently tap the brush above your paper. This technique is useful for those who want to cover a lot of ground with this particular effect, but it does make paint difficult to control.
  • The flicking method is all about getting your hands dirty. You fill your paintbrush with pigment and hold the brush so that its tip points at the paper. Using your other hand, run your fingers on the edge of the brush. As you do so, your finger will pull back the bristles, and the paint is launched onto the canvas when the bristles are released.
  • For a more controlled result, you can always use a stencil. Grab a piece of paper and then cut shapes inside it. Place the stencil over the canvas and splatter the paint using either one of the two techniques mentioned above.

Stippling

Abstract stippled texture. Love heart.

Stippling is the creation of several dots of paint in a concentrated area. The texture itself is fascinating and can be used for drawing leaves on tree branches, for instance. There are two approaches to this technique: you can either create overlapping dots for a freeform effect, or you can have a neat and tidy group of freshly-painted dots.

Depending on what you want the final result to look like, you can use a wet brush for a looser look, or so with a dry one that clearly points out the dots. Also depending on what you’re looking to stipple, make sure you use a brush that’s of an appropriate size.

Scumbling

This technique is defined by a series of brush strokes and irregular motions that can be used to make layers and lines of paint. It is the equivalent of scribbling if you will. Practicing this technique is all about simply drawing without trying to follow any rules or patterns.

Sponging

Using a sponge to paint can actually render some very interesting and cool results. This is an even better method to try if you want to create dense tree foliage, for example. All you have to do it drip the sponge in paint and then press it against the paper.

Using tape

Hand removing masking tape also known as sticky tape

Creating clean edges can be very complicated if you’ve yet to master a steady hand in your watercoloring endeavors. Not to worry, there is a trick that can help you and it is called tape. You can simply add tape to create the imaginary edges of your object, or even at the edges of the painting itself

You can use this technique any time you want to create hard edges, but you’ll have to make sure that the tape you use isn’t going to rip the paper apart when you’re trying to remove it. To prevent that from happening, you can buy painter’s tape. Make sure that you only remove the tape once the painting is dry, otherwise, you’re bound to end up with less elegant edges.

Darker details

Once you’ve moved on to more complicated projects, you’ll find yourself wanting to create dark details to finish off your work. That is precisely the trick that will get you the best results: leave the darkest colors and details for the end of the project.

Keep in mind that watercolor painting is a lot about using transparent medium, so your edges will be light until you’re ready to finish things off with dark curves, lines, and details.

Backwashing

Abstract acrylic and watercolor painted background. Texture paper.

This technique is perfect for many different drawings, and especially when you’re looking to draw water-like effects. Similar to blooms, backwashing requires that you use a wet wash of color and a tilted surface. You want your color to drift to one side of your painting, after which you can lie the paper flat. The effect will cause the water to sleep upwards as the water dries, creating a stunning visual effect.

Conclusion

If you’ve decided to try a bunch of these new watercolor techniques, keep in mind to stock on some of the prerequisites that will make your life easier, such as erasers, pencils, and paper towels. When you have everything close to you, it will be much easier to fix mistakes if it comes to that point.

Mastering watercolor techniques isn’t just about practicing your skill, but also about working with a variety of different brushes and quality paints, so make sure you stock up on those as well.

Amazing Watercolor Techniques You Have to Try - Info

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Mending

Mending A Reflection, Julie Heffernan,

Rowan University Art Gallery

Mending A Reflection, Julie Heffernan, Rowan University Art Gallery
Mending A Reflection, Julie Heffernan, Rowan University Art Gallery

Rowan University Art Gallery is pleased to present Mending A Reflection, a solo exhibition of Julie Heffernan’s self-portraits, curated by Mary Salvante, Director of Rowan University Art Gallery. 

The exhibit will be on view September 3 to October 26, 2019, with an artist talk and opening   reception on September 12, from 5 – 7:30 pm. Artist talk begins at 5 pm with a reception immediately following. 
                                                                                
Mending a Reflection addresses the connection between culture, mass media and personal identity through the eyes of one central female figure. Through her self-portraiture, Heffernan investigates what she calls the “shared collective unconscious,” exploring the historical narratives and subliminal imagery that work to shape who we are and how we perceive the world around us. 

Mending A Reflection, Julie Heffernan, Rowan University Art Gallery
Self Portrait with Daughters, Julie Heffernan

In 2019, Heffernan revised many of her self-portraits, including Self-Portrait with Daughters, Self-Portrait After Galilee, Self-Portrait with Shipwreck, Self-Portrait as Wrangler, Self-Portrait as Two-Headed Princess, and Self Portrait as Hothead. These newly updated paintings will be exhibited for the first time publicly in Mending a Reflection.

Heffernan’s paintings help us understand how media can influence our behavior and manipulate our perspective. In her large-scale vibrant works, she pays homage to many powerful women by including them in her portraits. Taking inspiration from women activists like Anita Hill and Tarana Burke, Heffernan confronts this bias by presenting what she calls a “different sort of self-portrait,” one full of female spirit, “giving voices to women who have been silenced for too many years by the dominant culture.” 

Mending A Reflection, Julie Heffernan, Rowan University Art Gallery
Self Portrait as Wrangler, Julie Heffernan


ABOUT JULIE HEFFERNAN

Julie Heffernan has been exhibiting her paintings nationally and internationally since 1988 and is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. She has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe, including at PPOW in NYC entitled Hunter Gatherer (2019); the Crocker Art Museum, Palmer Art Museum and Michael Haas Gallery in Berlin; and a museum show entitled When The Water Rises originating at the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge and traveling to museums in California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas through 2019. She has participated in numerous group shows at major galleries and museums including the Museum für Moderne Kunst, in Bremen, Germany; Me Museum, Olbricht Collection in Berlin; the Palazzo Reale in Milan, Italy; and in Environmental Impact exhibition traveling to 12 museums throughout the United States. 

Heffernan is the recipient of such prestigious grants as the NEA, NYFA and Fulbright, as well as a PS1 Artist-in-Residence, and her work has been reviewed by major newspapers and magazines including The New York Times and The New Yorker. Her work is in numerous museums throughout the country including the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, VA.  She is a Professor of Fine Arts at  Montclair State University in New Jersey.


ABOUT ROWAN UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY
Rowan University Art Gallery serves as a premier cultural destination for South Jersey, the Rowan community, and surrounding region. Our mission is to provide a platform for discourse on best practices in contemporary art by professional artists, curators, and scholars through the presentation of interdisciplinary art exhibitions, panel discussions, guest curatorial projects, and other public programming.

The Gallery has a history of programming that recognizes the achievements of women in the visual arts. Important past group exhibitions include The Sister Chapel: An Essential Feminist Collaboration (2016) and Groundbreaking: The Women of the Sylvia Sleigh Collection (2011). The gallery also hosted Better Than Ever: Women Figurative Artists of the ’70s Co-ops (2009), a traveling exhibition that was curated by Sharyn Finnegan, Between the Threads: A Feminist Guide to the Domestic (2016), and Enamored Armor (2018). Solo exhibitions have included Beverly Semmes (2011), Joyce Kozloff (2014), Jeanie Jaffe (2015), Diane Burko (2018), and Ebony G. Patterson (2019).

Support for programming at Rowan University Art Gallery is also made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information please visit: rowan.edu/artgallery

RSVP TO THE OPENING RECEPTION: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/julie-heffernan-mending-a-reflection-artist-talk-opening-reception-tickets-65799671589

GALLERY LOCATION

301 High St W, 
Glassboro, NJ 08028
856-256-4521

Visit us online at rowan.edu/artgallery and follow us on Facebook @RowanGallery.  
#RowanGallery #MendingAReflection

GALLERY HOURS
Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday, 12 pm – 5 pm

Public parking is available in the Mick Drive Parking Garage across the street from the gallery. Admission to the gallery, lecture, and reception is free and open to the public.

Thank you to Chelsea Markowitz for the content of this post.

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Stories

Stories to Tell

Stories Told in Pictures at The Plastic Club

April will be a time for story-telling at The Plastic Club, as the historic art club invites visual artists to show how they retell the world’s stories, whether drawn from holy books or comic books or the depths of their own imaginations.

The prospectus explains that works can be representational or abstract, based perhaps on literature or perhaps on popular genres or even current events. “It is your story to tell, using your special way of doing art.”

The prospectus quotes the poet Wallace Stevens for inspiration:
“They said, ‘You have a blue guitar, you do not play things as they are.’ The man replied, ‘Things as they are are changed upon the blue guitar.'”

Stories to Tell at The Plastic Club

Stories to Tell Opening Reception Sunday, April 7th, 2:00 and 5:00 PM, with juror’s awards and announcement at 3:30 PM. The work can also be viewed by appointment or at The Plastic Club‘s special Third Sunday Open Gallery on Sunday, April 21 from 1 to 4 PM.

The Plastic Club. 247 South Camac Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 545-9324
info@plasticclub.org

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Modern Times

Modern Times - Thomas Hart Benton - BurlesqueBurlesque, c. 1922, by Thomas Hart Benton, American, 1889 – 1975. Tempera on panel, 9 1/2x 12 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Edward Suckle, M.D., 2002-91-1. © T. H. Benton and R. P. Benton Testamentary Trusts / UMB Bank Trustee / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition dates: April 18—September 3, 2018

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition exploring the creative responses of American artists to the rapid pace of change that occurred in this country during the early decades of the twentieth century. Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 examines the new and dynamic visual language that emerged during this period and had a dramatic impact on painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture, and the decorative arts. These developments were shaped by the dizzying transformations then occurring in every aspect of life, from the advent of the automobile and moving pictures to the rapid growth of American cities and the wrenching economic change brought on by the advent of the Great Depression after a decade of unprecedented prosperity. The exhibition features important works by those artists—Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and John Marin, among them—championed by the great photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, as well as many other notable figures of this period. Modern Times is drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s renowned collection, especially the gift from the Stieglitz Collection that it received in the late 1940s, and contains 156 works, several of which will be on view for the first time.

Modern Times, Alexander Calder, Portrait of Carl ZigrosserPortrait of Carl Zigrosser (1891 – 1975), c. 1928, by Alexander Calder, American, 1898 – 1976. wire, 14 x 10 1/2 x 10 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1980-3-141. © Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “America’s embrace of modern life—its perils as well as its promise—in the early twentieth century was expressed most clearly in the arts. The work of this period still feels fresh and of the moment. This exhibition provides us with a welcome opportunity to reassess the Museum’s exceptionally rich holdings of modern American art and how we may display them to full advantage in the future when the Museum completes its expansion under its Master Plan. It also holds the promise of many surprises and discoveries for our visitors.”

Modern Times, Stuart Davis, Something on the Eight BallSomething on the Eight Ball, 1953-1954, by Stuart Davis, American, 1892 – 1964. Oil on canvas, 56 × 45 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Adele Haas Turner and Beatrice Pastorius Turner Memorial Fund, 1954-30-1. © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

While the Museum has presented a number of exhibitions devoted to this subject over the years, Modern Times is the largest and most comprehensive since it presented the collection of Alfred Stieglitz in 1944. The exhibition opens with the achievements of some of the leading figures of “The Eight,” including John Sloan and George Bellows, who recorded the changing urban scene with a gritty realism as horse carts gave way to motor vehicles on city streets.

Modern Times, Beauford Delaney, Portrait of James BaldwinPortrait of James Baldwin, 1945, by Beauford Delaney, American (active Paris), 1901 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by The Daniel W. Dietrich Foundation in memory of Joseph C. Bailey and with a grant from The Judith Rothschild Foundation, 1998-3-1

The exhibition emphasizes those artists—among them Charles Demuth, Morton Schamberg, Charles Sheeler, Benton Spruance, and Paul Strand—who responded to the Armory Show of 1913 and the influence of the European avant garde by seeking to give modernism an authentic American voice. Offering a broader perspective on American art of this period, the exhibition explores the achievements of important African American figures, such as Aaron Douglas, William Edmondson, Horace Pippin and Dox Thrash. It also looks at cross-currents within the arts, including contemporary fashion and design, and work by female artists such as O’Keeffe, Florine Stettheimer, Frances Simpson Stevens, Kay Sage, and Dorothea Tanning.

Modern Times, Charles Demuth, Lancaster (In the Province No. 2)Lancaster (In the Province No. 2), 1920, by Charles Demuth, American, 1883 – 1935. Oil on canvas, 30 x 16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950-5-1.

One section of the exhibition takes a close look at the many artists who explored in their work the abstract qualities of rhythm, light, and sound. Some of their aesthetic strategies were employed to create dynamic still lifes, enlivening what was commonly considered a static genre. Another section explores the expressive use of color, focusing on Arthur Beecher Carles, Henry Breckenridge, and Henry McCarter who stretched the boundaries of artistic tradition by relieving color of its purely descriptive function. These three artists, each of whom lived and worked in Philadelphia, reflected this city’s active engagement with progressive trends in American art. In fact, the significant role that Philadelphia played in the history of American modernism is echoed throughout the exhibition. It includes works by Philadelphia-born artists such as Man Ray and Alexander Calder who became prominent abroad, where they were closely aligned with modern movements in Europe, and others who remained in the city in which the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts provided a center of energy and a place to teach.

Modern Times, Aaron Doulgas, Birds in FlightBirds in Flight, c. 1927-1929, by Aaron Douglas, American, 1899 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 16 1/4 x 14 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest in honor of Anne d’Harnoncourt, 2015-7-1. © Heirs of Aaron Douglas / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Modern Times, Arthur Dove, Chinese MusicChinese Music, 1923, by Arthur Dove, American, 1880 -1946. Oil and metallic paint on panel, 21 11/16 x 18 1/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-2.

Landscape painting was, likewise, revolutionized by the artists of this generation, who found in this traditional genre a sustained source of inspiration. The adaptation of the modernist vision to one of the most enduring themes in American art can be seen most dramatically in works by O’Keeffe, Hartley, and Arthur Dove. Others, such as Sheeler, took the stark, yet impressive geometry of the new industrial landscape as a point of departureThe exhibition also examines another familiar subject, the human figure, which proved to be of abiding interest to the artists of this generation. Included in this rich and fascinating section is a group of portraits by artists such as Milton Avery, Beauford Delaney, and John Graham.

Modern Times, Wharton Esherick, Of a Great CityOf a Great City, 1923, by Wharton H. Esherick, American, 1887 – 1970. Wood engraving, image: 9 15/16 x 6 5/16 inches, sheet: 11 7/16 x 7 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1979-12-11.

Modern Times, Marsden Hartley, Painting No 4 (Black Horse)Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse), 1915, by Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 -1943. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-8

Jessica Todd Smith, The Susan Gray Detweiler Curator of American Art, and Manager, Center for American Art, who organized the exhibition, said: “Modernism changed the way people saw the world around them. Artists pushed their work in new directions, embracing abstraction, while retaining connections to artistic traditions. This exhibition focuses on interrelationships among works of art rather than a single linear narrative. In fact, it gives voice to multiple narratives because the evolution and experimentation in the art of this period is especially fluid. This stylistic pluralism, the beautiful chaos of innovation, was a hallmark of the modern American movement.”

 Modern Times, Alice Neel, Portrait of John with HatPortrait of John with Hat, 1935, by Alice Neel, American, 1900 – 1984. Oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the estate of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993-119-2.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red and Orange StreakRed and Orange Streak, 1919, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 27 x 23 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-3.

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication, American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by Jessica Todd Smith. It is published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press ( 272 pp.) The title of the essay, “Seeing Takes Time” is inspired by a quotation of Georgia O’Keeffe: “Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small—we haven’t time—and to see takes time . . . “

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red Hills and BonesRed Hills and Bones, 1943, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 40 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-109.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, From the Lake No. 3From the Lake No. 3, 1924, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-2.

With 120 color and 10 black-and-white illustrations, American Modernism is the first book to showcase this outstanding aspect of the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was one of the first major museums in this country to acquire what we now call American Modernism. It tells a story that is unique to the Museum, examining the collection’s development since the 1920s and the role that the city of Philadelphia played in promoting modernism in the first half of the twentieth century. While previous publications have focused on European and American modernism, this one considers what it meant to be American and to be modern, exploring how these artists challenged convention without abandoning recognizable elements from the world around them.

Modern Times, Horace Pippin, The GetawayThe Getaway, 1939, by Horace Pippin, American, 1888 – 1946. Oil on canvas, 24 5/8 x 36 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-3.

Modern Times, Man Ray, A.D. 1914A.D. 1914, 1914, by May Ray, American, 1890 – 1976. Oil on canvas, 36 7/8 x 69 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1944-90-1.

In addition to focusing on internationally acclaimed artists from the circle of photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, including Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Charles Sheeler, Smith also considers those who contributed significantly to the art of the United States during their day but have been left outside the mainstream of art history, whether due to their race, gender, or social standing.

Modern Times, Charles Sheeler, Pertaining to Yachts and YachtingPertaining to Yachts and Yachting, 1922, by Charles Sheeler, American, 1883 – 1965. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 1/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Margaretta S. Hinchman, 1955-96-9.

American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now available online via philamuseum.org or in the Museum Store (paper-over-board, $35).

Modern Times, John Sloan, Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth StreetSixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, 1907, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 32 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Meyer P. Potamkin and Vivian O. Potamkin, 2000. 1964-116-5.

Modern Times, John Sloan, The White WayThe White Way, c. 1926, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, 1946-10-2.

Exhibition Location

Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor

 Modern Times, Alfred Stieglitz, The City of AmbitionThe City of Ambition, 1910 (negative); c. 1930 (print), by Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1871 – 1944. Gelatin silver print, image/sheet/mount: 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-47.

Modern Times, Paul Strand, The Court, New YorkThe Court, New York, 1924 (negative); 1960s (print), by Paul Strand, American, 1890 – 1976. Gelatin silver print, image (sight): 9 1/2 x 7 7/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Paul Strand Retrospective Collection, 1915 – 1975, gift of the estate of Paul Strand, 1980-21-42.

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This exhibition has been made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lyn M. Ross, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, The Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, and two anonymous donors.

Modern Times, Florine Stettheimer, Spring Sale at Bendel'sModern Times, Dox Thrash, DemolitionDemolition, c. 1944, by Dox Thrash, American, 1893 – 1965. Oil on canvas board, 26 x 20 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Katharine Levin Farrell Fund, 2002-97-1.

Exhibition-related education programming was generously supported by the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Modern Times, Lloyd Ullberg, PSFS Building, PhiladelphiaPSFS Building, Philadelphia, c.1932 – 1933, by Lloyd Ullberg, American, 1904-1996. Gelatin silver print, image and sheet:10 x 7 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund, 1999-121-3.

Modern Times, Artist-maker unknown, Cocktail Shaker with HandleCocktail Shaker with Handle, c.1930s, Artist/maker unknown, American. Chromium, Bakelite, 12 x 6 3/4 x 4 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martina Schaap Yamin, 2013-28-66a,b.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call 215-763-8100.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post. Click the images for large pictures.

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Inspiration

Looking at Other Artists for Inspiration, Robert BohneFrederick John Mulhaupt, Gloucester, Sotheby’s

Looking at Other Artists for Inspiration

by Robert Bohne’

I discovered long ago in my career as an artist that painters, just like writers, can suffer from what I refer to as painters block. Trust me on this. Plenty of people have written on this subject, and what works for me may not necessarily work for you, but I’d like to share what I’ve found to be a very effective way to, not only work through this issue, but to push your work to the next level. And it’s totally painless. As a matter of fact, it’s actually fun.

I, like most if not all artists have times when I just can’t seem to produce. My solution is something that came naturally to me, and it’s quite possible that you deal with this issue the same way that I deal with it. A simple trip to a museum. If you’re lucky like me, you have a wide variety of museums in your area to choose from. It doesn’t have to be a major museum. As a matter of fact, some of the smaller museums offer an environment very conducive for an artists to relax and to meditate on the works of those who are considered to be the best of the best. Why a museum instead of a gallery? Galleries are great, and now and then you will find an exhibit of an exceptional artist who’s work you can relate to, but why not set your sites high?

Will you be able to learn more from studying the works of an up and coming landscape painter or from studying a Daniel Garber? Now you could argue that at one time, Garber was an up and coming landscape painter too. But the idea here is to look at the best of the best. If you’re fortunate enough to be in an area rich with museums, I would suggest that you find a specific artist, style or genre that you are interested in, and focus on that. For example, I’m interested in representational work, with a focus on landscape and cityscape. For representational landscape, I can visit the Brandywine River Museum. There I can study Garber, The Wyeth’s, William Lathrop, Redfield, and a host of others who’s work is good enough to be included in the worlds greatest collections.

Looking at Other Artists for Inspiration, Robert Bohne

The Poetry of Nature: A Golden Age of American Landscape Painting at Brandywine River Museum of ArtMarch 19, 2016 to June 12, 2016, Louisa Davis Minot (1788-1858)

I study the technique, the composition, the palette, I even study the matting and framing of works. After all, presentation should not be overlooked. Keep in mind that this works for any type of art. If your style is similar to Paul Cézanne, go to the Barnes Foundation. Marcel Duchamp? Go to PMA. The idea here is to study the work of those who inspire you.

There are other way’s of doing this too. A good collection of books on your favorite artists is always a good place to start. And let’s not forget a search of Google Images. I was recently studying the works of Frederick Mulhaupt, a turn of the century landscape painter who’s work I have always admired, in an attempt to discover what it was that made so many of his paintings appealing to me. Using the Google image search, I was able to see pages and pages of Mulhaupts, and I discovered a common denominator. The use of strong diagonals in his compositions. Something that I could look for in nature when choosing a scene to paint, and something that I can use when composing a painting.

And last, but certainly not least, you should surround yourself with art that you love. And this doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I’ve built a sizable collection of beautiful and inspirational artwork on a budget. Much of it bought at auction and at thrift stores. I’ve learned from years of experience that you should buy what looks to be exceptional work, regardless of whether or not you recognize the name of the artist. Quite often I buy works that are unsigned, and quite often I’ll find a signature or some other identifying marks that will help in identifying the artist. If it’s affordable and it inspires you, buy it. Even if it’s just a good reproduction.

Looking at Art for Inspiration, Robert BohneUnsigned drawing bought for $20 at auction. Signature found on back – Harry Becker (British 1865 – 1928), Collection Robert Bohne’

To sum it up, most of the accomplished artists that I’ve studied with have reached the same conclusion. That the most important thing an artist can do to advance his or her artistic ability, is the constant analytical study of great works of art.

Paint on. Robert Bohne’

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