Posts Tagged ‘art students league’

Artist of the moment……Jan Matulka

Jan Matulka was a fantastic artist born in what is now Bohemia in 1890. Matulka painted in many genres, sometimes abstract, realism, cubism, but he is associated most with the modernist  movement. When the artist was only seventeen years old his family came to the United States and settled in the Bronx part of  New York city.

For his collegiate studies Matulka attended the National Academy of  Design.

Price range information: For gouache and watercolour the price range is $1,000 to $10,000. Oils range from $1,000 to $35,000. Lithographs range $1,000 to $13,000.

He would marry Lida Jirouskova who was a public library employee and very involved with the foreign community in New York.

Winner of the Pulitzer National Traveling Scholarship which allowed him to travel the world and paint it.

Over his career helped write and illustrate several children’s books.

Kept studios in Paris, France and New York city throughout his career.

Was added to the teaching faculty at the Art Students League and was the only Modernist painter there. As it was the time for realism in the art world, he was pushed out of his position. Matulka still taught privately as his students loved his classes.

Participated in the Public Works Art Projects and the Federal Art Projects during the 1930s. This would help him to work on designing very large works.

The artist lived most of his life as a recluse especially as he aged. Matulka passed away in 1972 at the age of 81 years old.

Below a great clip from a show featuring Jan Matulka.


Review of Art Demo by David Griffin…Awesome Acrylic Artist series…Swoon…

A quick clip about Swoon and another artist named Olek, a sculptor, done by PBS. You can see her applying some wheatpastes. Looks like fun!

Another clip with music by Cinematic Orchestra and an interview with the artist in the background. See many of her wheat paste works here.

So first off the demo by David Griffin was amazing! I arrived 30 minutes before the start time so as to get a seat in the front row. I got a seat right in the middle of the front row. As a bonus the Capital Hill Market Whole Foods gave $5 gift cards to anyone who stayed the entire length of the presentation. The artist was so excited to be working, it was fun to watch. He actually worked up quite a sweat, like what I do when I play basketball or tennis, but he did it while doing the demo. Several times the artist had to towel himself off. With the extra seats and those standing there must have been around 80 people by the time the demo ended. What a great turnout!

The artist brought in several of his own works, some were even interactive allowing the viewer to turn the characters which were on wood panels to suit there needs according to the mood they were in that day. The artist said people who buys these works end up interacting with them every day.

He works with full pencil block. When doing trees it was great fun to see all the different lines used to represent shapes of the pine needles. The artist starts his works with a 50 / 50 split with gloss or matte medium. For the later glazes he uses 1/10 or 1/20 split with very little acrylic and much gloss or matte medium.

The artist gives classes at the Denver Art Students League on making  great works of art using a photograph reference.  His class is set up so you watch him paint for the first part of the class, then the artist gets to work on their own pieces some finishing as many as 3 to 4 during the 8 week class.




So the artist I will feature today is one of my favorite contemporary artists working in a variety of media. Many times she will do a print and then hand color the works with acrylics. She got her start by installing wheatpastes around the New York, street art if you will. She has done so much work for the greater community that she inspires me in that regard as well. She was one of a select group of artists that sold artwork and went down to Haiti to help rebuild it.

The artist was born in 1978. Her family was living in New London, Connecticut.

Legal name is Caledonia Dance Curry. Was raised in Daytona, Florida and at age 19 moved to New York to study at the Pratt Institute. She started doing the wheat paste street art in 1999.

I enjoy this artist as she performs what I like to think of as “street magic.” She takes old pieces of wood or even a door, and does these wonderful paintings with a figure that has a tremendous amount of expression. I am moved by the expression her faces contained yet I have never seen them in person. Only someone with great drawing skills could pull that off.

In 2009 she and a crew crashed the Venice Biennale. The arrived using boats they had made from recycled and discarded items. The crew started in Slovenia. She is just very cleaver and free spirited. She is a true adventurer!

She is also very giving and generous with her time and uses art to pursue one of her passions of helping people.

Go get a brown paper bag. Be like Swoon and draw a portrait on it, say in marker so you don’t go back erase. She must have gotten A+s in design at Pratt!

I encourage you do some more research on this remarkable artist!

Happy painting!

Awesome Acrylic Artist series….. David Griffin….


this artist is having a LIVE demonstration in downtown Denver on the 18th of this month.  It will be at Meiningers Art Supply in the upstairs. The artist shows in Denver at the Sandra Phillips gallery.  He will be showing how to paint landscapes from photographs using acrylics. I enjoy his landscapes and his approach of using so many wood panels. Some pieces have as many as 9 panels, making for a very large piece. I had seen triptych and diptych works, but never so many works using many smaller panels to make one large piece.

The artist sees art as an exploration of the world.  Many works are a compilation of views with gaps, thus the spaces in between the wood become more important and meaningful.  His work focuses on the pleasant and the beautiful.

Does he stress composition, color, light and shade and value. I don’t know the artist doesn’t state his views in his statement.

I enjoy his compositions and rendering of grasses. I look forward to his demo, mainly to see if he draws the entire picture out before adding color or if he works more in a plein air fashion.

Try a diptych painting today. A painting using 2 panels. It will force you to make a strong design pattern.

I couldn’t find any info on when the artist was born or if he attended the Art Students League or college for art.

Happy painting!



Awesome Acrylic Artists series….. Leonard Everett Fisher….


When browsing thru some old pages of an art magazine I saw some works by this artist and figured it was Robert Vickrey. An artist who was born long ago, in the golden age of illustration. A period when many artists worked first for publishing companies and magazines and then became fine artists. Some examples are Bob Kuhn, Howard Terpening, and Norman Rockwell. The artist were well schooled in listening to editors give them ideas and suggestions and then coming up with a final piece that was both art but had a narrative as well. It is my belief that Terpening has become known as painter of the Native American peoples, he had great training.

So this fellow Leonard Everett Fisher was born in 1924. He has illustrated more than 260 books, 85 which he wrote himself.  He used to paint in acrylics and oils but now is mainly an acrylics man. One has to appreciate someone that has been painting for more than 7 decades.

The artist learned to draw with his father, who designed naval vessels. Later he took classes at the Art Students League of New York. The artist attended Yale for college.

The artist also designed 10 postage stamps, many for the bicentennial of the United States in 1976.

Received a Pulitzer prize for his paintings in 1950.

The artist now lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Paints with acrylics on canvas as well as masonite. I especially enjoy his paintings of bubbles and kites.  To me they are the essence of being youthful and living in a dream world.

Happy painting!