Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sandra Kaplan's Updated Website

My website,, has just been updated with many new images throughout, thanks to the technical expertise of my web advisor, Keith West.

There are two new "galleries". The first is titled "My Colorado", and shows my recent paintings with very personal Colorado subject matter and an unusual "take" on the West. The other is titled "Italy", and includes images painted during or in response to several recent workshops I've offered in Tuscany.

Please visit today!

Walking Near My Studio

While trying to solve a difficult painting issue last week, I was walking past the corner of Lincoln and Maple when I found a tree staring at me. Lest you think that I've taken leave of my senses, please look to the right to see this unusual tree. I loved  finding this face hidden in the branches, creative playfulness seemingly just for fun. 

Mavericks for Obama

These two sides of a single sign were seen in a south east Denver yard. Levity is such a relief in this tense political year!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Martin Puryear at the National Gallery in DC

While I was in Washington, D.C., two months ago, serving on the NEA Museum Grants Panel for 2008, I saw the most beautiful and visually stimulating sculpture show I've seen in years, maybe ever: Martin Puryear at the National Gallery.

Today, I ran across the gallery brochure, which reminded me to tell you about the show, in hopes that you can catch it at its last stop, San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art , where the exhibition opens Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008, and continues until Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009.

The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Click to see a significant selection of pieces from the show in MOMA 's online exhibition.

So many sculptors currently use found objects without mastering the transformative process that makes these objects into art. Both technical skill and intimate connection to the sculptural materials seem in short supply. I'm tired of seeing old rags wrapped around a rusted bed frame presented as "art." In addition, we seldom are offered incite into the nature of the forms themselves, how a sculptor can view a particular item, then reimagine it in an incredibly powerful and more universal way.

Martin Puryear does that -- and more. He has superb technical and transformational skills. But he's also an internationalist, combining images from disparate cultures so that they emerge as cohesive visual staements, the work of someone with a profound and inspiring understanding of his medium.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Acrylic Paint, "OPEN", from Golden

Recently, I received in the mail a few sample colors of a new formulation of acrylic paints that is supposedly similar to oil in it's drying time. The name of the product is "OPEN", and you can get a great deal of technical information about it on Golden's web site. I particularly reccommend checking out their issue of "Just Paint" issue #19 on the subject of these paints.
I haven't yet experimented sufficently with these new colors to form a strong opinion. Getting the samples did remind me of a time, back in the Dark Ages, when I was a student at Pratt Institute, before acrylics were in wide usage. Some artists at the time, particularly the Washington Color School painters, were mixing their own, by adding dry pigments to a Rohm and Hass polymer medium.
One company with a name something like "Dutch Masters" or "New Masters" sent sample kits of the paints to members of my painting class. The colors were muddy, but we were thrilled to get free samples of any paint, and proceeded to experiment.
Thirty years later, I was in Cincinnati, helping my mother move from her house to an apartment, and cleaning out her attic. I found the paintings I had painted with some of those early acrylic paints. They were STILL TACKY.
This is a reminiscence, not meant to suggest that a proven and excellent company like Golden hasn't come up with an innovative and superior product. Golden has a reputation for working directly with professional artists to meet their individual requirements. As I paint in both acrylics and oils, choosing my medium in response to my needs of the moment, I'm curious as to whether I can find a unique use for this new product. I'd love to hear from those artists among you who have tried the paint, and hear your evaluations. Please post your comments. Mine will come at a later date.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kathy Knaus Meat Paintings

Kathy currently has an exhibition at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. 
I have enjoyed watching Kathy's recent transformation: formerly an abstract painter, two years ago, a chance visit to an traditional Italian butcher shop re-directed her work, reminding her of her childhood spent in the family meat market. 
As artists, we have so many meaningful encounters which could inform our work, but only do so when we are open to their potential. Kathy has connected the dots of her personal history in a way difficult for most artists. See these paintings on her web site by clicking here.