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Portraits and Fifty Smiles- November 2010 newsletter

November 14th, 2010

Portraits and Fifty Smiles- November 2010 newsletter

Well, I'm back, looking forward to sending out art updates and newsletters again. There have been a few changes since my last newsletter. For one, there is a new website, similar to the old one, but a bit simpler and with a few new features. Another update: it is now possible for people to sign up for the art newsletter without my needing to be invited first, which is a better way to get information out to more people.

I will add sketches as well as paintings, so you can see the progression of my ideas and current projects. Perhaps this newsletter will keep me on track - keeping my activity more consistent, helping me to focus on the direction and evolution of my projects, and generate interest by others in my artwork.

As always, I would love feedback from my you: on which sketches you like, which ones might not work for you, and what projects or themes you would like to see more of. This feedback will help me to see my ideas from new perspectives, and develop my art further.

Current Projects

Recently I picked up a Watercolor Artist magazine which features interviews with several artists. Each artist's work demonstrates their own style, and their styles differ from each other as much as rain forests differ from deserts. One artist uses very loose, flowing brush strokes to express fast, blurred motion, while another uses tight, controlled dry-brush technique to suspend the viewer in a specific place and time. With all of the differences in technique and style, I noticed that the one thing each of the artists share is the conviction in solid drawing and compositional skills. Without the basic foundation of good drawing and composition, the artwork suffers.

So I am going to focus a lot more on my drawing and compositions. Beyond that, I have a couple of projects in mind. I am spending a lot of energy in portraiture. I like creating them; portraits are eye-catching and sentimental. I am starting on a long term project called Fifty Smiles, in which the theme of the art will be smiles, of any sort. The pieces may be abstract, realistic, or might just show the mouth, or perhaps just the eyes of someone smiling, but each piece will show a type of smile. I would like to do artwork that uplifts the viewer, but also encourages them to examine the different subtleties and character in different smiles. Eventually, I will get to a point where I will narrow down my artwork to fifty of my strongest pieces for the Smiles project, and I will then publish them in a book.

If anyone would like to contribute any photos, I would be glad to use them as a basis for some of my pieces, and may include them in my book, so please feel free to contact me if there are photos you would like to share for the project. I would love to have such beautiful subjects to draw, and would be happy to provide a personalized print or free copy of the book when it is published to those who participate.

Future projects:
(in no particular order)

Military themed paintings

Pumpkin Still Life (I have a feeling I'm going to time this project wrong)

Family photographs (three paintings, showing different elements of the family, as if they are photographs taped to the background).

So....

I hope everyone is doing well. I look forward to sharing more of my artwork with you, and I thank you for your feedback, your contributions, or for just being on the newsletter list!

Regards,

Andrew Gillette
Gillette Studios



andrew-gillette.artistwebsites.com

World War One Sketches

November 14th, 2010

World War One Sketches

One of the projects that will be upcoming is a World War One painting- perhaps taking three different images and putting them in the same composition- for instance, an airplane, a chaplain giving Mass, and a guard giving a prisoner-of-war a cool drink of water. I think the painting will consist of light, transparent watercolor washes- to keep it a little sunnier.

The Philosopher

November 6th, 2010

The Philosopher

The Philosopher is was a fun piece to complete. It was a challenge, because typically with watercolor paintings I add gradual layers of shading for safety reasons, whereas this time I depended a lot on lifting the paint off an already dark surface. I wanted to capture the dramatic lighting that illuminates his face, but leave much of this piece ambiguous, inviting the viewer to more closely examine the thoughts of the man in the painting.

Current and Future Projects

October 24th, 2010

Current and Future Projects

I have a couple of projects in mind. I am spending a lot of energy in portraiture. I like creating them; portraits are eye-catching and sentimental. I am starting on a long term project called Fifty Smiles, in which the theme of the art will be smiles, of any sort. The pieces may be abstract, realistic, or might just show the mouth, or perhaps just the eyes of someone smiling, but each piece will show a type of smile. I would like to do artwork that uplifts the viewer, but also encourages them to examine the different subtleties and character in different smiles. Eventually, I will get to a point where I will narrow down my artwork to fifty of my strongest pieces for the Smiles project, and I will then publish them in a book.

If anyone would like to contribute any photos, I would be glad to use them as a basis for some of my pieces, and may include them in my book, so please feel free to contact me if there are photos you would like to share for the project. I would love to have such beautiful subjects to draw, and would be happy to provide a personalized print or free copy of the book when it is published to those who participate.

Future projects:
World War One theme
Pumpkin Still Life
Family photographs (three paintings, showing different elements of the family, as if they are photographs taped to the background).

Thankful

November 26th, 2009

Thankful

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
- Henry Ward Beecher

One single grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer.
- G. E. Lessing

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.
- Alan Cohen


All holidays at their core are an event conceived in overwhelming gratitude: Gratitude for someone's birth, gratitude for freedom from oppressors, or gratitude for an abundant harvest. This is why Thanksgiving is such a meaningful holiday. It, more than any other, expresses the deeper meaning behind ALL holidays; gratitude for what where we have come from, for what we have now, and for the countless and possibilities that are available to us in the future. Gratitude is perhaps the greatest feeling that humans have in their toolkit- because it is the root of all celebration and happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

-Andrew Gillette
Gillette Studios

Just Three Quotes

September 22nd, 2009

Just Three Quotes

“Not only do we have a right to be happy, we have an obligation to be happy— because our happiness has an effect on everyone around us.” -Dennis Prager


"Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."
-Henry David Thoreau


"May you live all the days of your life."
-Jonathan Swift


Happy Autumn!



Best Regards,

Andrew Gillette
Gillette Studios
Fine Art and Portraiture

Full Bloom

July 23rd, 2009

Full Bloom

The subject of this piece is a freshly blooming flower, still savoring the kisses of morning dew. Often the most beautiful things are right under our noses. I let the watercolor do most of the background work, by applying wet washes of pure Windsor and Newton Hooker's Green, with the occasional sprinkle of salt. The flower was painted with Grumbacher Alizarin Crimson and Thalo Crimson, straight from the tube when ever possible. Shading was provided by Grumbacher Prussian Blue, which is probably my favorite watercolor of all time. Initially, I had wanted to paint the scene exactly as it was on the photograph I took, with the hint of a fence in the background and many distinct, soft leaves in the background. Eventually, I decided to take a more "take it as it comes" approach, and let wet-wash watercolor effects take care of the background for me. This way, I hope to keep the focus on the flower and leaves in the foreground, without making the painting too busy. Last, I added a few strokes of brown around the leaves to "ground" the flower and leaves a little bit. I am, so far, pretty satisfied with this painting, but of course, I always like constructive criticism on the composition. What would you do differently?

Angels

April 28th, 2009

Angels

I started this painting having no concept of where it was going to take me- I was simply letting the pure red, blue and yellow enjoy some freedom. As I progressed, I wanted to move in the direction of a "heavenly" piece, and keep the whole painting more abstract than anything, focusing on the composition, soft edges vs. firm edges, reds vs. blues. Eventually I noticed what looked to me like loosely formed angels, and perhaps that was simply a reflection of my present frame of mind. I was at the time watching a documentary on end of life issues, and I am re-reading the C.S. Lewis book "Mere Christianity."

Once I had floated in this direction, I spent the remainder of my effort on rubbing out some of the paint with a round brush and paper towel to further soften some of the edges and provide a texture, as well as using this same technique to create the cross.

I didn't start with any expectations of where this piece would go, or of its degree of success, and sometimes that is a good attitude towards painting and life itself. Let go of all of your expectations so you can enjoy the moment.... and just like when you look up at clouds and began to form images from them, here I hope you can find your own angels in this painting.

Gillette Studios Newsletter- Celebrating Lincoln

March 15th, 2009

Gillette Studios Newsletter- Celebrating Lincoln

Hello all,

I hope everyone is faring well and enjoying a fruitful February. February is not only about celebrating love, but also about celebrating presidents and reflecting on the achievements of giants in history like Abraham Lincoln.

I like to examine the human side of Lincoln. Many of us rarely think about Lincoln in anything other than black and white. We take him for granted as a historical figure, a savior of the country during its biggest challenge, and we forget that he was human... He loved and spoiled his children, he was kind and good-humored, yet he was relentless in his prosecution of the Civil War. He abhorred slavery but was frustratingly practical in its abolition. During his presidency, he was often more hated than loved, and though most agreed that he was an honest man, many thought him a stupid, weak or ineffective leader.

Through years of toil and death, he managed throughout to remain steadfast to winning the war when most considered it lost, and he managed to keep his wisdom, humility and humor intact. I have included in this newsletter a painting that shows a more youthful, lighter side of Lincoln, adapted from when he sat for a photograph with his son Tad. Despite his cool demeanor and famous humility, his face barely contains his pride for his sons. That's an important lesson that we can draw from Lincoln: Despite the troubles we might be going through, despite what people say about us, we can always maintain our humility, honesty, and humor. We must always take time to appreciate the joys that are present in our lives, even (and especially) the small joys we might often take for granted. Remember that even a small light can help us find our way through the darkness.

Best Regards,
Andrew Gillette


P.S.
As a side note, I'm sure everyone has noticed the ever increasing length of presidential campaigns. The campaigns during Lincoln's time were less than half a year. At the beginning of 2007, many in the media were making convincing arguments as to whether Clinton or Giuliani would win in the general election. How long ago that seems! Already there are those in the media talking about contenders in the 2012 election. It never seems to end.

So, based on the current trends, I decided that I had better make my move soon. So here, on my humble February 2009 newsletter, I am looking ahead to a bright future for this country, and announcing my candidacy for President of the United States in 2028!

Abraham Lincoln

December 30th, 2008

Abraham Lincoln

Many of us rarely think about Lincoln in anything other than black and white. We take him for granted as a historical figure, a savior of the country during its biggest challenge, and we forget that he was human... He loved and spoiled his children, he was kind and good-humored, yet he was relentless in his prosecution of the Civil War. He abhorred slavery but was frustratingly practical in its abolition. During his presidency, he was often more hated than loved, and though most agreed his was honest, many thought him a stupid, weak or ineffective leader.

An unpredictably devastating war was finally won, on his watch, in his way, and it was clear the Union was saved and he was its hero. Now he could finally, after half a decade of loss and struggle, truly bask in his magnificent achievements and at last enjoy a leisurely night at the theater with his wife. He was young again- things were looking up. Nothing could go wrong.

Through years of toil and death, he managed throughout to remain steadfast to winning the war when most considered it lost, and he managed to keep his wisdom, humility and humor intact. This painting shows a more youthful, lighter side of Lincoln, adapted from when he sat for a photograph with his son Tad. Despite his cool demeanor and famous humility, his face barely contains his pride for his sons.

 

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