Sunday, October 25, 2009

Artist Profile: Clayton J. Beck III

After graduation from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Clayton studied at the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts with Richard Schmid. Clayton’s career began while still at the American Academy, exhibiting at Jody Kirberger’s Talisman Gallery and winning awards from the Midwest Pastel Society, the Palette and Chisel and the Pastel Society of America. He began teaching Saturday classes in Chicago after graduation from art school.

Artist Statement: “My love for painting has always been enhanced by my love to teach. Any artist who thinks they understand painting should try teaching. They will soon realize how little they know. I have always felt that I have a responsibility to teach because I have been given a generous gift from my teachers (i.e. Bill Parks, Ted Smuskiewicz, and Richard Schmid) and it should be passed on to the next generation of painters who share this love of art.

Visit Clayton's website.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Photographer Profile: Christiane Covington

Today I learned that a friend of mine from may years ago died on May 13, 2009, of a drowning accident on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Her name was Christiane Covington, and she was a lover of motion pictures and the craft of film making; I never knew anyone so passionate about cinema as Christy. We met while working together on Alex Seligman's UCLA graduate student film "Macaroni Casserole," where I discovered that Christy was an excellent photographer—the best I have ever known. She also had a lovely singing voice, and I had the privilege of recording a few songs with her.

In more recent years Christy worked as script supervisor on many feature films and TV programs, too numerous to mention here. But if you're interested, here is her biography on the Internet Movie Database.

Christy was a dreamer, and if she decided to do something, she would follow that path relentlessly until her dream was fulfilled. She was the first female dolphin trainer at Sea World--at a time when the field was dominated by men. She basically hung around until they realized that she wasn't going away, so they HAD to hire her. That was the way Christy operated. If she wanted something, nothing could stop her.

Christy was born with an aesthetic eye, and with creativity in her blood. She wrote many screenplays, directed many plays, and made several independent films. Her dream was to be a feature film director, and I know that if she lived, one day she would have met that goal, too.

I should also say that Christy was a very spiritual person and a peaceful soul, always seeking to know about life and her place in it. She had a boundless curiosity, a kind disposition, and loads and loads of talent. The world has suffered a great loss because she is no longer here to contribute to its well-being.

Here is Christy singing a song.

Here is a lovely video tribute, made by her sister, Cassandra.

This one's for you, Christy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Artist Profile: Jennifer McChristian

Award winning artist, Jennifer McChristian, was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be an artist. Upon completing high school, McChristian began her art education at Dawson’s College in Montreal, Canada. In 1986, she and her family took permanent residency in California, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree with Honors from Otis Art Institute in 1990.

McChristian was employed as a full-time animation artist and worked on projects for various animation studios including Disney and Nickelodeon. She has continued her studies under the tutelage of renowned artists Robert Blue, Karl Dempwolf, Scott Burdick and Steve Huston. Her inspirations consist of notable artists such as John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Nicolai Fechin and Cecilia Beaux. McChristian primarily paints in oils and occasionally watercolors. She has an affinity for painting ‘en plein air’ and also enjoys creating studio works using her outdoor sketches as inspiration. “Plein-air painting is somewhat of a spiritual experience for me. Although challenging at times, the end result evokes within me a sense of elation, nostalgia and harmony."

Since 2000, McChristian has devoted herself to painting full-time and actively participates in art events and community building programs. She conducts an ongoing, uninstructed figure drawing workshop twice a week out of her spacious 1200 square foot studio (that she refers to as her ‘sanctuary’) located in the heart of Los Feliz Village, CA. In addition, McChristian teaches private painting lessons once a week. She also finds the time to pursue other artistic interests such as classical ballet. McChristian believes learning is a never-ending process and continues to develop and refine her artistic talent through workshops, research, travel and frequent excursions to museums and galleries.

Visit Jennifer McChristian's website

Artist Profile: Ann Gale

Ann Gale (born 1966) is an American figurative painter based in Seattle, Washington. She is known for her portrait paintings, which consist of an accumulation of small color patches expressing the changing light and the shifting position of her models over time. Some of her main influences include Lucian Freud, Alberto Giacometti, and Antonio Garcia López.

Gale works from live models and her process is lengthy. Once she begins to paint, she works for three-hour sessions, and takes from four months to two years to complete a painting. Her pieces possess a strong psychological component due to the amount of time she spends with her models.

Gale received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1988 and her MFA from Yale University in 1991. She has been the recipient of several awards including: Western States Art Federation/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1996), Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (1997), Trust Grant/GAP Award (2003) and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2007). The artist's work has been shown in galleries and museums across the United States including solo exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon (2007) and the Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2008). Gale is a professor of painting at the University of Washington School of Art.