Category: Openings

Traveler, trimmed at the top. Perhaps I'll take another couple of inches from the bottom.

Magician trimmed at the top and bottom. Much better!

After a few days of humming and hahing I’ve committed to editing the Traveler and Magician paintings from their earlier square composition. Now rectangles, the compositions look much better balanced, with the focus of attention moving down to the sun and the hand and face of the Traveler, while in the Magician the relationship of the sky to the land feels more compressed and dramatic. I’m looking forward to building the stretcher bars for these paintings now that I feel more certain of their shape.

We’ve rigged up a camera obscura in the studio. It makes beautiful softly focused images appear magically in the darkened room. I love the shallow focal length – it makes very specific areas of the image very crisp, but these quickly drop off into gently diffused areas of softness.

There’s a lot going on this week. Tomorrow I’m going to Ventura College to see an opening of figurative art, titled “Skin Deep: Artists Examine the Nude” including some work by John Nava, whose fabulous paintings were rendered as tapestries in the Los Angeles Cathedral. I’m looking forward to meeting him very much.

I’ll be at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday at the Los Angeles Fine Art Show: Historic and Traditional, when I’m serving on a panel discussion titled Realism Today – Old Methods, New Visions

Saturday afternoon, January 21, 2012.  3.00-4.15 pm

Panelists [in alphabetical order]

  • Adrian Gottlieb, artist and atelier director
  • Michael Pearce, artist and chair of the art department at California Lutheran University
  • Kate Sammons, artist
  • Michael Zakian, art historian and director of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University


Peter Trippi, editor of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine

From left to right: Michael Lynn Adams, Film Director Robert Sexton, Michael Pearce, Tony Pro, Mia Tavonatti, Alexey Steele, Jeremy Lipking, sculptor Bela Bacsi, Peter Adams (President of the California Art Club). Photo thanks to Aihua Zhou.

Opening reception for The New Romantic Figure exhibit at the Kwan Fong Gallery on California Lutheran University’s Thousand Oaks campus.

The reception was a great success, with a nice turnout of visitors, friends and of course the company of this great group of artists. I’m looking forward to seeing a short documentary video about the artists and the excitement that ‘s being generated among traditional figurative painters here in Southern California as we see continued acceptance and appreciation.

  I’m very pleased to publish these two pictures of The Queen of Cups and the Star as they appear in the New Romantic Figure exhibit. I love the tabernacle frames. We’ve matched the colour of the decorative trim around the Star to the Iron Oxide of the base coat so it picks up the colour of the painting nicely. The Reds of the Queen’s dress are set off so nicely against the white of her frame that I was reluctant to decorate it, so presently it’s a simple white, very classical, very clean.

I’m so happy to get this show rolling, it’s been close to my heart for a couple of years. It looks lovely now that it’s got good lighting. The twelve page full colour brochures arrived this evening, ready for the reception tomorrow night, and I have about eighty posters to give away too. Ask me for one if you can make it to the event.

The Kwan Fong Gallery is at California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California, 91360

The Opening Reception is at 7pm on Saturday 20th August, 2011.

I mentioned the show that’s opening in late August in a previous post. Here’s the nicely designed CLU Gallery website with more information on the event, including a sneak preview of some of the paintings you’ll be able to see. I’m working hard to finish the Queen in time!

I’d like to invite everyone visiting the blog to come to the opening reception, meet the artists and enjoy the paintings. It’s a wonderful show. Join us at CLU’s Kwan Fong Gallery at 7pm on August 20th.

New Romantic Figure Painting

Figurative paintings from contemporary masters

Including works by:
Michael Lynn Adams, Peter Adams, Jeremy Lipking, Cyn McCurry, Michael Pearce, Tony Pro, Alexey Steele, Mia Tavonatti.

Now the Magician has a leg to stand on she’s beginning to seem more substantial. I still enjoying working on the stripes, building depth out of making slender lines toward the edges of the legs, and relishing the rippling when the lines cross folds in the fabric. It’s challenging, but rewarding. Other demands on my time are making it difficult to get into the studio, so I’m trying to set aside painting time as a time-tabled event that MUST happen, or I’d be unable to paint anything at all.

Bela Bacsi’s show opens tomorrow at the Kwan Fong Gallery at CLU. I’m looking forward to the reception very much. The gallery looks fantastic thanks to the help of Mike Adams and Carey who put together some really outstanding graphics work, and Gary and Armando who installed some spotlight track when it was clear that we would not be able to light the sculpture adequately with the existing track. Thank you!

My withdrawal symptoms have abated, having received four tubes of Foundation white from Steve at Continental, and I’ve put down a layer of dense white over the entire bottom half of the painting, which means that all I need to do to complete basing out the entire painting is to mix an light grey for the sky and sea. I’ve noticed a couple of errors in the arrangement  of the walls that I want to correct, but I’ll wait until this layer is dry before attempting to fix them.

I’ve just received a book that looks completely fantastic – Pre-Raphaelite Painting Techniques, by Townsend, Ridge and Hackney. I’ll take a look and post a report on it later this week.
This evening I’ll visit the gallery at CLU for my colleague Barry Burns’ opening reception for his show of new works. If you’re in the neighborhood, please join me.

me and bertGood times in down town Los Angeles. There was a good turnout for the opening reception tonight, and with Artwalk tomorrow we’ll see a really big crowd at the gallery. The crows were very popular, and a couple of them sold already, so I hope to see several more flying from the walls in the next couple of weeks, dispersing the flock still further from its source.

I had a really lovely evening – ran into Emmeric Conrad, who I last showed with some ten years ago. I hope that he’ll be able to come to Thousand Oaks for a residency next year. Sean Sobcak has an exhibit of his fabulous light sculptures just round the corner, and I loved visiting the show and spending some time with him.

Photos: Bert Green and I at the gallery, then me and the birds.


Downtown has transformed! It’s so different now. There are bookstores and restaurants where there used to be drunks and junkies. Very cool. Bert closed the gallery at eight, and we all wandered round the corner to eat, drink and be merry.

After a busy day taking care of administrative work for the new semester I took two paintings to the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks (Civic Center Drive Thousand Oaks, CA 91360) for a show there. I was last to arrive, so I got a sneak preview of everyone’s work for the show, which looks really good. There are some very successful pieces in this one, and I can see that the curators have gone out of their way to find some very good images.

I took two of my tarot card paintings along: Temperance and Justice.

I’m hurting to get back to the studio. I spent five minutes looking at the Traveler this morning after yoga, considering what the next task should be. I’m very satisfied with the progress I’ve made so far, but I want to bring the sun into the sky where I originally intended to, so the figure is gesturing toward the glory of the natural world.

Installing the exhibit down in Bert Green’s gallery in Los Angeles went smoothly, and the dilapidated truck I borrowed to transport the paintings and the grail piece held up very well indeed, zipping along the California freeways quite nicely, and reminding me of how fortunate I am to live here. (I’m remembering again that Talking Heads song: “And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?…” which has been a theme for me since I arrived in Los Angeles twenty years ago.)

The opening reception is on Wednesday evening from six until eight. Please do come and visit the gallery. I’m showing two of my favorite works: As the Crow Flies (the golden panels with black birds wheeling around a seated figure) and the Grails installation, which increasingly feels central to everything I am about in the creative work I do. If you follow Bert on twitter you can find a picture of the installation as we were working on it earlier today.

Address and directions are here on Bert Green’s website.

This feeling of gratitude struck me repeatedly over the last few days during conversations with friends and family in England and West Virginia (Paul Luchessi). They’re living with pouring rain and snow, and in Paul’s case deep snowdrifts and a state of emergency. Meanwhile I’ve been busy in the garden digging out beds with the help of my children, planting the seeds of Morning Glory, White Sage, Hollyhocks, Foxgloves, California Poppies, and plenty of culinary herbs.

I’ve been so busy with the gallery that it’s been hard to get into the studio until today. At last I found a few hours this evening to work on fixing the spine, which had been bothering me for a long time. Now it has some highlights and some tighter definition that sets it forward from the feathery background. I also worked on highlights on the ribs, using the Ceramic White that Steve Aufhauser asked me to try. I really like this white – it’s got such a bright high end when you lay it down thick, and a lovely glaze like that of Zinc when it’s thin. Very nice.

If you’re anywhere near Thousand Oaks, California this month, do yourself a favor and swing by the Kwan Fong Gallery at CLU to have a visual feast at the exhibit of Mia Tavonatti’s “Paintings from Svelata”. Really lovely romantic paintings of a beautiful woman suspended in water and fabric. Opening reception this Saturday night at 7pm.