13 November 2008

Please update your bookmarks!

Hello All:

I'm moving my blog and website over to Wordpress (for the flexibility of the format and to concentrate my presence on the web.)

You can now find my blog postings as well as my portfolios for fine art and illustration, contact information and a short bio over at: www.kurtankeny.com. (The other web addresses, www.1sqft.net and www.onesquarefootstudio.com will all lead you to the same place.)

If you read this blog through an RSS feed, you can update your feed here: New RSS Feed. Be sure to erase the old feed, or you'll wonder why I went silent.

Also, no need to worry, although I've erased all of the blog posts here, they can all be found over at the new site.

Thanks for following along with me! It should be an interesting year in 2009, so stay tuned.


11 November 2008

Moon at Sunset

Moon at Sunset, 5x7", oil on panel. Inquire.

Yesterday I had a chance to go out and do a little plein air work. This little study is the result. This is from the same vantage point as Junior Regatta, which I did back in the summer from Granite Pier in Rockport.

The bicycles painting continues, but very slowly. More progress updates soon...

07 November 2008

Shutting Down Sound

Bicycles, 24x18", oil on board. Work in progress.

I often work with music playing (either on headphones or in the background.) However, when concentration is required, silence is necessary. When I compose a painting, or when I work on a passage that requires just the right strokes, I have to have silence. I find that if I don't, my thought processes aren't as deep or involved: clearly part of my neural system is occupied elsewhere.

Another interesting item: the more "realistic" the painting technique, the less concentration it requires. The portrait I just completed (see previous post) I did with headphones in almost the entire time. In fact, it almost required music, since the rendering itself is a somewhat mechanical and tedious undertaking. However, on the piece above, I'm relying much more heavily on the bits left unsaid. This style is the jazz of art. It's in the interstices that the viewer fills in information. Think of it like a sentence written in such a way that the reader only gets a few of the words, but the blanks suggest something much more powerful.
Jenny Saville is a master of this type of jazz-art. Richard Schmid also does it very well, and there are students of his (or students who emulate elements of his style) like Jeremy Lipking, Tony Pro and Casey Baugh who also attempt that balancing act in certain pieces.

Make no mistake: it is a balancing act. A damned difficult one.

By the way, this is the direction I'm heading in: an attempt to leave the spaces in between for the viewer to fill in, to produce emotion while leaving the raw power of brush-driven paint on the canvas as unmodified as possible.

06 November 2008

Portrait Almost Done

Dominique, 12x18, oil on canvas.

Well, here it is, almost done. At this point I just have to finish mounting it in the frame, and then I'll be all set. I'll post another photo and some detail shots at that point. By the way, I've done my best to color correct the photo, but if she looks grey and dead, you should probably adjust your monitor. But nothing I can show you on the screen compares to the way that the flesh looks in person. I'm proud of this one.

04 November 2008

Go and Vote!

I'm for Obama, but if you're for McCain, Paul, Nader, Barr, McKinney, or even Baldwin, I want your voice heard too!

24 October 2008

Visual Ideas 1

Pictures have been a mode of spreading ideas for a long time. Much is made of the fact that Biblical stories were disseminated to the populous through symbol vignettes representing the main points. While this is a good reminder of the story, the story would not be communicated solely through this method. Rather, these symbol vignettes would serve as storage of the knowledge, much as words do in a literate society.

Art is a visual language, a descendant of the symbolic vignette that served as storage for medieval religious stories. However, our current society is very literate. There are few instances of visual messages without an accompanying text or audible message outside of the art museum. Thus, museums are traditionally quiet places.

With so few interactions with visual linguistics on their own, it is perhaps no surprise that our modern artists struggle to use art without "cheating" by either using an elaborate text as a means of explaining their intent or lacing their art with symbols which may or may not contain universal meaning. Therefore, art becomes more esoteric, and many people feel disconnected from modern art.

This post marks the beginning of my attempts to reconnect with that visual language. I know this sounds like an explanatory text, but think of it more as me thinking "out loud" as I try to disentangle my thoughts from word language and reacquaint my brain with visual ideas.

16 October 2008


Forgotten Industry, 12x16", oil on canvas panel. Inquire.

Today I set out to do some plein air painting, but was stymied by the fact that the view I wanted to paint was right at the edge of a busy road with no shoulder. So, having to settle for a photo, I meandered around taking reference shots. I decided to go down to the old paint factory on the eastern tip of Gloucester's Inner Harbor, and just as I was about to leave, Jeff Weaver pulled up to do a sketch of his own. We chatted and I took some reference shots, and Jeff was kind enough to let me stand there and watch him paint. He claimed I was going to get to know all of his secrets, but the only secret I saw was a master draughtsman taking the time to get the drawing right first and correcting anything he noticed was off as he started intermediary steps. While it's not really a secret, it is the key to good realism painting and something that so few people take the time to do.

In the afternoon, I still had a hankering to get a painting in, so I went to the Cape Ann Tool building, which stands slowly rusting on Pigeon Cove. The painting is above. I would love for that building to be an art space/studio, but I don't have the funds to make it a reality right now. Maybe I can spearhead an effort to get the building repurposed...although it's supposed to be converted into condos and a storefront, even though the project proposal claims a completion date of 2006.

Oh, and finally, a shout to Joey Ciaramitaro of Good Morning Gloucester, who posted the show opening notice on his blog today. Thanks Joey! Hopefully your broad reach will help people find our little shindig this Friday night. Come one, come all! Details are here at the Cove Gallery site.

30 September 2008

Just Before October Starts

Little Blue Riding Hood, watercolor and ink on paper.

Random sketchbook page, pencil and charcoal on paper.

Take a look at the finished site for the gallery showing my work, Cove Gallery.

Jen and I just got back from New York City where we went on a whirlwind anniversary trip that involved four art museums, dozens of train and subway rides, a nice conversation with a Newark cabbie, two bowls of miso ramen, two tickets to Chicago,(featuring Luke Duke!) and many many books.

24 September 2008

Nearing the End of September

The blog has been kind of quiet lately, hasn't it? I apologize for those of you who look forward to reading it on a (semi) regular basis. It's been very busy here, and like I said, a lot of the pieces I'm working on haven't been ones I can show just yet.

I worked with the owner to the gallery I'm showing
at, and we've put together a nifty little website there. Take a look, browse around, join the mailing list. There will be a very nice shot of the front and inside of the gallery on the front page as soon as her husband gets around to taking it. In other words, please excuse the dust, we're not quite finished with it yet.

Also, I think I might look to phasing out the Etsy site. I've never had a sale there, and with my items starting to go into galleries, the logical thing would seem to be to end that site and direct people here or to the gallery. So, from now on, you'll see an "inquire" link after paintings that are for sale. E-mail me if you're interested in a purchase.

Meanwhile, I took our puppy to get her first haircut at the groomer today, and she looks great. While I was there, I painted this piece, Kettle Island and Great Egg Rock, oil on panel, 9x12". Inquire.

I also have been working on a couple of studio pieces. Here are the work-in-progress shots:

Two Fishermen, work in progress.

Lane House, work in progress.

10 September 2008

Good Morning Gloucester

I just saw this posted on a local blog, Good Morning Gloucester. This is the door to my painting studio.

Sorry the blog has been silent lately. I've been working on a bunch of pieces that won't be for sale until the person who commissioned one gets to choose. As soon as that happens, I'll have a big update with a bunch of paintings. Meanwhile, I've also joined a gallery: Cove Gallery on 21 Walnut Street in Annisquam (part of Gloucester.) Much thanks to Pia Juhl for thinking my work was worthy of the gallery. I'll be hanging my stuff there this weekend (if the frames arrive in time!)

I've also constructed and primed a series of very large canvases for some really big quarry paintings. I can't wait to get started. Oh, and I drew this in preparation for another painting I have in the works. Thanks to my model Dominique. She's never been an art model before, and she was great.

Dominique Study, charcoal and chalk on paper.

19 August 2008

Weekend News

Quarry Wall, version two, 5x7", oil on panel.

It's been a good weekend for me. I had five paintings in a local show, and according to rumor, they all sold! (I haven't gotten official word from the organizer yet.) My wife and I drove down to DC to pick up the cutest little Bedlington Terrier puppy you ever saw. Her name is Whiskey. And, to top it all off, one of my paintings was just featured on an Etsy Treasury.

So it's been a pretty good weekend for me. I hope I have more like that!

Today's painting is one of a series
of quarry paintings I'm doing at Halibut Point State Park.

13 August 2008

Junior Regatta

Junior Regatta, 5x7", oil on panel.

Sorry to have been MIA for so long. I've been working on a commission for some friends and I know they read this blog so I couldn't post any progress pictures. Anyway, this little number was done in about 30 minutes, with some heavy-handed bristle brush action that I think really captures the feeling of wind. I'm pretty happy with the study.

01 August 2008

A Couple of Things

Low Tide, Lane's Cove, 9x12", chalk on paper.

Lane's Cove Fish Shack, 9x12", oil on panel.

A beautiful day down at the cove today. Children playing in the water, enjoying summer vacation as only kids that live a couple of blocks from the ocean can. And how's this Mr. & Ms. Child Safety: not a one of them were under parental supervision. That's right, water way over their heads, motorboats coming in and out of the cove, and not one suit of kevlar-plated swim-armor anywhere. Who would have thought that possible in this day and age of filial overprotection? I'm very glad to live among real people again.

30 July 2008

Halibut Point House

Halibut Point House, 8x10:, oil on linen panel.

I'm told that there are wild berries that grow on this rocky escarpment. With all of that sun, you know that they'll be good.

28 July 2008

Jones River Salt Marsh

Jones River Salt Marsh, 8x10", oil on linen panel.

This landscape was painted from a viewpoint 180 degrees from this older piece.

24 July 2008

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace, 8x10", oil on linen panel.

Today it supposed to storm something nasty, so I got this one in quick before it hits. It's breezy and humid out there, certainly feels like a storm brewing...