Thursday, August 23, 2018

Misha and Ticco

ThisOldPalette does not usually get involved with domestic disputes.

But the ongoing conflict between Misha Livshulz and his parrot, Ticco, cannot be ignored.

The two headstrong adversaries are depicted above
 in a pair of linocuts byTor Muehl.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Richard Schmid Legacy

The above version of events  may be more myth than history.

According to Joe Vangsness, who followed Richard as President, a group of members, including himself, actively campaigned to elect Diana Farran as President in 1980, unseating the old guard led by Al Muenzenthaler.  Farran, along with Don Llanuza who followed her as President, reached out and opened up the club to many new members - doubling the membership rolls.

Which is not to say that Richard's presidency was not important - especially for me!

I had always assumed that the club was a stuffy group of old guys who painted by numbers.

Then, while relaxing in front of the television  one Sunday evening, I happened to see a program about art in Chicago on WTTW --- and it featured a bunch of young painters gathered around an old master named Richard Schmid.  Their enthusiasm was contagious.

A few months later I was a member - and monitoring a sculpture workshop in the coach house that I still monitor today.

On his gallery label in this show, Clayton Beck notes that he also studied with Ted Smuskiewicz at the American Academy - while Ted's website notes that all of the other artists in this show studied with him as well.









Lovely!  This one feels so much like the classical recreations of Alma-Tadema


This landscape, as well as the nude posted above it, were loaned to this show by its organizer,
 Val Yachik.

Val has been dreaming of making a Schmid and students exhibition happen ever since he became President, almost fifteen years ago.

He has finally succeeded.


The 2007 version is just a workshop demo, but this is still a fascinating opportunity to view two portraits of Clayton Beck done about twenty years apart.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Exhibit: Henry McAlevy

It's very difficult not to smile back at this painting

Larry Paulsen noticed a similarity to the work of an earlier Chicago painter, Ahron Bohrud --  probably due to still lifes such as the above.

Henry monitors a figure drawing workshop and has often shown in our group shows, like the Gold Medal Exhibit.  This is his first  solo exhibit at the Palette and Chisel.

Friday, July 13, 2018

1001 Train Rides in Chicago

Perhaps you recognize the graphic style of this book cover -
it belongs to Leonid Osseny
who can often be found
in our drawing workshops
and who exhibits here regularly.

(perhaps you remember his scale model of Lenin's tomb)

I could tell a few train stories myself.
Once upon a time ---- 
someone sitting behind me on the Red Line
 set my long blond hair on fire!

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Too many open workshop cancellations

First, let me say that I’m a relatively new Palette and Chisel member and one of the main reasons I joined is for the open studio time.

The number of advertised (and yes it is often promoted as “Palette and Chisel has over 60 hours of open studios a week!”) open studio hours is the primary reason for my membership and my guess is that’s true for many members. It’s through the open studios that we meet and interact with each other. It’s in this environment that we learn from, receive inspiration (perhaps even give it), make friends, and practice our art.

Palette and Chisel offers classes and workshops as well and I’ve taken several classes in the short time that I’ve been here. Classes don’t require membership though and being a member does not affect the price of the classes members take.

Recent workshop announcements, however, have made it appear that our leadership values the experience of workshop attendees above those of its members. The workshops almost always use the third floor studio and cause either the displacement or cancellation of open studio sessions.

A summary of open studio cancellations from the beginning of April through June 10th shows that 60 hours of open studio will have been cancelled during that time frame in favor of workshops.

A few days ago, an email announced that there will be a 4 week long workshop by Clayton Beck that will cause displacement, studio time decreases, and/or cancellations of open studio for a month. Being new, I was shocked and dismayed. I’ve grown accustomed to attending open studio on a regular schedule and I’ve been looking forward to attending during the summer where I don’t have to freeze on my way to  the building.

As I said, I was dismayed when I saw the email announcement. I couldn’t understand why Palette and Chisel would schedule something so disruptive to not only my schedule, but for the schedules of all the members who are regular attendees of the studio. When I looked at the website and realized that Clayton is not simply a member, but a member of the board, it looked suspicious. First, let me say I have nothing against Clayton. But it certainly appeared to me that the reason this workshop was allowed to be scheduled was due to Clayton’s role on the board. I contacted Bill by email and he replied that this had nothing to do with it. That may be the case, but there’s a saying that “Perception is reality”. This basically means that if you are perceived to be something, you might as well be it because that's the truth in people's minds.

In other words, although the board may not intend that the decision to schedule Clayton’s four week workshop interfering with open studio is due to his position on the board, the perception, at least in my eyes, is that that’s the reason, so it’s true.

After emailing with Bill regarding the Clayton workshop, it appears that a number of open studios will be moved and shortened during that time frame (messing up everyone’s accustomed schedule) with a net loss of 9 open studio hours per week.

This workshop issue got me thinking…

Does Palette and Chisel survey its members to find out what’s important to them? If not, I believe it’s important for it to do this on a regular basis. The survey results should then be used by the board to guide decisions.

Some possible questions on the survey:

● Do you agree with the decision to cancel, rearrange and shorten open studio sessions to accommodate workshops?
● Are there currently any issues with existing open studio sessions?
● What would you do to improve open studio sessions?
● What amenities would you like to see that currently don’t exist?
● What types of shows would you like to see in the galleries that don’t currently occur?
● What (low cost) ideas do you have to increase the usefulness of Palette and Chisel for its members.
● Would you prefer that Palette and Chisel provision another space for workshops? One thought is to use some of the air rights money to install plumbing in the dining room so that the space could be dedicated to workshop use. This way more workshops could be scheduled and they would not interrupt open studio sessions.

We’re all members and I hope that all of our voices can be heard.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this subject. Either comment on this blog or send me email with the subject “Palette and Chisel” to