Sunday, April 07, 2024

$300 Show April 2024

Deborah Weinstein

The crazy thing about this show
(that used to be called "clean out the closet")
is that occasionally really good pieces show up.

I would have voted the above for the Gold Medal
in last month’s competition.


Deborah Weinstein

The last time Ms. Weinstein appeared in this blog was 2007
when I photographed one of her drawings at a drawing marathon.


Leslie Outten

Feels mythic to me.

I love American Scene paintings.

Clayton Beck 

Simple - powerful
Yet void
of expression.

Must have been a demo.

Lenore Murphy

Not only do the dead vote in Chicago,
they also paint.
I miss Lenore.

Helen Oh

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Gold Medal Show - 2024


Debra Balchen proposes that we have a separate gold medal for sculpture - and she has worked so hard to study, make, and display this piece - I’m inclined to agree - if only for her.

No other sculptor has given this much attention to lighting as well as pedestal display.

Debra apparently learned a lot in those classes she took in Italy.
Coco has been given such an elegant treatment.

Sondra Pfeffer

Bo Zhang

Tor Muehl

Tor is organizing a class on mask making - with Coco as the instructor.
Kinda reminds me of the Iroquois funny face masks at the Field.

Tim Leeming

No need to list his name-
Tim is our dumpster specialist 

Kuhn Hong

A rather poignant scene where a refugee family’s life all comes down to a few square feet of public pavement in a foreign city.

Tom Zamiar’s  fantasy goddess
meets a stately bust of Coco
by Misha Livshultz

Mary Qian

Mary is giving other competitors a break 
by putting this modest portrait in the show

Leslie Outten

This rustic scene reprises one of the club’s early masters,
the  father of Ivan Albright.

Tony Bedolla 

Shouldn’t Tony be painting portraits for the ruling class
of some country in South America?

Stuart Fullerton
The  quiet, upscale elegance of William Merritt Chase.

Muriel Christensen

 Michael Van Zeyl

I love that gleaming strap over her shoulder.

Erroll Jacobson 
Erroll seems to be moving towards geo-form painting.

Lenin’s Del Sol, City Lights

My pick for the gold medal 

Both the model and the artist appear so bored -
and yet a pre-historic fire-breathing monster
is destroying the city behind her.

What’s not to like?

Andrew Conklin, The Barista.  (Gold Medal Winner)

I put this piece last because I want to encourage our artists to show new work in the Gold Medal Show 
( though actually, we’ve seen Lenin’s piece before as well )

We really should take up a collection to buy it for our permanent collection. It’s a great still-life, and the model, the uber-talented  Cass, may well turn our to be the most famous artist who has ever been a member.

Here she is, working a menial job, and daydreaming of a brilliant future.

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Nathalie Gribinski


Blue Heart, 36 x 36 , acrylic on canvas

Kinda loud and in your face.
And  especially awkward and wacky
  because it’s figurative.  

Balance - subtlety - mystery - sensitivity 
Not so much.

It seems to say 
"Ok - my heart is blue,
.. what of it ?"

Woman Standing, 34 x 11
Collaboration with Zaach Weber
Oil marker on ceramic, paper mache

Theatre of Dreams, oil marker on canvas, 72 x 48

The sculpture - and painting behind it
announce that it’s playtime.

Ever been to FLW’s Coonley  Playhouse in Riverside?
Both pieces are both fun and elegant enough to belong there.

Working the Line, 36 x 36, acrylic on canvas

State of Mind, 36 x 36, acrylic on canvas 

Mental  noise is that default condition,
in paintings as well as life, when nothing is being sought
beyond a resounding expression of "here I am, folks!"

It’s specific to each person as well as the world in which they live.

If the pieces don’t feel American, that’s because the artist grew up in France, and I appreciate the absence of the popular culture that echoes through so many American minds.

Bowling in Outer Space, oil markers and acrylic on canvas, 8x8x3

As beautiful and soothing as small tropical fish tanks.
A welcome respite from the rest of the show.

Two of Chicago's first non-objective painters , Ramon Shiva and Rudolph Weisenborn, were Palette and Chisel members a hundred years ago - but regretfully there haven’t been many ever since.  

It’s refreshing to have work on our walls that is totally free from the demands of illustration.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Portraits of the Palette - 2023


Mary Qian, portrait of George Zaremba

George started up the Palette’s first (recent) annual portrait show a few years back, so it’s appropriate that this show now honors him with one of Mary’s finest portraits.  His personality pours off the wall.

Muriel Christensen, Michael

Since the advent of Covid, several weekly open workshops have been broadcast over Zoom - and I always thought this was a dumb idea.  Why have the model sitting in the same pose for five hours — why not just work from a photo?  But the liveliness of Muriel’s  painting proves I was wrong.  

Sonya Sonny Zartman

Looks like an enigmatic screen shot from a television drama.
Was somebody murdered?

Michael R. Margherone

Done, quite well, in the inimitable style of one of Chicago’s most celebrated outsider artists, Lee Godie.

Tom Zamiar, Lady Bird Liz

Another piece that’s kind of primitive, but not really 
Very romantic - in a child-like way.

Larry Paulsen
A self portrait by our popular drawing instructor,
back when he was a handsome young dude (1987)

Doesn’t it look like he was about to add a background - like a landscape or garden?
In subsequent years, he must have decided  against taking  portraits in that direction, leaving his faces as islands in a sea of white paper.

Michael Van Zeyl, Lionel

Is Lionel some kind of magician?
His eyes seem to follow you around the room
He knows all about you - and finds it mildly amusing.

Soko Okada, Morning Coffee 

A little too self satisfied, if you ask me.
I’d rather have my morning coffee without him.

Evelyn Brody, Whitney in Greengold

Looks like a fine illustration for a young adult novel 

Val Yachik, untitled

A mysterious portrait from or former President.
Love the rim on his cap.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Don Ryan

An interesting exhibit that juxtaposes a portrait photo with a portrait painting.

The photo was taken when the subject was in the armed services decades ago,
the painting was done recently.

The above is my favorite - maybe because it reminds me of another WWII vet, my father.
Or maybe because the person presented seems so capable as well as thoughtful and empathetic.*

The artist himself

 This project reminds me of Mat Mitchell's. "One Hundred Faces of War" that came to the National Veterans Art Museum in 2015.  His work can be seen here  

Only a few of Mitchell’s portraits are posthumous tributes - but all of them feel that way.  

The Ryan portraits feel more gritty and down to earth.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Pamela V. Gibson


Nailing a typical Misha gesture !

- but all of these paintings deserve a better aesthetic

Trying to figure what was intended by this conflation of tail of a raptor with head of Val, our former President.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

January Challenge


Kathleen Putnam Newman, Twilight Cafe, Rovinj

This one’s my favorite.
I’m really soaking up the disorienting ambiance of a tourist trap.

A very cool idea -
this is what art clubs are for
even those that have no gallery

Kathleen Newman

Kathleen’s a virtuoso,
even if this does resemble a picture postcard in a tourist shop.

Kathleen Newman 

So much space in such a small piece

Kathleen Newman

My favorites are her evening or twilight paintings.
Here’s one - and the photo she took for reference.

Kathleen Newman

Judy Skulborstad

Judy Skulborstad

Julie Skoda

This image could advertise the Plein Aire Painters of Chicago.
A great piece,