Monday, January 30, 2012

Model as Artist

Model as Artist - by Richard Hearns
oil/panel, Studio 7 at the Art Students League of New York.

- Reserved

Above is a figure study in oil. Created over four mornings. I spent about six hours in total orchestrating this painting.

Positioning the figure within the composition was interesting. I began by working with the larger negative shapes around the figure as I felt this the best way suited for me to begin the piece and get started. Gregg Kreutz, my mentor, came over to see my work and suggested that I might start by building the form of the figure - the volume, and he began to mass in the shape of the model in the canvas center. It was interesting to watch Gregg and see how he used the paint (eg. what kind of consistency etc) but after some careful consideration I decided that my way would serve this piece better in its over all orchestration and wiped off Gregg's demo to begin myself again.
On Gregg's return to see me I believe he was proud of my decision to begin myself again and continue on my own line of thought.

My feeling is paramount to my paintings. It is the initial idea or inspiration and concept that I hold onto and which drives my pieces. This is what makes me grow.
Painting at the Arts League of New York these past two weeks has reinforced that thought.
Many times during a painting session here I realize that it is as much about what not to do as what to do. I can witness all the pit falls of dabbing, copying, overworking etc as well as pick up some great ideas that will aid my creative development and process.

New York is the most wonderful place. Its just buzzing with energy and I am just getting started!

- Richard

This post and more of my figure paintings can be found on my RHA blog

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bitter Sweet

Richard Hearns - Bitter Sweet, Still Life in Lemon and Violet - oil on canvas - sold
Still Life in studio 7 at the Art Student League of New York 2012.

This is the second still life painting I created in the studios of the Arts League of New York since my arrival here. The piece was completed over a week ago now.

Ideas of the old and new world crisscross in this painting. My concept for the piece was a concentration, a more contemporary cropped image with a strong focal point. I wanted the light and colours to dance so I pulled colours out of the objects and created a halo like atmosphere. Notes of paint and strong shapes sing out.
The application is 'painterly' and vibrant.
Hope you enjoy this offering.

- Richard

This piece with be reserved for my upcoming New York Solo Show.
For advanced reserve and purchasing please contact

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Painting with the Masters.

'Classical arrangement in Green, Red and Orange'. - sold

The other day I had the opportunity to chat to a another real American Master painter - Harvey Dinnerstein. Harvey is in his eighties and still has the energy of a school boy! That chat was so important to me and I learned so much from listen to him. Harvey thought my work was very strong and interesting. He gave me great advice and encouragement. He talked of New York City and what it has to offer an artist like me. I'm going to take hold of it with both hands!

I am really endeavoring to push myself which each painting in regard to application and how I handle paint. I know with this first piece I choose to paint quite traditional composition. I felt I could use it as a catalyst to propel me into painting again as it reminded me of how I might have set up a narrative with Still Life Objects, but I am not after an over romanticism of the scene. No longer painting objects, I am painting paint. Painting colour, notes of colour.

In the style I imagine as the Dutch masters such as Rembrandt we have been working in a near total dark studio with a little natural light that streams in through fogged windows in the north corner of the room. As the morning progresses the scene or stage before me is cast with light that 'flows' over it. I worked strong on my concept of colour movement and how I might like to allow the painting to be read through texture and colour notes in pleasing ratios.

After two weeks painting at the Art League of New York I am really settling in.
I have had the opportunity to meet with my tutor Gregg Kreutz about three times during that two week period. We discuss at the easel for about ten minutes during each encounter.
I paint from 8.30am until 12.30am each day and have been considering following that with some afternoon sessions, but the city has so much to see so I try and paint as well as I can and concentrate my efforts to produce and create well during the mornings.
I have created near four finished pieces in the past two weeks. Looking forward to show you these art works over the coming weeks.

Best wishes from a snow covered New York City. - Richard

Richard Hearns - Detail from 'Classical arrangement in Green, Red and Orange'.
Still Life in studio 7 at the Art Student League of New York 2012.

This piece with be reserved for my upcoming New York Solo Show.
For advanced reserve and purchasing please contact

Friday, January 13, 2012

Eat, Paint, Sleep

What a week it has been!
My days start early as I head out from Queens towards Manhattan on the Subway.

West from Queens, early morning.

I exit the underground to be greeted by the beautiful red bricked Carnegie Hall. I then take a left northwest towards central park, the Arts League of New York is located just there off 7th Avenue.

Carnagie Hall.

Training and meeting with a master painter at the Art League has been a great experience and I look forward to many more creative days spent there. The studios are primed and brimming with history and energy. You can smell the oil paint and turps the minute you enter the vast building.

Paint covered Tables, Chairs and Easels make me feel right at home.

I am working with a group of painters under the tutelage of Gregg Kreutz - a very famous American teacher and a painter I greatly admire.
Gregg visits us twice weekly and makes his way around the group to each individual to discuss ideas around our painting. I find him so informed, quick and a real gentleman.

Photo of Gregg Kreutz painting plein air in New York City.

For me, as I listen to what Gregg might have to say regarding my work I feel it is as much about what he doesn't say - whats written between the lines - a deeper message. He might talk to you of how you notice 'silence' one morning when everything is quite and when that silence is disrupted by something small it may very well be the only thing you can hear is that noise. He talks of phenomena like this and how that sort of worldly phenomena can relate so really and readily to painting. Being in a place like this which so many passionate artists consolidates and reaffirms in me the notion that painting 'Is Life' itself.

It is that engagement, that total commitment that I am after to fulfill each day.
Since taking up my palette on Monday I have two near finished still life paintings. The first being a very traditional old masters style composition and the second more bold.
This mornings session was really interesting as we worked in the near total darkness of an early winter morning. The studio is lite by a natural soft light which makes its way through cloudy fogged out windows.

- Richard

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New York New York!

Arriving in New York is a whirlwind experience! The minute you step outside JFK intentional airport you are meet by a quickening pace, yellow taxis and colourful voices.
Whisked off at lighting speed by our driver we arrived in Queens, the most diverse place in the world. Over 135 different languages are spoken here in this borough! That represents over seventy five percent of the worlds peoples. Its just so colourful! A cultural melting pot.

I brought many sketches and references as well as near completed pieces for my shows here in New York this coming March but I just can't wait to get out here in the city to paint. I am seeing opportunities for compositions everywhere and the weather has been mild and bright with beautiful morning and evening light. The bizarre thing is the light here that breaks through as a spot of colour at the end of an avenue or street reminds me somehow of a Rembrandt. That beautiful coloured note against all this other colourlessness of concrete, asphalt and glass.

So tomorrow I pick up my palette to commence my work at the Art League of New York.
The beginning of a new chapter in my artistic development.

- Richard
(photo above by AnnMarie Walker)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year in New York New York!

Above - The Art Students League of New York.

Firstly I want to wish all my family, friends and collectors from near and afar a very happy, peaceful and joy filled New Year 2012! Thank you all so much for all your encouragement and support of my work in 2011.

Over the past few months I had been playing with the idea of studying under a master painter at an academy of art. I began my search in Florence and spent some time enquiring about academies, classes and teachers but to no avail, I was not satisfied with the type of training given and thought the academic system there too constrictive for me at this stage of my personal and artistic development.

As many of you know I have spent little time with a teacher and would be considered largely self taught as a painter. I felt that at this stage of my career I would only benefit from being able to have a dialogue with a teacher and other artists. My time spent painting from life at the Royal Hibernian Academy definitely pointed to this. Even though there is no tutelage a dialogue exists with other artists at all different levels of ability and progression and I have found this comforting, interesting and evolutionary.

Then it hit me! During my last trip and exhibition in New York I had the chance to visit a very famous school of art called The Arts Students League of New York. Ken Park, The League's communications officer kindly meet with me and gave me a tour of the school as well as an introduction to The League's current Executive Director Mr. Ira Goldberg. I was really amazed at the school and the number of courses on offer from week to week. So it occurred to me that with my planned upcoming exhibitions in New York at the end of March why not pack up and spend some months with my wife getting to know this most famous city and enjoy all it has to offer. I immediately began correspondence with the school and tutors and have been excepted to join the full time day programme. We fly out to JFK international airport on January 6th and I will begin at the school on January 9th!

The League is housed in the most fascinating French Renaissance building situated on West 57th Street in Manhattan. The College was first established in 1875 and many of my favorite painters both living and past studied at this school, the most notable in my mind being Robert Henri but also include George Bellows,Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell and Mark Rothko.

The school's motto, and the one I will be adopting during my time there is "Nulla Dies Sine Linea" or "No Day Without a Line".

I am so excited and looking forward to share with you my work and development over the coming year.

- Richard

Below, a photo of Artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi in discussion with Art League students 1948.