FRANK COVINO, LONG-TIME FRIEND AND MENTOR, HAS PASSED

Covino Portrait1P1070431PaintingWorkshopCovinoFrank4-2015

Dear Artists and Friends,

It is with ineffable sadness in our hearts, that I must report this news.  Our friend and long-time art teacher and mentor, Maestro Frank Covino, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, after being pronounced “cleared of cancer” just last week.

If I may use a bold simile, his loss feels like looking up at the mountains in Sugarbush, where Frank worked hard to build the home he loved, and seeing that the grandest of summits has disappeared from our sight.

Here is a note from his wife, Barbara Covino, that you will all want to read:

Subject: It is with a deep abiding sorrow in my heart that I write this letter…forgive the delay but it has taken time to believe this is true…

Beloved friends and family , one and all,

After two days of profoundest shock, and countless tears I realize I must write you.  It is with a heavy, heavy heart that i must inform you that dear Frank has passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday night, February 16th.  It was quick and he did not suffer–a death we would all prefer–but he had been progressing so well, it was a gut-wrenching shock that still is unbelievable.

I truly cannot imagine a world, or a life without him…32 years of happiness and adventure.  Life was never boring with him!!! What an amazing talent, a brilliant man with a wealth of knowledge, a gentle and sensitive man who had to excel in everything he did, and was thus an inspiration to all who knew him.  He encouraged others to strive for excellence and to believe in themselves, giving them the tools to create a positive reality in their lives, whether it be art or health.  We all can repeat that golden maxim: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO AMELIORATE! Wise encouraging words, those.

But he was more than the sum of his parts; he was a genuine force of nature, a real Renaissance man, but above all else, he had a kind heart and a very great soul. We all loved him so; there will never be another Frank.  But I know it is now time for each and every one of us who was touched by his life, to take that spark and pass it on.  He gave us wings and it is time for us to fly…Make him proud!!!

I am too choked up to continue writing.  God Bless each and every one of you who had a place in his heart…family, friends, students….He loved you all sincerely and without guile….

We are in the process of collaborating with the family and planning both a smaller family funeral as well as a larger set of celebrations of his life and legacy open to all who loved him–one in Vermont and one on Long island.  As soon as the Covino south clan and Mark and Jennifer and I hammer out the details, I will email you all, soon as can be done.

We are going to give that wonderful man a send off he won’t soon forget!!!

Love and blessings , Barbara Covino

PS: PLEASE FORWARD THIS to everyone you can think of. It has grown into a cast of hundreds, and forgive the delay but it has taken time to believe this is true.

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AN AMAZING ALTARPIECE, MOSAIC, AND WOODEN SCULPTURE

Even though they didn’t fit into my “paintings” category, I just had to show you three unique pieces I saw at the Getty and de Young museums.  The altarpiece room was exceptionally dark, so the following photos are the best I could get. Click on the text photos to make them readable.

The first is the Ecco Homo Altarpiece by Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), Netherlands. About the artist:

HeemskerckNetherlands

About the Ecco Homo Altarpiece:

EccoHomo

EccoHomoAltarpieceHeemskerck

EccoHomo1

EccoHomoRevealed

The central panel:

EccoHomo2

About fading and discoloration:

EccoHomoFadedPaints

The reds:

RedsDiscoloration

The blues:

BluesDiscolorations

The greens:

GreensDiscoloration

When the altarpiece is closed, the following two figures are what you see:

EccoHomoStMargaretVerso

StMargaretOfAntiochHeemskerck

EccoHomoStJohnVerso

StJohnTheEvangelistHeemskerck

Here, you can see another exceptionally worthy altarpiece, the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck with extreme closeup, X-radiography, infrared macrophotography, infrared reflectography and so much more, at http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be/#home/sub=altarpiece

Next, look at the amazing artistry and detail of this mosaic:

PortraitOfCamilloRospigliosi

Portrait of Camillo Rospigliosi, about 1630-40, glass mosaic, by Giovanni Battista Calandra, Italian, 1586-1644

“This mosaic depicts Rospigliosi, brother of Pope Clement IX and Knight Commander of the Order of Santo Stefano, whose cross insignia he wears. Because mosaics are composed of many pieces of small stones, ceramic, or glass tiles, they preserve their color more permanently than paintings–thus making them an appropriate medium for the commemorative art of portraiture. Like the painters of this period, Calandra rendered his subjects with great realism.”

Here are some closeups:

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi-1

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi-2

And finally, this sculpture is made of wood, believe it or not. It is called Saint Gines de La Jara, about 1692, by sculptor Luisa Roldán (aka La Roldana), Spanish, 1650-1706. The one who painted the sculpture (aka polychromer) is Tomas de Los Arcos, Spanish, born 1661.

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It was so tall that this upward shot was the best I could get. See the hands?

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And the feet?

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“Saint Ginés de La Jara exemplifies La Roldana’s artistic talents. The body is relatively straight and self-possessed, while the arms stretch outward. La Roldana masterfully worked the hands and feet, sculpting the veins and bones so that they dramatically push against the taut skin. The painting by her brother-in-law, Tomás de Los Arcos, enhances the carving. The statue displays the realistic expression found in Spanish religious imagery made for churches and convents in the second half of the 1600s.”

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

FINISHING UP THE DUTCH/FLEMISH PHOTOS

Today, I am posting a lot of photos I took of Dutch/Flemish works that were on exhibit at the de Young and the Getty museums, beginning with Frans van Mieris the Elder (Dutch, 1635-1681). The first is Pictura (Allegory of Painting), 1661, oil on copper. This one was behind glass so please excuse the reflection.

The caption reads, “The allegorical figure shown here represents the art of painting. She holds a palette,, brushes, and a small plaster sculpture. The mask on a chain may refer to art’s deceptive illusions. Instead of being hung on a wall, a painting of this size, like a precious object, would have been kept in a cabinet for close examination. ”

FransVanMierisOilCopperPicturaAllegoryOfPainting

FransVanMierisTheDoctor'sVisit

The Doctor’s Visit, 1667, oil on panel

“Van Mieris was well known for his finely painted works. Here a young woman faints as a doctor examines a vial of her urine. The ostentatious doctor, whose extravagant clothes suggest that he is a quack, was a stock figure in contemporary theater. The erotic painting over the fireplace hints that the woman suffers from lovesickness, while the burning ribbon held by the crying girl was seen at the time as a sign of pregnancy.”

FransVanMierisAYoungWomanFeedingAParrot

A Young Woman Feeding a Parrot, 1663, oil on panel

Painted in the same year as Vermeer‘s “A Woman Holding a Balance,” Van Mieris’ elegant scene was one of the most celebrated and most copied compositions of the time.

The following two Frans Hals paintings are quite large–larger than life.

HalsLucasDeClercque

Lucas de Clercq, Dutch, about 1635, Frans Hals, oil on canvas, 49 13/16 x 36 5/8

HalsFeynaVanSteenkiste

Feyna van Steenkiste, Dutch, about 1635, Frans Hals, oil on canvas, 48 7/16 x 36 5/8

HalsFeynaVanSteenkisteHandsCloseup

Closeup of Feyna’s hands

These two paintings came to the Getty as part of the conservation partnership program. For information on the restoration and removal of old varnish on these two paintings as well as stories about Lucas and Feyna’s lives and additional insights into Hals’ working methods, go to http://www.getty.edu/museum/conservation/partnerships/rijksmuseum_hals/index.html

This painting by Anthony van Dyke was huge. I include the first photo to give you an idea of just how large it was:

AnthonyVanDyckPortraitOfAgostinoPallavicini

AnthonyVanDyckPortraitOfAgostinoPallavicini2

Portrait of Agostino Pallavicini, About 1621, oil on canvas, Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599-1641

“This portrait commemorates the sitter’s service as ambassador of the Republic of Genoa to the newly elected Pope Gregory XV. The artist depicted Agostino Pallavicini, the future head of the state of Genoa, in his sumptuous robes of office, seated before a billowing curtain that bears his family’s coat of arms. The elegant formality of the image exemplifies van Dyck’s highly influential approach to portraiture.”

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

VERMEER AT THE GETTY

VermeerWomanInBlue

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, about 1663–64, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–1675)

Oil on canvas (18 5/16 x 15 3/8 in.), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest).

VermeerWomanInBlueBeforeRestoration

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,  before restoration.

Information from the Getty Museum, Los Angeles:

http://news.getty.edu/press-materials/press-releases/vermeer-masterpiece-woman-in-blue-reading-a-letter.htm

One of Johannes Vermeer’s most celebrated masterpieces, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, “comes to the Getty on special loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which is completing ten years of extensive renovations this year. Since October 2012, Vermeer’s masterpiece has traveled the world as an “ambassador” for the Rijksmuseum’s remarkable collection of Dutch paintings. Following presentations in Shanghai and São Paulo, Los Angeles is the last and only North American stop on the painting’s tour, after which it will return to Amsterdam in time for the Rijksmuseum’s much-anticipated opening on April 13, 2013.”

“’This truly represents an extraordinary opportunity for Southern California,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Vermeer’s Woman in Blue is one of his greatest and most famous masterpieces. It has very rarely traveled outside of Amsterdam and this is the painting’s first visit to the West Coast. Vermeer’s paintings of women reading letters and engaged in other private, domestic activities have a unique intimacy and reality to them that can only be fully appreciated in the flesh. His finest works, like the Woman in Blue, have a magical immediacy that has never been rivaled.’”

“Praised as one of Vermeer’s most beautiful paintings, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter demonstrates the artist’s exceptional command of color, light, and perspective. Portraying a young woman absorbed in a letter, it exemplifies the artist’s ability to create innovative scenes of everyday life imbued with great emotional intensity.  The mystery of the painting makes it even more compelling— although it is most likely a love letter, we do not know who the letter is from, what it is about, or why the painting’s subject is so engrossed by the correspondence.”

“’This small but powerful painting is exquisitely nuanced, with a marvelously balanced composition and refined use of light that creates a soft, diffuse atmosphere,” suggests Anne Woollett, curator of paintings at the Getty Museum. “Vermeer’s extraordinary command of color is apparent here and visitors will surely be taken with the varied hues of blue that he used throughout the painting.’”

“Woman in Blue Reading a Letter was recently cleaned and studied in Amsterdam by the Rijksmuseum’s restoration department. Past treatments were rectified and the yellowed varnish was removed, reestablishing the legibility of the composition. Significantly, the treatment revealed Vermeer’s brilliant range of blue hues, visible in their remarkable intensity for the first time in generations, along with a subtle palette of taupes, yellows, ochres, and whites, which themselves have a bluish tint.”

“Technical studies of the painting, also done at the Rijksmuseum, have revealed that Vermeer made important adjustments to the composition while working on the painting. For example, he extended the left vertical edge of the map on the wall behind the woman toward the window, narrowing the field of white created by the wall. He also eliminated the flared shape of the back of the woman’s blue jacket, emphasizing her vertical presence. Both changes serve to focus the viewer’s attention on the female subject and her thoughts.”

I feel so fortunate to have seen this painting. It is a work of fine, delicate beauty that one must really see to fully appreciate.

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

PART 1: CARING FOR CLASSICAL-STYLE OIL PAINTINGS

When I sell a painting, I always make sure to teach people how to care for it.  I can’t expect them to already know this; they appreciate fine art but generally don’t create it themselves.  So here are the instructions I provide with the painting to make it easier for buyers, AND to assure that my “progeny” going out into the world will stand a chance of surviving a few hundred years.

I also include a synopsis of the process I used to create it, which will probably be of more value to a later restorer than the owner, but it does let them know all the pains I went through to provide them with a top-quality product.  I’ll post my synopsis of “Process and Materials Used” tomorrow but, in the meantime, here is Part 1,  the care instructions:

Painting-Caring for Your Classical Oil Painting

  Caring for Your Classical Oil Painting

1.  Apply Vaseline on the inside front edge of the frame
where the painting will touch.  This prevents the painting
surface from damage by sticking to the frame.

2.  Avoid extremes of temperature for long periods.  In an
ideal world such as a museum, paintings are maintained
at 68-72 degrees with 40-55 percent humidity.

3.  Do not hang your painting on an uninsulated outer wall, or
where sunlight will hit and cause it to fade, or where heavy
smoke from cigarettes or a wood fireplace will discolor it.

4.  Every two months, examine the lighter colors to see if
they are losing their sheen.  It is important that I re-glaze
these colors in preparation for the final varnish.  When this
process ceases and the painting fully cures (about 6-12 months
in Arizona), I will apply a final coat of protective varnish.  Once
dry, it is safe to lightly and very occasionally clean off the
surface dust with a damp, lint-free cloth (water only).

5.  Hang the painting so that it tilts slightly forward at the top.
This helps keep dust off and cuts down on reflected light.

6.  When lighting the painting, triangulated track lights are
ideal.  Given the bonded marble texture, this provides even
light from both sides and minimizes cast shadows and
reflections on the museum finish.