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Welcome to the Art Guild's Archives!

February 3 - Jason Sorley - Large, Religious-Themed Oils

Jason Sorely, an artist with a seminary background, will show how he paints large oils with biblical themes.  It was fascinating to see him in action at the Art Fest Waco last fall.  As he altered colors and values and increased detail, it was much like watching a sculptor removing everything that didn't look like what he had in mind. In fact, he works from mental pictures, not photographs.  That's fortunate, since many of his works include multiple figures, for which it would be difficult and expensive to arrange models. 


His art, some of which is shown here, was used for the lobby display during the Waco Civic Theater's production of Amadeus.  If you know anyone who might want to present art to their religious institutions, tell them about this one.  We will meet at our usual time and place, the Waco Charter School, 615 N 25th Street, 1:30 for refreshments and conversation, with the meeting beginning at 2, and the demo soon thereafter.  The demonstration will end prior to the beginning of the Superbowl.  First time visitors are free, so bring friends along.  And please bring some of your recent work to share at Show and Tell, which beginning with this meeting, is becoming an Art Work of the Month contest.  Those present will vote for their favorite piece, and the one with the most votes will be recognized after the demo when the artists share their work.  Additional recognition will be given at the end of the year.


February 3 - Jason Sorley - Large Religious Oil Paintings -    Using Classical Methods

Jason Sorley grew up in Clifton.  Art was always his dominant interest, and he majored in it at the University of Dallas.  He also took theology courses there, because the art that spoke to him most was the religious art of the Renaissance and pre-Renaissance eras.  He feels his calling is to produce grand paintings of that sort, but without the stiff formality that characterize most of them.  Instead, he strives for figures who are real humans, extraordinary in character, devotion and circumstance, but with emotions and thoughts that we can immediately identify with.  At age 23, he is well along the path to accomplishing that.  Happily for Waco, he is doing it here, in a Victorian home on 4th street, across the street from the police station and next door to St. Frances Catholic Church.  He commented wryly that he feels safe there, where body and soul are protected.  He works simultaneously on many canvases.  One current one is 9 ft by 12 ft!


He begins by researching and by making a series of sketches, perhaps sixty or seventy, but it could be hundreds for a very large painting.  At this stage he becomes very familiar with his subjects and develops his composition until he has it well formed in his mind. Although he uses the religious subjects of earlier periods, he departs from the idealized and romanticized versions by giving his subjects earthy robust forms, realistic postures, and faces which show emotions. He does not use models, but uses his imagination and his historical research to create his images. He works with both types of grisaille painting - open, which is luminous and transparent, with the light shining through the glazes, and closed, which has a rich body of opaque paint under the glazes, starting with a neutral gray-brown canvas.

He began the demo with a partially completed painting of the Holy Family, in which Joseph is gazing lovingly at Mary, who has her attention on Jesus.  Because Joseph is tallest and takes a large part of the canvas, the viewer's eye tends to go there first, but it follows the eyes in a spiral to Mary and on to Jesus.  These paintings take many sessions over periods of months, at least.  For us, he only worked on a small part of the scene, Mary's left sleeve.


He used cold press linseed oil and turpentine as a wash to cover the already painted surface, wiped off the excess with a towel, and added a smoky glaze called "sfumato" which toned down the bright colors. He made a buttery "oleopasta" by mixing black oil medium with beeswax and turpentine and adding pigment as needed. He gets his paint from Norma Schmincke of Germany and uses Venice turpentine from Similier. He recommended Maimeri as a good European paint company. His pigments were permanent red + lead white for rose color; vermillion light + white; and alizarin crimson.  He removed the sfumato from highlights, scumbled these areas with light gold, darkened shadows, and blended it all to model the shapes almost as if he were molding clay.


Setting that aside, he brought out a second painting, a portrayal of Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac. He had already done an acrylic underpainting the day before. He used an open grisaille technique with lead white + burnt umber with oleopasta and a little varnish to increase viscosity. He brushed this over the entire area of Abraham's face, wiped off the excess with a towel for highlights, and used a eraser-like polyurethane wedge for removing the glaze from smaller areas. He added vermillion + white for reflected light. For the beard he laid on ivory black + white with a palette knife. He muted the color with yellow ochre + white + vermillion, then glazed over with transparent paint (vermillion + white). 


Because it was Superbowl Sunday, we had much less time than we would have liked to see Jason in action.  There was discussion of having him back later or perhaps having him conduct a workshop for us.  We were impressed by this young man's talent, craftsmanship, and scholarship.  We are thankful that he shared his work with us.


We also thank Linda Green, Saundra and John Vasek, Eileen Lyster, Charlene Isbell, Bobbee Watts, and Judy Franklin for bring refreshments and all who brought art for our first monthly contest, conducted by Bobbee Watts.  The entries are shown below.  After the votes were counted, those who received Painting of the Month ribbons were Linda Green, Bobbee Watts, Hilda Giles, and Larry Garza, seen at the right.  Works are shown below.


Pat Blackwell   Nancy Cagle      Bill Franklin     Judy Franklin    Larry Garza


  Hilda Giles      Linda Green      Pete Moffat       Violet Piper    Bobbee Watts

(Rose Jacobson intended to bring a painting, but she sold it on the way to the meeting!)


February 25 - Arboretum Exhibit Setup

Please bring up to 3 art works (hangable or with a display case) to the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway on February 25 between 9 and 10 a.m.  You will need to sign a waiver of liability and provide information for the booklet describing the exhibit.  If you cannot bring them yourself, please get someone to bring them for you.  There are no limits on subject matter, size or medium, except that they may not have been displayed at the Arboretum before.


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