Thursday, November 30, 2006


"FASHION DISTRICT" charcoal drawing, 28.5 x 21.75 inches

"Rue de Rivoli, Paris", charcoal drawing, 23.75 x 35.75 inches

For a long time, I have been contemplating how I can put the figure into my regular gallery work. I've made several awkward attempts in the past, but I wasn't satisfied and rarely exhibited those pieces. I had been able to draw and paint the figure quite competently, but only by itself, never in one of my landscapes. I think that one of the most difficult things for an artist to do is marry these two worlds of landscape and figure. The figure can look out of place, or the landscape can look like an afterthought.

Knowing that the figure in my landscapes isn't one of my personal strengths in painting, I decided to do my homework with a fully worked out preliminary drawing. I don't know why I've felt so timid, lazy, or rushed to attempt this in the past, because I really like these two new drawings.

The first one, "Fashion District", is located in downtown Los Angeles on Broadway. I shot numerous rolls of film of people walking by. I got in a couple yelling matches (and nearly a fist-fight) with people who REALLY didn't want their picture taken. I understand how intrusive this method of photography can be, but anything for my art, right? I'm not sure if these two girls thought they were getting out of my shot, perhaps they didn't notice me. Their faces seemed somehow in thought and slightly self-conscious. I found their clothes interesting, their attempt to dress as much alike as possible, the same kind of over-stuffed coats with fur hoods, similar earrings, and they were each walking with their left hand inside their sleeves.

The second one, "Rue de Rivoli, Paris", is of course from my vacation a couple months ago. After seeing the Louvre, I felt quite compelled to paint the figure. Almost no great artist in the museums I saw completely ignored the figure. And I knew that I would need a new challenge for my work when I got home. The time I spent on the drawing was more focused on the landscape than the girl in the foreground, but she is certainly the star of the show. I shot some photos early one Sunday morning, Parisians sleep in quite late, so I had to walk 4 blocks to find a place that was open and had coffee. As I shot pictures all along the way, I fell in love with the patterns in the street, the gray landscape, and all of the Parisian buildings. It felt like the perfect moment when she walked into the scene, especially since there were so few other people and only one car.

I have already mapped out a couple of large canvases for Paris landscapes. So my next step is to paint something based on these drawings. Painting the figure, I would prefer to be less impressionistic, more layering and glazing like the old masters. In the end, I'm sure it will be a combination. But these two new images have been haunting my mind, they resonated with me somehow. I'm very inspired to paint them.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeffrey Hayes said...

Nice, well-balanced drawings. I especially like the divide between the street and sidewalk in the second one. Look forward to seeing the finished paintings.

June Parrish Cookson said...

Hello Tony,
Wonderful charcoal work. My favorite is "Rue de Rivoli". The perspective is visually appealing and my eye is drawn especially to the light caputured on the building and street in the background.

In regards to figures successfully merging within a landscape, I can wholeheartedly relate to your thoughts on this matter. Presently, I'm struggling with this very issue.

In closing, thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my blog. I'll visit again in a few days to see your next works. All the best to you!

Jon Conkey said...

Cool monochrome cityscape layouts with those angle shapes. You make some great points about "genre" paintings; seems to be the natural progression for the landscape painter. Funny how few paintings I have that include people. Cheers

tonypetersart said...

Thanks Jeff. There's a painting to be done around every corner in Paris. Wish I could live and work that close to the d'Orsay and the Louvre.

tonypetersart said...

Hi June, thanks for the kind words. I try to update my blog often, but I usually finish a big piece every two weeks or so on the average.

tonypetersart said...

Hey Jon. I have been primarily known as a landscape painter. Among my many favorite painters are Edward Hopper, the Wyeths, and Pierre Bonnard. All of these guys made great use of the figure, beyond just their landscapes. In the past when I went to NYC and met with the Arcadia Gallery to show my work, they wanted to see more figures. I don't think I was ready at the time, but now I want to persue it agressively.

Mark said...

These are great Tony.
Nice/solid and very readable.
Work that will communicate/relate and be enjoyed.

I can easily imagine them (when finished) from across the room in a museum with bright lights and blue suited guards with little mirth supporting the doorways
as huddling crowds of exchange students pass by adjusting their headphones and leafing the exhibit booklet.

The odd young art student and his girlfriend, sitting at the bench before it, smooching and sketching,aglow in the romance of the work and the moments you have so faithfully saved.

Post the damn paintings, I can't wait to see 'em Maestro.


Anonymous said...

Hi people
I do not know what to give for Christmas of the to friends, advise something ....

tonypetersart said...

Thanks for the colorful comment, Mark. It'll be a while before you see the finished paintings, I've got alot of other things that I want to do for the show.

Anonymous said...

I'm Sophia,
from Syria,
and I'm 21 y.o

Hi, All
I've studied English sinse this Spring .
It's so hard Language!
I want like to meet peple and practisice My English with them.


william wray said...

I'm 50 and can help you.

tonypetersart said...

You're a stand-up guy Bill Wray.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Nice! Good stuff, Thanks much!
- 7

Anonymous said...

Its really too good..great job..keep going..

Thanks for sharing...