Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Industrial Revolution brought us the....

The Industrial Revolution brought about many changes in the world including changes in the art world. The Industrial Revolution gave us the steam engine that changed the way people traveled… it also gave us the paint tube that changed the way artists painted. With oil pigments manufactured in tin tubes the artist could take his work afield and paint on location. The French called this painting on location “en plein aire” which literally translates in English as ‘in open air”. Eugene Boudin and Claude Monet were among the first noted artists who chose this method of painting scenes on location instead of from the comfort and restrictions of the studio. They started a tradition that still is strong today as many plein air painters (me included) prefer the open air to the studio. The furnaces of the Industrial Age also brought about the fusing of metal and mineral pigments giving artists a wide array of color choices on their palettes such as cobalt’s and cadmium's. Until the Industrial Revolution pigments were all natural… mostly minerals dug from the ground. These fused pigments gave artists high chroma colors that allowed them to go beyond tonal renderings with earth pigments to intense colorful paintings and the use of expressive color. Van Gogh was a master of expressive color. New vibrant colors, tube paints, and painting on location were the building blocks for Monet and the rest of the Impressionist artists that gave us one of the greatest art movements in history… Impressionism.

"Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of the Wood" by John Singer Sargent 1885

My daughter Olivia and I painting en plein aire...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Had a blast plein air painting in Burgaw last Sunday!

Confederate Monument
Burgaw, NC

Last Sunday... the weather was beautiful and my plein painting fever was soothed as we (my dad, the Onslow Outdoor Painter's Society OOPS!, and I) converged on the small town of Burgaw, NC. Burgaw was recently highlighted in Our State magazine... click HERE for the article.

The quaint little town offered many painting subjects. Dad painted the old train station and I opted for the Confederate monument at the courthouse.

Burgaw Train Station
circa 1850
We had a great turnout from the OOPS group with about a dozen painters. The town folk were so nice and I met many interesting people. I met a really nice lady whose family have been in the area since the town formed. She showed interest in my painting and may purchase it for a gift. 

Berne Jr. and Bernie Sr.
Plein air outing in Burgaw, NC

Confederate Monument, Burgaw Courthouse
Burgaw, NC
10x8" oil on canvas plein air 3-20-2011
by Bernie Rosage Jr.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Local Hero dies 65 years ago today!

Joseph Humphrey
1920 - 1946
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (King James Version)

65 years ago today, Joseph Humphrey of Kellum, NC, became a local hero... Not for his love of country and 4 years of service in the Pacific with the US Army during World War II but his willingness to sacrifice his life to save a four year old girl and her mother from a house fire early on the morning of March 22, 1946.

He saved the small girl by throwing her out the window and rushed back to save the woman but to no avail... he and the woman died that night from injuries incurred by the fire.

The little girl he saved is alive today and will celebrate her 69th birthday this October. The little girl is my mom, Maggie (Minnie) Humphrey Rosage... the woman was my grandmother, Minnie Hewitt Humphrey... and Joe was my grandfather... my hero!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

St. Patrick's Day blessings from Bernie...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Do artists have the right, or the responsibility, to impose their political, social, and philosophical beliefs on viewers?

Guernica, oil on canvas, 1937
Pablo Picasso
Guernica is a painting by Pablo Picasso, in response to the bombing of Guernica, Basque Country, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.
Do artists have the right, or the responsibility, to impose their political, social, and philosophical beliefs on viewers?

In my opinion artists have the right to share their political, social, and philosophical beliefs on viewers. Note I said “share” vs. “impose”, I personally do not feel that anyone has the right to impose anything on anyone. Impose is a strong word that conjures up thoughts of tyranny, dictatorships, and caste systems in my mind. For example, I am a Christian and feel strongly about my beliefs but I think it rude to impose them on anyone. I willingly share my beliefs and testimony with others allowing them make their own decisions about faith. The same can be said for art, or just about anything in life.

All kinds of persons are artists’… they range from the weekend hobbyists to the full fledged professionals. Artists create artwork for two main reasons; 1… to get something out of their work and 2… to give something out of their work. Getting something from their work can range from satisfaction, peace of mind from a stress filled world, to money. Those that give are interested in communicating through their work. They have something to say… it may be bringing awareness to something, righting a wrong, or something as simple as saying, “I was here”. This group of artists not only has a right but have a responsibility to share their voice whether it is for political, social, or philosophical reasons. They can’t help it… it’s in them and it has to come out! The truly great artists learn to balance the getting and the giving!

What do you think?

Thanks for dropping by...
"My Oath"
10x8" acrylic on canvas
Bernie Rosage Jr

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bernie's Ramblings: Illusions

The painter's only solid ground is the palette and colors, but as soon as the colors achieve an illusion, they are no longer judged. (Pierre Bonnard)

Those things which are most real are the illusions I create in my paintings. (Eugene Delacroix)

Experience is real. Painting, which comes out of experience, is real. The world is an illusion. (Darby Bannard)
Visit the Gallery of Illusions... for a fun and enlightening time!

M. E. Chevreul
The “Color Phenomena” illusion  color fascinates me. There are several illusions on the site showing how color is affected by surrounding colors. Although I find this fascinating, it is nothing new to me. As an artist, I use these illusions in my paintings all the time. I like to refer to them as principles vs. illusions, just as M.E. Chevreul (1786 - 1889) did in his book, The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours, and Their Applications to the Arts. This book is unquestionably one of the greatest books ever written on color. It dominated the schools of Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, and, after 155 years, it still is an important reference for artist today.

Chevreul's ideas on color harmony, contrast effects, and optical mixtures were way ahead of their time and have been validated by modern scientific research in visual perception.

Claude Monet
Claude Monet, the father of the art movement know as, Impressionism, revered Chevreul’s book, and applied his theories in his paintings. One can argue that this book and these theories are the foundation for Impressionism.

The Impressionists invented a technique called “broken color” that is still used today by some artists, myself included. They would place small dabs or strokes of color next to each other on their canvases, rarely did they mix colors on their palettes. This broken color method gave the illusion of light in their paintings and allowed the viewer to optically mix the colors in the brain. This also gave their paintings an overall color harmony, since this technique didn’t allow the colors to become dull, or muddy, from being over mixed. If you look at an impressionistic painting up close, you will see abstract shapes and patterns of brushstrokes. Gradually step back, your mind starts to fit the puzzle pieces together and a distinct image appears. This is one of the most appealing thing about viewing impressionistic art, the viewer becomes involved in the process.
Impression, Sunrise, c.1893
Claude Monet

For example, concerning the Law of Simultaneous Contrast, Chevreu states, "In the case where the eye sees at the same time two contiguous colors, they will appear as dissimilar as possible, both in their optical composition and in the height of their tone." Simply put, when two complimentary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel; blue and orange, red and green, and yellow and violet) are placed next to each other the contrast is at greatest. The Impressionists brought this theory to life in their paintings, and it brought their paintings to life. The use of complementary colors next to each other creates a visual tension, a vibration of color. It made their paintings hum with excitement, lending more to an emotive quality than a realistic one.

I have used these color illusions in my paintings for years. My greatest reward is when the viewer becomes a part of the visual process, these principles allow that to happen. Like the Impressionists of old, seldom am I interested in capturing what a scene looks like. In my humble opinion, that is boring for the artist and the viewer, I’m wanting the viewer to look through my eyes and catch a glimpse of something more than what something looks like.

oil on linen
Bernie Rosage Jr.

Chevreul, Michel Eugène (1855). The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours, and Their Applications to the Arts (2 ed.). London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. (English translation)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

New Bern ArtWorks "Celebratin​g the Artists" Exhibit Reception March 11th.

"Across the Field"
Bernie Rosage Jr.
New Bern ArtWorks and Company
“Celebrating the Artists”
at New Bern ArtWorks & Company

New Bern ArtWorks will host “Celebrating the Artists”, an exhibition featuring works by our resident artists. Opening reception will be held Friday, March 11th, from 5pm to 8pm.

The exhibition brings together a unique, diverse group of artists featuring original two and three-dimensional works that reflect a wide range of styles, abstract, impressionistic, realistic, expressionistic, with a wide variety of subject matter. Expect to be moved, dazzled, inspired and awed by what the artists present at this show. Come by and meet with the artists and help us celebrate our artists and their art!

Drop by and meet Bernie and several of the following artists whose work is in the exhibit...

"Todd's General Store
Bernie Rosage Jt.
New Bern ArtWorks and Company
 Marion Adams
Sally Anger
Chris Bennett
Jim Bisbee
Marina Bosetti
Arthur Boucias
Terry Brennan
Chloe Renee Butler
Jason Cardenas
Jean Cheely
Karen Crenshaw
Anne Cunningham
Jill Eberle
Jane Faudree
Jonathan Grauel
"Mitchell's Catch"
Bernie Rosage Jt.
New Bern ArtWorks and Company
Drew Grice Scott Haines
John Hanley
Robert Hennon
Susan Henry
Barbara Hesketh
Pam Holliday
George Hunter
Vickie Lahman
Julie Lawrence
Mitch Lewis
"Blue Ridge Afternoon"
Bernie Rosage Jt.
New Bern ArtWorks and Company

Nancy Lloyd-Hooker
Rena MacQueen
Georgia Mason
Dee Mayer
Mitchell Morton
Rick Nilson
Judith Pixton
Norm Robbins
Bernie Rosage Jr.
Donna Slade CPSA
Joyce Stratton
Marilyn Strother
Vicki Vitale
Ken Wallis
"Vintage Toys" Bernie Rosage Jt.
New Bern ArtWorks and Company

Michaele Watson
Linda Werthwein
Merv Wilkinson
Elsie Williams
Martha Williams

New Bern Artworks & Company
323B Middle Street
New Bern, NC 28560
United States• 252.634.9002
Gallery Hours:
Tuesday - Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bernie's Ramblings: An Artist’s Peak Experience

An Artist’s Peak Experience
Abraham Maslow, the inventor of the term, “Peak experience”, says that "peak experiences are sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, possibly the awareness of an "ultimate truth" and the unity of all things ... the experience fills the individual with wonder and awe....he feels at one with the world, and is pleased with it ...." They are moments when you feel more at one with yourself and the world, more integrated. You feel happy, even ecstatic, interconnected and in harmony.

For me, as an artist, painting is a struggle. My struggle comes from forcing myself to adhere to an almost daily routine of painting and trying to create order out of all the chaos that surrounds me. Too many times life gets in the way and painting has to take a back seat... but sometimes life gets in the way and inspiration comes. When this happens it's as if the painting I’m working on takes on a life of its own. It's as if divine intervention takes over and I am merely a tool in a higher power’s hands. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen every time I pick up a brush but it happens enough to give me those “peak experiences” that are forever etched in my mind and that I am eternally grateful for. While painting en plein aire (French term for “on location”) with a group of local artists I had one of those divine encounters or “peak experiences” as defined by Maslow.

We, the Onslow Outdoor Painters Society (OOPS), were painting on location at the Beirut Memorial, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on one April afternoon while the azaleas and dogwoods were in full bloom. The OOPS artists were scattered throughout the site painting from various vantage points. I set my easel near the statue at the memorial and opted for a close up of the statue's boots. Since I was positioned at the focal point of the memorial I had the opportunity to meet many nice people. Two of those people opened my eyes and broke my heart creating my peak experience.

Two ladies approached me, commented on my painting and one asked for a business card. As we talked she told me, "My son is buried over there", motioning to the Veterans Cemetery adjacent to the memorial. I was taken back, she was my age and her son was close in age to my three oldest children. I am used to burials of WWII, Korean, and Vietnam veterans over there, older veterans who lived full lives and not someone my children's age. She (wish I could remember her name) mentioned her son was killed in 2004 and that her friend's son was killed less than a year ago. My eyes were opened to how real this war is and my heart ached for these two ladies. I noticed one lady wearing a "Gold Star" necklace knowing well what it represented since my wife's grandmother was a Gold Star mom. She lost her oldest son in Korea in 1950. When I got home, I added the necklace to my painting as a tribute to these two anonymous ladies, their impact on me, and Gold Star moms everywhere. I have four children of my own... my mind can't even imagine what Gold Star moms and families go through.

As I write this... Cpl Johnathan Taylor, age 23, a young Marine from Florida stationed here at Camp Lejeune was the most recently identified death of the War on Terror. He was killed on February 23, 2011 by hostile fire in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan bringing the American casualty toll to 5923. (Operation Enduring Freedom, iCasualties) Whatever your politics may be... I think everyone agrees that we must be mindful and prayerful of our men and women in the military service of our great country. 5923 may simply be a number to some people but to many, it represents lives shaken to their very foundations. I'm talking about the family and friends of this 5923 and unfortunately, future families who will experience the kind of sorrow exhibited by the two women I spoke with as I painted my tribute to them.

My painting, A Tribute to Gold Star Moms, is a visual reminder of my experience of that eventful day. It echoes Maslow’s definition of peak experience through my unity with those two anonymous women, my sense of wonder and awe, and the overwhelming sense of the sublime and divine that I gained from the experience.

In faith,

 "A Tribute to Gold Star Moms"
10x8" oil on panel
Bernie Rosage Jr