Congratulations: Thomas Torak's 'Bread and Wine'

In anticipation of our upcoming Thomas Torak opening on October 18th from 6:30-9pm, we would like to share that 'Bread and Wine' has won the Wholesale Frame Co. Award at the Academic Artists Association 63rd National Exhibition of Contemporary Realism! 

We couldn't be happier for Tom, whose dedication and technique we deeply admire. 

Thomas Torak, 'Bread and Wine', 24 x 20, Oil on Linen.

'Bread and Wine' will be hanging and available in the gallery during Tom's solo show -- Alive with Paint.  To get a sneak peek of other pieces in the show or a copy of Tom's article in the October 2013 issue of The Artist's Magazine, please feel free to contact us!  

Beacon Hill Third Thursday -- Thursday, September 19th, 5 - 8pm

Join us TOMORROW Thursday, September 19th from 5pm - 8pm as we participate in the Beacon Hill Business Association's Third Thursday!  Come out and support your local Charles Street merchants for this Welcome Back event!  The gallery will be open late until 8pm serving a fall appropriate beverage and showing off our recent painting arrivals!

Once you've shopped, & sipped your way up Charles Street join the Beacon Hill Civic Association's Young Friends at Alibi from 7 - 9pm. 

BHBA Third Thursday

If you can't make it tomorrow don't worry!  Next Thursday, September 26th we'll be having a special preview event for Rick Berry's Solo Exhibition.  Rick will be in attendance from 6 - 8pm to talk about his newest body of work!  Hope to see you there!

In His Own Words -- Painting with Joshua Flint

 Introducing our first guest blogger -- artist Joshua Flint -- straight to you from Portland, Oregon!  In images & words Josh explains the creative process behind his newest piece. We hope you enjoy!

1.     I am not one to start with the same approach to every painting.  A painting is about an idea and the formulation of that idea.  The technique needs to adjust based on what it is I’m painting and how it is best realized.  This philosophy revolves around a few factors inherent to the image such as subject matter, color combination(s), or it could be a certain effect to the entire image or perhaps numerous effects in various areas of the painting.  They all play their role in the formulation of the image.  The other main consideration is the size of the canvas, which poses its own set of adjustments to the technical side of my creative process.  With this painting, the central room serves as a fulcrum in the piece and was important to establish early on, especially the corner of the room, which is where I started.


2.     I establish basic undertones with loose washes of oil paint, using a big brush and letting some spontaneity occur.  I don’t want to have a painting be a cold execution --  matter of fact, I can’t or the process loses all of its power.  Not knowing (exactly) how the piece will turns out is important at these early stages.  I have a general game plan however I'm open to the deviations that will occur along the way.  Often nice things will happen at this early stage.  The subsequent layers will determine if they stay intact or need to get covered up to make the painting work in the end.

3.     With more applications of these loose swathes of color the environment begins to form bringing more structure to the overall idea.  I first went in with mid tone washes and have now laid in a few darks.  At this point there are effects that interest me.  I’ll maintain some of these passages throughout the rest of the painting.  The area on the right hand side about 2/3rds up near the figure in the back room is an example of where I maintain an early statement of color that can be seen in the final version.

4.     A painting is very much a construction, not only in using a wide variety of tools to generate the piece but the chemical properties of the oil paint itself impose this methodology of working in stages.  (Traditional oil painting technique teaches that thick layers of paint are placed on top of thinner ones with the darker colors laid down first and the lighter ones toward the end.  If we could get very close to the surface of the painting we would see a rise and fall in the paint akin to little peaks and valleys.  This modulation on the surface of the canvas is similar to relief in sculpture, albeit at a much smaller scale.  Oil painting is an illusion of the images, created by the artist, coupled with this sculpted surface, which is dictated by the mineral compositions of the oil paint, combining to fool the eye.)  Now I'm starting to bring solidity to this imaginary space through thicker applications and here I have turned the canvas upside down or on its side to create interesting effect on the left of the canvas.  Turning the canvas upside down or on its side is a good way to see what is happening from a new angle.  I also incorporate the use of a mirror for the same reason. 

5.     With more of the floor and rooms completed I now need an anchor in the painting, so I look to establish an area of more detail.  That begins with the figure in the back room on the far right.  I also start to sketch in the central figure thinking about large geometric shapes relating to the human form.  I'm not looking at the specifics of this individual or any detail yet.  Thinking in angles builds structure to the form, which in turn provides a three dimensional believability to a two dimensional object.  Certain elements are starting to provide a real feeling of this place, like the garment on the clothes rack and its shadow on the wall.  An area such as this will hook me into the painting and I start to "live" in that space more and more.  That one area will now allow me to develop many of the adjacent areas.


6.     With the addition of the figures the room is starting to come together.  I have a better understanding of how I want to treat the paint as I move forward.  Even at this stage I am still thinking about larger areas of color and I’m not looking for any finishing touches.

7.     The central figure is more developed, I’ve built up more layers on the wall, and the floor has more detail.  With many of these passages I’ve allowed the layers to dry and I’ve worked over to bring further depth and subtle modulations in the color.  Another note about my process is paint application.  I’m not one to use only brushes because it is about just that: paint application not just brushwork.  Incorporated into my repertoire are many things: fingers, paper towels, rags, palette knives, q-tips, cardboard, along with a variety of brushes including bristle, synthetic, sable, cheap house varieties, and whatever else I feel will create a desired effect.  In this case I have put up some masking tape on the dried canvas to create different edges, from crisp to soft to lost.


8.     You’ll notice I’ve placed a figure moving through the doorway on the left hand side.  I felt it would expand the narrative.  In addition, I’ve laid down more tape on the adjoining room and on the floor.  Again, the tape gave me a clear shape and edge of color which I could modify after I peeled it off.  Painting is about shapes of color and identifying the shape of the mark you want to place down.  The tape has become another tool and is an extension of this thought.  With it I am establishing bigger shapes that will then be modified.  At this point, every element is well established, however, I'll continue to define details, apply subtle color transitions, refine angles, and assess edges till I think it is complete.

9.     The painting is nearly there.  All areas of importance will continue to get further refinement.  Lastly, I am resolving the area on the left hand side so it 'Sits in' and joins the main room a little better.

10.     All done!  The title of the piece is 'Planetary System'. 


10. Joshua Flint, 'Planetary System', 36 x 36, Oil on Canvas

Thank you for stopping in and reading about my creative process.  I'll leave you with a list of colors I currently have on my palette:

Titanium White (Alkyd) 
Ivory Black
Hansa Yellow
Yellow Lake
Cadmium Red
Alizarin Crimson
Ultramarine Blue

Cobalt Blue
Yellow Ochre
Burnt Sienna
Transparent Oxide Red
Raw Sienna
Permanent Violet Medium
Olive Green

*The caveat -- my palette is an ever-changing arrangement of color.  It is not a fixed system.  There are always a few other tubes I incorporate to the list above.  That being said, I always want a warm and cool option for yellow, red, & blue, which I have.  


We're excited for the piece to arrive in the gallery -- look out for its arrival this coming week!   And thanks to Josh for such a phenomenal peek at his creative process!  Be sure to check out Josh's fantastic tumblr:

Artist Demonstration: Leo Mancini-Hresko

This past July, we had the pleasure of hosting Leo Mancini-Hresko for a painting demonstration.  We didn't know before he arrived if he was planning to paint an interior or a figure and were delighted to learn he would be painting his beautiful wife Elpida!

Set-up was a breeze (even if the weather was warm) and as Leo started painting a crowd started to gather around, watching & asking questions.  

Leo & his beautiful wife (doubling as model!) Elpida

Leo is a great multi-tasker with his ability to talk & answer questions (and even sing a few lines from a song) while he is painting... charming the crowd!

We look forward to having Leo back to do a fall plein air landscape demonstration near the gallery and perhaps on the banks of the Charles!  Once he returns from a plein air painting competition in Vermont and then a painting trip with fellow artists to Russia this month... lucky, busy Leo!   You can keep up with him on his own blog:

Paintings From a Trip to Avalon...

Steinbeck once wrote: "To put it plainly, this Isle is like Avalon; it must disappear when you are not there…. But it stays with you afterward, and more than that, things you didn’t know you saw come back to you after you have left.”

Gallery artists Leo Mancini-Hresko and Jeremy Durling just dropped off their finished paintings from a recent trip to the magical island of Deer Isle!  

Leo's paintings: 

Jeremy on his painting rock at Mickey's Cove.

Jeremy's paintings: 

Both Jeremy and Leo have a few more Deer Isle paintings to reveal as well as more painting trips to the island planned for later this summer and fall!   

Beacon Hill Third Thursday -- Thursday, July 18th, 5pm - 8pm

Join us NEXT Thursday, July 18th from 5pm - 8pm as we participate in the Beacon Hill Business Association's first ever Third Thursday!  With a Hawaiian Luau theme, the event is sure to draw a crowd as participating stores stay open late and the neighborhood shops local.  Stop by the gallery for a relaxing summer evening -- perusing new painting arrivals and sipping a surprise, festive libation!

Beacon Hill Business Association Third Thursday

If you can't make it this month -- not to worry!  We'll be doing it again on August 15th from 5-8pm with a theme of Summer in Paris

Sweet Summertime

As we begin our Fourth of July celebrations here at the gallery we decided to pick out paintings & images that conjure up wonderful memories of summers past!

Each of us chose one all time favorite summer painting (or two), one piece currently in the gallery, and one image of our favorite summer place.  We hope you enjoy! 

Ali -- Deer Isle, Maine & Norwich, Vermont

Meghan -- Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, & Elizabeth, Illinois

Jess -- Martha's Vineyard, MA

We hope you all have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday and get to spend some time at one of your favorite summer places! 

Artist Process: Leo Mancini-Hresko

We thought it would be fun to share a collection of progress images from Waltham-based artist Leo Mancini-Hresko!  Leo has a great eye for unique vantages and has the ability to make some of Boston's most iconic images his own. 

A great image to remind us of all the snow this past winter provided us -- refreshing during this current heat wave we're having!  Leo enjoys getting out and painting plein air, even in the snow.

Three images showing Leo's process on a painting of Boston from his vantage on the BU Bridge.  The last image shows the piece in Leo's studio -- soon to be in the gallery!

Painting the BU Bridge this past February. 

Three images from a recent painting session at the base of the Longfellow Bridge.  Can't wait to see the final painting!

You can catch Leo painting all around Boston, but we're thrilled that he will be joining us this July for a demo right here in Beacon Hill!

Leo also has some fantastic workshops, studio demos, and of course on-going studio classes on the books this summer: Leo summer teaching.


Who's Jess??

Over the summer, you may notice a bright, new face at the gallery -- that's Jess Holley, our intern!  Just to give you all a head start on getting to know her, we asked her a few questions:

Hometown: Born and raised in Andover, Massachusetts.

High School: Phillips Academy Andover.

College: Bowdoin College -- Anthropology and Art History double major!  

Jess Holley

Favorite Book: The Great Gatsby. 

What do you do with your free time?  I enjoy painting and drawing as well as traveling and spending time with family and friends.  And I can’t forget my love for the beach in the summer!

Favorite beach: Lambert’s Cove Beach, Martha’s Vineyard. 

Favorite work of art: Sistine Chapel.

 How did you develop your interest in the art world? As a small child, I grew up admiring the work of local painters.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are my frequent visits to museums and galleries in the Boston area with my mother. Throughout high school and in my first two years of college I pursued my passion for the arts by taking several visual art classes.  I eventually decided to focus on oil painting.

Best museum in the world: The Louvre.

Artist you would choose to be re-born as? Edward Degas.

Favorite painting in the gallery currently: ‘White Light’ by Daniele Cestari.

Favorite summer treat: Coffee Oreo Ice Cream.

Favorite Food: Chocolate.

Super power if you had one? To fly of course!

Favorite word: Elegant.

Least favorite word: Moist.

Daniele Cestari, 'White Light', 30 x 30, Oil on Linen

What do you want to do when you graduate? It is my dream to pursue a career in a gallery [or museum] after college and establish myself as a powerful force in the art world.  I am excited to see what this summer has in store at Sloane Merrill Gallery!

Favorite thing about the gallery: The opportunity to meet and chat with local artists -- to learn about their passion for art and how they go about creating their work. 

We are so excited to have Jess join us before she heads off to Rome for her fall semester.  We hope that you can stop by the gallery and meet her!