Boston Arts: Sculptor Ann Hirsch Immortalizes Boston Legend Bill Russell

During our Back to Back Exhibition in April, we had the pleasure of featuring local sculptor Ann Hirsch.  Her two beautiful iron on cast plaster pieces -- Watchers: Facepull & Watchers: Eyepoke -- were wonderful three dimensional additions to the mostly oil painting based show. 

In January, after over a year of working on preliminary ideas, Ann was chosen by the Bill Russell Legacy Project CommitteeThe Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation to complete The Bill Russell Legacy Project at Boston City Hall Plaza.  Check out this great interview with Ann by the Boston Art Commission about her process and meeting the legend himself!

We can't wait to see Ann's sculpture & the entire hardscape project unveiled on November 1st from 2-4pm at City Hall Plaza. 

All images from

Years Later: An Evening of Music

Join us in welcoming Christina English + Arneis Quartet to the gallery as part of Opus Affair's Salon Series!  Doors open on Saturday, November 2nd at 7pm for this ticketed event with music starting at 8pm. 

Tickets can be purchased here or by emailing to reserve a spot.  Tickets at the door may only be purchased by cash or check.  

Beacon Hill Third Thursdays -- Thursday, October 17th, 5-8pm

Join us tonight Thursday, October 17th from 5 - 8pm as we participate in the Beacon Hill Business Association's Third Thursday!  Come out and support your local Charles Street merchants for this Harvest Moon event!  The gallery will be open late serving a fall appropriate beverage.  Sip, shop, & save -- 10% off of all paintings tonight only!

Once you've sipped & shopped your way down Charles Street join us back at the gallery to socialize from 7 - 9pm as we host a meet & greet with Josh Zakim.  

This is also an opportunity to get a sneak peek at Thomas Torak's show -- Alive with Paint -- which opens the following night, Friday, October 18th from 6:30-9pm!

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!  

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:

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

Artist Demonstration: 'Back to Back' Paint Off

Thank you to everyone who attended our 'Back to Back' Paint Off this past Saturday!  We were happy to see everyone after a long week and glad you came out to support local artists from the Boston Figurative Art Center -- Damon Lehrer, Jon Nix, & Jeremy Durling. 

Jeremy Durling

Damon Lehrer

Each artist has his own unique style -- which made for a great demo.  Damon and Jeremy painted in oil, but in two very different ways.  Jeremy paints on paper and uses a trowel/palette knife most of the time while Damon paints on linen and uses brushes.  As you can see in the images above, both artists produced two distinct pieces, even though they were painting the same model.  To throw in another element, Jon worked in pencil to produce a beautiful drawing of our model Dennis.

Jon Nix & Damon Lehrer  start their pieces of model Dennis

Jon Nix's drawing & Jeremy Durling's 'blueprint'

For those who were unable to attend we've compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions to each artist. 

Q -- Do you use your eraser as a tool in drawing?

Jon Nix -- I usually use a kneaded eraser but didn't have one so I was using a mechanical eraser.  It made for a delicate instrument but it worked well.

Q -- Why did you choose to do a drawing instead of a painting?

Jon Nix -- The reason I chose to draw rather then paint was that in a single session, my painting method results in a much less complete result.  I thought it would be more instructional and rewarding for the viewers to see a work come closer to fruition than for them to see the faint contours and bulky masses I typically produce in a single sitting.


Q -- What colors are on your palette and why?

Damon -- ypically the smallest number of colors I can get away with.  Today it's whites, two reds, two blues, and two yellows.

Q -- What is the base color you started with on your canvas?

Damon -- Burnt Sienna.

Damon Lehrer's Burnt Sienna base color

Q -- How do you choose the colors on your palette?

Jeremy -- My palette right now consists of all primary colors.  I have three yellows, one red, three blues, and lead white.  This is a slightly modified version of the palette Cezanne used in his painting 'The House of the Hanged Man' in 1873.  I saw a Cezanne of peaches on a plate in the Barnes Foundation.  It's a simple painting, but the color had my heart pounding and I could feel the weight of the fruit in the pit of my stomach.  I wrote down the year it was painted and found out what colors he was using.  I've been fond of limited palettes for the past few years, and I'm never afraid to choose a strange color I love and build a palette around it.  I love the Cezanne palette for its versatility.  Fighting the temptation to make everything bright and high key when I'm mixing these powerful primaries makes for some beautiful neutral colors that I wouldn't arrive at if I were using earth tones.  I have to really meditate on each color to give my subject it's weight.

Q -- What is the story behind your blue base drawing?

Jeremy -- It is really just a series of lines with no clear subject.  I use it as a way of measuring angles and proportions -- a blueprint for the person sitting in front of me.  The simple drawing is easily and quickly adjusted until I find the truth of the thing.  George Nick once told me: "Drawing is really very simple.  It's only how far by how wide, at what angle."

Jeremy Durling's palette

Jeremy Durling's painting at the end of the session

Thank you to our talented painters -- Damon, Jeremy, & Jon -- and our patient model Dennis.  Look for us to do another Paint Off later in the year.

Back to Back: A Call for Artists

Sloane Merrill Gallery and the Boston Figurative Art Center (BFAC) announce their first collaboration in the form of a themed group exhibition titled 'Back to Back' opening Friday, April 12th at 75 Charles Street, Boston.  

Below is the call to artists to submit for the juried portion of the exhibition. 

Please feel free to contact Sloane Merrill Gallery with any questions at 617.227.1775 or by email at

Beacon Hill Seminars: Object, Manner, and Means: The Rebirth of Representational Painting

For seven Wednesdays, starting February 6, 2013, Ali will be orchestrating a lecture series through Beacon Hill Seminars.  To quote the Beacon Hill Seminars website, this is a great organization composed of people 

who have a vigorous interest in continuing their intellectual growth. It is dedicated to a concept of learning with and from peers. Members of Beacon Hill Seminars create, participate in, or lead a diverse group of courses designed to follow a seminar format of small group discussions and learning.
— Beacon Hill Seminars

Gregory Prestegord, 'Green Door', 35.5 x 37, Oil on Panel.

Here's the rundown on the course:

Aristotle used three terms to delve into the meaning of representation: object, manner, and means. Applying these terms to the twenty-first century painter, one might have a vibrant, pulsating city as the object, the desire to capture this vantage in a distinctive realist style as the manner, and a fresh palette of Winsor and Newton oils as the means. Through representational painting, the artist conjures the electricity and power of a city.

In seven sessions we will share our visual experiences with representational paintings, discuss the current reengagement with realism taking place in the art world, and hear from experts whose passions range from the techniques of the Dutch Masters to the camera obscura and from John Singer Sargent to the use of the iPhone 5 in capturing images for painting.

Expect several prominent guest lecturers and at least one excursion as the seminar advances. Open minds and spirited conversationalists desired.

James Welu, Director Emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum, has the unique perspective of someone who trained as a studio artist before entering the world of art history and eventually specializing in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art. With many con-temporary representational painters focusing on the aesthetics and skills of the Dutch Masters, Jim will share his knowledge of the period and its immortal marks on the production of art. 

David H. Lowrey, 'Vermeer's Studio c. 1667', Oil on Canvas.

David Lowrey, Fenway Studios artist, preserves the tradition of Boston’s finest realists – Benson, Paxton and Tarbell – through traditional painting. David has built working models for the camera obscura, which he employs in his creative process and we will experience during his guest lecture focused on the enduring techniques of artists past. 

Joseph McGurl, a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art, has been referred to as one of the acknowledged leaders in the current American landscape school.  Joseph's paintings are often seen in relationship to the great 19th century luminist painters but with a thoroughly modern approach to style and subject.  For him, the process, rather than the product is the most important part of a painting.  Rather than relying on photography, this method gives him the freedom to create paintings based on his imagination, memory, and his sketches. 

Joseph McGurl, 'Last Light, Winter', 19 x 33, Oil on Canvas.

Gregory Prestegord, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and youngest artist featured at Sloane Merrill Gallery, will discuss his desire to paint real visual experiences and his elaborate use of the iPhone camera as a tool. Be prepared for a studio demonstration in the gallery.

Gregory Prestegord, 'Spring Garden Ridge', 16.5 x 24, Oil on Panel.

Ali Ringenburg has a strong commitment to the tradition of representational work and the artistic profession. Before opening her gallery, she worked with Nashville-based interdisciplinary artist Adrienne Outlaw, at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, and most recently was the director at Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia. She holds a BA in art and art history and English literature from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.


For more information on how to get involved with Beacon Hill Seminars, please visit their website.  Seminars are open to all Beacon Hill Seminars members.  Registration closes Wednesday, January 16th.  We are so looking forward to hosting the seminar!

Museum Visit: Worcester Art Museum

Just before the holidays, Ali had a chance to visit the Worcester Art Museum.  Joined by Beacon Hill Seminars collaborators, she met with Director Emeritus James Welu for a wonderful lunch and tour of the museum.  They talked about the gallery's upcoming seminar, Object, Manner, and Means: The Rebirth of Representational Painting, for which Mr. Welu will be a guest lecturer.  

Mr. Welu specializes in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art, and was the WAM Director from 1986 - 2011.  Under Mr. Welu's direction, the museum was the first to: create an Art All-State program for high-school artists (1987), originate an exhibition of Dutch Master Judith Leyster (1993), and to focus its contemporary art program on art of the last 10 years (1998).  We cannot wait to hear what Mr. Welu has to share with us on February 6th to kick off the seminar!

Two postcards from the Worcester Art Museum. Left: 'The Fur Jacket: Arrangement in Black and Brown', James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Oil on Canvas, 1877. Right: 'Girl Playing Solitaire', Frank W. Benson, Oil on Canvas, 1909.

For those who haven't had the pleasure of visiting the Worcester Art Museum, the museum houses over 35,000 pieces that span over fifty centuries.  Opened to the public in 1896, the museum has seen a great number of firsts in growing its collection, including being the first museum in the nation to purchase works by Claude Monet.                                                                                    

In addition to the wonderful art and building architecture, the museum offers numerous educational programs for all ages.  The library, which is run in collaboration with the College of the Holy Cross, contains nearly 45,000 titles and an equal number of slides, available for loan.  The museum also has a state-of-the-art conservation department. 

If you are looking for a fun day trip we recommend checking out the Worcester Art Museum!  The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, with late hours (until 8pm) every 3rd Thursday of the month.