Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Oh, just give me a painting..."

Posted by: Kate and Dave

If you're an artist you've heard that line before.  Possibly after your landlord helped you change an appliance light bulb or your mechanic friend looked under your car's hood.  You tell them how much you appreciate their help, that they are awesome, you owe them one..and BAM they tell you not to worry, just paint them something in return.  We kid you not, Dave had some one ask him for a painting after they gave him some leftover spaghetti.

Now we know this stems from total ignorance and not malice, but perhaps there's a bit of blatant disregard for the value of our time thrown in there.   Bottom line is, most people have no idea what our artwork is worth, or that creating it in the first place is an actual job.  They don't understand that the nanosecond art becomes your career, it ceases to be fun and begins to wither your soul like any other job.  It's work.  We don't have fun doing art in the same way we have fun drinking beer, playing video games, or even checking our mail.  Art is often boring, tedious, taxing, and above all, time consuming--just like most people's jobs.  Sure, we love it, because we can work for ourselves and pursue our creative vision, but the moments of excitement are few and far between, kind of like a job in science.  Scientists are willing to slog away day after day chasing the dragon of discovery so that they can briefly experience a high when they discover something.  Painting is the same way.  The excitement happens in the planning and completion stages of a piece, and everything in between is making stuff look like stuff.  The romanticized idea of the artist who is in a state of rapture while painting is a thing of movies.  Therefore, it isn't "fun" for us to make art for people, it's simply additional work. 

One piece of our art is worth one to four months' salary for us.  They are not commodities that can be given or traded easily.  A lot of people see our art and "have to have it."  Well, if you can't afford it, you don't get to have it, just like we can't afford a hover car, so we don't get one (which we are sure we want way more than anyone has ever wanted our art).  However, we thought we would show what could be traded for our artwork according to its value.

 Dave's "Trapper" painting is priced at the equivalent of twenty purebred German Shepherd puppies.

"Medicine" was sold for the cost of a round trip vacation for 2 to Hawaii, including air fare, hotel accommodations, and coconut drinks with little umbrellas.  

Kate's "Winter Weeds" sold for the equivalent of a 2013 Subaru Forester. 

 Also, here are some favors that you could do for us that would actually merit a painting.

 Bone marrow transplant (and the nice marrow not the cheap stuff) or peck implants (for Dave)

Break us out of a space prison from the future.

 Smuggle a relative of ours out of a war torn country in the trunk of your car.

Trade us an equivalent piece of art that you created.

Dave gave his parents-in-law some paintings, but only after they gave him half of the total sum of their daughters among other fabulous things (and we should also add that they tried to buy them first before he gave them to them).  We also give our own parents work on very rare occasion because without them we wouldn't be doing a lot of existing.

And one last point: most of us artists have also heard the phrase, "if you are going to throw that painting away, why not just give it to me?"  Well, because it's a crappy piece of artwork that lowers my total average score as an artist.  Having a mediocre piece of work loose in the world is an embarrassing thing.

Okay,  we're done ranting.

Next installment:  "Oh, just give me a painting for Christmas..."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

ACOPAL Big Trouble in Little China

Posted by: Dave

ACOPAL was a huge success and I wanted to share some photos of the museum and the exhibit. Extra special thanks to my main man Paul McCormack and the gang for putting this together. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Last Lucie

Posted by: Kate

I'm very sad right now, and I don't have any wine left anywhere in the house so who knows how clever I'll be without that magical serum that makes me infinitely wittier and my husband more attractive.

The painting I just finished today marks the end of an unofficial series of paintings that Dave and I completed over the past six years featuring our all-time favorite model.  It is the last painting of Lucie that either of us will do, because since moving three time zones away from her, we've exhausted our references of her.  So it is a sad day in Casa Gluckstein, and as writing this, my husband sensed my despondency and nipped out to fetch me some wine.

I think Lucie was only about thirteen when she first started modelling for us, and you can watch her maturation from painting to painting, and our maturation as artists.  She was always a game model, ready to don authentic Victorian costumes that still smelled of century old B.O. and go traipsing through a snow bank in sneakers or lose her shoes in a swamp of mud.

Here is the Last Lucie in all its sunken-in glory:

A blow-by-blow account will follow.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Finishing layers

Posted by: Dave

The last layer, known as second painting, introduces medium and a thin, blended application of paint. As some of you know, this layer deals with subtlety and smooth transitions.  It isn't needed everywhere, simply for more detailed or volumetric forms.  Not all artists bother with a stage like this, as it is a preference determined by how you want your finished painting to appear.   Sometimes I feel like skipping this stage as it causes people to walk up to my painting and tell me how much it looks like a photograph.  I know they mean it as a compliment, but it's the equivalent of telling a fat person they look healthy or telling an ugly person they have beautiful eyes. 

Before I begin the final layer, a thin application of medium is applied with a makeup sponge, which I will paint into with pure paint using small round brushes (like the one below).

The medium has been applied and re-saturated the colors.  In addition, it will allow the pure paint I add to it to move more fluidly.

bam, done(ish) with the mask (minus green thingy, hose, and straps).

A couple painting tips.

1) Lead white #2 from Natural Pigments is so ropey, you can actually have a small string of paint hanging off of your brush which can be laid down as a long highlight.  Keep in mind highlights are a variety of colors and shapes.  I will also sometimes shape my highlights after they have been laid down with a clean brush loaded with oil.

2) To get thin crisp  dark lines, like those found in wood cracks etc, I use mineral spirits to dilute the paint to an inky consistency, even though this breaks the fat over lean rule.

3)  When starting with second painting, keep your colors the most vibrant in the beginning as they will grey down the more they mix.

I was too tired to write anything else witty, so here is a picture of a squirrel suplexing his friend.

p.s. Nobody can post a comment about how healthy I look with my pretty eyes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Posted by: Dave

Picasso's "The Old Guitarist" looks like a guitarist from an 80's heavy metal band.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mask from the Past Part Deux

Posted by: Dave

I have now moved into the first painting stage of my still life.  I have talked about first painting before, but not for the new people who are following the blog; so for the long time followers reading, skip to the bottom paragraph that I wrote just for you about things that piss me off in case you ever find yourself at my home*. Anyway, I have started to break down the gas mask and other elements into planes of broken color.  I always try to begin this stage by establishing my lightest lights (minus highlights) and darkest darks first in each object I am painting. Remember the ébauche should already be the average middle value of the object, so its easy to push and pull. This then allows me to see the value range I am working within.  I am trying to hit the color and shapes as closely as possible so the setup and the still life appear optically the same from 6 feet away (more or less as I try not to be a slave to the setup).  I avoid small details at this point. In order to match colors at this stage, I simply do a "guess and check" system.  I mix a color, hold that color up to the setup, then decide if I  need to change the hue, chroma, or value of the paint.  I adjust accordingly until it looks correct or I get lazy.  I have gotten some emails over whether or not I use the Munsell system when painting.  I prefer not to bother as I subscribe to the "make it look good" stance on painting (plus the Munsell book costs 600 bucks), but I will say that watching people debate the utility of the Munsell system vs. other systems is nerdier than watching two obese teens argue whether Star Trek or Star Wars is better.  This is my response.

* Ok, you know what really pisses me off in life.  When I am washing the dishes after a meal and the people clearing the table stack all the plates up on top of one another.  Of course, this means that now I have to wash BOTH the top and bottom of the plates thoroughly.  Instead, bring me one plate at a time, or spread them out over the counter in non-stacked formation. You know what else pisses me off, the token "dish dryer" job.  "Oh, you need help, I'll dry." Any job that can be replaced by air is not a real job.  You can just put the dishes in the drying rack and that job becomes obsolete.  Instead, offer to get me a beer with a straw so I can wash and drink simultaneously.  Now that's help.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Famous Artists Interviews: The David Gluck Show with Sadie Valeri

Posted by: Dave


Sadie is a young lady who with two friends committed robbery and murder. After her trial she is not executed or taken to prison, but to a school for special operatives. She is told that Sadie no longer exists and she will be trained to pay back society for what she has done, as a spy/assassin/artist. She is trained for over two years and with no warning is handed a gun in a restaurant and told to kill the man at the next table as her handler leaves.

Tell us a little about your atelier?   Has it been an overall positive experience?  It’s ok to be honest, I’m sure your students don’t read the blog.

Honestly, the logistical problems of setting up a large, brand new studio have been pretty overwhelming at times, and the whole thing has been a much bigger project than we probably realized when my husband Nowell and I decided to expand. But it’s also been much more exciting and satisfying than we ever could have predicted. The realist community in the San Francisco Bay Area has been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about the new space, and working with such amazing teachers and students has made building out and managing a large teaching studio more than worth it. Also, it’s a true pleasure to work with my artist friends Justin Hess and Felicia Forte, who are now teaching at my studio.

When instructing a student, do you ever tell them to look extremely closely at their painting, only to shove the back of their head into the canvas and yell “shablam”?  That was an integral part of my teaching pedagogy.

Well, I hate to admit it but my students sometimes bang their OWN heads on their easels just to stop hearing me say “soften that edge” and “check your midpoints” over and over. But in general, I do try to avoid inflicting physical pain when teaching.

Do you believe that without artists, antibiotics, space travel, plastics, or things that actually aid mankind wouldn’t exist?  Wait, sorry, I am thinking of scientists.  Anyway, how is your dog Ripley? Please tell me you got the name from Aliens.

Oh good, enough about art, I can talk about my dog all day. Yes, she is named after Sigourney Weaver’s character in Aliens, mainly because my husband did not want a dog to begin with, and I figured if I named her after his favorite action hero of all time it would make him love her. Luckily, it worked. I hear we have now started a trend of naming one’s dog after a character in Aliens. We are planning a spring road trip north to get Ripley and Bishop together for a death match.

I have noticed a trend among chick artists in the contemporary art scene, including my old lady, claiming they are receiving different treatment than men.  They call it sexism or something.  Would you agree with what these broads are saying or do you think they are just on their periods?

Definitely just on their periods. The vast majority of art students are women, but only like, 12, actually show in galleries. The only explanation must be that women just can’t paint very well. Kate, stop complaining and go finish Dave’s laundry.

What is your opinion of the way woman are often portrayed in contemporary works of art?  Is it really true women have other outfits that aren’t made of sheer fabric? That just seems so crazy to me.

It’s ok, I’m all about equality. My next series is Famous Male Artists in Nightgowns and Kimonos. Dave you are scheduled for April, I’m thinking outdoors in early spring. I hear that time of year is very picturesque in Canada, I bet we can find an icy snowmelt stream for you to wade in. Kassan has agreed to pose in Central Park, peeking seductively through the trees.

What animal would best describe you?  Keep in mind that Dragon, Unicorn, and Duckbill platypus are not viable options as they are all imaginary.  

Oh, mermaid, definitely, as painted by Waterhouse. Longtime childhood dream. (I realize you said no imaginary animals, but I don’t think you know what that word means.)

What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in your artistic career?

I’d have to say getting over my own personal self doubt was my most serious challenge. I did not paint at all from about age 24 to 32, because I believed that working realistically was not sophisticated enough. It took me a tragically long time to realize that I want to paint how I want to paint, more than I care what someone else thinks. Of course like most artists I still struggle with self-doubt.... but I just don’t let it stop me from painting.

Could you tell us a little about your involvement with the Representational Art Conference in 2012?  Will they be serving snacks there?

I think TRAC presenters are getting lunch. I’m really excited about the lunch, but also about being a panelist. I’m also doing a demonstration of Indirect Flemish painting. Which will be challenging, because it requires painting very slowly with very thin layers, and what I get done in 3 hours is almost invisible to the naked eye. It’s is not exactly a theatrical process. Maybe Alexey will pose for me to spice it up.

To find out more about Sadie Valeri and her Atelier, visit