Portraits, Irises, Ataturk Mug, Cat Watercolors
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August 2014

Hello <<First Name>>,

I wish you summer greetings! I had a feeling that these missives might turn into a tri-annual affair. These months, I have been busy on many projects – all fodder for the next newsletter. Life is so forward moving that everything in the past feels like a mere runway for what one is painting today. I hope you enjoy the recent runway of this studio!

Portraits of People and their Dogs

Portraits of People and their Dogs
From left: "Best Friends for 15 Years (and Counting)" and "Inga and Lucy."
This July, I finished a portrait of a client who sat for me with her dog, now sixteen years old and a companion since puppyhood. On a perfect afternoon, we drove to the dog's favorite field near Charlottesville, Virginia for our photo session. It was befitting to paint the two together. This painting is more Impressionistic in style than many of my portraits. This summer, I look forward to painting the daughter of the client.
 
Painting dogs and their owners is becoming a favorite theme for me. I have two more such paintings in the works. There is a special simpatico between us and our pets. 

Oversized Iris Watercolor Series

Oversized Iris Watercolor Series
Clockwise from top left: "Iris with Bees," "Iris in a Hushed World," and my downstairs studio with my oversized flower art collection. The whole series is viewable at my Art of Flowers page.
In preparation for a gallery show, I have been busy painting enormous irises. This series has turned into an intriguing project for sure. The iris is so very complex and one can never paint absolute essence. The humble artist captures but an elusive caricature that hopefully points towards something truthful and real. A friend reminded me that Edward Hopper once mused, "If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint." Some moods and images that touch us deeply elude words. Hence a thought about the iris: who would have figured extravagant fleeting splendor as the intention of time? The artist captures but shadows and illusions of majesty.
 
My downstairs studio makes me smile these days as ten or so large, delicately drawn iris paintings sit on easels and lean against chairs and sofas in happy profusion.
 
All of my iris paintings are available as framed originals, and as fine art prints.

Ataturk Mug from Original Artwork

Ataturk Mug
From left: Ataturk Mug, which is available in my store; watercolor, pen & ink "Ataturk Montage."
I am proud to add this Ataturk Mug to my collection of mugs featuring art of flowers, dogs, cats, and other subjects. The image here is taken from a painting I did of Ataturk against a cluster of hibiscuses, a beloved flower of Turkey. Because all the early 20th century photos of Ataturk are grainy black and white, it was most rewarding to paint him in the living color of the world he walked.
 
A rising engineering and construction company based in Turkey, Deltaturk, requested an order of these mugs with the Deltaturk company logo on the reverse side. The result is really very stunning. I am delighted that my art will play a role as Deltaturk shapes its image.

Whimsical Cat Watercolor Series

Cat Watercolor Series
From left: "Black Cat on Plaid," "Greylove by Night," "Star Cat," and "Tabby in Night Wood." All are available as framed original watercolors.
Wag friends, as well as my cat Venus, have teased me about my portfolio's ostensible preference for dogs over the nobility of the feline population. In free time, I painted a few cat friends. I can’t help but imagine these fun characters keeping watch in a child’s bedroom.
 
These cat watercolors are available as framed originals.

Summer Watercolor Class

Summer Watercolor Class
Summer watercolor class at Beekley Library in New Hartford, Connecticut. 
Teaching a watercolor class at the Beekley Library in New Hartford this summer has been terrific. Delighted at the level of talent in the class, I aimed to give thoughtful and specific feedback on painting well. We began with the oft-terrifying "busting the clean white surface of the paper," and continued all the way to the end game. 
 
Every painting is an epic adventure in its own right, usually rife with traps, zaps and mid-life crises before elements come together.  We decided upon a complete rejection of watercolor how-to "tricks." The task was to explore, have fun and discover one's very own sensibility for painting – one's personal way with color and form.
 
For me, it was fascinating to watch highly individuated styles emerge. I can humbly say that I had a blast.
 

Thank you very much for your interest. And I'd like to thank my daughter Inga Hunter for all her help creating these newsletters, and my entire website! 

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to respond to this email, or email me directly at ChrisDuke@ChrisDukeArt.com.
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Copyright © 2014 Chris Duke Art, All rights reserved.


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