Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Paint-a-Monument Challenge

Public statues and monuments have been in the news lately for political reasons, but we haven't seen them as much from the artists' perspective. So I invite you to paint or draw a statue near you.

Here in Kingston, New York, we've got three 11-foot bronze statues, including one of the first governor of New York, George Clinton (1739-1812). There's an interesting backstory:
"The 1898 monuments are the work of noted sculptor John Massey Rhind (1860-1936) and were produced by the Gorham Manufacturing Company in New York. The statues were originally located [in the] Exchange Court building in Manhattan. When that building was being remodeled in the late 1940s, the sculptures, unbelievably, wound up in a junkyard as scrap. Fortunately, after seeing a newspaper article about the building remodeling, Emily Crane Chadbourne, president of Kingston’s Senate House Association, tracked down the junkyard and sought to rescue the statues. She purchased and donated the statues to the city of Kingston." link for source.

You can paint the statue by itself or in its surroundings. You can paint it objectively or infuse it with your emotional reaction. And you can use any medium, including sculpture.

If a statue in your area has been removed and all you have is an empty plinth, you can invent a sculpture of your own imagination to replace it. You can be whimsical or serious with this one, but try to be convincing in how you render it. There will be an alternate "Plinth Prize" for this category. For inspiration, check out the "Fourth Plinth" tradition London's Trafalgar Square.

Lioness and snake by Diego Sarti in Montagnola Park, Bologna
My hope that we can really look at these statues in public places, and appreciate the pure artistry and craft that goes into them, apart from—or perhaps in addition to—their symbolic or historical connotations.

• It's free to enter and anyone can enter.
• Subject can be any statue or monument presented in a public place. It can be in bronze or marble, free-standing or bas relief, outdoors or indoors.
• All drawing and painting media are acceptable: casein, gouache, acryla-gouache, oil, acrylic, watercolor pencils, watercolor, pencil, or charcoal. If you wish to sculpt a 3D maquette in clay, Sculpey, or wax, that's also acceptable.
• No limitation on palette colors. You can paint in black and white, a limited palette, or full color.
• Just shoot two image files: 
      1. Your finished painting, drawing, or sculpture, and 
      2. A photo of the work on the easel in front of the subject. Your face doesn't have to be in the photo unless you want to.
• Upload the images to this Facebook Event page:
• Please include in the FB post a sentence or two about your inspiration or design strategy, or some information about your experience sketching the statue, about the artist who created it, or about the subject of the monument.
• If you upload to Instagram or Twitter, please use the hashtag #paintamonumentchallenge
• You can enter anytime between now and the deadline, Friday, November 3 at midnight New York time. If you do more than one painting, upload only your best and delete any previous entries.
• I'll pick one Grand Prize, five Finalists, and one Plinth Prize winner. The winners will be published on the blog GurneyJourney. All the winners will receive an exclusive "Department of Art" embroidered patch. In addition, all the prize winners will receive one of my videos (DVD or download) of their choice.
• Winners will be presented on the blog on Monday, November 6.
Facebook Event Page: Paint a Monument Challenge
The Making of a Bronze Statue, (highly recommended) a 1922 silent film by the Metropolitan Museum that shows the arduous process.
Thanks, Studio Maywyn for the idea.


Glenn Tait said...

Amazing movie documenting an incredibly complex process. Makes you appreciate what's involved especially when thinking of something like Rodin's Gates of Hell.

Tyler J said...

This may have been answered in a previous contest, but is there a way to enter if you don't Facebooks?

James Gurney said...

Tyler, what folks have done is to just ask a friend with Facebook to post it for them, making it clear the name of the artist. The good thing about FB is that everyone can see what each other is doing and comment on it.

Studio Maywyn said...

Thank you James!

I think statues, I think of cemeteries, older ones, that have beautiful sculptures that are part of a grave site. Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts is such a place.

Michael Pagdon said...

This is a great challenge! Can a single individual enter 2 entries, one for the more objective piece and one for the Plinth challenge?

James Gurney said...

Michael, why not? They're sort of different challenges, so one person can enter two for that.

Michael Pagdon said...

Awesome! Thank you for letting me know! Off I go to paint

Hiking Gauguin said...

I hope the challenge is open world wide. I spent most of Tuesday in a small park here in Lyon, France painting en plein air a statue of Sgt Blandan, a French hero of the Algiers war. I always get positive comments from the locals when I'm out and about painting. It not unusual for someone to offer a coffee. Now, I've seen an empty plinth somewhere, just need to recall where it was!