July 29th, 2009
Aloha, and thanks for visiting my blog. I’m a painter living and working on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, I moved to New York City for over a decade to pursue an in-depth study of painting, supporting myself as a freelancer. I’ve been what people like to call a full-time painter for a dozen years, but it seems like about four.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman
I’ve started this blog to keep people up to date on what’s going on with my work, share experiences and ideas, and dream aloud a bit. More…
– Mark Norseth
May 17th, 2013
Artist Frank Serrano posted this on Facebook, and I can’t resist putting it up here on my blog.
Walt Disney speaks on Robert Henri’s ” The Art Spirit”.
I vividly recall seeing this short film somewhere in grade school, which for myself was over forty years back. Of course I hadn’t read Robert Henri’s book “The Art Spirit” at that point, but certainly have since. I didn’t realize that I’d adopted the notion of painting “ideas, not pictures” from that source, either, but I surely have.
Walt Disney was a giant, and a very good one at that.
May 4th, 2013
This is a quick post….I’m sanding the frame today for “Quiet Corner” and while waiting for it to dry I thought I’d snap some photos and let you see some of the work involved.
The moulding is one I make myself, from Poplar, using a selection of typical woodworking tools. Today is a sanding day, which I actually enjoy somewhat…it’s quiet and centering. Frame making is an activity that complements painting nicely, though it’s very time consuming.
And here’s my disclaimer…I don’t recommend that artists make there own frames unless they really wish to. I do so for a variety of somewhat unique reasons, but it isn’t for everyone.
Corners are biscuit joined, which you can’t see because it’s internal, but it’s a great bond. The wood is sanded starting with 60 grit, moving through the numbers to 320 grit. Hand-sanding will take around two hours, then finishing with various varnish and color combinations. No gilding, I’m not there yet.
The molding work and joining took about 6-8 hours conservatively, which I stretch out out over a number of days when it’s too hot, as in mid-day, or too rainy to paint outdoors. I work on the frame when I’m in the mood, developing the painting and frame simultaneously….the Big Idea being to have the frame and painting completed simultaneously, which never really has happened yet. But it’s a nice idea.
The above is a narrower pastel/watercolor moulding that I’m throwing in because I need to finish it soon. The moulding will be toned to fit the color scheme of the painting, a painting which doesn’t exist yet in this case. I’m being pre-emptive for once, I guess.
Here’s the unfinished frame and painting together. The frame itself has an inside rabbet measurement of approx. 18.25 x 22 .75″ The 0utside dimension is 23.5 x 27.5″which is a comfortable fit for the picture.
May 2nd, 2013
I’ve gotten this picture to a point where I’m satisfied that it’s a completed work. That is, any more work on it seems counterproductive to the overall effect of the picture.
The underlying idea of the painting, a study of subtleties of color, space, light and shadow, seems resolved. As it was painted mainly at the location, within the Honolulu Museum of Art’s building complex, I was sometimes surprised a bit by the question “Why did you choose to paint this?”, which I was asked a few times.
For me, it was self evident. Can’t others see how wonderful this is? But once I considered it, I can also understand how the people who spend their working days here had naturally become accustomed to it, to the point where there was no longer anything terribly special about it. I have that experience every day in my own workplaces.
Coming to the courtyard with a fresh eye, my answer is that there is something of the sublime in the illumination, the colors of the containers and colors within the shadows; rich, complex grays with violets, blues, and yellows reflecting into them, constantly shifting and shimmering, and the quietness of the physical space. Maybe it’s only some painters who respond to this sort of thing, but I couldn’t miss it. A quiet corner, indeed, restful and renewing. I’ll never forget the experience of painting here.
“Quiet Corner-the Palm Courtyard” 18 x 22″ oil on linen canvas.
April 30th, 2013
In my Life Drawing Studio class, I sometimes enjoy adding the element of color when the pose is an hour or longer in duration. Watercolor is a convenient and sometimes ideal way to go…thoughI have to admit that if the drawing aspect isn’t working, no amount of color work will make up for such a weakness, and so I don’t recommend it to students until they are well on their way.
For anyone who wishes to give it a go, I ‘d recommend starting with monochrome wash until you’ve got a mastery over wash, know your brushes and paper (which need to be of good quality), and especially the drying characteristics of your paper. I use Arches 140 lb and Saunders 200lb, which are both great papers.
My normal watercolor palette, which is primarily used out-of-doors, includes the following colors that are perfectly suited for figurative work:
Raw Sienna, Naples Yellow, Cadmiums Orange, Yellow, Lemon, and Scarlet, Indian Red, Light Red, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Raw and Burnt Umbers, and Ivory Black. These, in addition to the blues, greens and other colors I regularly employ, are a well rounded group for general painting indoors or out.
April 16th, 2013
18 x 22″ oil on linen
I’m chipping away at the values and colors of this piece, getting closer to calling it finished. The sessions (about 6 so far) at the Honolulu Museum of Art have been a great pleasure for me, and I’m hopeful of wrapping up my work this week.
Along with clarifying the values, I’m refining shapes somewhat, keeping lost edges lost, and especially getting somewhere on the palm that is central to the composition. Scraped down, repainted; it gets too picky in the details very easily, and I’ve had to take it all down on more than one occasion and redevelop it. The greens are so beautiful in life, I keep re-establishing them to get at some of the richness in the darker areas. The foreground is only a bit more than layed-in, and doesn’t need too much more to my eye.
A thing suggested…a theme for the whole work maybe.
Whatever color the container in the right hand corner is, it’s beautiful to try and paint…a cool yellow in shadow, always tricky.
I hope to keep this painting light and open in feel, with the just the right amount of mystery… from value adjustments and color touches. It needs to look like paint, and I’m using the old three-part medium in this to get some richness and brushwork evident.