It’s Day 226 and today I wanted to work with watercolors again. I’m still learning techniques and am constantly learning more as I’m painting. Join me in honoring Irving Shapiro today. I was really drawn to his style of watercolors. 🙂 Below is his short bio and some notes about his techniques. I’ve also included his obituary from the Chicago Tribune at the bottom. I could not find a photo of this man so I did the best I could!
Irving Shapiro (1927 – 1994)
” A slightly false statement, yet fresh, is much better than a tiresomely truthful one”. My mentor, Irving Shapiro, on watercolor painting. from An Interview with Eric Weigardt – Watercolorist
Irving Shapiro went out into nature to make sketches, color samples, and black-and-white photographs for his watercolors. Then, back in his studio, he would begin his large paintings. He believed that only the fewest of pencil lines should be used to give guidelines to the composition, which he designed in his head. First, he applied the main color washes to define the large areas of the painting. He preferred risking mistakes while being bold and fresh with the paint, rather than risking getting bogged down in static details.
This painting shows a glimpse of the grasses, plants, and dead limbs that carpet the floor of a forest
in summer. The artist used the white of the paper and dark washes to show sunlight piercing the forest canopy to cast shadows of the leaves.
Irving Shapiro was born in Chicago. He studied painting at the Art Institute and the American Academy of Art, both in Chicago. He taught art at the Academy from 1945 until he retired. Many artists working in watercolor today mention Shapiro as one of their teachers.
The characteristic of watercolor painting that sets it apart from other types of painting is its transparency. Watercolor consists of a thin mixture of paint pigment (from a tube or a solid block) suspended in water. As the brush lays down the paint, often on wet paper, the color spreads rapidly, leaving a transparent layer of color on the paper. A watercolor painting is built of controlled areas of wash.
White areas of a watercolor painting are made by covering them with a layer of liquid rubber calledmasque instead of by using white paint. The masque is pulled off after the painting is finished and dried. That is how the tiny twigs of Forest Floor were done.
A dry brush technique paints stronger color onto dry paper. Artists use this for adding details such as the small, dark twigs in the background of this painting.
Shapiro used 300 or 400 pound paper, heavy enough to stay flat without stretching or taping down.
He used numbers eight and twelve round sable brushes and flat camel’s hair brushes one and two inches wide. He chose these colors for his palette: alizarin crimson golden, light vermilion, cadmium orange, light cadmium yellow, mauve, cobalt violet, thalo-blue, ultramarine, cerulean, lemon yellow, sap green, thalo green, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, sepia, and Payne’s gray.
Shapiro, Irving. “Irving Shapiro Says Watercolor Has Gender”American Artist. April, 1959. Pp. 60, 92.
From the Chicago Tribune below.
Irving Shapiro, 67, an artist, educator and author, was associated with the American Academy of Art for 50 years and served for many years as its director and president.
A resident of Highland Park, he died Tuesday in Whitehall North Convalescent Home in Deerfield.
His watercolors have been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe and, most recently, in China. His works hang in galleries, in hundreds of corporate offices and in private collections.
Mr. Shapiro in 1992 was given the Artist’s Achievement Award in Watercolor by the American Artist Magazine. He has won the High Winds Medal and the Mary Litt Medal at juried shows of the American Watercolor Society and was one of the youngest artists ever admitted to signature membership in that organization.
In addition to teaching and to his administrative responsibilities at the academy, he has lectured in
the U.S., Italy, France and Switzerland. Six of his demonstrations in watercolor painting have been videotaped and distributed widely.
His book, “How to Make a Painting: Planning, Procedures and Techniques in Watercolor,” has been translated into eight languages.
Mr. Shapiro has served on the boards of the Palette and Chisel Academy of Art, the Municipal Art League, the Midwest Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society, New York.
“He was a very dignified gentleman,” his wife, Syril, said. “He was an educator all his life and a man with the soul of an artist.”
Survivors, besides his wife, include three daughters, Paula Winter, Diane Golin and Gail; a son, Dan; a brother; and nine grandchildren.
Services for Mr. Shapiro will be 11 a.m. Friday in Shalom Memorial Park, U.S. Highway 12, Palatine.
I hope you enjoy my piece for today! I’m happy with it, but I still have a ton to learn when it comes to watercolors. I really want to try my hand at a huge piece. Maybe something photographic or more abstract. It’s definitely a medium I love working with, but it still has it’s mysteries. It’s going to be fun experimenting for sure! I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 227!