Thomas Torak

Thomas Torak is a modern master painter working in the classical tradition. His paintings are known for their breadth and luminosity, rich color, and lively brushwork. He studied at the Art Students League with Robert Beverly Hale and Frank Mason and began teaching portraiture and figure painting there in the fall of 2008. He has won gold medals from the American Artists Professional League, Audubon Artists, and the Academic Artists Association, and a silver medal from Allied Artists of America. He teaches Painting from Life and Portraiture at the Art Students League. You can see his paintings on his website and read his thoughts about the art on his blog Dammi I Colori.

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            [post_content] => Thomas Torak received the Special Award of Continuing Excellence in Honor of Frank Mason for his painting Golden Delicious at the Salmagundi Club's Summer Members Exhibition. The exhibition, now on view at the Salmagundi Club (New York, NY), concludes with an open reception and awards ceremony on Friday August 25, 2017, 5 – 8 p.m.

[caption id="attachment_28297" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Thomas Torak, Golden Delicious, 2016, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in.[/caption]
            [post_title] => Thomas Torak Painting Receives Award at Salmagundi Club Exhibition
            [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak received the Special Award of Continuing Excellence in Honor of Frank Mason for his painting Golden Delicious at the Salmagundi Club's Summer Members Exhibition.
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            [post_content] => Thomas Torak’s Bread and Wine received the Salmagundi Club Award at the American Artists Professional League 88th Grand National Exhibition. The exhibition, on now at the Salmagundi Club (New York, NY), continues through November 18, 2016.

[caption id="attachment_24606" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Thomas Torak Salmagundi Club Award Thomas Torak, Bread and Wine, 2013. Oil on linen, 24 x 20 in.[/caption]
            [post_title] => An Award for Thomas Torak
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            [post_content] => Thomas Torak received the Georgie Read Barton Memorial Award for his painting Bread and Eggs at the Hudson Valley Art Association's 83rd Annual Juried Exhibition. The exhibition, now on view at the Salmagundi Club (New York, NY), concludes with an open reception and awards ceremony on Friday April 1, 2016, 5-8pm.
[caption id="attachment_21829" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Thomas Torak_Bread and Eggs_2013_Oil on Linen_18 x 20 Thomas Torak, Bread and Eggs, 2013. Oil on linen, 18 x 20 in.[/caption]
[post_title] => An HVAA Award for Thomas Torak [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak received the Georgie Read Barton Memorial Award for his painting Bread and Eggs. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-hvaa-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-31 09:29:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-31 14:29:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=21827 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17409 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2015-11-16 13:25:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-16 18:25:06 [post_content] => Thomas Torak’s A Morning Walk won the Allied Artists of America Award at the American Artists Professional League 87th Grand National Exhibition. The exhibition, on now at the Salmagundi Club (New York, NY), continues through November 20, 2015. [caption id="attachment_17410" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Thomas Torak Allied Artists of America Award 2015 Thomas Torak, A Morning Walk, 2011. Oil on linen, 32 x 30 in.[/caption] [post_title] => Thomas Torak Receives Allied Artists of America Award [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak’s A Morning Walk won the Allied Artists of America Award at the American Artists Professional League 87th Grand National Exhibition. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-allied-artists-of-america-award-2015 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-21 09:45:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-21 13:45:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=17409 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17129 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2015-10-23 09:54:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-23 13:54:32 [post_content] => Thomas Torak has been invited to show three paintings in the Collectors' Reserve: American Art Exhibition and Sale, 2015, which opens at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK, on October 25 and continues through November 8. The entire exhibition is currently on view on the museum's website through November 16, 2015.  [caption id="attachment_17131" align="aligncenter" width="601"]thomas torak gilcrease museum Thomas Torak, Cantaloupes and Grapes, 2008.
Oil on linen, 16 x 18 in.[/caption] [post_title] => Torak at the Gilcrease Museum [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak is exhibiting three paintings in the Collectors' Reserve: American Art Exhibition and Sale, 2015. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-gilcrease-museum [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-14 12:15:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-14 16:15:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=17129 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14613 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2015-04-23 08:53:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-23 12:53:58 [post_content] =>
[caption id="attachment_14615" align="aligncenter" width="769"]Thomas Torak Allied Artists Thomas Torak, After the Game, 2001. Oil on linen, 36 x 52 in.[/caption]
Thomas Torak's After the Game can be seen at the Allied Artists of America: 100 Years exhibition at the Canton Museum of Art (Canton, OH), April 24 through July 19, 2015. [post_title] => On Exhibition: Allied Artists of America: 100 Years [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak and Joseph Peller are helping celebrate Allied Artists of America's one-hundreth anniversary. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-allied-artists [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-18 11:25:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-18 15:25:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=14613 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13390 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2014-11-24 08:19:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-24 13:19:33 [post_content] =>

Thomas Torak is now represented by Helmholz Fine Art (203 Depot St), in Manchester Center, VT. The gallery's inaugural exhibition, A Moveable Feast, runs from November 24 to December 31, with an opening reception scheduled for Saturday, November 29, 5 – 7 pm. A percentage of the proceeds from all sales will be donated to Hunger Free Vermont. For more information call 802.855.1678.

[caption id="attachment_13391" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Thomas Torak, Bread and Wine, 2013. Oil on linen, 24 x 20 in. Thomas Torak, Bread and Wine, 2013. Oil on linen, 24 x 20 in.[/caption] [post_title] => Thomas Torak Now Represented by Helmholz [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak is now represented by Helmholz Fine Art in Manchester Center, VT. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-represented-helmholz [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 10:05:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 10:05:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=13390 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13279 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2014-11-13 15:01:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-13 20:01:15 [post_content] =>

Thomas Torak's Autumn Poem was awarded the Newington Award – Best in Show at the American Artists Professional League's 86th Grand National Exhibition. The exhibit, now on view at the Salmagundi Club (47 Fifth Ave.), continues through November 21. Thomas will give a portrait demonstration—free and open to the public—at the exhibit's opening reception on Sunday, November 16th, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

[caption id="attachment_13280" align="aligncenter" width="638"]American Artists Professional League Thomas Torak, Autumn Poem, 2001. Oil on linen, 30 x 24 in.[/caption] [post_title] => American Artists Professional League Awards Thomas Torak "Best in Show" [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak's Autumn Poem was awarded the Newington Award – Best in Show at the American Artists Professional League's 86th Grand National Exhibition. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => american-artists-professional-league [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-27 11:32:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-27 15:32:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=13279 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12568 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2014-10-06 16:44:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-10-06 20:44:22 [post_content] => Thomas Torak will be exhibiting in American Masters 2014, the sixth annual art exhibition and sale to benefit the Salmagundi ClubThe show, opening October 14, features 135 works of art by 40 representational artists in the club's newly-renovated upper gallery. Gregg Kreutz, David Leffel, and Sherrie McGraw, who have taught at the Art Students League, are also exhibiting. American Masters 2014 continues through October 24, with a gala reception (ticket required) scheduled for Friday October 17, 6:30 – 9 p.m. [caption id="attachment_12569" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Thomas Torak, Festiva Maxima, 2014. Oil on linen, 30 x 24 in. Thomas Torak, Festiva Maxima, 2014. Oil on linen, 30 x 24 in.[/caption] [post_title] => Thomas Torak in American Masters 2014 [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak will be exhibiting in American Masters 2014, the sixth annual art exhibition and sale to benefit the Salmagundi Club. The show, opening October 14, features 135 works of art by 40 representational artists in the club's newly-renovated upper gallery. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-american-masters-2014 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 10:03:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 10:03:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=12568 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12007 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2014-08-25 08:34:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-25 12:34:21 [post_content] =>

Virtually every artist, from the time of cave painting to the dawn of non-objective art, will tell you they paint what they see. What we see around us and how we respond to it is still the principle source of inspiration for many artists today. Painting what you see seems like the most obvious and simplest thing in the worlduntil you try to do it.

When I arrived at the Art Students League in the fall of 1974, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to paint and how those paintings should look. I had talent and imagination but lacked the knowledge and skills to bring my ideas to life. I had wings but no feet. Fortunately, I was able to attend Robert Beverly Hale's life drawing class. After lecturing on anatomy, he would critique drawings in the back of the room. One day he pointed to the flank of the figure in a student's drawing and asked why he had drawn a bump there. The student replied that he saw a bump so he drew it. Hale told him that as he studied anatomy he would discover that the bump was, in fact, the external oblique, that it ran from the rib cage to the crest of the pelvis and had a form and a function. But you can't draw something until you know it exists, he said. When you see that bump as the external oblique and draw it accordingly, he continued, your figure will appear more human. These simple thoughts, to know what you are looking at and to express it with sensitivity, are the cornerstones to painting what you see and bringing that subject to life as a work of art.

PAINTING THE FORM
[caption id="attachment_12008" align="alignright" width="295"]Thomas Torak, Standing Nude, 2014. Oil on linen, 22 x 14 in. Thomas Torak, Standing Nude, 2014.
Oil on linen, 22 x 14 in.[/caption]

The first challenge to painting, or drawing, what I saw was obvious. The model before me was a three-dimensional figure and my sketch pad had a two-dimensional surface. The knowledge of how to create the illusion of three-dimensional space has been around for hundreds of years. I quickly learned to see the figure as a block and practiced drawing boxes and cylinders from every angle and was soon able to draw a head, or rib cage or pelvis, in any position. Seeing those forms lit from a single source of light and shading them accordingly increased the illusion. 

My early experience of learning to draw is quite common, so let's assume you can draw a three-dimensional form reasonably well and move on to exploring what else is involved in painting what you see. Suppose you decide to paint a standing nude. You see the figure and depict her size and proportions on your canvas, take note of the gesture and position in space, and, if you are very observant, see that she is wearing red nail polish and has a scar on her knee from the time she fell off her bicycle as a child. In order to make her more human, you make sure your drawing of the figure is anatomically correct. You can paint these things because you see them, because you know they exist. Next, you endeavor to detect her personality and think about how to give the figure weight, things you are aware of but can't see. Now you are no longer copying the physical surface but striving to express who the model is and your reaction to her. You've expanded the concept of what you see to include things you can't see. You are well on your way to creating a sensitive painting.

PAINTING THE LIGHT

Once you have fully appreciated the model and her pose, you begin to be aware of the light falling on her. Light is very important to how you see the model and your response to her. Where you stand in relation to your source of light is also important. It is rather flattering to the model if you are viewing her in flat light, a bit more interesting if you are seeing her in a half light, and if you go behind her and view her in a rim light, it is quite dramatic. The pose is the same in all three examples, the only thing that has changed is the direction of the light falling on her. Yet the paintings from each of those positions would be dramatically different. Now that you know where the light is coming from in your painting you can mix a progression of values on your palette to shade the model accordingly. You can paint those lights and shadows because you can see them. Now let's expand the concept of what you see again. 

[caption id="attachment_12010" align="alignleft" width="342"]Elizabeth Torak, Design, 1997. Oil on linen, 16 x 17 in. Elizabeth Torak, Design, 1997.
Oil on linen, 16 x 17 in.[/caption]

In the same way you attempted to paint the unseen personality of the model, you can now try to express the quality and personality of the light. If your model is posing in a studio lit by natural light, the progression of values is subtle. If she is posing in the same studio at night and is lit by artificial light, the tones will be harsher and warmer. If she takes the same pose outdoors, the light will be altogether different. The direction of the light falling on the model could be the same in each of these examples, but the quality, the character, of the light would be different in each situation. The intensity of the light can also vary. If you paint three landscapes of the same scene, one in full sunlight, one on a gray day, and one by moonlight, this will quickly become apparent. As you strive to capture a full expression of the light, you are well on your way to creating a luminous painting.

PAINTING THE SPACE

There is yet one more aspect of what you see: the space the model is standing in. You can easily see and feel the form of the model. The light can't be touched, but you can see it as it falls on the model and record its effect in your painting. The space, however, is not visible or tangible at all yet must be expressed as well. You must paint that space around the model if you truly intend to paint what you see. If she is standing three feet in front of a wall, you have to indicate that space or else she will appear to be nailed to the wall. If you have her posing in the center of the room, there is more space around her. If she is posing outdoors, there is still more space to be considered. A tube of “atmosphere” paint would be useful here, but since that doesn't exist, you have to carefully control and manipulate the colors and values on your palette to create this effect. Now let's expand the concept of what you see yet again.

[caption id="attachment_12012" align="alignright" width="340"]Robert Maione, Vermont Landscape, 1984. Oil on linen, 16 x 20 in. Robert Maione, Vermont Landscape, 1984.
Oil on linen, 16 x 20 in.[/caption]

You have already acknowledged that both the model and the light possess character, so now you can describe the quality and personality of the space—the atmosphere—around the model. This is easier to perceive if you are painting a landscape. The difference in the atmosphere on a crisp, sunny day and a misty morning are obvious. The moisture in the air, quality of the light, and distance in the painting are all factors in determining the character of the atmosphere. Even if you are indoors, the space needs to be observed and expressed. If you are painting in a studio in the Deep South on a sultry summer day the air is very different than if you are in a studio in the North on a frigid winter day with a wood fire drying out the air. When you have observed, reacted to, and expressed the personality of the model, the light falling on her, and the space she occupies, you are well on your way to a full expression of painting what you see.

PAINTING A MASTERPIECE
[caption id="attachment_12013" align="alignleft" width="347"]Frank Mason, The Young Emersonian, 1989. Oil on linen, 44 x 36 in. Frank Mason, The Young Emersonian, 1989.
Oil on linen, 44 x 36 in.[/caption]

So far we have focused exclusively on painting the figure. Although she is the subject of the work, other things exist in the painting. The floor and walls set the boundaries of the space and drapery, tables and other objects, which add to the composition and narrative of the piece, must be observed with equal attention. No matter how many objects there are in the painting, what you see should be absorbed in a single glance. There is a unity and harmony. Now your concept of what you see has expanded to include aesthetics. Finally, you observe your subject’s life force. As you become aware of the energy and vibration and intensity of what you are painting, you move beyond being a painter and start to become an artist. You are now on your way to creating a masterpiece.

We have yet to consider color, or how the paint is applied, or how much of what you see you intend to paint, or how to compose your painting. Some artists will paint everything; some will exaggerate what they see; some will reduce the forms to simple shapes; some will deconstruct what they see and remake it again; some will not paint the objects at all but paint only the life force of what they see. Some artists try to copy what they see as directly as possible while others prefer to interpret what they see in a more free-flowing manner; some try to be as sensitive to their subject as possible while others try to be as insensitive as possible. If you intend to paint what you see, you must be fully aware of what you are seeing, no matter the subject nor your style. Because, after all, you can't paint something until you know it exists.

[post_title] => Painting What You See [post_excerpt] => Virtually every artist, from the time of cave painting to the dawn of non-objective art, will tell you they paint what they see. Painting what you see seems like the most obvious and simplest thing in the world…until you try to do it. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => painting-what-you-see [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-26 15:31:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-26 19:31:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=12007 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10396 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2014-05-12 12:00:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-12 17:00:32 [post_content] => book list for art students As I thought about which books are most important to me and my development as an artist, it gradually dawned on me that it would not be a reading list. There are two reasons for this peculiar paradox. First, I am a visual artist; I live and breathe images, and consequently my book list is more image-oriented than text-based. Second, I'm an introvert: when I look at art, I prefer to listen to my own thoughts and explore my feelings rather than be told by someone else what the work is about. After I hear the music of a work of art, after it has touched my heart, then I want to read the libretto, know what the experts have to say about it, bring the wisdom of the ages to enhance the experience. That said, the first book on my list has the perfect balance of beautiful images and extraordinary text. 1. Drawing Lessons of the Great Masters by Robert Beverly Hale is a book for professional artists, for those who intend to make art their profession, and for amateurs who take art seriously. It is a collection of 100 master drawings analyzed from the standpoint of good draftsmanship by legendary League instructor Robert Beverly Hale. Each drawing occupies a full page and is accompanied by the author's commentary on the opposite page. Hale examines basic drawing problems with remarkable clarity and insight and demonstrates how those problems were resolved by great artists. He was a master at taking complex, sophisticated concepts and explaining them in very simple, understandable language. I refer to this book as my bible and recommend it to all my students. It is a bit like studying with the greatest draftsmen of all time with Hale acting as their interpreter. Each chapter focuses on a fundamental aspect of good drawing with the final chapter — "Driving All the Horses at Once," my favorite — explaining how all these aspects are expressed simultaneously. I was fortunate enough to have taken Hale's class and can still hear his voice as I read the text. I've worn out and given away multiple copies of this book. [caption id="attachment_10826" align="alignright" width="245"]book list for art students Frank Mason's oil study Witness, Peter's Denial from Gloria in Excelsis Deo.[/caption] 2. Gloria in Excelsis Deo by Frank Mason is a collection of religious drawings and paintings by another legendary League instructor, Frank Mason, my mentor and friend for over thirty years. The works reproduced in this volume are an expression of the artist's deep Christian faith and his faith in art. The images in each of the eighteen chapters are accompanied by the scriptural passage which inspired them, augmented with Mason's commentary. These images are both inspirational and educational. There are numerous drawings and oil studies for large paintings, a gold mine for any artist aspiring to do figure compositions. Large figure compositions can be easily seen in churches and museums, but the studies for those works are often lost or destroyed. The studies in this book were never meant to be seen by anyone but the artist, but here Mason presents his creative process for all to see. His facility with both chalk and brush are a marvel to behold. The art world is indebted to Mason for helping to keep classical and religious painting alive through the turbulent 1950s and 60s. This beautiful book is a tribute to that effort. 3. "Ever since the knowledge of the great painting techniques of the Renaissance was so mysteriously lost, about the end of the seventeenth century," Jacques Maroger writes in the introduction to The Secret Formulas and Techniques of the Masters, "artists have been trying vainly to rediscover the methods of such masters as Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt and Velásquez — as well as their predecessors, Jan Van Eyck, Memling, Bellini, and others, whose techniques were equally brilliant and durable. This book, then, is written for those artists today who are still haunted by the apparently unattainable perfection of the great masters, and it is hoped that many of them may find the clue that will lead them to a realization of their aims." Jacques Maroger was the head of restoration at the Louvre for many years. As a master chemist, and very competent artist, he was the ideal candidate to research these lost mediums. The first section of the book has a chapter on the importance of drawing, followed by chapters on encaustic and tempera painting. Next are chapters on the invention of oil painting, lead and wax mediums, and the techniques of Rubens, the Dutch Masters, and Velásquez, and finally, why the mediums were lost. The second section contains recipes for the mediums discussed in the first section and detailed descriptions on how to use them. The third section explores the materials used by the masters and has notes on the preparation of grounds. There are some artists and restorers who disagree with Maroger's conclusions and his formulas making this a somewhat controversial book. I, however, think this is the most astute book ever written on painting techniques, and for those who are interested in such things it is indispensable. [caption id="attachment_10828" align="alignleft" width="372"]book list for art students Ira Moskowitz's multi-volume Great Drawings of All Time[/caption] 4. Great Drawings of All Time by Ira Moskowitz is a tremendous collection of some 1,100 drawings, many the actual size of the originals, beautifully reproduced in a large format. They are in full color which is important for those works done on toned paper or created with multiple colored chalks or inks. Moskowitz and his publisher started with the idea of a book of one hundred drawings but the project kept growing until, seven years later, it filled four volumes, which cover Italian, German, Flemish, Dutch, French, Oriental (their word not mine), Spanish, English, American, and contemporary work. Drawings have come down to us in much better condition than paintings or even frescoes. So when I want to know how an artist thought, I always look first to his/her drawings. I had a culturally-deprived childhood; while working in the Art Students League's library as a student, these volumes introduced me to many of the world's greatest artists. I came to know some of them through these drawings before I ever saw one of their paintings or sculptures. This is a lovely way to get to know an artist because drawings are personal, intimate illustrations of the artist's vision. They are often the original and least inhibited expressions of new ideas. When you are looking at a drawing, you are seated right beside the artist, no matter how long ago that artist lived. The masters who created the drawings in these volumes taught me the greatest lessons of all time. 5. Arts and Ideas by William Fleming is a history of the arts that explores major movements in painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, music, and philosophy from antiquity to the present. In Genesis we read that God created man in his own image and likeness. Man, therefore, like God, was creative. From cave painting to the present, that creativity has been expressed in countless ingenious ways. Fleming has attempted to chronicle those countless manifestations in a single book and succeeds beautifully in presenting a relatively complete, albeit succinct, history of human culture. This book became my art history textbook. I like that it is not just a history of painting but also discusses many of the arts together: how, for instance, Baroque painting, music and architecture developed and how one discipline affected the other. The book also has timetables at the beginning of each chapter listing dates for artists, writers, philosophers, etc. who worked in each period. I may not have thought of Mozart, Goya, and Thomas Jefferson as contemporaries but their dates do, in fact, overlap. It is rather daunting to study all of humanity's artistic accomplishments, but Fleming presents the various periods, philosophies, artists, and trends in a way that makes you want to explore each in more detail, and for that I am eternally grateful. 6. There are many books on Rembrandt's paintings but Horst Gerson's Rembrandt Paintings is the one I like the most. It's a big, fat coffee table book with large reproductions. The extensive text by Horst Gerson, who was for many years the director of the Netherlands National Center for Art History at the Hague, is written from the point of view of an art historian, which held little interest for me as a young artist. As I matured, however, my eyes would fall on some interesting or useful passages. But, to be honest, it is the large, full-page color reproductions that accompany the text and the complete catalog of his work, reproduced in black and white, that made me revisit this book so often. I don’t see any point in trying to summarize Rembrandt’s work here. Everyone, from realist to abstractionist, amateur to professional, cultural naif to scholar know and love his paintings. The large reproductions in this volume kept me spellbound for hours. In my student days, whenever I had time, I would flip open the book and draw whichever painting appeared before me. In addition to this volume I would recommend having books on his complete drawings and etchings on your shelf too. I own a dozen or more other books on Rembrandt, and have probably read another dozen. Everyone has their own favorite Rembrandt book; this volume happens to be mine. [caption id="attachment_10814" align="alignright" width="317"]book list for art students A reproduction of Anthony van Dyck's St. Martin Dividing his Cloak from Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben[/caption] 7. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben by Emil Schaeffer is a series of monographs on great artists. There are at least twenty-five volumes that I am aware of, possibly more. I would come across a volume from time to time in a second hand bookstore (before the age of the Internet) and would have a hard time putting it down. The text is in German, which I cannot read, but I could read about these artists elsewhere. The reproductions are all in black and white. They are, however, really good old black and white images, subtle and atmospheric. Digital photography may produce more exact reproductions, but I think these old images are closer to the artist’s vision, in the same way that photo realism is a more meticulous way of painting than an atmospheric approach but the atmospheric approach can give a truer sense of a scene. Of the volumes I own the one on Van Dyck is my favorite. Every painting he created is breathtakingly beautiful, both visually and technically. He had a profound effect on me as my artistic vision was developing. In this book there is one masterpiece after another, some, which were photographed before being over-cleaned by modern restorers, look more like what Van Dyck intended the paintings to look like than what we now see hanging in museums. Because I am always in search of an artist's intent and vision, I place a high value on this series of books. 8. Phaidon Press also has a series of monographs on great artists. These books and images are a bit larger than the Klassiker der Kunst series. They are also less expensive which was an important factor for me in my youth. The reproductions are mostly black and white with a few color plates. In Frans Hals, N.S. Trivas states that “the present volume contains the authentic works by Frans Hals that are in a sufficiently good state of preservation to permit the study and appreciation of the artist’s facture.” There is a short biography and chronology, a review of his technique, and a nod to his “pupils, followers and imitators.” The most interesting texts, however, are the notes on each painting in the catalogue. Along with descriptions and provenance of each painting there is a note of the condition of the piece and what is known about its restoration history, valuable information for anyone studying these works. Frans Hals was a remarkable painter who was equally comfortable letting the brush fly when he was painting his children or finishing a lace collar to perfection on a commissioned portrait. Everyone he painted (except the children) seems like someone you would want to have a beer with, and Hals probably did. I have always been in awe of his free and confident brushwork; it is impossible for me to look at a painting by Hals without smiling. Sadly, this enormously talented artist spent his final years in the poor house supported by the state; happily, however, that same poor house is now the Frans Hals Museum. To be perfectly honest I'm a sucker for any book on Hals, but the Phaidon edition is my favorite. book list for art students9. Adrien Brouwer and David Teniers the Younger by Margret Klinge is the catalogue of a show I saw at Noortman & Brod on Madison Avenue in 1982. It was a loan exhibit of little gems by two of the Little Dutchmen. Brouwer and Teniers are often shown together because they were about the same age, had similar techniques, and both lived and worked in Antwerp. Brouwer, however, led an unsettled life, frequenting taverns and smoking dens (where he found the subjects for his paintings) and died at the young age of 33. Teniers, on the other hand, strove for wealth, fame, and recognition. He married Anna Brueghel, daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder. (Rubens was a signatory to their marriage contract.) His genre scenes were clearly painted by an observer, not a participant, and he lived to the ripe old age of eighty. Consequently, many more of his paintings have survived than have Brouwer's, so he has more pieces in this exhibit and its catalog. Although I respect Teniers' work, I am much more interested in Brouwer's paintings. Generally small genre scenes of drinkers and smokers, barbers and dentists, card players and musicians going about their daily activities in parlors and taverns, these are paintings of lively characters created with extraordinary skill. It's easy to overlook the masterful handling of the paint because the scenes are so vivid. Rubens, however, admired and collected his work. There were no fewer than sixteen paintings by Brouwer listed in Rubens' estate at the time of his death. Because little is known about Brouwer's life and only a few of his paintings have survived, it is hard to find a monograph on his work. That makes this catalog all the more valuable. 10. The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Cary is a wonderful novel about Gulley Jimson, an artist who will do anything to keep a brush in his hand. Lying, cheating, and stealing are all acceptable behaviors for Gulley so long as they lead to a good piece of canvas to work on. The story is told from Gulley's point of view, and we read in delightful detail about what inspires him, how he thinks about his subjects and attacks the canvas, and how he deals with friends and foes who help or hinder his efforts to paint. As the novel progresses, his ideas become grander and more complex until it becomes difficult to even find a wall big enough to hold them, and as his vision grows so does his desperation to get it down. The novel has a rather wacky plot, and those who are not artists might find Gulley an unsympathetic, reprehensible character. But to those of us who understand his passion, it is a wonderful journey of survival in a hostile world. Cary, who did some painting in his youth, does a marvelous job capturing what it is like to be an artist and astutely expresses the torment of bringing one's vision to life on a canvas. "I didn't know whether I'd be able to live through the night without my picture," Gulley says. "I'm never really comfortable without a picture; and when I've got one on hand, life isn't worth living." Most of the books on this list had a tremendous effect on me as a young art student, a few I discovered later in life. As I matured and developed as an artist, however, I found myself spending less and less time looking to other artists and experts for guidance and inspiration. My artistic philosophy that took root in these books has grown and blossomed with fresh new ideas. These books are now treasured old friends, but whether I look at the books on this list once a week or once a decade they all continue to hold a place of honor on my bookshelf. Thomas Torak is an instructor at the Art Students League of New York. His website is thomastorak.com. You can see the list of titles, expanding as the Artist's Bookshelf series continues, on our dedicated Pinterest board. [post_title] => On My Bookshelf [post_excerpt] => As I thought about which books are most important to me and my development as an artist, it gradually dawned on me that it would not be a reading list. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => on-my-bookshelf [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-25 16:21:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-25 20:21:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=10396 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7081 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2013-11-10 06:00:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-10 11:00:07 [post_content] =>

131111-il-torak-t-Women-in-Art-III,-Painting-the-Feast-web-p

Thomas Torak's Painting the Feast (above) received the Marquis Who's Who in American Art References Award at Audubon Artists' 71st Annual Exhibition, which you can see on their site, through December 31. [post_title] => Thomas Torak [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak's Painting the Feast received the Marquis Who's Who in American Art References Award at Audubon Artists' 71st Annual Exhibition, which you can see on their site, through December 31. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-6 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 09:23:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 09:23:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=7081 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6643 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2013-10-12 09:13:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-10-12 13:13:59 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_6645" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Thomas Torak, Studio Interior with Nocturne, 2013. Oil on linen, 30 x 24 in. Thomas Torak, Studio Interior with Nocturne, 2013.<br/> Oil on linen, 30 x 24 in.[/caption] Alive with Paint is a solo show of Thomas Torak’s paintings at Sloane Merrill Gallery (Boston, MA) that runs from October 18 through November 6, 2013. The opening reception is on Friday, October 18, 6:30 to 9 pm. [post_title] => Thomas Torak's Solo Show in Boston [post_excerpt] => Alive with Paint is a solo show of Thomas Torak’s paintings at Sloane Merrill Gallery (Boston, MA) that runs from October 18 through November 6, 2013. The opening reception is on Friday, October 18. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-5 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 09:20:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 09:20:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=6643 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6311 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2013-09-07 12:55:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-07 16:55:09 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_6313" align="aligncenter" width="400"]In-the-Studio-40x30-oil-on-linen-p Thomas Torak, In the Studio, 2013. Oil on linen, 40 x 30 in.[/caption] "Alive with Paint" in the October 2013 issue of The Artist's Magazine describes painter Thomas Torak's philosophy and techniques and includes a demonstration of his above self-portrait, In the Studio. The painting received the Hudson Valley Art Association Award at the American Artists Professional League 85th Grand National Exhibition. [post_title] => Thomas Torak Is "Alive with Paint" [post_excerpt] => "Alive with Paint" in the October 2013 issue of The Artist's Magazine describes painter Thomas Torak's philosophy and techniques and includes a demonstration of his above self-portrait, In the Studio. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-3 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 09:14:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 09:14:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=6311 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [14] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4958 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2013-06-03 09:57:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-03 14:57:26 [post_content] => When Elizabeth and I moved to Vermont nearly twenty years ago, the first thing we did was create a space to paint. Behind the attached garage there was a 16 x 24 ft. workroom the builder had used as his carpentry shop, which we thought would make a good temporary studio while we settled in. We raised the ceiling as high as we could, blocked off the windows on the east wall, and installed large windows in the north wall. It was a rough space with bare plywood on the walls and ceiling, but the light was good. We painted together in that space for twelve years before converting the garage into a second studio. Elizabeth likes the new studio, but I generally prefer the intimacy of the smaller space. I painted one wall in an attempt to make it look nicer but then decided I’d rather paint in a dedicated workspace than in a showroom. Besides, the plywood throws a beautiful warm reflected light on my models![portfolio_slideshow width=636 height=500 id=21256]
Photo: George Bouret
[post_title] => The Studio Project | Thomas Torak [post_excerpt] => When Elizabeth and I moved to Vermont nearly twenty years ago, the first thing we did was create a space to paint. Behind the attached garage there was a 16 x 24 ft. workroom the builder had used as his carpentry shop, which we thought would make a good temporary studio while we settled in. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-studio-project-thomas-torak-art-journaling [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-21 06:57:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-21 11:57:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=4958 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [15] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1005 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2012-12-25 08:41:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-12-25 13:41:28 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_1770" align="alignright" width="364"]Velázquez Portrait of a Man Diego Rodriguez Velázquez, Portrait of a Man, 1630. Oil on canvas, 27 x 21¾ in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jules Bache Collection, 1949. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, NY.[/caption] There are some paintings I have thought about a lot and with which I have long relationships. The recently rediscovered Velázquez Portrait of a Man at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of them. I first came to know the painting in 1975 and have always referred to it as the Velázquez Self Portrait, the title it had when it entered the museum collection in 1949. Over the years the attribution changed from “by Velázquez” to “school piece rather close to Velázquez” then to “workshop of Velázquez.” I never thought it was by Velázquez or his school, but I do remember it struck me as a remarkable portrait. I spent many hours with the painting, marveling at the perfection of the drawing, the economy of the technique, the delicate harmonies and glorious unity. In the early 1980s, the painting was removed from the wall of the museum, and I waited patiently for its return. I became concerned when the months turned into years and inquired where I might find the piece. As the museum became more and more uncertain about the attribution, I was told, the painting was less and less desirable as an exhibition piece and was finally put into storage. In 1983, I asked for permission to see it and was given a pass to the storage area. There, I found my old friend in a storage rack next to the Malle Babba by Frans Hals, which was also of dubious attribution and kept away from public view. That was the last time I saw the piece before its recent cleaning. [caption id="attachment_1768" align="alignleft" width="322"] Anthony van Dyck, James Stuart (1612–1655), Duke of Richmond and Lennox, ca. 1634–35. Oil on canvas, 85 x 50¼ in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo credit : The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, NY.[/caption] In November 2009 the painting reappeared with great fanfare at the Metropolitan’s exhibition, Velázquez Rediscovered. I was delighted to know the painting was again on view but apprehensive after viewing the recently cleaned piece online. When I saw it at the museum, my fears were confirmed: the painting was badly altered by the cleaning. Not wanting to look any longer, I turned away from the piece and noticed an attributional time line on the opposite wall. The first line caught my attention: “Before 1800 – Acquired as a work by Anthony Van Dyck by Johann Ludwig, Reichsgraf von Wallmoden-Gimborn (1736–1811), illegitimate son of King George II of England.” This made sense to me. The room was filled with other works by Velázquez and this didn’t look like any of them. It did, however, look like the Van Dycks just a few rooms away. On the other hand, I still agreed with the long-standing view that it was a portrait of Velázquez. I began to wonder how Van Dyck could have come to paint a portrait of Velázquez. There is no historical record of the two ever meeting or even being in the same place at the same time. But one could conceive a scenario to explain how it could have been painted. Peter Paul Rubens, Van Dyck’s mentor and friend, was in Spain for seven months in 1628. Velázquez was a court painter to King Philip IV at that time, and, according to Jonathan Brown, the leading Velázquez expert of our time, “Rubens ignored the other court painters and kept only the company of Velázquez.” It is not unreasonable to assume that Rubens painted a portrait of his new young friend as a personal memento of his trip to Spain. This would not be surprising as Rubens seems to have painted just about everyone he ever met. When he returned to Antwerp, he would have shown the painting to Van Dyck and told him about the talented Spanish artist. Copying was very common in those days; Rubens had copied several Titians in the king’s collection while in Spain. It’s possible that Van Dyck copied the Rubens portrait thus giving us a portrait of Velázquez by Van Dyck. Since there is no known portrait of Velázquez by Rubens in existence today, I admit this is speculative, but plausible. According to Keith Christiansen, chairman of European paintings at the Met, the piece cannot be traced prior to the early eighteenth century when it belonged to Johann Ludwig. So, how did the painting get into Ludwig’s hands?  If you agree that the painting is by Van Dyck, it may not be such a big mystery. Van Dyck went to England in 1632 to work for King Charles I. It is quite likely he took the copied portrait of Velázquez with him. It would have been useful as a portrait sample for prospective clients, as a piece for sale, or to be given as a gift to ingratiate Van Dyck with the aristocracy. Whether it was given or sold by Van Dyck is of less importance than that it would then be part of an aristocratic collection where King George II could have seen it. According to historical records, the king had a mistress named Amalie von Wallmoden. It seems reasonable that the king would have given gifts to his mistress. Perhaps he bought the Van Dyck portrait as one such gift. Amalie and the king had a son together, Johann Ludwig, who, Christiansen tells us, was “raised at the Court of St. James … made the Grand Tour in 1765 and then settled in Hanover, where he built a castle, the Wallmoden-Schloss, to house his collection of antiquities.” It is not difficult to imagine the painting passing from mother to son, who then takes the piece to Hanover where its known history begins. Again, this is pure speculation: there is no record of such a painting being in the royal collection. I’m not trying to prove attribution to Van Dyck here—I’ll leave that to some eager Ph.D. candidate—but rather to suggest that the earliest attribution may have been right. [caption id="attachment_1769" align="alignleft" width="374"] Diego Rodriguez Velázquez, Juan de Pareja, 1650. Oil on canvas, 32 x 27½ in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, NY.[/caption] When I turned back to the painting on the wall during my visit, I became more convinced that that attribution might be correct. Every artist has a unique way of drawing; it is their handwriting, their identity. The drawing of the head in Portrait of a Man seems to me to be by the same hand that painted Van Dyck’s portrait James Stuart, Duke of Lennox and Richmond, not the hand that painted Velázquez’s Juan de Pareja, both part of the Metropolitan’s collection. The manner in which the paint is applied also suggests that it is a Flemish painting. Rubens pioneered and perfected the use of opacity and transparency in his work, and Van Dyck mastered the technique. Portrait of a Man showed this method of painting in its full glory. Before the cleaning, the paint varied from a huge opacity on the forehead to an exquisite transparency along the jawline. Although Velázquez and Rubens spent some seven months together, Velázquez never fully took on this technique in his work. His paintings can be either very bold or very delicate but he did not use both processes in a single painting, a hallmark of Flemish painting at that time. Although I disagree with the painting’s attribution, it is the condition of the painting after the cleaning that I find most disturbing. The opacity I mentioned, is still there since it was created with white lead pigment and is not easily removed. After the recent cleaning, however, the transparency which so beautifully sculpted the jawbone and turned the lower part of the head is altered and the jaw looks unfinished. The head is now unresolved, like a novel with the last few pages missing. In addition to the jawline’s alteration, I noticed other changes. Delicate harmonies in the hair, doublet and background were removed during the cleaning. Michael Gallagher, who led the restoration, claims that everything that was removed had been added by a previous restorer. After viewing the cleaned painting, Jonathan Brown, the sole authority to authenticate the work, agreed with Gallagher. He restored the attribution from “workshop of Velázquez” to “by Velázquez,” declaring the work an unfinished portrait. Until now no one has ever suggested that the painting was unfinished. While every artist leaves unfinished work, there is a crucial difference between a portrait that is unfinished and one that is over-cleaned. An unfinished portrait still has a focus and unity of purpose, whereas an over-cleaned painting will leave random scumbles, abrasions, and odd edges that distract from the portrait. Before the cleaning, Portrait of a Man had that focus and unity, now it shows those telltale signs of over-cleaning. The paint that was taken off this painting was sensitive and masterful, and, in my opinion, the hand of a great artist, not the hand of a restorer. Anyone who suggests that a restorer could “finish” a Velázquez portrait has never seriously held a brush in his hand. To an artist, painting is visual poetry. Portrait of a Man is no longer a poem, it is now a collection of words.
I’ve always thought it odd that artists are not considered experts in painting. It is conservators who are given the authority to decide how a painting should look and historians are the undisputed guardians of attribution.
My thoughts drifted to the identity of the sitter. When the painting was in the Ludwig collection, it was called Portrait of an Unknown Man and attributed to Van Dyck. According to the attributional time line, the artistic credit was changed from Van Dyck to Velázquez in 1854, and in 1857, the painting was sold as a Velázquez Self Portrait. In 1917, historian August Mayer confirmed it as a self portrait on the basis of the resemblance of the sitter to a figure thought to be a depiction of the artist, standing at the far right of Velázquez’s Surrender of Breda (1634–35). The two portraits are clearly of the same person, and it was very common at that time for artists to paint themselves into large figure compositions. Hypothetically, Velázquez could have copied the Rubens portrait, too. When he needed a foot soldier to balance his composition in the Surrender of Breda, he may have used his Rubens copy as a model, thus adding a self portrait to the piece. Jonathan Brown agrees the two portraits are of the same person but is of the opinion that Velázquez would not dare portray himself in the company of the distinguished Spanish noblemen depicted in the Surrender. He concludes that the newly-restored portrait cannot be a self portrait either. I agree with Mayer that they are both portraits of Velázquez and the Surrender figure is a self portrait, however, I believe the painting at the Met is a portrait of him by another hand. I’ve always thought it odd that artists are not considered experts in painting. It is conservators who are given the authority to decide how a painting should look and historians are the undisputed guardians of attribution. Artists, who spend their days painting, who know how paint is applied and know how artists think, are never consulted. Artists have a lot to contribute to the conversation. My thoughts on the attribution may be fanciful, but they are worthy of consideration. If an artist had been consulted before the cleaning, the painting may not have been ruined. We might have a clearer identity of the sitter if there had been a discussion rather than a declaration by a single historian. After viewing the painting the experts now call an unfinished Portrait of a Man by Velázquez, I came to the conclusion that it is a portrait of Velázquez by Van Dyck, at one time a beautifully finished portrait, but now poorly restored. The attribution of the work is not of great importance to me. It was a better painting when it was a workshop piece than it is now with Velázquez’s name attached to it. But I am deeply saddened to see a painting that I have loved for thirty-five years irreparably altered and stripped of its former glory. This article appeared in the Spring 2011 print issue of LINEA. [post_title] => The Rediscovered Velázquez [post_excerpt] => There are some paintings I have thought about a lot and with which I have long relationships. The recently rediscovered Velázquez Portrait of a Man at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of them. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-rediscovered-velazquez [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-26 13:06:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-26 17:06:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=1005 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [16] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1107 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2012-10-01 10:18:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-10-01 14:18:47 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_2171" align="aligncenter" width="400"]121001-il-torak-nocturne-15-p Thomas Torak, Nocturne #15 Passing Storm, 2012.
Oil on canvas, 16 x 16 in.[/caption]

21 Nocturnes is a solo exhibition of Thomas Torak's paintings at Principle Gallery (Alexandria, VA), October 12–26, 2012. "The paintings in this series are, like Chopin's Nocturnes, evocative of the night. They are not illustrations of his musical pieces but rather inspired by the mysteries of nighttime."

[post_title] => Thomas Torak's Nocturnes [post_excerpt] => “The paintings in this series are, like Chopin’s Nocturnes, evocative of the night. They are not illustrations of his musical pieces but rather inspired by the mysteries of nighttime.” [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 08:45:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 08:45:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=1107 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [17] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1091 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2012-07-01 10:06:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-07-01 14:06:39 [post_content] =>   [caption id="attachment_2221" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Thomas Torak, Nocturne # 1 Fireflies, 2009. Oil on panel, 16 x 16 in.[/caption] Thomas Torak received an Honorable Mention award at the 76th National Midyear Exhibition, The Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH), June 24–August 19, 2012. [post_title] => Thomas Torak [post_excerpt] => Thomas Torak received an Honorable Mention award at the 76th National Midyear Exhibition, The Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH), June 24–August 19, 2012. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => thomas-torak [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 08:45:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 08:45:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.asllinea.org/?p=1091 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
  • Thomas Torak Painting Receives Award at Salmagundi Club Exhibition

    Thomas Torak received the Special Award of Continuing Excellence in Honor of Frank Mason for his painting Golden Delicious at the Salmagundi Club's Summer Members Exhibition.

  • An Award for Thomas Torak

    Thomas Torak’s Bread and Wine received the Salmagundi Club Award at the American Artists Professional League 88th Grand National Exhibition.

  • An HVAA Award for Thomas Torak

    Thomas Torak received the Georgie Read Barton Memorial Award for his painting Bread and Eggs.

  • Thomas Torak Receives Allied Artists of America Award

    Thomas Torak’s A Morning Walk won the Allied Artists of America Award at the American Artists Professional League 87th Grand National Exhibition.

  • Torak at the Gilcrease Museum

    Thomas Torak is exhibiting three paintings in the Collectors' Reserve: American Art Exhibition and Sale, 2015.

  • On Exhibition: Allied Artists of America: 100 Years

    Thomas Torak and Joseph Peller are helping celebrate Allied Artists of America's one-hundreth anniversary.

  • Thomas Torak Now Represented by Helmholz

    Thomas Torak is now represented by Helmholz Fine Art in Manchester Center, VT.

  • American Artists Professional League Awards Thomas Torak "Best in Show"

    Thomas Torak's Autumn Poem was awarded the Newington Award – Best in Show at the American Artists Professional League's 86th Grand National Exhibition.

  • Thomas Torak in American Masters 2014

    Thomas Torak will be exhibiting in American Masters 2014, the sixth annual art exhibition and sale to benefit the Salmagundi Club. The show, opening October 14, features 135 works of art by 40 representational artists in the club's newly-renovated upper gallery.

  • Painting What You See

    Virtually every artist, from the time of cave painting to the dawn of non-objective art, will tell you they paint what they see. Painting what you see seems like the most obvious and simplest thing in the world…until you try to do it.

  • On My Bookshelf

    As I thought about which books are most important to me and my development as an artist, it gradually dawned on me that it would not be a reading list.

  • Thomas Torak

    Thomas Torak's Painting the Feast received the Marquis Who's Who in American Art References Award at Audubon Artists' 71st Annual Exhibition, which you can see on their site, through December 31.

  • Thomas Torak's Solo Show in Boston

    Alive with Paint is a solo show of Thomas Torak’s paintings at Sloane Merrill Gallery (Boston, MA) that runs from October 18 through November 6, 2013. The opening reception is on Friday, October 18.

  • Thomas Torak Is "Alive with Paint"

    "Alive with Paint" in the October 2013 issue of The Artist's Magazine describes painter Thomas Torak's philosophy and techniques and includes a demonstration of his above self-portrait, In the Studio.

  • The Studio Project | Thomas Torak

    When Elizabeth and I moved to Vermont nearly twenty years ago, the first thing we did was create a space to paint. Behind the attached garage there was a 16 x 24 ft. workroom the builder had used as his carpentry shop, which we thought would make a good temporary studio while we settled in.

  • The Rediscovered Velázquez

    There are some paintings I have thought about a lot and with which I have long relationships. The recently rediscovered Velázquez Portrait of a Man at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of them.

  • Thomas Torak's Nocturnes

    “The paintings in this series are, like Chopin’s Nocturnes, evocative of the night. They are not illustrations of his musical pieces but rather inspired by the mysteries of nighttime.”

  • Thomas Torak

    Thomas Torak received an Honorable Mention award at the 76th National Midyear Exhibition, The Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH), June 24–August 19, 2012.