Monday, August 12, 2013

August 14th Program/Demo: Joe McDonnell Explaining How He Uses the Master's Technique

"Sandias" © Joe McDonnell

At the RRAA August 14th Membership Meeting starting at 6:30 pm, artist, Joe McDonnell will be giving a talk and demo on how he uses the Maroger medium-one that was used extensively by the Italian and Flemish Masters.This program is free of charge and the public is welcome-you need not be a member to attend. You can find out where the meetings are held HERE.

The Maroger mediums are made up in Italian and Flemish formulas. They were formulated from restoration samples at the Louvre Museum. They are a two part mastic and beeswax oil painting material that re-create the lighting effects, brushwork and the transparency of the shadows that give a painting depth without losing detail as practiced by the old European masters. Both are mixed right into the raw paint on the palette. The “Venetian” medium is based on the use of beeswax which artists found added a suppleness to oil paints eliminating evaporative cracking over time regardless of thickness of application. The “Flemish” medium gives the paint a “fresh, just painted” look, eliminating that “dry, flaky” final appearance due to the evaporation of the natural oils by the turpentine and eliminates the need for a final glossy varnish.

The Hahn/Wexler/Maroger technique of painting uses 6 tones or values - painting from fat to lean. This gives an added 3 dimensions that cannot be achieved by using oil paints, linseed oils and turpentine by themselves and is the secret of the Old Masters.

In 1963, a chance encounter in Paris, France brought together master artists Siegfried Hahn, Howard Wexler and aspiring artist, Joe McDonnell to form a teacher/student relationship and an enduring friendship.

Hahn and Wexler were teaching painting, drawing and watercolor to mostly U.S Air Force family members stationed in Evreux, Normandy and Paris, France during the 1950s and 1960s.

Joe became a European student of both Hahn and Wexler, who taught him to paint with the mediums re-discovered by Jacques Maroger, a French chemist and onetime director of conservation at the Louvre Museum.

Joe was also studying at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France and when his father was reassigned stateside, Joe attended the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Joe spent the intervening years in both the commercial advertising field as well as keeping up his fine arts training and background. He stayed in touch with Siegfried and Howard by letter through the years, and moved to Albuquerque to study with and be a friend to both.

"I've kept my first Maroger medium painting that Howard walked me through step by step back in 1965. It was a landscape of the church in the town where I lived. He was so patient and thorough that I still remember his instructions."

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