--Dan Cummins (Board President)
Our black-eyed Susans decided to burst into bloom while we were away last week. What a home-coming! I’ve learned these rich yellow wildflowers symbolize wonder and imagination, encouraging us to pursue life's whimsies. Nature speaks to us in fascinating ways and can bring simple joy. 

All we have to do is slow down enough to take it in.
We invite you to do the same with ArtiFactory's July Newsletter.  Like our summer gardens, it is bursting with interesting articles, videos, and film reviews. We hope you find something that, like the black-eyed Susan, invites wonder and brings you joy.
Please Tell Us Your Views
Now that many of us are vaccinated, the ArtiFactory will offer a Thursday night life drawing group in memory of Phil Dorothy. The next one is on July 22, 2021 at 6:30-8:30 pm. in the lower level of Wesley House at 120 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Those interested in attending need to register so the ArtiFactory can gauge interest in this event. We will be drawing from nude, scantily clothed or dressed models. Must be over 18 to attend.
Register for July 22
Studio Rentals

Leases for ArtiFactory studios on the lower level of the Wesley House (120 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA) are $125/month. This covers all utilities except Wi-Fi. Access 24/7 via a key fob. The studio has a small sink. Contact us to find out more.
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--Beppie Weiss | beppie.net

Hello Art Friends!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer. It’s hard to believe it is half gone. My yard is in full bloom. I think of it as my outdoor canvas to work on,…….and on, and now it has erupted into a riot of outrageous color.
I have two articles I want to bring to your attention. The first is from the July 10 Wall Street Journal, “Renaissance Master Hits the Road” by Judith H. Dobrzynski. It is about the most well-know artist of the 15th Century; more well known than either Michelangelo or Leonardo DaVinci. Albrecht Durer was able to spread his work throughout Europe because he was a most amazing printmaker whose work was distributed widely. He traveled extensively for people of his time, and mingled with artists and patrons wherever he went. Opening in Achen, Germany this month is an exhibit of his work done in a one-year period on a trip he made to the Lowlands, establishing himself in Antwerp. The show includes 190 documents, drawings and paintings made that year. Of the many drawings he made there are 55 exhibited, and three paintings of the five remaining from the 22 he made during that year. Notes, letters, receipts, and bills fill out the exhibit. Making a fully detailed story of life, customs, styles and interests of people during this period in Northern Europe. A smaller version of this show will open in London in November.
The second article is is from the New York Times, “Peering Under Vermeers Without Peeling Off the Paint”. 

“High-tech scanning techniques used by geologists, planetary scientists, drug companies, and the military are revealing secrets of how artists created their masterpieces.” The National Gallery of art has some Vermeers, and a couple of them credited to Vermeer may not be his. “The Girl with the Red Hat” and “The Girl with a Flute” are different from his other works in some ways, and they are painted on wood, not canvas. The museum regards the Red Hat as genuine, but the Flute as “not up to Johannes’s standards”.

Comes the year of COVID and the museums everywhere close. Now they can take their most famous pieces down and give them a good going over without making all their visitors upset. The NGofA spent about 2 months scanning all their Vermeers. The scan of “Woman Holding a Balance” showed a lower layer of underpainting loosely done with active brushwork. There is no conclusion on The Red Hat or The Flute.

But scans like these can expose some things the artist may not have wanted shared. Bellini’s “Feast of the Gods” was hugely changed and repainted by his student, Titian! Now we know what Bellini’s looked like. The Getty Museum when scanning Rembrandt’s “Old Man in a Military Costume” discovered that it was painted on top of an upside down portrait. X-ray fluorescence scan showed a young man in a robe, and the hyperspectral image showed four sets of eyes. I think it was Sargent who said “A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.”

Now to local news. The Artists Sanctuary across from Coe College, 1239 1st Ave. SE Cedar Rapids, is starting a drawing group Mondays 7-9 p.m. $10. They will be working from a model, clothed and sometimes nude. There will be warmup sketches and 20-minute poses. Want to be on their email? Contact: artisansanctuary@gmail.com

“Catiri’s Fresh Paint 2021”, an Iowa Plein Air competition is planned for September 3-5. To register go to freshpaintiowa.com or call 319-622-3969. Registration is $50 before August 1, $75 8/1 to 8/29, and $100 8/29 to 9/3.

John is still live Wednesdays at 1:00 demonstrating watercolor painting at John Preston on Facebook.
So this is all from me this month.
Please send any news you would like to share to me by clicking here. Keep a sketch book with you and fill it. You never know when it will come in handy.

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--John McGlinn | artshowjourney.com
Interview with a mature Bridget Riley
So wonderful to see an interview with such a mature artist. Bridget Riley may not be a quickly recognizable name, but she is a significant innovator in the Op Art movement. She’s an exceptional artist so intelligent, nice, thoughtful, open-minded, disciplined, and yes, very successful. I have always been a fan. In this video interview she says so many "right" things that I am going to keep it near. It includes many examples of her work and terrific explanations of her thinking. Plus she sounds so good!

Bridget Riley Interview 12:25 long
The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570
Just available on the famous Italian family name: the Medici at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This stunning exhibition features over 90 works in a wide range of mediums, from paintings, sculptural busts, medals, and carved gemstones to drawings, etchings, manuscripts, and armor. Included are works by the period's most celebrated artists, from Raphael, Jacopo Pontormo, and Rosso Fiorentino to Benvenuto Cellini, Agnolo Bronzino, and Francesco Salviati.
This video blends power, politics and art for us to understand Florence 450 years ago and its art scene!
Pictured is an unfinished portrait of Michelangelo!

Medici Portraits 28:30 long
Francis Bacon’s origin, early and late artwork by Art History School
The art of British artist Francis Bacon explores adult themes and subjects in his wildly inventive and tortured paintings. His work reflects a life lived to extravagant extremes (for those days). Some experts consider him to be one of the very best painters of the 20th century.

Such an excellent biography! I have nine books on Bacon and this pulls all together. So well done. Although Bacon is one of my favorite artists, not all the paintings selected for the video are to my liking. His van Gogh copies/interpretations are in my humble opinion just ugly as are a few more. Unfortunate for the first time viewer, but it’s the trajectory of his work that is most important and how valuable his revelatory imagery is to the modern esthetic.

Francis Bacon history lesson 18:28 long
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--Phil Beck
Frida Still Life poster.
July is a month singularly rich in artist birthdays. Just look at this list of illuminati: John Singleton Copley, Jean Cocteau, Frida Kahlo, Marc Chagall, David Hockney, Camille Pissarro, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Amedeo Modigliani, Andrew Wyeth, Gustav Klimt, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Edgar Degas, Judy Chicago, Alexander Calder, Edward Hopper, Maxfield Parrish, Thomas Eakins, George Grosz, Beatrix Potter, Marcel Duchamp, and Henry Moore. To name just a few. I mean, who wasn’t born in July?! But in terms of cinematic portrayals, two stand out: Frida Kahlo and Rembrandt.

Kahlo, the Mexican painter known for her revealing self-portraits and melding of folk art and Surrealism, has been the subject of intense scrutiny for a number of years now. Many films have been made about her, including a major documentary examination from last year, Frida Kahlo. But the best known is still 2002’s Frida, starring and co-produced by Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek. This ambitious biopic traces the artist’s life from the crippling bus accident that turned her from medical studies to painting at 18, through her two stormy marriages to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), to her death at 47, having achieved recognition as one of Mexico’s premier artists. Uneven but impassioned, Frida vividly—in brilliant colors and imaginative uses of animation--depicts the inspirations behind some of her best-known paintings, as well as her bisexuality, the mutual infidelities that made the Kahlo-Rivera relationship so turbulent, and her Communist politics. It was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Hayek as best actress, and scored well with critics and moviegoers, rewarding the vision of those who toiled long years (Hayak’s personal campaign to make and star in the film lasted seven) to bring the life of this extraordinary woman and artist to the big screen. Sadly, films like Frida are still too rare.

But now we come to the granddaddy of all artist movie biographies--the 1936 British picture Rembrandt starring Charles Laughton and directed by Alexander Korda, the team that scored an international hit (and an Oscar for Laughton) with The Private Life of Henry VIII three years before. Much like Henry, Rembrandt picks up its subject in midlife at the peak of his success and charts his downward spiral through a series of setbacks to his sad and lonely old age. Debt-ridden and depressed after the death of his wife, Rembrandt quarrels with patrons and sees a once admiring public turn against him over scandals in his private life. The painter didn’t have six wives, just two mistresses, but the notoriety of these liaisons exacerbates the decline in his fortunes. At film’s end, impoverished and alone, the aged Rembrandt buys paint instead of food so he can start another painting, his passion for art undimmed by the vicissitudes of life. The film is creaky in places but still affecting, buoyed by Laughton’s sensitive performance. A notoriously hammy actor, his uncharacteristic restraint in this role imbues its pathos with tragic dignity. The result is a portrait worthy of the great Dutch Master himself.

More recent treatments of Rembrandt include a French-German-Dutch biographical drama with Klaus Maria Brandauer (Rembrandt, 1999) and Nightwatching, a 2007 film about events surrounding the creation of his most famous painting, Night Watch (originally titled Military Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch).
Seen any of these films?  Tell us what you think of them, or suggest others not covered in the newsletter. Click here to contact Phil Beck with your movie comments or suggestions.

Kahlo on Film:

Rembrandt on Film:
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Art in the Afternoon on YouTube

Recordings of the the recent Art in the Afternoon programs on Zoom are now available on the ArtiFactory YouTube channel.

Watch on YouTube

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If you are interested in helping keep the arts alive in Johnson County. Please click here for more details.
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Past Newsletters:
06/22/2021 - Nature is in full bloom
Graphic design by: Robert Richardson