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Thomas LohreLohre Fine Art
Cincinnati Ohio 45220 United Stateshome Cell Phone: 5132361704cell Birthday: July 17, 1953
Tom learned by studying the Academic Manner. Bouguereau, the leading academic at the advent of impressionism, painted completely transparent with no underpainting. Little if any white paint is used. Opaque white is only used in white fabric and the at the end of form. Starting with a scrapped smooth gessoed surface. The time the paint takes to dry is important because the time to pick over a painting before it starts to set is important in a manner that relies on everything being transparent. The white of the painting is the white of the canvas surface. My works were to match the traditional academic methods. Starting off with an idea and then filling in all the blanks with compositions, drawings, studies, and models to make a formal story on canvas with the idea. Not relying on the core photo but the sense of the photo. Sure, you could have just painted the photograph, but it would not be academic. Each face struggles to feature themselves with little interaction to the others in the composition, striving for intimate involvement between the figures. The original image could have been used verbatim with good results.
Tom Lohre, artist/scientist
Portraits and Science Mix
Tom paints portraits, commissions, landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes and outer space scenes. He also creates art machines using living mobiles, light guiding devices, whirly-gigs, biogenetics to paint with, math formulas for profile generation, mobiles of cut out silhouettes and marble sculpting. Tom is driven to create. He started as a portrait painter because he could quickly get a likeness and emulate the old masters now he paints what he or his clients want.
Being a consummate fine portrait painter has not stopped Tom from working years on a machine that paints by looking at something and painting it in real time. Lego, the toy maker, offers state of the art interfacing of computers and machines that is used in high schools and colleges. Since 2003 Tom has been learning Lego’s high level vision software RoboLab. He developed a novel way to apply rich thick color rapidly using Lego parts. Soon he will have a working machine that looks and then paints in real time interpreting the scene on the fly and then painting.
Work From Life
All the while Tom is working on his art machine he is refining his old master manner by studying the written work of the masters. Little is written by the master artist. Delacroix and Van Gogh are well known for their treatise on painting but there is a wealth of material that sheds light of the secrets of art. The main tread that runs through this work is to “work from life.”
Trained Under A Master
Tom trained under a world class portrait painter, Ralph Wolfe Cowan. After assisting Mr. Cowan in Palm Beach in 1980, Tom started traveling the circuit of Palm Beach, Nantucket and New York City. Tom paints formal portraits in the manner of: WILLIAM ADOLPHE BOUGUEREAU 1825-1905. These paintings are oil painted a la prima on a very smooth scrapped gessoed canvas stretched on board. The colors are as transparent as possible and all the edges are hard. Tom paints landscapes in the manner of: JAN VAN DER HEYDEN 1637-1712. These paintings are also painted a la prima on a very smooth scrapped gessoed canvas stretched on board. Figures are completely painted although they may be as small as one inch. Trees are painted carefully and without scrumbling. All paint is applied like icing on a cake.
Tom is looking for something that tests his metal and still creates work that is exciting, new and novel. First he thought of creating a surround sound painting complete with chair, sound system, scents, lighting, smoke and whatever. The theme should be as if it is a movie or novel. Tom envisions a artwork that moves the viewer first and that size medium or anything should not hinder the production of the work. Elements of the painting must be exactly appropriate. The thread to the painting must have a greater appeal where it can be played over and over in endless variations. Tom started this current direction painting his daughter in a series of somewhat black and white portraits of his daughters face with little vignettes in the background of the inner city of Cincinnati. The series evolved into young women in landscapes, small works with detailed figures.
If You Feel It, It Will Come
What makes a thing beautiful or stimulating is unknown but people know it when they see it. Great artists just paint what they want to paint without regard for the viewer.
His Best Work
Tom’s best work is landscapes painted from life and refined studio portraits. But both styles are painted using a well developed painting manner that revealed colors and strokes more suited to make the surface exciting and the color working well with each other rather than letting nature dictated the color.
Having been a working fine artist since 1978, I am in the position to give advice on the subject. I was always one of the best artists in my class during grade school and high school. In college things started getting a little gray and diluted with thousands of classmates. It was not until I was in my third year of college that I met my mentor. I had been struggling along in some art classes at the University of Kentucky for two years and Northern Kentucky for one year without direction. I saw some classical paintings in a bar in Lexington, Kentucky and the next time I was there I sought out the artist. The bartender pointed out Ralph Wolfe Cowan at the bar and we became friends. As it turned out he had had twin sons, which he had given up as a young man and since my identical twin brother and I met him at the same time we went back to his studio. In the first twenty minutes I had all the information I would need to paint like an old master. By seeing the brushes, mixed colors and unfinished canvas, I was able to get the gist of how to paint. It was then only a matter of about three years before I somewhat mastered the technique. I graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor in Art, majoring in communications, minoring in painting. My field of study was writing. I was not very good at writing. I did not need any help in art, so I studied something I needed help in. I moved to New York City and worked at a Madison Avenue advertising agency. I spent a year doing the nuts and bolts of a national newspaper campaign. The next year I worked as a board man doing paste-ups for a merchandising catalog. After 1978 I painted portraits. From 1976 to 1978 I studied anatomy. In 1980 I lived and worked with my mentor on commissions he had received from Princess Grace and Mrs. Marcos. During this time I perfected my portrait technique. Afterwards I was the artists-in-residence for a galleries for 16 years, working the Palm Beach, Key West, Atlanta, New York and Nantucket. During these years I studied color and composition. I used four oil colors only for fours years. I developed a air and mechanical method for mixing oil colors. I continued to paint portraits and perfect my landscape manner.
I met my wife in 1991 while visiting my home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. We married shortly afterwards and have settled down in my hometown of Cincinnati giving up my New York City apartment of twenty years. I continue to work portraits and landscapes of which about two thirds are commissions. I also am the house husband to our daughter.
I do not show in galleries that require an exclusive arrangement. I do show my work about four times a year as my self promotion.
Advice to Artists
My advice to new fine artists is to take a hard look at your talents and if you have little or no trouble making and selling your art then pursue it as a career. You will need a fair amount of theoretical savvy to keep up with all the rhetoric. A sizable amount of charm will be needed in getting and keeping clients. Well-rounded social skills are a must for you will be more or less expected to know as much if not more than your clients. Although your clients will not all be wealthy they will all be cultured. To be a fine artist is to concentrate on your art and accepting remuneration for it. Find a local master and get to know him. Study under him and master his technique. Yours will come eventually. Most of your study will be on your own. You’ll lead a lonely existance.
Curators and Gallery Directors
Curators and gallery directors have a cold view of art. They decide what they like through a blend of media and museum attention. The amount of media written about an artist cements his stature in history. Historians rely on media and museums, so in the end the amount of printed material on an artist decides his place in art history. The museums will own art of consequence. The artist will move art forward.
Living with My Clients
I live vicariously off my clients, spending extended time with them. Knowing where your next commission is coming from unknown.
Where My Next Buck Comes From
A combination of self promotion and personal references generate work.
Henry Fulker, a renegade Lexington, Kentucky artist traveled the wealthy circuit in much the same way I did. Harlan Hubbard, a recluse and back to the land artist is an inspiration to me although I could not personally see myself living off the land or traveling down river on a shanty boat but I do have a affinity for his lifestyle. Joyce Cary’s “The Horses Mouth,” which was made into a movie in 1966 with Alex Guinness, is a excellent description of my life. I am like my mentor, Ralph Wolfe Cowan. We have a way about ourselves that makes things happen. He creates speculative portraits. I produce plein air work.
Artists I Know
Aside from my master, Ralph Wolfe Cowan these are well known artists I respect: John Ruthven, Michael Scott and Richard Young.
Jonathan Janson, emulator of Vermeer
In reading Jonathan Janson’s treatise about painting, I found this sentence of his most illuminating: “The more layers of paint the more dust was picked up. Vermeer’s and the great majority of Dutch paintings were created by relatively straightforward opaque or semi-opaque paint layers. Glazes were employed with parsimony for very selective and specific effects.”
A la Prima
All my study has lead me to the realization that most painting was attempted to be done in one sitting, a la prima, wet on wet, because of the length of time it took to do work, even while wet, and the need to get it done and out of the studio. I use oil of cloves in the paint as well as placing the paints and if the canvas is small enough, in the freezer. At the most, I have about two weeks to paint before the paint congeals too much to work.
I have my own theories about Vermeer. I would like to think he was a bar owner and painter of beautiful woman. Cheesecake means just like beefcake, beautiful young people. It just strikes me that the woman in Vermeer’s work are all very pretty and must have certainly been received well to the young and old men of the time. Cheesecake is good but maybe not the “new interpretation of lofty goals” the new admirers of Vermeer have placed on him. Did he ever write anything down about painting?
Art Vending Machine
On our trip to the South, 2003, I discovered a novel idea for marketing and selling art. Use an old cigarette machine replacing the cigarette packs with little paintings. It turns out that a vendor solicits artwork for his machines he has placed in the North Carolina area. So now, I am looking for an old vending machine to adapt. I would like to find a machine where you see the various objects for sale and the size is about the size of a snack bag. I would love to have one on our local street.
November 2002 Seek Commissions To Advance Your Art
Seek commissions and use them to advance your own studies. Any additional artwork should be for yourself and not the trade. I have a friend in England that paints several studies a day in the field and in the studio with the model. He places only a small value on his studies and sells them for around twenty dollars. Although he is 67 and retired, he still works harder than anyone I know to produce great work. He only listens to the sayings of the old masters. From the many sayings he has sent me, I have concluded that the old masters have no advice.
Art Mutual Fund
To predict what is on top of the art world or to try to stay on top is fruitless unless you just do what you can and let the chips fall where they may. The recognized old masters just happened to be working in a manner that was popular. They did not intend it on happening. They sought to create the most poignant art. In many ways it is like buying a index mutual fund. You produce a wide variety of art to take advantage of trends. Over time your whole portfolio increases. I do highly suggest that you not make a mock of the art world and always endeavor to know what is on the leading edge of art. I spend a good part of my free time contemplating such edges and creating art projects that address that edge. This normally means creating art that you never would think you would do.
On Creating New Art
July 30th, 2001
Music, film and writing must use well define manners in creating their art Visual art does not have these restrictions. All forms of art have increased in production since the fifties. The most dramatic spread in what is art has taken place in the visual arts. All this pressure has allowed me to expand my repertoire but it has also forced me to work as a classicist in secret. I have a burning desire to understand how Rembrandt created his etchings. I would love to see someone do similar work. The money engravers can do it but their method is top secret. Very little has been written about creating art by the artists themselves. Generally I have read that the great artists felt that all the direction you needed was to see the finished work. At this point I believe it to be true but I still would like to see someone carving like the ancients.
On The Boston School
July 30th, 2001
I have come to the conclusion that the Boston School represents the realists in today’s art market. They focus on the super real, both in application and in method. Producing art only with Northern light and making your colors by grinding seems way too heavy handed. To say that the Impressionist were started because of tube paint also seems way too simplified. In creating art I feel that the artists should use any methods available to create the biggest bang with the least amount of effort.
The Art Scene
Art has not changed. The ideas keep coming from artists. Curators and dealers keep sorting through them. Both do what they want. I see the curator’s job very easy compared to the artist. The artist has his soul at stake and must continue to open new doors. Today these doors are just about anything. A street painter one year may be using ceiling wax to turn a room into a surprising artistic statement the next. The curator has a soul too and has become the artist by organizing the work the artist does. Both have come together producing a new art.
I met an old street painter from England on the way back from the museum. He was just finishing up by packing everything carefully away. He had little wood boxes for wet canvas sheets. Everything packed up as a backpack. I complemented him on his work and show him a few of my images. He seemed to be Robert Henri. I continue to force myself on him by telling him of a novel new approach to art.
“The Bathers” by Bouguereau 1825-1905 1884
Gray is the key to color. The only black is the pupil. Very little definition of form is used. The whole face is painted in three values on a scale of five. The hair where it meets the sky is sky painted slightly brown giving the quality of loose strains of hair but not rendering them. The lips and eye red is gray blood red. The eye celelra is a middle value warm gray.