AHA! A House for Arts

S6 E6 | CLIP

AHA! 606 | George Dirolf, An Artist with Many Talents

Artist George Dirolf spent many years exploring diverse mediums while teaching high school art at Bethlehem Central. His many talents include oil painting, charcoal on mylar, and wood engravings. Take a trip inside George's studio in Loudonville, NY to see what he's working on now.

AIRED: June 30, 2020 | 0:06:22

(gentle electronic music)

- Currently I'm working in oil painting

with pastels as a sketching medium.

Large scale charcoal on mylar.

And I'm working in relief work.

Wood engravings,

wood cuts.

I see my fellow artists and friends

that work in a single medium

and really refine it.

And I sometimes wonder,

you know,

like I should just pick one

and really focus on it.

I don't think I could if I wanted to.

And I don't know if that's like,

you know,

schizophrenia or it just seems,

I love all of them.

And I'm loath to you know,

eliminate any.

(gentle piano music)

What I'm working on here is a sketch

for the final of oil painting,

This is a pastel painting.

I really wanna get an idea for my mostly tonality,

the lights and the darks and a balance here.

And also some ideas of the kind of colors I wanna use.

I'll be enlarging this piece in a final painting.

I like to work it out I guess on a small scale,

kind of because I got used to doing the plane air work,

small paintings and then making them bigger.

So currently though am working with pastels

and you know I'll go from that to develop

then into a full scale,

a larger painting.

I work in a lot of media's because I think it's

because of my background which is high school arts.

I taught for quite a while Bethlehem central.

And having to teach everything I became

proficient in everything and or had to

and so I just you know kept that up.

So this is my set up for the charcoals.

And I have a sheet of mylar here over my drawing.

Charcoals and mylar was probably 15 years ago

when I walked in into an architectural supply store

and they had a three foot wide roll of mylar,

and it was on sale for pennies.

No one is using mylar to draw on anymore.

And I tried it out its wonderful,

its like it's the closest thing to painting in a dry medium.

With the charcoal on mylar its like its almost greasy

you can smear it and I use my fingers quite a bit

to my palms and you know, make it to whatever tools I want

but it really is almost like liquid.

And the mylar just I won't say it soaks it up but

the tooth on the mylar is just perfect.

I bought a press and that changed my direction

where I became more interested in the wood engravings.

The press is an old golding proof press

that I picked up from a print maker in

or a printer in Worcester.

1889 is when this press was in use

and it still works today as well as it ever did.

I put my paper in the press and will make a print.

This is the print.

One of the most important things

to know about wood engraving is

that its a form of relief print making.

So if you think of a stamp that is really print making

and you stamp it in the ink and you stamp your image.

Most of the time I would do a sketch proximate size

of the block that I want to use

and then transfer that to the block

by simple you know I trace it, I flip the tracing over

to reverse it and I use a piece of transfer paper

and just draw on the back of the tracer

and it transfers to the block.

And then you know its a matter of cutting it .

The details aren't all there, its a very rough drawing

but I have enough wood engravings under my belt

that I know where I want to put different tonalities.

I have always made art since I was a kid.

But honestly I don't,

I look at everybody's art its always like its great.

I have a problematic ego and I love a piece

when am working on it and am thinking this is

the greatest thing I have ever made,

and the you know a month later am like I fall out of love

with it and I gotta do something else, and go beyond.

It's real hard to describe my art.

But I realized I don't want to compare myself

to other people and I really have

to remind myself of that and just do what I do.

You know if it's four or five mediums

or six mediums, so be it.


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