With help from an iPad, Silver Spring man creates portrait series -- Gazette.Net


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An easel, an iPad, and lots of color were a Silver Spring man’s tools as he painted images for a display at the Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda.

Ariel J. Klein completed the 2013-2014 Strathmore Fine Artists in Residence program. For his exhibition at the Strathmore, Klein worked with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.

He used an application on his iPad called Procreate, which lets artists sketch and paint.

“I took my iPad and I set it up on an easel and do their portraits. I arranged with the conductor to do 20-minute sessions because I thought I could capture what the band members looked like in 20 minutes,” Klein said.

Klein would use the iPad as his sketch book. He said the device let him have a full range of colors. The painting app offers a variety of brushes and pencils; all Klein had to do was use his fingertips.

At his studio in D.C., he reproduced the images on canvas.

“It was very convenient,” Klein said.

Klein created a series of paintings inspired by the band’s sense of patriotism, music, and pride. In his work, he played with shades of red, orange, and blue.

The “President’s Own” band dates to 1798, when President John Adams signed an Act of Congress establishing the United States Marine Band.

On Thursday, Klein’s 16 paintings were featured at the mansion’s Fine Artists in Residence 2014 opening reception. His work, along with other artists’, will be on display until Aug. 24.

The exhibition in the Strathmore mansion includes oil paintings and prints of his iPad sketches. It also features work that Klein did with his Strathmore residency mentor, calligrapher John Wang.

Klein’s work also is online at www.arieljklein.com.

Most paintings feature band members in their Special Full Dress uniforms. Men had deep blue pants, women had deep blue long skirts. All wore a red jacket and a white hat.

That’s the attire for the U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra, the jazz combo, and other small ensembles.

“I like to be on site. I like to go and sketch a person live. ... So I like to go out in the field and draw my surroundings,” Klein said.

Klein studied painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Bellas Artes.

One vibrant portrait is the drum major under a bearskin hat. He is standing proudly with his 64-inch wood and brass mace, which is used to command musicians in parades.

Klein was named a distinguished Scholar in the Arts by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“[Klein] contacted us several months ago. ... He had a fascination with music and marching bands. We were delighted and flattered and we invited him behind the scenes,” said Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig, the 28th director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.

Fettig said Klein works quickly and he likes to do things in shorter sessions.

“It’s amazing how much he can capture in a short amount of time,” Fettig said.

The director is featured in one of Klein’s oil-on-canvas portrait.

Klein’s paintings are as big as 76 inches high by 42 inches wide.

He said it can take anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months to finish a portrait.

“I wanted the viewer to feel like they were standing in the room with this person — seeing what I got to see, I guess,” Klein said.



abarros@gazette.net