Jazz/Flamenco Music and Dance

Multi-talented musician Andrew Wleklinski who plays Jazz Sax and Clarinet, as well as Flamenco Guitar will be doing a little of all this in a performance at the Spinning Plate Gallery, where my current group show, Contemporary Figurative Drawing, is.


He will be joined by dancers Will Matthews and Briana Albright in several improvisational performances, as well as one, perhaps not choreographed by me, but certainly outlined. My fledgling attempt in this medium!  The rehearsals went great and it should be a very entertaining night. Hope you can join us!!

Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh 15206

Sat, July 26 from 7 to 10 Pm

Beer, Wine and snacks served.

Info:   rclaraval@gmail.com

2 SteveStephen Tuomala, two drawings from the Self Immolation series

2 TimTim Fabian, Untitled

Twenty First Century AphroditeRichard Claraval, Twenty-first Century Aphrodite



Contemporary Figurative Drawing Pittsburgh Opens This Saturday, July 12th, 7 to 10 PM, at the Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh, 15206


Tues, Wed, Thurs 7 to 10 PM

Fri and Sat 4 to 7 PM

The show features:
Stephen Tuomala: http://stephentuomala.com/home.html
Marc Snyder: http://www.fimp.net/extheat.html
Tim Fabian: http://www.timfabian.com/index.cfm
Richard Claraval: http://richardclaravalcontemporaryfigurativedrawingssculpture.com/works-on-paper/

Group 5From right to left: Stephen Tuomala, Self-Immolation II, Marc Snyder Skull and Mask, Tim Fabian Untitled, Richard Claraval Perseus Slays Medusa?


Hello out there to all my art loving and art collecting friends. You are all invited to this Group Drawing Exhibition. I’m not just saying this because I put it together, but it is a very strong show. All the art is Black and White and well related but, at the same time, very individual. And the drawings range from 12 inches to 12 feet. Stephen Tuomala, Marc Snyder, Tim Fabian and myself. Hope to see you!
Stephen Tuomala: http://stephentuomala.com/home.html
Marc Snyder: http://www.fimp.net/extheat.html
Tim Fabian: http://www.timfabian.com/index.cfm
Richard Claraval: http://richardclaravalcontemporaryfigurativedrawingssculpture.com/works-on-paper/

Group 5Right to Left: Stephen Tuomala, Self-immolation II, Marc Snyder, Skull and Mask, Tim Fabian, Untitled and Richard Claraval, Perseus Slays Medusa?

Aside from my individual shows at the Plate this was the smoothest installation of any I’ve had including solos at other galleries. There was no ego involvement and everyone was focused on co-operation. It would be lovely if it was always this way. Much thanks to Marc, Steve and Tim — some great guys!

The show is already open to the public and the Artists Reception will take place Sat, July the 12th, from 7 to 10 PM.

Hours are:

Tues, Wed, Thurs 7 to 10 PM

and Fri and Sat, from 4 to 7 PM.

To schedule an appointment to the gallery: rclaraval@gmail.com

2 SteveStephen Tuomala, Self-immolation II and III, 12′

Marc Snyder 1Marc Snyder, Shadow Puppet I, 30: x 22″

2 TimTim Fabian, both untitled, each 14″ x 11″

UntitledRichard Claraval, untitled, 60″ x 48″


I’m extremely pleased to say that the very interesting duo, “slowdanger” will be performing at the closing party for my exhibition, “Mythological Gestures” on June the 27th beginning at 7 PM. Here’s a press release I wrote:
Blending electronic music and the sensuous human voice with dynamic, highly imaginative improvisational dancing, “slowdanger” provides a unique experience. The group is comprised of the performance and life partners Anna Thompson and Taylor Knight, with Taylor providing the various electronic sounds using a variety of gizmos, while Anna lends her haunting soprano voice. Here is a beautiful video of them:


Both graduates of Point Park College with degrees in dance, the two will be performing at the Spinning Plate Gallery as a closing party for the exhibition “Mythological Gestures” a series of 17 large charcoal drawings based on various myths by award winning Pittsburgh artist Richard Claraval. In their dance performances slowdanger will create pieces based on the very dynamic human figures featured in Claraval’s drawings. The duo first saw and were inspired by the artist’s work at The Space Upstairs in Point Breeze where they frequently perform solo, duo and group improvisational pieces.

The performance will take place Friday June 27th beginning at 7 PM at the Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821Baum Blvd, 15206. Wine, beer and light refreshments will be served. Mythological Gestures will continue until June 28th.

Heracles Slays the Hydra
Gallery Hours for Mythological Gestures: Tues, Wed, and Thurs 7 to 10 PM;
Fri and Sat 4 to 7 PM
Richard Claraval:
412 877 7394
slowdanger:                                                                        http://taylorandanna.weebly.com/


Well, busy hands are happy hands, and I’m feeling really good about the amount of contemporary charcoal wall art I’ve been finishing lately. These drawings are all for sale and can be purchased with PayPal on my website at: http://richardclaravalcontemporaryfigurativedrawingssculpture.com/works-on-paper/
I always felt I could be more productive, and now with more motivation, facilitated by a goal of one finished piece of wall art per week, I’ve really been cranking them out.
I’m having a bit of a hard time keeping up with posting all the new pieces on Facebook and my website, so I thought I’d display a few here.

Perseus is a rather simplistic depiction of the, possibly most archetypal, hero fending of the “forces of evil”. I’m pleased with the way the hands and face of this drawing came out. They are strong and dramatic. And I also like the way the high realism of the figure juxtaposes against the very spontaneous gestural dark area. I was hoping viewers get a sense of Perseus’s courage in dealing with his enemies and that this is required in our lives too. I realized recently that I’ve done, not really intentionally, 3 versions of Perseus for my upcoming show at the Spinning Plate Gallery, opening on Saturday the 14th, from 7 to 10 PM.
Heracles Slaying the Hydra:

Heracles Slays the Hydra
A self portrait of sorts this drawing has to do with the fact that it takes strength and courage to deal with emotional difficulties. With a rough childhood – touched on in the lower portion of the piece – I have a problem with obsessive thinking. But with the help of duloxetine (Cymbalta)  Heracles’ club, and my long developing strength, I am mostly free of its’ grip. Obsessive thinking relates to the Hydra in that just as cutting off one of the monsters heads causes two more to grow, so pushing very hard to overcome an obsessive thought just makes it stronger – other tactics are required.
The Firebird:

I’m a huge fan of fantasy and have enjoyed Stravinsky’s ballet for many years. I find the imagery of a beautiful bird flowing with but not harmed by fire quite “magical”. I then also like the way this is portrayed by a beautiful athletic woman. I was also inspired to do this piece by a beautiful photograph of a ballet dancer (though she wasn’t in the role of the Firebird). Her entire gesture seemed right for the subject and her arms especially are perfectly posed for relating to wings.

Twenty-first century Aphrodite:

Twenty First Century Aphrodite
My goal in this work was to show the direction in which our ever-changing notion of ideal beauty is today headed. Thinness has been replaced by voluptuousness, and more recently piercing and tattooing are being added more and more to the mix. Aesthetically I was interested in doing a drawing that was rather simple and bold and somewhat on the graphic side. I feel I succeeded well. I really enjoyed creating the “tattoo” on her arm and having it transform into pure Abstract Expressionist type gesture.

A lot of my new inspiration to produce comes from the fact that new computer controlled 3D printers are gradually ending my wax model making business that has sustained my art making activities for almost 30 years. So, not being interested in anything else I realized I had to shift more and more of my economic income to art, and that means loads of production.

Contemporary, Charcoal, Nude Figure Drawing Exhibition Installation

Well I’m having fun setting up for my June exhibition of large charcoal drawings that fuse the nude human figure with abstract gesture at the Spinning Plate Gallery. June 1 through June 31, 5821 Baum Blvd., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15206.
Tues, Wed, Thurs – 7 to 10 PM
Fri and Sat – 4 to 7 PM
Sat, June 14, 7 to 10 PM

G 1

G 2

G 3
Although I usually say every show is going to be good, and I sincerely think they are, I really think this one is going to be better than any to date. My work is definitely growing. In generally it is more spontaneous, complex, with improved realism and confidence. Also, though clearly of a common aesthetic, these drawings are generally more distinct from each other. Below are some of the best.

MinotaurMinotaur’s Dream

Perseus Slays MedusaPerseus Slays Medusa


I have long enjoyed working in a gallery and even volunteered at an excellent, though short-lived one in downtown Pittsburgh. Few probably remember 808 Penn Modern, owned by Anita Gob, but it featured not only excellent New York artists, but Daniel Fisher of Slovakia who represented his country at the Venice Biennale and showed the some of the best work I, at least, have seen in Pittsburgh. It was great being around people like this, and just the feeling of being in a place entirely devoted to presenting new art is wonderful to me, and a little bit “magical”.

Please come out to the exhibition.

Busy Summer

This summer looks to be very busy for me and I’m really looking forward to it. My solo show, Mythological Gestures, which features large, contemporary, figurative, charcoal drawings starts June1st, with the opening on Saturday June 14th with all of this wall art for sale. The venue is the Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15206 and the exhibition runs until the end of the month.

M Card Small

Concurrently I will have an untitled, figurative/gestural drawing at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in downtown Pittsburgh from June 6 to 15. This juried part of the Festival is in the attractive galleries above 805 – 807 Liberty Ave, and my unique modern drawing is also for sale.

UntitledUntitled, 2014, 60 x 48″

The timing of this exhibition works out really well for me. The Preview Reception occurs Wednesday, June 4, 5-7pm, and the Public Opening/Meet the Artists: occurring Friday, June 6, 5-7pm, both the week before my solo show opening. This means that my work will be exposed to the large crowds that Three Rivers draws, and hopefully many of them will come to my solo show. My only dilemma will be deciding at which venue I will hang out during the first thirteen days of June: The Spinning Plate, or 805 – 805 Liberty – guess I’ll split have to it.

RC AT MJ SMALLMe at the Spinning Plate Gallery, 2013

Also I’m very happy to have my contemporary, charcoal drawing, Prometheus the Artist, in the 103rd Associated Artists Annual Exhibit, throughout June, July and August. What’s great about this is that it is being held at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, 4764 Rt. 30, Greensburg, Pa, and this is also where I will be having a duo show, with Mona Wiley, this December. So again one of my modern wall drawings will be exposed to a large number of people. The museum also has a variety of events each month which I intend to attend to talk with anyone interested about my upcoming show there.


Prometheus the Artist, 2014, 60 x 72″

Of course when you have so many things happening at the same general time there are bound to be overlapping events. Unfortunately this is the case here, as both my solo show opening at the Spinning Plate Gallery and the opening of the Associate Artists Annual at the Westmoreland are on the same day, June 14. I will, of course, be attending only my solo show event as I haven’t as yet figured out how to create a doppelganger — would be great for my art marketing efforts if I could.

I’m taking the Westmoreland duo show fairly seriously, although I do this with all my shows. But just a little more here as it is my first museum show and therefore I want to really impress. After my solo show is up June 1, I will have the rest of the summer and fall to work on it. I’m greatly looking forward to having this much time to work on this exhibit and already have a good idea of the overall lay-out of my part of the show. Though I am hoping to have hip replacement surgery — I’m not in a lot of pain, but it needs done — over Thanksgiving weekend, so I won’t have the entire fall if this occurs. For the Westmoreland I’ve decided to do one piece for each individual wall space that has been designated for my work. As the Westmoreland is at a temporary, though very nice, location the spaces are unusual, the walls being more divided than those in traditional galleries. My approach will be unique and take good advantage of this situation. I will be showing 3 very large horizontals, 5 x 13 feet, 5 x 10.5 feet and 5 x 10 feet (the largest pieces I’ve done to date); 4 large verticals 9 x 4 feet, 9 x 3.5 feet, 9 x 3 feet and 9 x 2.5 feet, as well as some smaller pieces as yet to be determined – there may also be a sculpture or two involved. I’m going to work in the Spinning Plate gallery throughout the run of my solo show and the group show that will be there throughout July — so come by and watch me draw!

Hope to see you this summer!

Information about the Westmoreland of American Art: https://www.wmuseumaa.org/

Or this, or any of the other shows mentioned:

Richard Claraval


412 877 7394

Drawings at a Great Dance Venue


I am very excited to have my large, figurative, gestural, abstract charcoal drawings featured at the dance venue The Space Upstairs here in Pittsburgh. It is large and filled with loads of character and my unique contemporary charcoal drawings, all of which are for sale,  look great in the space.

SPACE UPSTAIRS 015 Pearlann Porter, who runs the space and is herself an excellent dancer, saw my modern drawings at a show I had and asked if I wanted to display them at her space. As my work combines the dynamic human figure frequently in motion with Abstract Expressionist gesture she thought the drawings would go very well with dance.

Jupiter and Io

Judging from the reacting of all the people I talked to at the first event where the drawings were displayed I think she was quite right. The dancing done at The Space Upstairs is often improvisational inspired by live Jazz. Startlingly, I used the improvisational aspect of Jazz as an analogy for what I do when creating my charcoal drawings in an artist statement written a year before I knew I would be showing at The Space Upstairs: “Similar to the way a Jazz performer uses a familiar song as a starting point for improvisation, I use the Renaissancesque human figure as inspiration for creating Abstract Expressionist gesture.”


Anna Thompson gave a brilliant performance filled with passion, nuance and a great feel for the music, all the while chirping like a bird, wordlessly singing and toward the end, adding improvised text.


As I’ve been a huge fan of modern dance for a long time I’m extremely happy to have my work now associated with the great dancers at Pearlann’s space. Come on out, there are two distinctly different events coming up. The Space Upstairs, 214 N. Lexington St., Pgh, Pa. 15208.

SATURDAY  MAY 17       An Evening with Moe Seager  [special event]

9p                                :back from Paris, our favorite jazz poet is back for a special night of poetry, music and dance

                                    $10 suggested

SATURDAY   MAY 24      Haunting Nagoya  [special event]

8p                                :Crusic Percussion in collaboration with The Pillow Project present a multimedia performance dealing with                                                         representations of realities in an ever increasingly false world

                                    $10 suggested

Tansy Lee Moir

While doing a Google search for fellow charcoal artists I was startled to come across what appeared to be simultaneously a drawing of a tree and, subtly, the torso of a human figure.

crichton-torso-beech-2Crichton Torso 2

As this was the only example of the artist’s work I had ever seen, I could not be certain the human figure I saw in it was just coincidence, my imagination, or intentional. It turned out to be one of the beautiful charcoal drawings of Edinburgh, Scotland- based Tansy Lee Moir, and though the torso is something Ms Moir would say was unintentional, it is an aspect of her work that many others have seen as well. One major reason for this is that her drawings frequently involve just the trunks of trees that have had their branches removed, and these with often three top nubs (arms and neck) above a thicker trunk naturally put us in mind of truncated torsos — ala Rodin. Also, rather magically, she has the ability to alter the overall gesture of these truncated trees, as well as their various nubs and bumps in such a way that they are definitely readable as the human figure. She acknowledges that this aspect does exist in her current work and mentions in her biography that her drawings have been referred to as, “life drawing from trees”.

crichton-torso-beechCrichton Torso 1

Drawing in the forest in the winter and early spring (presumably to avoid foliage blocking her view of the trunks and branches), Ms Moir has great respect for and takes much enjoyment form her subjects. She will visit a particular tree many times while drawing it and says, “These (visits) enable me to connect with a tree in its setting, getting a 360° perspective.   I then use these sketches, along with photographs and historical research, to inform the studio pieces.”

Having a strong affinity for chiaroscuro, I cannot help but be drawn to Ms Moir’s drawings. And she uses charcoal for some of the same reasons as I; its ability to create strong contrast and its subtlety and sensuality.

crichton-shattered-beech-4_w436_h600Crichton Shattered Beech 4

 I also love the way she combines straightforward linear marks with a variety of rubbing, blurring and eraser marks. These give a very satisfying richness to her work, without sacrificing any of its three-dimensionality.

tansy newbattle-graffiti-beech-1_w340_h600New Battle Graffiti Beech

She has as her goal to strongly affect the emotions of the viewer with the powerful natural forms she experiences, and I think she does this very well. And though solidly grounded in realism, Ms Moir’s drawings also have a lovely abstract quality that adds to their interest. And it seems that this is a direction toward which she is moving, “Artists such as Olly Suzi, Julian Cooper and Catalina Chervin have inspired me to move beyond a straight-forward portrayal of the subject towards expressing its totemic qualities.”

abstractPhilpstoun ghost beech 1

Ms Moir’s work succeeds in being both serious, subtle art and accessible to the broader public. I, as did Leonard Bernstein, see nothing wrong whatever in art that has popular appeal. Indeed, I value Ms Moir’s work over both frequently deadly boring conceptual art, and some of the pointlessly creepy work seen in some big city galleries.


Mythological Gestures: Contemporary Figurative Charcoal Drawings on Old Subjects

Mythological Gestures

For my next exhibition of contemporary figurative charcoal drawings, I’ve gone back to a subject that has interested me since college, mythology. As I want to keep these new drawings in the same vein as those I’ve been producing for the past several years – fusing the human figure with Abstract Expressionist type gesture – this is proving challenging. However, the highly imaginative “supernatural” and archetypal elements of myths, which are in sense abstractions, as well as the monsters and exotic chimeras, lend themselves to an abstract gestural mode of interpretation. As well, the ability of many of the characters to do impossible things such as fly and become invisible fit well my interest in depicting the figure in very dynamic and sometimes impossible poses. The breakthrough for me in deciding to do this show came when I finished the piece, Jupiter and Io.

 Jupiter and IoJupiter and Io

Originally it did not have this title, and I was not thinking of creating a mythological piece with this drawing. It was only after living with it for a week that I had a eureka moment while thinking about Correggio’s piece of this subject, which is on the cover of my copy of Gardner’s history of art. My primary focus when creating this piece was a very dynamic overall composition that fused a figure with gesture. I think it works well on this level, but when I thought of the Correggio piece I realized that it fit perfectly the story of Jupiter coming down from the clouds to seduce Io and this opened the door to doing a whole series of myths in my style.

I must say though that telling stories in drawings where at least one of the characters or elements of a character must be represented by gestural abstraction has been challenging. Not all the subjects of myths fit this approach as perfectly as Jupiter and Io. That being said though, the representing of part of a story as gesture has been interesting. In Afternoon of the Faun I used the robe that one of the nymphs gives to the Faun, and which her caresses, as a link between all the different versions of the Faun I created.

 Afternoon of the FaunAfternoon of the Faun

The Minotaur in the Labyrinth is one of my favorite tales, and I did an etching of this subject way back in 1972.

 MinotaurMinotaur Maid and Theseus

In my new version it was a lot of fun having his massive head flow outward and become the labyrinth.

 MinotaurMinotaur’s Dream

In, Perseus Slays Medusa, I reprised an idea I had in a previous exhibition: having the snakes of her head represent the top corporations in the world. In this new drawing though, I created gestures for each of the snakes, and represented the corporate symbols much more loosely.

 Perseus Slays MedusaPerseus Slays Medusa?

One element in this exhibition that sets it apart from others on mythology is that I am including pieces that are inspired by the modern myths of J. R. R. Tolkien. As his expressed purpose was to create a mythology for England, I feel my including his stories makes sense. I’ve loved Tolkien’s books since I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was 18, and the imagery he conjuror’s in my head is the most vivid and powerful that I have ever experienced. I had intended to do a very dark drawing of Morgoth creating him out of many loose but focused gestural marks. However when I got to the point of the now finished piece, I knew I need go no farther as I had captured the most important quality I was looking for, Morgoth’s mad malevolence.


 Hope you all can make the exhibit:

Mythological Gestures

 June 1 to 30

Hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs 7 to 10 pm, Fri and Sat 4 to 7 pm

 Spinning Plate Gallery

 5821 Baum Blvd

 Pittsburgh, Pa 15206

 Opening reception, Saturday, June 14, 7:00 to 10:00 PM.