Thursday, December 12, 2019

"Ponytails" (study)

12 x 3-3/8"
oil on panel


The tall, thin, vertical format lends itself to certain compositions but the wide, thin, horizontal format is perfect for moments like this one.

Three young women viewing two of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings - on the left, Cow's Skull with Calico Roses, center is one of my personal favorites, Black Cross, New Mexico and on the right, Arthur Dove's Silver Sun, 1929.  From the Art Institute of Chicago.

A little closer detail....








Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends December 22, 9 pm ET. 




Tuesday, December 10, 2019

"Back to Nature" (study)

4 x 8"
oil on panel


Another study with a taller, slimmer format - which I really like, to center on the figure with a backdrop of color.  

The painting featured is Irises by Claude Monet, a nearly 7 x 7' treasure acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1956.

Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends December 20, 9 pm ET.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

"Soft Approach" (study)

4 x 10"
oil on panel


I've been working on elongated compositions that are either vertical or horizontal and this was intended to be a much looser study for a larger panel - but I got carried away with details.  

Who can blame me, the featured painting is the fabulous Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte.  The painting is the star of the Art Institute of Chicago.  It measures nearly 10' wide by 7' tall and that doesn't even include the frame.  Caillebotte's masterpiece dominated the widely popular Impressionist exhibition of 1877 in Paris, largely organized by the artist himself.

Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends December 15th,  9 pm ET.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

"The Man in Black"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


When I was in high school some 40 years ago, I was obsessed with figure drawing.  I'd cut school, take the train to downtown Chicago, with sketchbooks and pens in hand, and spend mornings in the Amtrak lounge in Union Station then afternoons at the Art Institute of Chicago.  I drew hundreds of people sitting, eating, standing or lounging until I had to head back home.  

So if anyone wonders where this subject matter of painting people looking at art - I started it years ago.  And sometimes, like with this new painting, it's all about the people.  I credit my mom, an artist herself, with the great pastime, people watching.  

This gentleman caught my eye immediately.  His tall, slender figure was striking.  Especially clad in all black and topped with his handsome felt hat.  I live for figures like his.  

Although minor here, the artwork the man in black is viewing is a relief sculpture of Alexander the Great, done in 1485 by the artist Andrea del Verrocchio, in the National Gallery of Art in DC.



Sunday, November 17, 2019

"Authority Figure"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


This image is one I've wanted to paint for a long time and getting my feet wet with my recently-painted Envoy,  I took what I learned and went ahead with it.

A view from above, in the Reagan National Airport, a gentleman of authority walks thru the sunlit floor.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

"Yesterday's News"

  

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


If you're familiar with Paul Cezanne's paintings, you think of landscapes and still lifes, like the small painting hanging on the wall behind the man's chair.  So it may surprise some, and myself included, this painting the gentleman is viewing is by Cezanne.

The painting The Artist's Father, Reading "L'Evenement" hangs in our National Gallery of Art in DC, and it is a personal favorite of mine.  I love any image of someone reading a newspaper, something you see less and less of these days.  More interesting is the story behind Cezanne's portrayal of his father, Louis-Auguste, a banker, who pushed his son to follow his career in financing and banking, but much to his dismay, Paul wanted to study art and painting, something his father considered grossly impractical.  The result was an emotionally charged relationship which lasted a lifetime.

The clues are in the painting - Cezanne used a palette knife with expressive, bold strokes of paint. You can almost feel the frustration.  He included his own painting on the wall and the newspaper L'Evenement refers to the writer Emile Zola, a friend of Cezanne's who encouraged him to pursue his study of art in Paris and later became the art critic for that very paper.  Paul's father notably read the news and financial section exclusively.


- a thanks to Stefan Draschan for permission to use part of his photo for reference.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

"Caught"

12 x 3-7/8"
oil on panel
sold


Since I've been back to painting, my last three - a museum scene, shadows on a tiled floor and this fish - all have something in common.  They've all required intense concentration.  Intentionally to get me focused again.  That helps me get back to work.

Brett cleaned up and sharpened my palette knives for this new piece.  Palette knife painting is freakin' hard.  It takes the ultimate self-control.  It kinda drives me nuts, but practicing is a good thing.  A fish has texture and I thought this subject would be perfect for this exercise.  And frankly, second to dogs, I love painting fish.

Here's a close-up.




Tuesday, November 5, 2019

"Envoy"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


No paintings to feature here but you can argue that architecture is a form of art.  It can produce atmosphere and ambience, it's a variety of form and function and light can transform the space that results in temporary patterns - like on this floor in a terminal of Reagan National in Washington DC. I stood on the balcony above this floor and obsessed at the shadows from people and the skylights above.  I could have photographed there all afternoon.  

No art history today but here's a brief history of this airport.  It was built on a site once known as Gravelly Point, where Captain John Alexander built his home in 1746. His son donated most of the land named after his father and now known as Alexandria.  In the early 20th century, Washington DC had a seriously inadequate airport located near the present site of the Pentagon - obstructed by a smokestack, electrical wires and just one runway that intersected with a busy street with a guard directing traffic between takeoffs and landings and cars.  That's nuts.

In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt was so tired of Congress dragging its feet on a selection of a new site to build an airport, he announced it would be located on mudflats on a bend of the Potomac at Gravelly Point. The new facility was opened for business in 1941 with Pan American Airlines christening the National Airport. The following years, more hangars, more terminals and air cargo buildings went up - the Metrorail connected in 1977, a parking garage opened in 1991 (better late than never) and in 1998, President Bill Clinton signed into law the bill that changed the name to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, commonly referred to as Reagan National.

So there, you learned something new today.  Why title it Envoy?  It's not unusual to spot U.S. Senators or Representatives, or familiar reporters and national news faces in Reagan National. And I like the word 'envoy'.




Sunday, November 3, 2019

"All in the Family"

3-3/4 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


Lucky me, I got to visit the National Gallery of Art in DC last weekend - the same weekend the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros were in town for the World Series.  At a minimum of $1,000 a ticket, I could only opt for an afternoon at a free art museum but hey, it was great being there again.

If you breeze through the galleries, sometimes you'll miss out on the fun facts of a painting - like Francois-Hubert Drouais's Family Portrait, notably dated April 1, 1756.  You may guess it's Christmas Day because of the gifts and decorations in the scene but no, it was April Fool's Day as we know it now.  Before the Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1582, the medieval calendar marked New Year's Day as March 25th, the vernal equinox - and the 1st of April marked the beginning of spring.  Many people would, and still do, celebrate by exchanging springtime gifts on that day - this informal family portrait showing the little girl giving flowers to her mother, the husband reading a poem to his wife as she points to the daughter as a symbolic gift to her husband. Very sweet.



Monday, October 14, 2019

"Intoxicating'

8 x 10"
oil on panel


I've said this before and I'll say it again, the most perfect painting ever created is John Singer Sargent's Fumee d'Amber Gris (Smoke of Ambergris) which hangs in the Clark Museum in Boston - painted in 1880 and inspired by Sargent's trip to North Africa.

The painting depicts a woman creating a tent with her veil, catching the smoke and fumes from the smoldering ambergris in the silver censer.  Known and used for its unique aroma, ambergris was used in some religious rituals, also thought to have aphrodisiac qualities and be a safeguard from evil spirits.  Sargent's painting is a combination of Moroccan objects and customs he observed while in Tangier and Terouan.

In 1887, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Henry James wrote, 'I know not who this stately Mohammedan may be, nor in what mysterious domestic or religious rite she may be engaged; but in her plastered arcade, which shines in the Eastern light, she is beautiful and memorable.  The picture is exquisite, a radiant effect of white upon white, of similar but discriminated tones.'

You ask what is Ambergris?  A fascinating write-up about Sargent's painting and a deep dive into exactly what this mysterious element is can be found here.


Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.

~ thanks to Stefan Draschan for his photo reference.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"Late Night"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


Feels good to accomplish something again.  What a week.

From the Art Institute of Chicago, a woman taking a long look at Edward Hopper's iconic painting Nighthawks.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Unexpected Pause


My internet service including email has been out for 7 days and should be restored by the end of the week. I apologize for not responding to several emails or posting new work - I've effectively been stranded on an island.  Cross your fingers and I'll be back in the real world very soon.

Update - I'm up and running with new internet service. Almost finished a small painting. See it here tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

"A Bird's Eye View"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


You are probably aware there is currently a film out based on Donna Tartt's novel The Goldfinch, largely revolving around a 1654 painting by the Dutch artist, Carel Fabritius.  The actual painting resides in the Mauritshuis in the Hague, Netherlands.  In 2014, it went on a world tour and landed in the Frick in New York around the same time Tartt's best-selling novel won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.  Over 61,000 people visited the Frick just to see Fabritius' painting.

The real story behind the painting The Goldfinch - the artist, Carel Fabritius, lived in Delft, was a well-known artist and a student of Rembrandt's and in 1654, a gunpowder factory next to Fabritius' apartment exploded.  Ninety-thousand pounds of gunpowder exploded five times in what was known as the Delft Thunderclap.  The explosion killed over 100 people, including Fabritius and destroyed a quarter of the city.  The artist was 32 years old.  Six paintings were retrieved from his apartment, including The Goldfinch.

Interestingly, the real painting's history has some similarities to the novel, although the author said she never knew about the Delft Thunderclap event and chose a painting that would appeal to a child and small enough to carry.  Also, at the time of the artist's death, he was working on a portrait of a local church deacon, Simon Decker, who had the same name as the main character in Tartt's novel.

Hanging next to The Goldfinch is Self-Portrait by Fabritius' painting teacher, Rembrandt. 

Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"A Look Inside"

8 x 10"
oil on panel


Believe it or not, and it's been my observation, that a lot of museum visitors in the Art Institute of Chicago take a quick glance at The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh and then move on to the next painting.  It baffles me.  There is the exception of youngsters - they are frequently drawn to the most colorful of artworks, understandably.

The Bedroom, one of three versions van Gogh painted, is an important one - in that it's more personal.  It was his space.  A room he had moved into in the "Yellow House" in Arles, France.  It was the first time Vincent had a home of his own.  And like a lot of us, he enthusiastically painted the walls and chose his decor and painted several pieces to hang on the walls of his new bedroom.  He painted the walls a lilac-blue,  a brick-red on the floor boards, a yellow on the bed and chairs, an orange for his dressing table, a blue for his washbasin and trimmed the window in a dark green.  He chose a pale yellow-green for his pillow cases and sheets with a deep red bedspread.  As viewers, we would consider his choices of colors a bit frenzied or over-the-top maybe.  To Vincent, it seemingly was heaven, a calm sanctuary he could call his own.  That is why I think it's an important painting by van Gogh.  He saw the world, the wheat fields, the sunflowers, the starry night sky in vivid, saturated colors that most of us don't see.  That's a gift.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

"Seeing Red"

5 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I thought this different view of a different one of Ellsworth Kelly's Chicago Panels made a potentially good companion piece to Umbrella Stand you see on the post before this one.

I love the subtle colorful reflections on the marble floor in both scenes.  And note what I mentioned in the post below, that Kelly's inspiration for the six Chicago Panels was observations of various birds, this red panel presumably from a cardinal.

From the second floor in the American Art Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.



Sunday, September 8, 2019

"Umbrella Stand"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


On the second floor of the American Art Wing in the Art Institute of Chicago, the galleries are surrounded by hallways flooded with natural light and on the walls hangs six brightly-colored, geometric shapes called the Chicago Panels by Ellsworth Kelly.

Ellsworth Kelly's success came in the 1950's.  He could fit into the categories of Minimalism, Color Field and Pop Art with his focus on shapes, forms and colors - intending for viewers to 1 - enjoy public art and 2 - to think of art in terms of the spaces where it occupies.  He took real-life observations and mimicked those subjects in an abstract way.  

As a kid, Kelly was a loner, had a slight stutter, spent most of his time as an avid bird watcher and was heavily influenced by John James Audubon. He wanted to study art, his father wanted him to sway more to technical training - he entered military service in the early 40's and used his G.I. Bill to study at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where his mind opened up to Surrealism and modern art.  There he went to Europe for more studies for six years, returned to New York, stumbled a bit until his concepts found the right time and the right place and took off from there.  In the case of the Chicago Panels, each brightly-colored panel represents a bird - the yellow panel possibly a goldfinch - so you can easily see those years of bird watching kept with Kelly all his long life.  He lived to be 92 and died in 2015.





Wednesday, September 4, 2019

"Polished"

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


If you've been to the Art Institute of Chicago, you know Gustave Caillebotte's enormous painting Paris Street, Rainy Day - it's one of the museum's treasured Impressionist paintings.  I've featured it in many paintings of mine in the past years.  Paris Street is currently on loan in Berlin and The Floor Scrapers made the long trip from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris to Chicago to take its place.  You must grasp how very lucky we are to be able to see this painting - to my knowledge, it has never left France.  Ever.

Gustave Caillebotte was an unusual artist in that he was lucky to have been born in a wealthy family whose father owned a textile mill that supplied military needs to Napoleon's army.  Gustave got a law degree by the age of 20, trained as an engineer and served in the Franco-Prussian War which devastated France.  So presumably, he pitched the law and engineering to study art, as several artists of the time did.  He inherited the family fortune at age 26, spent a number of years collecting his fellow artists/friends' paintings and squeezed in about 500 paintings of his own while collecting orchids, building and racing yachts before he died at the age of 46 from heart disease.   Interesting enough, Caillebotte never sold any of his paintings (he didn't have to) and his brother donated all of his work to private collectors and museums all over the world.

A little more about The Floor Scrapers - Caillebotte completed it in 1875, submitted into France's most prestigious art exhibition, the Salon, where it was unanimously rejected by the snooty judges because of its depiction of working-class people doing their job without all of their clothes on.  They deemed it a 'vulgar subject matter'.  Of course the same snooty judges deemed Degas' paintings of a woman washing clothes as 'vulgar' too.  Art critics disagreed, calling the decision 'a very bad mark for the official jurors.'  So there.

Please click here for a larger view.




Thursday, August 29, 2019

"Sitting Idly By"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I've shied away from painting artists set up in the museum, painting a chosen work of art.  I don't know why.  This gentleman's choice was a great one, a portrait by John Singer Sargent, Ellen Peabody Endicott (Mrs. William Crowninshield Endicott) - a daunting challenge for any artist studying Sargent's paintings.  

Ellen Peabody was born into a wealthy, Salem, Massachusetts shipping family - grew into a socialite in Boston, married William Crowninshield Endicott who served on the Massachusetts Supreme Court and became President Grover Cleveland's secretary of war.  Although it's not confirmed, at the time of the sitting, Ellen was possibly in mourning after her husband's recent death, explaining her black dress and somber expression. 

Sargent's portrait hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.


Friday, August 23, 2019

"Don't Go"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


There's an expected aftermath which happens after I finish a solo show.  Keep in mind I painted every single day for over four months, no lie, to achieve the grouping I first imagined.  Then there's varnishing. Then framing. Then shipping. Then traveling to the opening. Then attending the opening.
So when it's all done, I take a few days off and get back to painting.  Then it fails. Rinse and repeat. Three paintings wiped and tossed aside.

I did paint my neighbor's dog though.  That was fun.

Today felt a little different.  Yay.

From the Sculpture Gallery in the American Art Wing in the Art Institute of Chicago, the marble sculpture The Lost Pleiade by Randolph Rogers seemingly calling back the young woman walking into the shadows.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

"The Ladies"


My opening was this past Friday night for The Ladies - and I have to thank everyone at Robert Lange Studios for another amazing night.


A lady looking at my ladies.


More ladies looking at my ladies.


Men came to look too.



Below are all the paintings included in my show, just in case I forgot to post a few.


sold






sold




sold


sold 

 
sold

 
sold


sold


sold


sold


sold






Click on the painting's title for a larger view and purchase/contact information.

I thank anyone who took the time to come to my opening or stopped in the gallery to see the paintings.




Friday, July 26, 2019

"His Hunch"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


The Art Institute of Chicago has several paintings by Vincent van Gogh but his Self-Portrait is special.  The size is unusually modest and you'll notice he adopts George Seurat's pointillist technique - one he saw in Seurat's fabulous A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.  Every single stroke is slashed on in little bits, the background is speckled with blues, greens, oranges and reds on top of a teal/blue surface.  The face is intense with multitudes of flesh, teal, oranges, reds, ochers and whites.

It's a small painting but an enormous treat for visitors.



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

"Hat in Hand"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


It is always a pleasure to loosen up and enjoy a more-painterly approach to a painting.

A gentleman resting on a bench on the second floor in the American Art Galleries in the Art Institute of Chicago.



Monday, July 22, 2019

"That's a Wrap"

3-3/4 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


I had this leftover, odd-size panel and I'm sorta obsessed with saris - I think many are so beautiful - and I snuck in this new painting for an auction.

The large painting in front of the woman is #61 (Rust and Blue) by Mark Rothko.



Monday, July 15, 2019

"Ladies in Waiting"


The four paintings here will be included in my upcoming show The Ladies - women resting on a bench between looking at the exhibits, a common sighting in any museum.  It can be hard on the feet.  Especially after a couple of hours of walking through the galleries.

For a larger view of each image just click on the titles.


6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


6 x 6"
oil on panel


6 x 6"
oil on panel