Sunday, November 29, 2015

Progress and Other Stuff

That's right, I'm painting upside down.  And sideways.

I'm determined to not use my large stand-up easel - I prefer to sit - so I've been painting small portions at a time, working my way down.  It's a hoot.  And it's working.

The hardboard panel is 7 x 24",  I painted an acrylic metallic silver w/a dash of blue mixed in to get a cold ground color - the photos look warmer because of my lighting.  Like my recent painting 'Women In Gold',  I wanted a little shimmering showing thru the oils.

Just wanted to show my progress.

I also spent time completing a new book on my series ArtistZ,  now I'm waiting for my copy to arrive to proof it before I offer it for sale.  And I created a 2016 calendar - inspired by all my recent art history lessons for the series - included are the birthdays of many artists I love.  I think if you're an artist yourself, you'd like it.

Back to work for now ~

Saturday, November 21, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I easily chose Anders Zorn for my final painting in my series ArtistZ - I discovered him when I read Charley Parker's post on my favorite art blog Lines and Colors back in the spring.  When I delve into Zorn's bio and paintings, I realized I had seen his work before - and I probably thought his large portraits were those by John Singer Sargent because they feel like Sargents in many ways.  

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston held an exhibit in 2013 "Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America" revealing a competitive rivalry between Zorn and Sargent - both painters were involved in the coveted commissions from the high society during the Gilded Age.

In Charley Parker's post - he writes about Zorn's portrait of Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon, commissioned by Edward Rathbone Bacon, her brother-in-law and a very powerful, wealthy railway magnate (much like George Vanderbilt II, who commissioned Sargent on several occasions).   In fact, Sargent painted his sister-in-law, but Edward wanted Zorn to attempt a 'better' one.  

 John Singer Sargent's 'Portrait of Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon'

The story goes that Sargent saw Zorn's painting at the Paris Salon and conceded Zorn had 'won a brilliant victory'.

Anders Zorn is one of Sweden's most celebrated artists to this day.

Being that I've wrapped up my series ArtistZ,  I want to say how much I've enjoyed digging into bios and really looking at all the artist's works - I never took an art history course back in the days and learning more is always rewarding when it comes to artists and painting.  It drives me.  It inspires me.

Here are some useful websites if you want to discover artists ~

And then there's my favorite, Sister Wendy, who has opened my eyes on a lot of art that I'd never thought about.

If you know of another site you like, please leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.

Onto another painting for the show at the Vendue.  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving ~


Monday, November 16, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I chose the artist Stephen Scott Young for the letter Y in my series ArtistZ.

Stephen is just a little older than me.  I've admired his paintings and etchings for years, dating back to my early framing career in the early 80's when I frequently framed prints of his work.  To think he was painting such beautiful watercolors at the age of 20ish-years-old was inspiring - it made me want to be an artist.

Stephen is a graduate of the Ringling School of Art, one of my-then top choices for art school - he took his first trip to the Bahamas in the early 80's and fell in love with the clear, natural, sparkling light and the people who have been many subjects in his paintings thru the years.  The painting I chose is titled 'Faithful', one of my personal favorites.

Around 2007, I got a call from an owner of the Morris & Whiteside Gallery in Hilton Head - a gallery that I had bookmarked for several years because Stephen Scott Young was one of the artists represented.  I was stunned that Ben Whiteside, one of the owners, was interested in my work considering the league I would be joining.  The first time I saw my painting hanging next to Stephen's,  I was floored.  And I still am to this day.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Women in Gold"

16 x 20"
oil on panel

Just when you think I'm predictable,  I paint a 16 x 20".  And it took 6 days to complete.  Yikes.

The Robert Lange Studios, in Charleston, invited me into another group show - titled 'Silver vs. Gold' which opens tonight at The Vendue in Charleston.  My painting will join the rest around December 1st.

I painted the ground color a blend of metallic golds, which peeks through the oil paint - also I applied spots of metallic golds in the Klimt painting, the woman's sweater and several other strategic areas.  It's very cool in person.

The Klimt painting I feature is the famous 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I', also the subject in the movie 'Woman in Gold'.

For a larger view, click here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

For the letter X in my series ArtistZ,  I spent, I'm guessing, five or six hours researching and hunting an artist.  Google painters who's name begins with the letter X and you'll find hundreds of mostly Chinese artists, a small number of Greek and a handful of other nationalities.  At one point, I went to the New York Times archive, because I vaguely remembered the artist Sun Xun, written about several times in past few years and I found him.  Sun Xun lives and works in Beijing, he's around 36 years old, which is impressive given his wide range of mediums and amount of work.

Quite frankly, I don't respond to most of Xun's works, he has explored mixed media, animation, block printing, ink drawings and painting - and I zeroed in on an exhibit in 2012 titled 'These Years', a collection of mixed media oils that include still life, landscapes and figuratives, including my choice piece Waiting.   I just love the grey-green tones and the strong turquoise/aquas together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Little Blog Talkin'

The artist and blogger, Kelley Sanford, has included me in her 'Ask the Expert' series on her blog In The Artist's Studio on today's post - I talk a little bit about painting a series, how I decide on the subject and generally about painting.

Be sure to read her past posts - it's always helpful to know how other painters tick.

~ Thanks Kelley

Thursday, October 29, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I easily chose Jamie Wyeth for my series ArtistZ - although I worship the three generations of the Wyeth painters, N.C., Andrew and Jamie equally.    Something about growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with a mom who painted - many Sunday drives through nearby Delaware County where the Wyeths lived and painted - all of that must have made an impression on me.  They made my want to be an artist.

I also chose one of my personal favorite paintings by Jamie Wyeth titled 'Pumpkinhead  (Self Portrait)'.  It has always spooked me, even when I was painting my piece.   In a past interview, Jamie told this story - 'I had been elected to the National Academy of Design in New York, and one of the requirements was that you give a portrait, a self-portrait of yourself.  Well, I didn't want to do myself in a self-portrait, but I love pumpkins.  It's the sinisterness, the Halloween I've always loved.  It's a bit edgy. So I did it and of course they were furious and rejected it.'  Imagine anyone rejecting a Wyeth painting?

The Wyeths were known to be very fond of Halloween,  N. C. was the famed illustrator of great stories like Treasure Island and loved to round up costumes for the kids and get lost in imagination.  His studio would be decorated for family parties complete with pumpkins, Indian corn, candles and symbols of autumn and Halloween.  Taken from Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life,  Andrew,  the son of
N. C., developed the same love for Halloween.  'Wyeth has made Halloween a personal Walpurgisnacht, an annual reconnection with the unearthly, with witchcraft and hidden meanings. On that day he is electric with fun.  He picks the deformed pumpkins and carves them into jack-o'-lanterns, a long lineage of fantastic death masks summoned up from childhood by the remembered scent of candle-heated pumpkin flesh.'   I read that the family had a long tradition of wearing their costumes for dinner on Halloween night - here's a photo where you can see Jamie on the right.

I gathered up just a fraction of those wonderful paintings by the three generations, expressing their love for the images of autumn and Halloween, starting with three of my favorites....

Treasure Island illlustration by N. C. Wyeth

Automaton by Jamie Wyeth

The Witching Hour by Andrew Wyeth

 and more .....

and a Happy Halloween to you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Van Gogh"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

I took a little break for a road trip to visit Brett's family - it was and is always a pleasure getting together.  Now I'm back to painting and added to my series ArtistZ - choosing Vincent van Gogh for the letter V.  It was a toss up between Van Gogh and Vermeer,  I love them both, but really, to see a Van Gogh in person is an experience everyone should enjoy in their lifetime.

His colors are as vivid and saturated as the day he painted his masterpieces, the oils are laid on thick in most, adding to the movements and textures of the landscapes or still lives.  There's great emotion is his paintings, especially my personal favorite 'Wheatfield with Crows', the piece I featured in my painting above.

'Wheatfield and Crows' is considered Van Gogh's last painting by most, proving color was his greatest means of expression.  When I had my frame shop,  I always had this framed print in the gallery.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Two Paintings Going on Auction

Just a head's up - these two paintings are in my studio and need a good home.

'The Reel Thing'
7 x 10"
oil on panel

'The Chapel at Palmetto Bluff'
7 x 9"
oil on panel

Monday, October 12, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I absolutely love the figurative paintings by the British painter Euan Uglow - an easy choice for the letter U in my series ArtistZ.

Uglow's painting method involved a lot of measuring and mathematics, and those markings could often be seen on the finished paintings.  Taken from a biography of Uglow "his measuring process was laborious and time consuming to the point that Uglow himself joked that one model he began painting when she was engaged, was still painting when she got married and did not finish until she was divorced."

What I particularly love is how he painted color in blocks or areas, surprising any viewer with skin tones that include greens, violets, golds, reds, greys, etc.   He, like Lucian Freud,  has taught me so much about painting skin in a bold and realistic way. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel 

I don't remember exactly the first time I saw a Wayne Thiebaud painting - I'm guessing years ago I framed a print and it was love at first sight.  It was probably one of his fabulous dessert paintings - wedges of pie or decorated cakes.   It stirred up my creative juices, it made me want to paint again.   It made me want to paint with oils.  

Thiebaud's distinct style is paint laid on thick, as if he's really icing a cake with his paint brush.  You can almost see in your mind his process of outlining and swirling the brushstrokes.  I love that.  Besides his recognized plates of foods, pies, cakes, candies, ice cream cones, shoes, lipsticks and figures,  he has painted the most stunning bird's-eye-views of California landscapes, laying on the paint and colors in patterns that just perfectly harmonize.  He has painted cityscapes that defy perspective rules,  stretching San Francisco-like streets and shadows to an almost vertigo-causing image.  Just genius.

Wayne Thiebaud was born in Arizona in 1920, grew up in Long Beach, California - as a teenager, worked at Walt Disney Studios - essentially becoming a commercial artist until he was influenced to go the fine art route, like many artists I know.  In the 60's, an art dealer in New York grabbed on to him - during the Pop Art movement of Warhol, Lichtenstein, etc.  I read somewhere he didn't define himself as a Pop artist - he referred to himself as a 'traditional painter of illusionistic form'.  Thiebaud is nearly 95 years old and I think still paints.

If I could personally meet any living artist,  it would be Thiebaud.  I regard him as one of the most influential, brilliant painters of our time.  My great admiration for Wayne Thiebaud was an easy choice for the letter T in my series ArtistZ.

As for my painting, the young man is viewing 'Three Machines', which hangs in the de Young Museum in San Francisco.  I tried to paint in the same swirly, free, ebullient style as Mr. Thiebaud.

Check out more of Thiebaud's paintings here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hilton Head Art Auction This Saturday

I have two paintings in the Hilton Head Art Auction, held this coming Saturday - I'll include details below.  Auctions can be a rare opportunity to get an original painting for a really good price, you just never know.  The best way to play it, in my opinion, is to name your top price and roll the dice.

Here are my pieces in the auction,  both are framed....

'A Lot To Juggle'
8 x 10" oil on panel

 'A Big Thumb's Up'
10 x 10" oil on panel

Saturday, October 3, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

When I was working on the letter S for my series ArtistZ  and chose John Singer Sargent, I came up with a couple of compositions and started both paintings to feel them out.   When I sat down this morning, I felt compelled to finish the other one I'd begun and put it on auction.

A young woman viewing John Singer Sargent's 'Mrs. George Swinton' in the Art Institute of Chicago, both wearing the fashion of their time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I'm not sure there is a more perfect painting other than 'Madame X' by the American artist, John Singer Sargent.  His painting debuted in 1884 in Paris - critics freaked out and deemed it scandalous and immoral - too 'erotic' for their delicate (prudish) eyes it seems.  Even the family of Virginie Gautreau (Madame X) was outraged, particularly because one of the dress straps was originally slipped off her shoulder.  Sargent appeased the family by repainting the strap and kept the painting for 3 years - meanwhile moving to London and becoming one of the most sought-after portrait painters of the times.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City purchase 'Madame X' in 1916.

I am quoting a portion of the Khan Academy's summary about 'Madame X', because I think it's so very well said -  'The painting - which debuted to severe disparagement but is today treasured as a masterpiece beloved in the history of Western art - is but one example of an artwork that gradually evolved from epitomizing the condemned to the celebrated.  Much of a work's initial reception is based upon society's tastes, standards of etiquette, and values of the era, and as these attitudes shift over the decades, the public may begin to look at older paintings with new eyes.'

There isn't a single painting that Sargent created that doesn't bring me to my knees - so it was an easy choice for the letter R in my series ArtistZ.

                         FYI - 


Monday, September 28, 2015

When Forgery Isn't a Crime

I watched a fascinating documentary last night about the art forger, Mark Landis.  It is part of the series POV on PBS - titled Art and Craft.   Artists should find this story and documentary compelling, but I think anyone would really.

The synoposis as described on PBS's website:

'Mark Landis is one of the most prolific art forgers of the modern era — and he isn't in it for the money. In the last 30 years he's copied hundreds of pieces, from 15th-century icons to works by Picasso and even Dr. Seuss, then donated them to museums across the country. When a tenacious registrar discovers the ruse, Landis must confront his legacy and a chorus of duped professionals intent on stopping him. But Landis is a diagnosed schizophrenic, driven since his teens to escape "the life of a mental patient," and ending the con isn't so simple. A cat-and-mouse caper told with humor and compassion, Art and Craft uncovers the universal in one man's search for connection and respect.'

I just had to tell you about it.

Read about Art and Craft here, where you'll find your television schedule or the link to stream it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

My choice for the letter R for my series ArtistZ was well thought out because there are many painters I admire - Rodin, Rembrandt, Rothko, Renoir, Rivera to name a few.   In the end, I chose the French painter Henri Rousseau and his brilliant 'The Sleeping Gypsy' as an Ode to the Full Moon, which takes place tonight.  The bonus is it is the super moon and a lunar eclipse, if you're lucky enough to witness the beauty taking place.

Rousseau was Post-Impressionism, self-taught which explains his distinctive style that is unmistakable when you see a Rousseau hanging in a museum.  He was born in France in 1844,  his family was middle-class, he worked real jobs and painted in his spare time - he taught himself to paint mostly from copying works of art in the museums of Paris and at the age of 49, not unlike many of us, retired from his job and dedicated himself to art.  

Rousseau painted 'The Sleeping Gypsy' in 1897 and described his subject this way, "A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her, overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep.  A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her.  There is a moonlight effect, very poetic."

The painting hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City,  I always stop and stare for a good while - it has a peaceful, compassionate feeling about it that moves me.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

A new addition to my series ArtistZ - and I will say, the hunt for an artist for the letter Q wasn't easy.  I narrowed it down to three painters and chose the one that spoke to me - Qi Baishi.

Qi Baishi, a Chinese artist, born in 1863, is one of the most famous contemporary Chinese painters who could paint nearly every subject matter and is best known for his flowers, birds, insects and fish.  It is said 'he mastered the ability of suggesting the essence of his subject with a few, brief strokes.'  Which is why it appeals to me - it is very Zen.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I chose Pablo Picasso for the letter P in my series ArtistZ - how could I not?

Picasso is the most-recognized, most-influential painter of the 20th century - I could devote an entire week's worth of posts talking about him, his work, his fame, his womanizing, his long life.  Rather than do that,  I'll tell you why I chose Picasso and why I chose 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon'.

Picasso was born in Spain but spent most of his life in France.  He was a painter, printmaker, sculptor, ceramicist and stage designer.  He lived to the age of 91, spent 80 of those years devoted to creating art.  He is known for his 'blue period' and 'rose period' by many - he was co-founder of Cubism, with his fellow artist and friend Georges Braque

Which brings me to why I chose, what some consider, the most-influential painting of the 20th century - 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon', which hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  Originally titled 'The Brothel of Avignon',  it depicts five nude prostitutes in sharp, geometric shapes, distorted, broken apart in places on a large 96 x 92" canvas.  It's considered the precursor of Cubism - it freaked out the art world in 1907, if you can imagine.

My mom, as I've mentioned, was a painter - she loved Picasso.  The cubism style fascinated her, his influence of African/Primitivism appealed to her and carried into her paintings and carvings.  She had tons of books on Picasso, always open, often cut up and pinned on her easel.

My favorite paintings are Guernica

which I've never seen in person, and 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon', which I've seen several times at MOMA - both are immense, powerful works of art.  If you are inclined to want to know more, here's a good article, written in 2007 in Newsweek, 100 years after Les Demoiselles was presented to the world.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I was introduced to Georgia O'Keeffe as a teenager, my mom, who went through a period of painting abstracts, had numerous books of O'Keeffe's work.   A few years later, I saw an exhibit of Alfred Stieglitz, which included many photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe and I was more intrigued.

She was born in Wisconsin in 1887, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago mostly - Stieglitz fell in love with her work, and in 1916, held a show at his New York City gallery without her approval.  She attended the opening, walked up to Stieglitz and said 'Do you know who I am?' which he replied 'no' which she replied 'I'm Georgia O'Keeffe and you are to take all my artwork down now'.  But, he smoothed talked her into 'showing the world her beautiful art' and she married Stieglitz 8 years later.

In the Art Institute of Chicago, one of my favorite paintings of hers is 'The Shelton with Sunspots, NY' which hangs in a different spot than the two you see above - many people don't know this painting was done by O'Keeffe.

Given the chance, I could go on and on about this amazing woman and painter.   I easily chose O'Keeffe for the letter O in my series ArtistZ - featuring my two personal favorite paintings 'Cow's Skull with Calico Roses' and 'Black Cross, New Mexico'.

I wanted to include my favorite photograph of her, during her later years living in New Mexico.

And last - you see my painting has sold.   A very valued collector of my work has offered to buy the remaining paintings in my series, an offer I couldn't refuse.  So they won't be auctioned,  but I hope you understand, and I thank all of you who have participated in the auctions (there are 2 still on auction) and purchased those paintings.

Monday, September 7, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I discovered the artist, Alice Neel, when I read her obituary in 1984 - then proceeded to find any books I could on her life and her paintings.   She was born in 1900 and is known for her many portraits of friends, family, poets, artists, celebrities and even strangers.

Alice Neel started painting in her 20's and didn't receive the recognition she deserved until her late 60's and early 70's.  She had a fascinating life that's worth reading about - she had lovers and husbands and children mixed with tragedy, nervous breakdowns, travels all over the globe - she connected with people, loved and lost, had numerous, life-long friends - a full life.

Her self-portrait was a five-year process, completed on her 80th year - painted in a truthful manner.  She was in an art world when Abstract Expressionism was hip, yet she carried on with these bold, expressive, sincere portraits that spoke to people.  Including me.

I admire her for living her life as she wanted and painted what she desired.  My favorite quote of hers - "You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is... unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far."

Alice Neel is a new addition to my series ArtistZ, truly a personal favorite.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

"Laid Back"

8 x 10"
oil on panel

A new painting - all around elegance of a woman standing before Henri Matisse's 'Apples' and his bronze sculpture 'Seated Nude' beside her.  From the Art Institute of Chicago.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase information.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

For the letter M, in my series ArtistZ,  I had so many choices it frazzled me.  Top of my list is Magritte, Modigliani, Matisse,  Michelangelo - then there's Miro, Monet, Manet, Millet, Motherwell and on and on.  I could do a whole series of M's.

I chose Henri Matisse for this reason - his 1909 version of Dance, which hangs in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.   It is one of the paintings that is widely recognized, it is one that really moves people.  They stop, they sit on the bench in front of it for a good while - I think they feel the movement, the joy.   This 1909 version was a study for a commission, his 1910 Dance II is a bit more defined and richer in skin tones but with the same composition.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


8 x 6"
oil on panel

First I want to tell you I was sure the artist, Jacob Lawrence, was to be my L for my series ArtistZ.  I've long admired Lawrence ever since I saw a fraction of his Migration Series at the Phillips Collection years ago.   I was a framer for 33 years and I framed countless prints of Jacob Lawrence's work, even framed a napkin he signed for a collector.   And please go to MOMA to see his entire Migration Series if you're able.

Back in June, I read an article in the New York Times about Frederic Leighton's now-iconic 'Flaming June' at the Frick (this is the last week of the exhibition), and that image brought back memories of, again, framing this glowing, stunning image many, many times.  It was a favorite of mine, much like Klimt's work in that I could really go wild with beautiful, carved mouldings to enhance these pieces.

I will also add that my desire to paint 'Flaming June' was fulfilled - and it was my pleasure to mix these rich oranges and golds and swirls the oils to the folds and curves of the fabrics in the painting.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

"Daily Exercise"

8 x 6"
oil on panel

I intended to post this new painting on National Dog Day a few days ago, but in my life, every day is dog day. 

Don't forget to take your dogs for a long walk.  It's good for everyone.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase information.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

Choosing a favorite painter for the letter K for my series ArtistZ was tough - I love Frida Kahlo, Wolf Kahn, Kandinsky, Klee, Franz Kline.  But there's something about Gustav Klimt's works that blows my mind.

The famous portrait of Klimt's close friend and patron 'Adele Bloch-Bauer' (also known as 'The Woman in Gold') took 3 years to complete in 1907.   There's a current movie titled Woman in Gold about the true story of Maria Altmann, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, who fought to reclaim the ownership of the painting that was stolen by the Nazis during the invasion of Vienna.  A remarkable story.

The painting is a collage of oils and gold-leaf applications and I played with a metallic copper ground color and mixtures of gold and copper oils to bring out the effect.  You can see little bits of the ground color shimmering throughout my painting - a bit hard to see in the image above.