Friday, October 14, 2016

"Value Analysis"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

I started this new study yesterday morning.  The painting the young woman is looking up at is one of my favorites by Norman Rockwell titled Girl in a Mirror.

I was listening to Michelle Obama's inspirational speech as I was painting.  Here is a portion that stuck with me...

"What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations?"

You can read Michelle Obama's speech in full here.

Please click here to the auction page.  This link will engage at 9 pm ET this evening.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

"A Way Of Life"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

When I began listing works of art I'd like to feature portraying the American Spirit, I remembered this exquisite painting in Crystal Bridges titled The Indian and the Lily by George de Forest Brush, done in 1887.  It's one of the many pieces in the museum that knocked my socks off.  It is so intimate in size, so beautifully painted, so tender, a glimpse of a moment in the life of a Native American Indian.

A little bit about the artist, George de Forest Brush - born in Tennessee, raised in Brooklyn and Darien, Connecticut, he trained in New York then later in Paris under the brilliant artist Jean-Leon Gerome.  Gerome is one of my personal favorites and I can use the same descriptions of his work - intimate, exquisite, precise realism, glimpses into personal lives.  The influence of Gerome is so very evident in Brush's paintings.

After Brush returned to America and in 1882, he ventured west with his brother and found his subject, America's native people.  For more than a year he lived among the Arapahoe and Shoshone in Wyoming and the Crow in Montana - creating paintings and etchings of Indians 'far removed from the reality of contempory Indian life'.  Brush chose to depict the Indians in a 'timeless environment undisturbed by the advent of the modern'.  He resented the rapid industrial revolution and how it negatively affected the Native Americans, instead he desired to portray them in their way of life and their connection to the natural world.

An article I found tied Brush's painting to the story of Narcissus, the perils of seeking an unattainable perfection and the novel Imensee, a story of a man reaching out for a perfect water lily but nearly drowns when he falls into the pond, getting tangled in the roots of this perfect flower.  He climbs out of the water, looks back at the water lily floating calmly - a metaphor for the struggle of the Indian tribes maintaining their way of life in a complicated, progressing world.

You should take time to look at more of Brush's amazing paintings.  They offer peace and tenderness in these days of anxiety and unrest.

Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends October 15 at 9 pm ET.

an important added note - The group show 12 x 12 at Robert Lange Studios was to hold their opening this Friday night but Charleston residents were ordered to evacuate due to Hurrican Matthew - the opening is rescheduled for the 14th.  The Hilton Head Art Auction held by the Red Piano Art Gallery scheduled for this Saturday, will be rescheduled at a later date.   

Saturday, October 1, 2016


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I'll tell you a couple of things you don't know about me.

I love major league baseball.  We watch nearly every Braves game and we're bummed the season is ending this weekend.  We often watch late night LA Dodgers games for the pleasure of listening to Vin Scully announce the play-by-plays.  And sadly, that simple pleasure is coming to an end.  So a salute to Vin Scully, who's retiring after 67 seasons as the Voice of the Dodgers.  You'll be so missed.  On a happy note, the Chicago Cubs may very well be in the World Series and I'm rooting for them to go all the way.  Truth is, no other sports do a thing for me.  Just baseball.

Another thing you don't know about me - I failed Art History in college.  Two different classes as a matter of fact.  So now, I'm not only atoning for that, I'm avid about it.  The older I get, the more I grasp history and how art connects to it, to us.  You're never too old to learn.

Which brings me to my new project.  I'm mapping out the work for an upcoming solo show in the spring.  My recent visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art got me thinking about our American history - how art reflected the times, the movements, the struggles, the politics, everyday life.  

That notion evolved along with the summer of this Presidential election.  What's happened to me is I'm feeling defensive more and more about what kind of country we want, what we aspire to.  Do we embrace the past lessons and have we learned from them?  Do we want to move forward, progress as people, as a nation?  Do we accept our differences and find a way to live in harmony?  Are we proud of how we got here, our ancestors who many were immigrants?  Don't we want to be proud of our melting pot?  Do we want to be respected and show respect to one another?

That has brought me to an idea, a theme - something in the vein of American Pride or Spirit.  When I think in those terms, the best artworks I know come to mind.  I have a true passion for American art - you may have picked up on that.  Hopper, Rockwell, Thomas H Benton, Wyeth to name a few - depictions of who we are as Americans.  What we've accomplished thru thick and thin.  

So that's where I'm heading with my idea and I'd like you to be involved.  Be my focus group.  Offer ideas of iconic works of art that convey that American spirit.  I'll be working on small studies as I go - give me feedback.  Poopoo it if you want, give me a thumb's up if you want.  It all means something to me.

Now - a little bit about my new painting, which features Portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumball, which hangs in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  John Trumbull was an artist during the American Revolutionary War, famous for his historical paintings - his Declaration of Independence is on the back side of the 2-dollar bill.

Trumball painted Hamilton's portrait in 1792, one of many made of Hamilton and considered the 'greatest known portrait' of one of our Founding Fathers.  

And a Happy October to you ~ 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Big Shoes to Fill"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

I first saw Jamie Wyeth's Portrait of John F. Kennedy in person in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC - the painting now hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in their permanent collection.  It is exquisite.

Jamie Wyeth was 20 years old when he was approached by the Kennedy family to paint a posthumous portrait in 1965.  Wyeth spent the next two years creating preparatory drawings, joining senators Robert and Edward Kennedy on their campaign trails to pick up on shared family traits and mannerisms.  

There are brilliant nuances in Wyeth's portrait - one eye is directed to the viewer, the other slightly looking into the distance - his clenched fist in front of his mouth, a gesture Jacqueline Kennedy considered 'strikingly accurate'.  It was said Robert Kennedy wasn't fond of the portrait, who felt 'his brother's disconcerted look was a painful reminder of his uncertainty during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Bay of Pigs invasion'.  In the end, the official White House portrait went to another artist, Gardner Cox.

Wyeth's portrait has hung in the JFK Library, was reproduced on an Ireland postage stamp and for a time hung in the Washington DC home of Vice President Joe Biden.  Biden 'always appreciated how President Kennedy's concentrated gaze demonstrates the difficult decisions world leaders face.' 

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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Three's a Crowd"

8 x 10"
oil on panel

Imagine yourself in coastal Maine, around 1911, one of the privileged few who spends the summer days watching boats races, dressed in fine, elegant clothes - enjoying the prosperous times without a care in the world.  Those were the images painted over and again by the American artist Frank Weston Benson.  One of those,  Summer Day hangs in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

In 1901, Benson resided in Salem, began renting and later purchased Wooster Farm, one of the enormous homes built for the upper class who summered with friends and family and servants on North Haven Island, Maine.  Summer Day depicts Benson's two younger daughters although he originally included his oldest daughter, Eleanor, but later removed her - according to several curators - to simplify the composition and open up the horizon of the glimmering light of the sea.

It is speculated Eleanor, who just returned home for the summer after graduating college had been introduced to and espoused to liberal views known as 'parlor pink' - a derogatory term to mean one has leftist or socialist sympathies.  Pink meaning a lighter shade of red, thus a lighter form of communism.  Mr. Benson was not happy.  Removing her from the painting may have been his way of separating Eleanor from his younger, 'untainted' daughters. 

Please click here for a larger view.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Vanity Fare"

10 x 10"
oil on panel

Featured in my new painting is Pablo Picasso's Girl Before a Mirror, painted in 1932.  There are few paintings of the 20th century that have been analyized, interpreted, reanalyized as much as this work of art.  Really, just Google 'analysis of Picasso's Girl Before a Mirror' and you'll get over 8,000 articles.

My observation, women are very drawn to it.  It represents vanity, self-image - what we see when we look in the mirror.  That's the easy interpretation.  Then it gets complicated.  

The model for Picasso was his young mistress Marie-Therese Walter, whom he painted numerous times.  Her real self on the left is brightly colored, beautiful, firm breasts, possibly pregnant while her reflection in the mirror is painted roughly, darker colors, her body more contorted, aged.  Some say it's her confronting her mortality, her future, her fate.  Some say it represents the anxiety of the times, rumors of wars, the world economy, fear and instability - the suppressed, real feelings deep down in one's heart.  In the daytime, we're vital and presenting beauty and confidence and at night we're fractured and anxious, fearing our fate. Sound familiar?

I don't usually analyize art.  I react - with pleasure due to the composition, colors, skill of the artist, etc, or the opposite of all those things.  Part of me always considers Picasso's renderings of women to be an example of the man himself - admiring youth and beauty, some say misogynistic and/or chauvinistic, hypersexual.  At least that's what people tell me.

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

Friday, September 16, 2016

"World Domination"

12 x 14"
oil on panel

I just finished this new painting.  Yikes.  It took almost an entire week but I was determined to conquer it (pun intended).  It features one of the most famous paintings of Napoleon Bonaparte crossing the Alps - one of five versions painted by the French artist Jacques-Louis David in the years 1800-1805.  

Initially commissioned by the King of Spain, this first version depicts Napoleon, in the spring of 1800, leading his army across the Alps, through the Great St. Bernard Pass to conquer Italy and take the territory seized by the Austrians.  Although everyone doubted he could cross the Alps in the first place, especially in the spring - with great audacity, he shocked everyone and did it - truth was, the weather was quite nice and he actually rode on a mule, not the triumphant horse as David depicted.  Truly propaganda.

I could keep going with the fascinating history of this portrait and it's five different versions commissioned by various rulers - not to mention the details of Napoleon's uniform and all his accessories - but it's a lot, so read up on it if you're interested.

I will include a bit about the artist David, who painted one of my favorites The Death of Marat.  David became a great supporter of the French Revolution and admired Napoleon and when he first met him, he was enamored with Napoleon's face, sketching him when he was able, turning out to be important studies for future commissions - and after Napoleon crossed the St. Bernard Pass, it was requested that David portray him 'calm upon a fiery steed' rather than a mule, and David complied - making him the official court painter of the regime.   He went on to paint the extraordinary Coronation of Napoleon, which included the choir of Notre Dame as fill-ins and Pope Pius VII, who blessed David for the masterpiece.

It gets complicated after all the revolutionaries, including David, ordered 'off with their heads' of Louis VXI and VXII.  When the new king Louis XVIII took over, he granted David amnesty and the position of his court painter, but David refused and fled to Brussels, continued to paint and teach and became wildly popular and rather wealthy until - one night as he was leaving the theater, he was hit by a carraige and died in 1925.  As shown in Les Miserables, you gotta watch out for those carraiges.

My painting will be included in the upcoming group show Lions + Tigers + Bears opening at the Vendue Hotel in Charleston on October 20th.

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

Friday, September 9, 2016


8 x 6"
oil on panel

Happy Friday.

Before I post the link to this new painting going on auction tonight, I have a cool story to tell you.  

Yesterday I received an email from a woman asking about a painting I had done back in 2013.  I replied it had sold way back. She asked for a print. I replied I don't make prints.

She then told me the subject, a bungalow I spotted in Nebraska, on our road trip from San Francisco back to Atlanta, was her family's home.  

In disbelief, I asked her for the street address so I could compare it to my original photo - then with Google street view, I found the house, compared it to my photo and damn, if it wasn't the house!  In this big country, in all of the millions of houses in all of the small towns, I painted her house.  It still blows my mind.  

The number one question I'm asked is 'does anyone recognize themselves in your paintings?'  And to this day, in twelve years of doing over a couple of thousand paintings, it hasn't happened yet.  But someone out there, hundreds of miles away, recognized their house.  Absolutely freaking amazing.

Okay - back to my new painting.

A woman resting on a bench in the Art Institute of Chicago, with her Hopper gift bag full of souvenirs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Fried Fish"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

I got my Hopper on today.

What was once a neighborhood restaurant around East Atlanta.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Across The Street"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

And a happy Sunday to you.

On my list of personal favorite painters, Edward Hopper is in the top 5.  When I am lucky enough to stand in front of one of Hopper's paintings in a museum, I always sigh.  I stay for a while.  I'm always in awe.  There's a connection with me - his choices of subjects - stately homes in New England, urban scenes, sunlight's angles on windows and sidewalks, quiet, lonely, still scenes of city streetscapes, maybe just one person in the painting or nobody.  Delicious colors.  

Which brings me to one of my all-time favorite Hopper's 'Early Sunday Morning', which hangs in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City - one of more than three thousand works bequeathed to the museum by Hopper's wife in 1968.  The 1930 painting is, Hopper said, 'almost a literal translation of Seventh Avenue' - reduced to bare essentials.  Each individual window gives hint to the different people in each unit, and although Hopper originally included one lone figure in a window, he removed it, deciding it wasn't needed to convey anything more.  It is quintessential 20th century American realism.

Edward Hopper was born in Upper Nyack, New York in 1882 -  his parents encouraged his art, kept him stocked with materials, illustrated books, instructional guides, and in his teens, he was creating watercolors, oils, charcoals and pen-and-inks.  He went on to the New York School of Art and Design - became an illustrator which he came to hate, traveled to Europe several times, ended up back in New York reluctantly returning to advertising and illustration.

Hopper experienced long periods of inertia, not knowing what to paint - in a funk so to speak.  At one point, he turned to etching, producing over 70 pieces of urban scenes of New York and Europe.  They are notably the beginnings of his painting subjects down the road - solitary figures, interiors of the theater, nautical scenes, etc.  He and his wife worked in the theater, creating backdrops for plays - and I always thought 'Early Sunday Morning' felt like one of those backdrops - as if you were across the street from this typical row of businesses and upper floor apartments.

One of my favorite quotes from Edward Hopper - 'Maybe I am not very human - what I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house'.  I can dig that.  I often feel the same.

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Little Surfer"

7 x 5"
oil on panel

A girl and her boogie board in the ocean in Miami Beach, Florida.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Life On Marsh"

16 x 4"
oil on panel

I decided to paint a serene landscape today, 1 - because I haven't painted a landscape in some time and 2 - it's a mellow Sunday and 3 - because I rocked out to the 30th Anniversary for Bob Dylan all afternoon while I painted.

 left half detail

right half detail

A panoramic view from the coast on Rock Harbor, Cape Cod.

Friday, August 26, 2016

"The Brave One"

15 x 13"
oil on panel

Peter Paul Rubens'  Daniel in the Lion's Den  cannot go unnoticed in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  Including the frame, it measures approximately 12-1/2 feet wide by 9 feet high.  Rubens painted large masterpieces throughout his very successful artistic career.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, born in 1577, was a Flemish Baroque painter known for his altarpieces, portraits of royalty, landscapes and history paintings of symbolic and mythological subjects - bringing me to Daniel in the Lion's Den, which he painted at the age of 37.  

The story in the Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel, tells how Daniel is promoted to high office by Darius the Mede (King of Babylon), but his rivals trick the king into condemning Daniel to death.  Darius casts him into the lion's pit, crossing his fingers that he'll survive, visits him the next morning asking if God has saved him.  Daniel replies 'God sent an angel to close the jaws of the lions because I was found blameless before him'.  The king then rounds up the back-stabbers and their wives and children and tosses them into the lions' pit and commands 'all the people of the whole world to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel'.  It all may be fiction or folktales, but yikes, that's harsh.

The scene was depicted by several notable artists including Henry Ossawa Tanner and Jan Brueghel the Younger and is included in music thru the years - example, in Fiddler on the Roof, the song Miracle of Miracles - 'Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, God took a Daniel once again, turned him around and miracles of miracles, walked him through the lion's den.'

I worked hard on this new painting, using my little brush for a change with respect to the details of Rubens' attention to the lions' hair and Daniel's exaggerated pose.  This painting will be included in the upcoming group show Lions + Tigers + Bears represented by Robert Lange Studios and held at the Vendue Hotel in Charleston, opening October 20th.

Please click here for a larger view.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


6 x 6"
oil on panel

This was a study I did in the spring and decided to hang on to it - but this seems like the right time to offer it on auction to raise money. 

I donated the proceeds to the Red Cross Louisiana Flood Relief Fund - join me in an effort to help our friends in need.  To donate directly to the Red Cross Flood Relief Fund, click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Close Encounter"

12 x 12"
oil on panel

For me, discovering the artist, Chuck Close, was a revelation.   I was a teenager, already obsessed with drawing people.  And there I stood, staring at a gigantic canvas of a face, wondering how he did it.  Realizing that his technique was to grid the original photo and essentially blow it up on canvas was a huge learning experience for me.  Naturally, I started to grid every photo, album cover, magazine ad I could find and practice.  He's been a hero of mine ever since.

Close is a man to be admired not just for his extraordinary artistic abilities.   He is the son of artistic parents who supported his creative interests right from the start.  He suffers from dyslexia, struggled with schoolwork, couldn't play sports due to a neuromuscular condition but he did excel in art.  He lost his father at the age of 11, his mother fell ill with cancer and Close suffered health problems that kept him home and in bed for long periods of time.  At the age of 14, he saw an exhibition of Jackson Pollock, which made him want to become an artist.

He studied art during the abstract-crazed art world, chose to go in the completely opposite direction and developed his photorealism style.  Interesting enough, Close suffers from prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, not recognizing faces - which boggles the mind considering his ability to replicate details on faces to a tee.  His technique for applying color helped the development of the inkjet printer - bet you didn't know that.

By the 70's, Close's work was in the finest galleries all over the world and he was thought of as one of America's best contemporary artists.  At the age of 48, he suffered the sudden rupture of a spinal artery and was left almost entirely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.  After regaining the partial use of his arms, he pushed on, developing a studio to accommodate his wheelchair and with a brush taped to his wrist, he began painting a combination of abstract and looser pieces that I particularly love - like his self-portrait above, done in 2005.  

He's a man with no excuses.  A man who never played the victim.  He's evolved with age, years and limitations.  He's a man to be admired.

My painting will be included in the October group show 12 x 12", held at Robert Lange Studios.

Please click here for a larger view.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"Wife Guard"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

I just  L-u-r-v-e  how this painting turned out.

From the beach on Cape Cod, a man keeping watch over his sunbathing wife.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


6 x 9-1/2"
oil on panel

Most of you know bits and pieces of the life of Vincent van Gogh.  I promise you, if you've never seen a painting of his in person, you're really missing out on the splendor of brush strokes, the thick, rich colors swirling around the canvas, the movement, the passion that van Gogh had of the world around him.  

Van Gogh was 36-years-old when he painted 'Cypresses' - during his year-long stay at the asylum in Saint-Remy and a year before his death.  It is a more close-up view of the the tall and massive trees he found 'beautiful as regards lines and proportions, like an Eyptian obelisk'.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

"Summer Break"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

A couple of days ago, while I was working on this new painting, I stepped outside to stretch and looked up at the summer sky full of big, puffy clouds against the jewel-blue  -  the same summer sky that I was painting in Frank Benson's Summer.

I know Benson's painting so well.  In 33 years of framing, I'm guessing I framed the print 50+ times.  Women, especially, loved it. 

Frank Weston Benson was a Massachusetts native born in 1862 - became the founding member of the Ten American Painters in his 30's, associating himself with famous impressionistic painters like William Merritt Chase, Thomas Dewing, Childe Hassam to name a few.  It was a desire to be a part of like-minded artists and turned out to be a brilliant marketing strategy - their exhibitions were wildly popular around the turn of the century.

Benson painted Summer in 1909, featuring his daughters and niece on the cliffs near his family's vacation home on North Haven Island in Maine.  He composed the women from sketches and photographs, creating the 'personifications of beauty and optimism on a perfect summer day'. 

Benson taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and occasionally taught at Rhode Island School of Design.  The painting was donated to the school's art museum by one of Benson's major patrons, where it hangs today.

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

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Head and Shoulders"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

Since I was a teenager, I've been fascinated with realism - or in this case, hyper-realism.  Just the idea of how an artist executes the artwork boggles my mind.  You see paintings in museums that look like a photograph, so precise it's staggering.  I wanted to do that for years, until I realized I wasn't up to it.  I'm more interested, now, in realism with a looser style - although you'll notice some paintings lean tighter and some, like much of these smaller pieces I frequently auction, are more painterly.  It keeps me sane.

The hyper-realism sculpture I feature in this new painting is by Evan Penny titled 'Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be'.  Not only is this work of art insanely precise, down to every wrinkle and whisker and fold, the cast of shadows under the strong lighting is so very cool - not to mention the reactions of the museum patrons.  Evan Penny has a great website and on the Crystal Bridges Museum's website, you can read 'A Conversation With Evan Penny' that will give you insight of the artist's thoughts.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Walk A Mile (in Their Shoes)"

12 x 12"
oil on panel

I started this painting while watching the first day of the Democratic National Convention and finished it while watching the final night of the convention.  I felt like the events and speakers fueled my progress those four days.  

It was timely with respect to my painting - Norman Rockwell's profound painting.  The importance of equality in all Americans.  The pursuit of a nation where everyone deserves opportunities.  Dignity.  Safety.  Rights.  Hope.

Norman Rockwell's 1964 painting 'The Problem We All Live With' depicts the true event of 6-year-old Ruby Bridges being escorted to an all-white public school in New Orleans, by four U.S. Marshals during the contentious fight over school segregation in 1960.  Despite the angry crowd jeering as Ruby walked to her first day of school, as told later by one of the U.S. Deputy Marshals, 'She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we're all very very proud of her.'

My painting will be included in the upcoming group show 12 x 12 - opening October 7th at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston.

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

I need to note - the painting can be purchased before the show but needs to remain in the gallery during the exhibition.

Monday, July 25, 2016

That's Progress

I've started on a larger painting for an upcoming show that features Rockwell's 'The Problem We All Live With'.   If you're interested, I'll be posting my progress on my blog Karin Jurick Paints

~ Happy Monday

Sunday, July 24, 2016

"Bear In Mind" (study)

6 x 6"
oil on panel

One of the star attractions in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait's 1856 painting 'A Tight Fix - Bear Hunting, Early Winter'.  The scene brings to mind the movie The Revenant - a true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, who's mauled by a grizzly and abandoned by his group of fur trappers.  Interesting is, although there's no direct evidence this scene is based on Hugh Glass, it is strikingly similar to scenes in the movie.  The Museum of Native American History, not far from Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas has one of the only rifles known to belong to Jim Bridger, one of the fur trappers in Hugh Glass's hunting group.

The summary of Tait's painting, in the museum, describes it as 'an icon of American cultural mythology and masculinity'.  When it was first shown, art critics said Tait 'botched the representation of the second hunter, making it unclear whether he's aiming at the bear - neither bear nor man is winning - so a bullet is the only solution to the 'tight fix'.  

More interesting, the summary goes on describing 'critics were particularly sensitive to an impasse between white and black fighters.'   Keep in mind, Tait painted this during the deadlocked war over slavery in the Kansas Territory.  The books of this time were Uncle Tom's Cabin and stories of Davy Crockett where hunting animals and runaway slaves were talked about in similar terms.  

Arthur Tait was born British, and moved to New York City at the age of 31.  He established a hunting camp in the Adirondack Mountains - completely immersed in the frontier life and sport hunting - he produced many paintings and lithographs of related scenes that were wildly popular during his career.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Walk A Mile" (study)

6 x 6"
oil on panel

Norman Rockwell's profound 1964 painting 'The Problem We All Live With' is on the top of my Rockwell list.  It depicts 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, an African-American girl, being escorted to an all-white public school in New Orleans, by four deputy U.S. marshalls.  What is so very effective is the viewer is seeing the point of view from the angry crowd, the hint being the racial slurs on the wall and the tomato splattered in between the figures.  

The image was published in a 1964 issue of Look magazine - Rockwell's contract with the Saturday Evening Post ended in 1963 due to Rockwell's continued frustration with the magazine's limitations on his expressions of progressive social interests, including his personal views on civil rights and racial integration.

Norman Rockwell's granddaughter, Abigail, recently wrote a compelling article in the Huffington Post titled Would There Be Norman Rockwell Without The Saturday Evening Post?  Rockwell undoubtedly evolved as an illustrator between 1916 and 1963 - becoming a storyteller with his images like no other.  His career with the Post yielded 322 covers before he ended his contract.

Ruby Bridges, at the age of 56, visited the painting in the White House in 2011 - at the request of President Obama.

The CNN writer, Bob Greene, wrote about that event in this article.  Within that article, these words struck me "..the message of the painting is so powerful that it goes well beyond the incident it portrays. The message transcends our usual Democrats-vs.-Republicans, conservatives-vs.-liberals, left-vs.-right squabbling.  Rockwell was a genius not just because of the technical skill of his artistry, but because of his eye for the telling detail. And in "The Problem We All Live With," the key detail is how he framed the four U.S. marshals who are accompanying that child to school. We do not see their faces; in the painting, the men are cropped at their shoulders.

That is the power and the story of the painting: Four men were accompanying Bridges to school, yes, but the point was, the United States of America was accompanying her. We see the men's "Deputy U.S. Marshal" armbands, and that is what matters. The painting tells us: This country may have its flaws, but when right and wrong are on the line, the nation, in the end, usually chooses to stand for right."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


8 x 10"
oil on panel

Norman Rockwell's iconic 'Rosie the Riveter' is a big draw at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Rockwell's image made the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on Memorial Day, 1943 - featuring a muscular woman taking her lunch break, a rivet gun on her lap, her lunchbox with Rosie on the lid by her side and, what people love the most, Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf under her foot.  The U.S. Department of Treasury used the image on war bonds that generated millions for the war effort.

Rockwell's inspiration for Rosie's pose was from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling image of the prophet Isaiah.

Norman Rockwell is one of my inspirations for wanting to be an illustrator - and Rosie the Riveter would be many a woman's inspiration for feminism.

Please click here for a larger view.

Friday, July 15, 2016

"By The Book"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

From the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a couple admiring Mary Cassatt's 'The Reader' with James McNeill Whistler's 'The Chelsea Girl' to their right.

Interesting facts to mention - Whistler was so happy with his painting 'The Chelsea Girl' he gave it to Mary Cassatt's brother, Alexander, a well-known, important man who was president of the
Pennsylvania Railroad.  The artist, Robert Henri, was their distant cousin - here's my recent painting of Henri's hung in the museum as well.

Please click here for a larger view.