Saturday, April 30, 2016

"For Your Viewing Pleasure"

6 x 8"
oil on panel


Pardon my absence - I've been working on several paintings for a Small Works Auction taking place in July.  I've got one more to go and I'll post all of them.

This new painting is of a woman viewing Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon which hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  It's HUGE - 96" x 92", which effectively feels like the women in the painting are life-size and on display for all eyes to see.  

The painting portrays five prostitutes from a brother in Barcelona - it has a distinctive primitive style and is really the beginning of cubism and Modern Art.  First exhibited in 1916, it was quickly deemed as immoral.  Years later, exhibited in a gallery in New York City, MOMA bought the painting for a mere $24,000.
Crazy cheap.

Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends May 10th, 9 pm ET.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Arm In Arm"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


After painting 'Party Crasher', I had no intention of working on another one that would take me days to complete.  But Gustave Caillebotte, the painter of Paris Street; Rainy Day featured in this new painting, was one of the chaps in Renoir's painting Luncheon of the Boating Party and it got me thinking about his most beloved painting in the Art Institute of Chicago.  I fell in love with it back when I was in high school in Chicago - I'd spent countless hours studying every little detail as I sketched the figures.  It blew my mind how anyone could paint something so perfect and so large.

In the past 10 years, I've painted Paris Street; Rainy Day almost a dozen times, including the patrons who marvel at it's perfection - although I never dove into the details until now.  And yes, I got out my small brush.  


detail


Gustave Caillebotte was a French neo-Impressionistic artist, meaning the neos generally painted with more realism and detail rather than broad brush strokes.   He was born into a well-to-do family, earned a law degree, was an engineer, fought in the Franco-Prussian war then after the deaths of his parents, he inherited a fortune which meant he painted without the stress of selling his work.  Also to note, Gustave was one of the first painters to use his photography for his process of painting.  He was a good friend to other fellow artists - Monet, Pisarro, Renoir, to name a few - and was a great support of all of them, collecting their work, paying rent, etc.  A good, good friend.

At the age of 34, Gustave stopped painting and took up gardening, building and racing yachts - living a full and comfortable life.  He never married and died young at the age of 45.

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




Friday, April 15, 2016

"Party Crasher"

10 x 10"
oil on panel


The span of days you didn't hear from me recently was largely due to my working on this new painting.  It tires me to drag out a piece for days - I suffer from a short span of attention, paint for a few hours and seek out other things to do around the house.  I truly love starting a painting in the morning and finishing in the evening.  

But Renoir's masterpiece Luncheon of the Boating Party is complex - you have a landscape, still life and fifteen figures and a dog all in one.  Sixteen figures including the my viewer.  

The famed painting is in the Phillips Collection, one of the off-the-mall museums in Washington DC - and a must-go-to place.  Especially to soak in Renoir's painting.

The Boating Party is a very interesting anatomy of Renoir's friends -

- the woman on the bottom left, holding a dog, is Aline, who married Renoir and together they had three sons.

- the man on the bottom left wearing the boater's hat is Gustave Caillebotte, an accomplished artist who painted Paris Street, Rainy Day - a crowd favorite which hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.  Gustave was also an avid boatman.

- in the threesome in the upper right corner is the actress Jeanne Samary with two of Renoir's closest friends flirting with her.

- the man with the boating hat in the upper left and the woman in the boating hat leaning on the rail are brother and sister and children of the proprietor of the restaurant Maison Fournaise, where the scene takes place.

- the remainder are poets and critics and a wealthy art historian, collector and editor of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts.

Clearly the in-crowd.

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




Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Figured Out"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


When I posted this new painting last night, I said I wanted to add a bit more interesting facts but I was late for my evening walk with the dogs.  I was in such a rush, I mistakenly wrote Picasso was the artist, which is why my eBay listing says so.  It was Henri Matisse.  Yikes.  That'll teach me.

Anyhoo.... back to 'Bathers By A River'.  It has a prominent spot in The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago - on a huge wall as you enter the gallery.  The painting is enormous, so much so, most stand way back for a view.  I'm so drawn to this painting, I beeline right to it when I'm at the Tute.

Back in 2007,  the experts at the Art Institute studied this painting in depth, knowing Matisse was known to work on paintings in stages and piecing together separate panels - and knowing The Bathers took over eight years to complete, they went into more of an examination of his technique.

The Bathers and two other paintings were commissioned by a Russian collector, originally planned as three panels to fit in the man's residence - and after seeing a watercolor study, he rejected it.  But Matisse kept working on it during the next eight years, changing colors - really the whole design.  This was evident when the conservators removed the varnish and used infrared technology and X-rays - seeing a completely different palette.  That discovery morphed into an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, then MoMA, titled 'Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917' - which examined more of Matisse's works and techniques.

As for Matisse, it is a fantastic biography of his life and career - I find the most interesting personal tidbit being that his wife Amelie, whom he was married to for 41 years, suspected infidelity and ended the marriage.  The woman he was having the affair with attempted suicide by shooting herself in the chest BUT she survived and returned to a now-single Matisse and was his loyal assistant for the rest of his life.

Around the age of 71, Matisse was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and after surgery that left him bedridden, he was physically unable to paint and he turned to a new medium, creating cut paper collages for another decade and produced some of the most extraordinary works you're probably familiar with.




Friday, April 1, 2016

"Loners"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington houses a few paintings by one of it's native sons, Howard Pyle.  Pyle is referred to as 'the father of illustration'.   He was why, as a little budding artist, I wanted to be an illustrator.  He founded the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art in the early 1900's, later named the Brandywine School.  If Brandywine sounds familiar, it is where the artists of the Wyeth family lived and painted.  N.C. Wyeth was a student of Pyle's - becoming one of the most extraordinary book illustrators of his time.

If you were a student of Howard Pyle, you and other fellow students and painters would set off to historical sites - often taking along costumes and playing out the scenes - reaching into their imaginations of maybe what the life of a pirate was or how the Pilgrims dealt with their new land in Plymouth.  It had to be a wonderful, unique experience for those artists.

The painting I feature is one of my personal favorites titled Marooned.  The painting is quite simple in composition but it really tells the story.  Marooning was a punishment for a member of the crew who violated the pirate's code.  It was first mentioned in Treasure Island and it was a real practice where they would banish the poor guy to a deserted, bleak island with a little water, food and a pistol to commit suicide.  Historically, a few survived their punishments and lived to tell.

I learn something new every day.




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Bird Sighting"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I saw this exquisite painting at the Delaware Art Museum a few years back.  I felt .... lucky.  There haven't been many chances in my life to see those Pre-Raphaelite portraits of women in their luxurious clothes and settings.  They're so yummy.

The painting in my painting is 'Veronica Veronese' by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, done in 1872 - first sold to a frequent collector, a rich shipping magnate Frederick Leyland, changed hands a few times then it was donated to the Delaware Art Museum in 1935.

Rossetti's painting is filled with symbolism - the uncaged bird, the daffodils, the camomile in the cage.  Rossetti was English, a co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of artists and poets, which evolved through the years.




Friday, March 25, 2016

Out to Lunch

On this Easter holiday weekend, I want to say I've completely lost my mind.

I've had a long time desire to paint Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party since the day I saw it in person about seven years ago.  I tackled it once.  It was much looser.  And there was a crowd in the way.  I was saner back then.




Now I'm zeroing in on Renoir's incredible attention to detail, seeing things I've never noticed before.  Here's my slow progress...




I really should go dye some eggs.

I also wanted to mention Senator John McCain wrote an article in the New York Times today - about a recent obituary, the death of a U.S. soldier Delmer Berg.  He was 100 years old.  

The reason I bring this up?  Picasso's painting Guernica, which I recently featured in my painting War Paint.  

Mr. Berg was the last known veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  One of about 3,000 mostly-American volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War, in defense of the leftist government of Spain, against the Nationalists, led by Franco.  I never knew about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  It was part of the International Brigade, which included tens of thousands of foreign volunteers that fought against the bombings and destruction of many little hamlets in Spain.  Guernica being one of them.

So coming to the aid of a foreign land and people, people that these volunteers never knew - is quite profound.  

~  Happy Easter



Sunday, March 20, 2016

"Mystic" (study)

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold

And now for peace....

The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC is home to this beautiful, wooden sculpture 'Saint John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz)' - commissioned in 1675 by a convent near Seville, Spain to a 21-year-old artist named Francisco Antonio Gijon.  The contract survived all these years, stating the work was to be made of cypress supplied by the monks and be finished in less than two months time.
Yikes.

Saint John of the Cross was a 16th century Spanish mystic, imprisoned for pushing reform of his Carmelite order - his imprisonment inspired some of the most admired poetry and spiritual verses ever written in Spanish.  The mystic figure holds a quill on one hand and a book with a model of a mountain surmounted by a cross in the other - referring to his 'The Ascent of Mount Carmel'.

This 6-1/2' sculpture will bring you to your knees.

~ Happy Spring


Friday, March 18, 2016

"War Paint"

28 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


When I started this painting, I thought I must be out of my mind.  I rarely tackle something I know will take days.  And it did.  

My main drive was to submit this painting to an upcoming museum exhibition, but I couldn't meet the deadline - but I just kept plugging away.  It was challenging - mostly deciphering the many grey tones and values of Picasso's painting - I must have mixed 50+ different blacks and greys and tans.  I was obsessed with getting just the right combinations for days.  

Last night, after I completed the painting,  I took the dogs for a walk in a nearby cemetery and as I was walking on the asphalt, I was determining what colors to mix to get the color under my feet.  My brain couldn't shut it off - I thought that was amusing.

The more I dove into the history of Picasso's Guernica, the more his painting seemed so timely - a small town of innocent people driven out of their home by total destruction, much like Syria.  War.  What is it good for?

Here are several close-ups of this piece, starting from the left....













 Please click here for a larger view.




Sunday, March 13, 2016

"War Paint" (study)

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


Considered Pablo Picasso's most famous painting, Guernica, was a powerful political statement depicting the horrors and devastation of the Nazi's bombing of the town Guernica during the Spanish Civil War in 1937.   The size of Picasso's painting is 25 1/2' x 11' which effectively awes any viewer.

Picasso was working on a mural at the time of the bombing, commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the upcoming Paris exhibition but scrapped his original idea and began planning his composition of Guernica.  News of the massacre reached Paris and protests erupted all over the city - newspaper pages covered with stark black & white photographs of the devastation - which inspired Picasso to start working on Guernica in black and white and blue-grey tones.

Picasso finished three months later, delivered to the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris Exposition already in progress.  Initial reaction was overwhelming critical - the German guide described the painting as 'a hodgepodge of body parts that any four-year-old could have painted' and dismissed it as the 'dream of a madman'.  Even Russia, who sided with the Spanish government, criticized it, saying a more-realistic painting would have impacted the social or political future.

After the Paris tour, Guernica made its rounds in Europe and North America raising atttention to the threat of fascism.  During WWII until 1981, it hung in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, traveling back and forth to other countries - but never Spain.  Picasso refused it go to Spain 'until the country enjoys public liberties and democratic institutions' - which in 1981, after the death of Franco and the movement towards democracy, Guernica was put in its final home, the Reina Sofia in Madrid.


Friday, March 11, 2016

"Unwrapped"

5 x 5"
oil on panel
sold


My appreciation for the multitudes of colors in a fish.




Thursday, March 10, 2016

"The Bigger Questions"

10 x 10"
oil on panel


In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston hangs one of Paul Gauguin's finest works of art 'Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?' - a manifesto of sorts painted while he was living in Tahiti in 1897.  This 12" x 4.5" masterpiece contains people, animals and symbolic figures with the mountains and sea in the background - oozing with rich, jewel-tone blues, purples, greens reds and golds.  

What's nuts is that Gauguin painted this in a month, even told a friend after it was completed, he went up into the mountains to attempt suicide - which may or may not happened since Gauguin was famous for his self-promoting antics.  

Gauguin's frustration with a lack of recognition in Paris and a lack of money is what lead him to sail to Tahiti in 1891 - stating he's leaving European civilization and 'everything that is artificial and conventional'.  Yes, he abandoned his wife and five children as well - clearly ready for a change.  At one point in his young life, he was a successful stockbroker but he took a leap of faith wanting to be an artist and he must have felt like he failed everybody and everything.  

Thankfully, Gauguin shipped all of his paintings from Tahiti to his artist friend Vollard to be displayed at his Paris gallery in hopes of sales and recognition.  Interesting enough, his large masterpiece never sold, his friends attempted to donate it to the French state unsuccessfully until the Museum of Fine Arts purchased it in 1936.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase information.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"Giving Pause"

5 x 7"
oil on panel
sold


My ongoing attention to James McNeill Whistler inspired this new painting - a woman pausing before Whistler's 'Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room', which hangs in the Freer Gallery of Art - a commonly missed museum in Washington, DC.




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"Bliss"

12 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


This painting should compel you to take off your clothes and dance around.   Henri Matisse's very famous painting 'Dance' is one of those joyful works of art.  From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City,  a young man seemingly feeling the vibe.

Please click here for a larger view.


Monday, February 22, 2016

"In The Black"

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


I have such a deep admiration for John Singer Sargent's paintings - in person, they are so very awesome, so elegant - whether the subject is a man or woman of privilege or sidewalk scenes in Spain - they are a thing of masterful beauty.  When I paint one of his pieces in my composition,  I find myself painting slow and attentive, always learning more and more from Sargent.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a young woman stands before Sargent's stunning 'Madame X'.

Please click here for a larger view.




Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Tender Loving Care"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


It's high time I featured a woman artist - the very recognizable Mary Cassatt.  

Cassatt was American, born in Pennsylvania in the mid-1800's, in a well-to-do banking family.  She was one of seven children who were raised with high education, traveling and living in Europe for an extended period, all the while learning French, art and music.  She was around 11 years old when she first saw the great French artists like Corot and Ingres among others.

Her family objected to her becoming a professional artist - regardless, she began studying art and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philly - being one of the few women students in a male dominant environment.  It wasn't easy for women at that time to be taken seriously so she moved to Paris at the age of 22, with her mother, and began more formative studies.

She returned to Pennsylvania for a while, tried to capture attention in several galleries, but was discouraged over and over until the Archbishop of Pittsburgh commissioned her to paint copies of the Italian artist, Correggio, and all expenses paid to travel back to Europe - which she happily accepted.

Cassatt continued her stay in Europe - suffered the same setbacks a woman had to deal with until her big break when Edgar Degas invited her to show her works with a group who called themselves The Impressionists.  For years, she blossomed as an artist and relished their cause and notoriety.

I find the most interesting part of her life was in her later years,  at around 66 years old, Cassatt traveled to Egypt, followed by a crisis of creativity (haven't we all felt that at one time) - so impressed with 'the strength of this Art' that it almost defeated her.  She suffered from cataracts, crippling arthritis and diabetes but kept on painting but was forced to stop painting at the age of 70, as she was almost blind.  She then took up the cause of women's suffrage, contributing to the movement by showing and selling her paintings.

Cassatt is best known for her depictions of women's daily lives and their closeness to their children - as seen in 'The Child's Bath' (featured in my painting) which hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.





Sunday, February 14, 2016

"A Peek In The Bedroom"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


Two things inspired me to paint this on Valentine's Day.   The couple, of course, enjoying time together and this article in the Chicago Tribune about Vincent van Gogh's famous painting 'The Bedroom', which hangs in the Art Institute.


Friday, February 12, 2016

"A Mother Figure"

12 x 12"
oil on panel


I've been painting my larger pieces so slow and carefully, more tight and detailed - it may be a phase.  When I'm painting another's painting - like Klimt's masterpieces, or Whistler's portrait of his mother, I get totally into the details I've never noticed before.  Subsequently the rest of my painting takes on the same tightness.

The smaller pieces I generally auction on eBay are try-outs for something I have in my brain - and sometimes it leads to a larger, more realized piece like this one.  After I finished my smaller one I couldn't wait to delve into a larger format of Whistler's iconic 'Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1', better known as 'Whistler's Mother'. The marriage of grey/golds with blue/greys and green/greys is alluring.  And I love using up all my Torrit Greys.

For those who don't know what Torrit Grey is - the brand Gamblin will recycle pigment dust from every color in the spectrum and mix up a unique color every year.  In fact, they give the tubes away with a purchase of their paint while supplies last.  I still have about 11 tubes from the past 11 years.  They are priceless.

Click here for a larger view and purchase information.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Double Date"


sold


I don't usually show you my paintings framed but I thought this was so gorgeous, I'd show it before I shipped it off to The Red Piano Art Gallery.  Should be hanging on their wall just in time for Valentine's Day this Saturday.

This piece 'Double Date' and 'Formal Wear' - allow me to refresh your memory....


sold


will be included in the Hilton Head Art Auction taking place February 27th at The Red Piano Art Gallery.

You can find the details and contact information on my webpages for each painting - here for 'Double Date' - and here for 'Formal Wear'.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Zen Time"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


A couple of weeks back, I was refreshing my memory about William Merritt Chase (for this post) and came across 'The Ten' - a revered group of artists that included Chase.  I jotted down several names that I was familiar with and love their work, one of which is John Henry Twachtman.

I always stop in my tracks when I come across Twachtman's paintings, very much like another member of The Ten, Willard Metcalf - they both painted landscapes that are so calming, so still, so very Zen.  I especially love their snow scenes.  They painted loose, painterly, seemingly quick - most likely they were outdoors painting plein-air.

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Twachtman's 'Arques-la-Bataille' hangs in front of a bench for all the right reasons.  The scene is calm, the color palette is soothing and low-key - a good painting to get lost in.

Twachtman was an American artist, from Cincinnati - traveled and studied abroad with fellow artists and discovered like-minded painters who took on the Impressionistic style of the times, which was in the mid-to-end of the 1800's.

It's also my moment of Zen to paint these images - taking rich greens and blues and lavenders and greying them down a notch.  It made for a mellow day of painting.




Monday, February 1, 2016

"Caucus Country"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


An ode to the beauty of a simple, stately farmhouse in Middle America, Iowa.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Double Date"

15 x 15"
oil on panel
sold


I painted this special piece for the upcoming Hilton Head Art Auction - held on February 27th at The Red Piano Art Gallery
Please click here for a larger view.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ken Auster

 'Into The Light'
by Ken Auster


Somewhere in 2003,  I was on my 24th year running a frame shop with no other future plans but to keep on doing what I knew how to do.  In my off hours, I'd look at art on the web, mostly to sell in my gallery and I landed on the artist Ken Auster.

Mind you, I had never painted in oils, never really painted much at all - I was a drawing freak since I was a kid.  When I saw what and how Ken Auster painted, something sparked a flame inside of me.  For years I framed trendy stuff - cottages, florals, quirky Amish scenes, etc - none of which ever convinced me to join the painting world until I saw Ken's work.  There were everyday, simple moments - glimpses of people, colorful city streets, surfers at the beach - real life that's all around us.

What really grabbed my attention was his style of quick, deliberate brush strokes that meant something - nothing more needed to get the point across.  It was the first time I'd ever heard the phrase 'economy strokes'.  It was impressionistic, never over-done and it made me want to paint.

The end of 2003, I'd taught myself how to work with oils, took photos everywhere I went, and that was the beginning of my life as an artist.


 'Lunch Hour'
by Ken Auster
 
 
I bookmarked a gallery that Ken Auster was part of back in 2003, kept up with his new work, and sometime around 2007, that very gallery contacted me about representation - the Morris & Whiteside Gallery in Hilton Head (now The Red Piano).  The first thing I said to Ben Whiteside was 'isn't this the gallery who has Ken Auster's work?'.   Needless to say, I was floored - quickly accepted Ben's invitation and I've been part of his gallery ever since - with my paintings hanging next to Ken's.  Holy cow.

I know Ken knew his impact on my life and although we never met, I knew him through his paintings.

Ken passed away yesterday I'm told, way too soon.  This is my small tribute to a brilliant artist who lives on through his work.
 





Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Wallflowers"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


Most people know Toulouse-Lautrec for his short stature and his paintings of the Moulin Rouge.  I'll tell you a bit more about this genius, who was also a printmaker and illustrator born in France in 1864.

He was the son in an aristocratic family, his parents were first cousins who, early on, split up and Henri was raised by a nanny until the age of 8 when he went to live with his mother.  He was a budding artist early on.  At 13, he broke his right femur and a year later fractured his left, which never healed properly.  He suffered from several genetic disorders, attributed to a family history of inbreeding.  As an adult, he stood at 4 ft, 8 in tall which most likely was why he immersed himself in art.

Toulouse-Lautrec had a tragic life, contracted syphilis, abused alcohol to deal with his pain, had a nervous breakdown at the age of 34 and died at the age of 36.  He left behind more than 700 paintings, 350+ prints and posters and over 5,000 drawings.  The quintessential suffering artist I'd say.

What stands out to me is he painted real people in real places doing real things.  Not glamoured up but people as they were, warts and all.  Honest and sympathetic.

From the National Gallery of Art in DC, a woman in Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec's painting 'A Corner In a Dance Hall' seemingly looks on at a visitor studying another piece.




Friday, January 22, 2016

"Black and Blue"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


For many, I hope you are home safe and sound and ready for snowmageddon - I was hoping we'd have a little of that here in Atlanta.  

My work days were interrupted by my 19-year-old furnace dying, fortunately it was replaced yesterday - so now we're broke but warm and happy.  So the painting goes back on to recover from that.

I could go on and on about Andy Warhol, but most people know how brilliant, odd, prolific he was.  One of my very favorite movies is Basquiat - the late, great David Bowie portraying Warhol.  Great flick to stream in this wintery weekend.