Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Starstruck"

8 x 10"
oil on panel


This is how most people look at a painting by Joan Miro.  A bit puzzled maybe.

The Spanish painter, born in 1893, lived a long life until the age of 90 - which meant he lived as a painter and sculptor through many art movements of the 20th century - surrealism, dadaism, fauvism, magical realism, experimentalism and modernism.  Miro expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, famously declaring an 'assassination of painting' in favor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting'.  Add Joan Miro to the long list of artists who were sent off to a private school and sooned decided they wanted to be a painter rather than what their father wanted them to be.

Miro's painting above is titled Personages with Star.  You might ask what is a personage.  According to Miro, after hunger-induced hallucinations, he began a series of 'dream paintings', exploring surrealism, including what he called enigmatic signs or personages - based on real things but in his own form.  The man was unique.

Like his mentor, Pablo Picasso, Miro was deeply involved in politics.  In a 1936 interview, with the Spanish civil war looming, he spoke of the need to 'resist all societies... if the aim is to impose their demands on us.  The word 'freedom' has meaning for me and I will defend it at any cost.'  When asked about the death of General Franco in 1975 and what he had done to promote opposition to the Spanish dictator who ruled for nearly 40 years, he answered 'free and violent things.'  

From the Art Institute of Chicago, a woman closely studying Joan Miro's Personages with Star.

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




Saturday, June 24, 2017

"The Light Of Day"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


And a happy summer to you.

I've been busy going places but now I'm home and back to painting.  Yay.

Back in my frame shop days, I made it a point to have a framed Georgia O'Keeffe print on the wall - especially her New York skyscrapers.  I had a guy come in one day, swore I was mistaken that the painting you see above, The Shelton with Sunspots, N.Y. was NOT an O'Keeffe.  He insisted she only painted flowers and desert scenes.  Yep, that's what he said.

O'Keeffe created a series of New York skyscrapers between 1925 and 1929 after she and Alfred Stieglitz moved into the Shelton Hotel, on the 30th floor where she had a perfect view of the northern, eastern and southern cityscapes.  Her painting above depicts an optical illusion where there appeared to be "a bite out of one side of the tower made by the sun, with sunspots against the building and against the sky".

After 1929, O'Keeffe was unhappy with city life and marriage and moved to New Mexico, where she found new inspiration in the southwest landscapes, never to revisit the subject of skyscrapers again.

From the Art Institute of Chicago, a woman stands next to Georgia O'Keeffe's The Shelton with Sunspots, N.Y.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

"Lend Me Your Ear" (study)

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


I've written about Vincent van Gogh in past posts and still I can't get over the fact that this brilliant artist completed nearly 900 paintings, 1,100 drawings and countless etchings between the ages of 28 through 37 years old.  And the majority of paintings were done in the last two years of his life.  And.... he only sold one painting in his lifetime.  Remarkable.

Van Gogh painted 30 self-portraits during the last several years of his life - in large part to not being able to pay a model.  Each and every portrait gives the viewer great insight to his state at that time.  The self-portrait above was done in 1887 while he lived in France and largely due to being influenced by the young artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh approached this painting with the play between the complimentary colors of blue-greens and the orange-reds.  He adopted elements of Pointillism, using small, colored strokes inside the background and clothing, something that can't be seen from a distance, but up close, is so very effective.  

From the Art Institute of Chicago,  a man closely views Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait.  This is a small study of a larger version I am currently working on - I wanted to make sure I could get the tilt of the man's head right before I tackled a larger painting.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

"Subtropical"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


I've been in an experimental mode with this idea.  On several occasions, I've seen blown up wall murals - some in museums advertising exhibitions, some on sides of buildings, some on television during live concerts or speeches, etc.  It really captures my attention.  So I've been playing with scale and people and it's been great fun, resulting in a study of one I'd like to do a bit larger.

Feel free to tell me what you think.

The mural behind the woman on the bench is Paul Gauguin's Aha Oe Feii? or Are You Jealous?.  Painted in 1892 from his adventures in Tahiti, the title refers to a conversation between two sisters about love and conquests, causing one to say What? Are you jealous? after one claimed she got lucky the night before and the other did not.  

Gauguin went to Tahiti with expectations of paradise and Tahitian culture but discovered those preconceived notions were disappearing fast with Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries moving in on the natives.  It was then his goal to spend the next twelve years recreating the idyllic world in paintings, engravings and sculptures.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Come Across"

5 x 7"
oil on panel
sold


I'm really late for dinner but I wanted to post this new painting that includes one of my personal favorites of Georgia O'Keeffe, Black Cross, New Mexico in the Art Institute of Chicago.  To her left is The Black Place.