Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"Whistler Stop"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

I've talked a little bit about the artist James McNeill Whistler on this blog.  Of course his most famous painting is Whistler's Mother.

Whistler entered The White Girl in the Paris Salon in 1863 where it was rejected by the 'tradition-bound' jury.  Napoleon III held his own Salon des Refuses, an exhibition of artworks that had be rejected elsewhere.  It was hugely controversial - an exhibition for the avant-garde artists - how dare he.  The White Girl was met with severe public ridicule but his fellow artists and some critics loved it.  One art critic referred to it as a 'symphony in white' and Whistler loved that reference to music so much so he retitled a number of previous paintings - including The White Girl, renamed Symphony in White, No. 1.  Whistler went on to complete two more painting of women in white dresses titled Symphony in White, No. 2 and 3.

James Whistler continued with a more limited palette, like The White Girl and Self-Portrait (there on the left) and Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1, also known as Whistler's Mother.

From the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, a woman viewing Whistler's Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl.

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Dark Side of the Moon

Enjoy it.  Wherever you are.

'Solar Eclipse' by Yuri Shwedoff

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Reposting an Important One

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."

Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Hip To"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

A woman stands in front of Mark Rothko's No. 3/No. 13 in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Girls With Pearls"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

I was simply inspired to paint this new piece after I turned on the movie Girl with a Pearl Earring - which, by the way, is an artist's dream of a beautifully visual film.  Every minute is a painting.

Johannes Vermeer was a moderately successful Dutch painter in the 17th century - specializing in domestic scenes in his own middle-class life.   He painted slow and infrequently and insisted on using expensive paints but his signature element was light.

Vermeer wasn't a wealthy man - but his future mother-in-law was wealthy and insisted Johannes convert to Catholicism before marrying her daughter Catharina - and with her help, Vermeer was able to pursue painting.   The couple went on to have eleven children, all who were left penniless and in debt after his death at age 43.

Vermeer's works were hardly known outside of Amsterdam until the 19th century - imagine that.  His famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring hangs in The Hague in the Netherlands.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


6 x 6"
oil on panel

I spent a WEEK on a painting - yikes - then took a few days off and today I really, really enjoyed painting loose for a change.  I concentrated less on the art and more on the space.  

A woman resting on a bench in the French Impressionists gallery in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.