Sunday, December 9, 2018

"Poolside"

6 x 6"
oil on panel 


My new painting, a study for a larger piece, was both a blast and challenging.  David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) is vivid and patterned and awe-inspiring.  I am thrilled for David Hockney, who is still alive and well and producing fabulous paintings - at a recent Christie's auction, his painting started with no reserve at $15 million and fetched $90.3 in the end.  So deserved for its recognition and worth.

Hockney is known for his brilliant pool paintings of course.  This was inspired by two photographs next to each other on his studio floor.  A double portrait.  Hockney worked on it for about a year - looking at a due date of just four weeks until he had to ship it off to New York for an exhibition.  That lead to working 18 hours a day for two weeks just to get it done.

Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends December 19th, 9 pm ET.


Friday, November 30, 2018

"Pondering"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


In the Art Institute of Chicago, there are two paintings and three sculptures by the French artist Jean-Leon Gerome, much to my delight.  Most of Gerome's paintings are crisp, exact, realistic scenes from Morocco and northern Africa locations, many are based on Greek mythology and if there is a more perfect example of Orientalism in art, Gerome is it.  Featured in my new painting is Portrait of a Woman.

~ Don't miss my earlier post below - my 2019 Mini-Wall Calendars are now available.



New 2019 Calendars NOW Available



My new 2019 Mini-Wall Calendar is now available!


My 2019 Mini-Wall Calendar measures 8-1/2 x 13" opened up.

~ Each month has a color reproduction of paintings I've done this year.

~ The price is $25, which includes flat-rate Priority shipping.

~ If you purchase more than one, I will refund the extra shipping 
thru your Paypal account.

~ To view all 12 months, click here.

To purchase your 2019 Calendar, click here.





Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"Tough Love"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


This marble sculpture by Horatio Greenough, Love Prisoner to Wisdom, is one of my very favorites in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Essentially, the owl behind the chained Cupid symbolizes wisdom.  So.... prudence is restraining reckless love.  Think before you jump in.  The woman viewing the sculpture is seemingly pondering the message.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2019 Calendars


They're not ready to go yet, but I wanted to holler out there to those who have asked.  I'm awaiting my proof copy to arrive then order a batch if all is okay.  So it'll be soon.



~ Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving





Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"Bare Necessities"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


The brave artist Alice Neel, who lived to the age of 84, was largely unknown in the art world until the early 1970's, when she was in two retrospective exhibitions.  "Life begins at seventy!" she said of her new found recognition at the age of 72.

In 1975, Neel began, what took five years, to complete her Self-Portrait, one of only two.  Referring to this unconventional and somewhat shocking portrait, Neel said "the reason my cheeks got so pink was that it was so hard for me to paint that I almost killed myself painting it."

Alice Neel painted dozens of portraits of her lovers, friends, family, artists, poets and even strangers. They are all delightful.  Her total acceptance of her own aging body and laying it out there for all the world to see is most admirable.




Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Good Morning"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


The very same day I was finishing this new painting, the news came that the Edward Hopper painting Chop Suey had sold at the Christie's auction for $91.9 million.  That made me so happy seeming I worship Edward Hopper's works of art and I especially love this recognition of one of our country's treasures.  Yay.

Whenever I'm in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, I beeline to the Hopper paintings.  The one featured in my painting is Cape Cod Morning, done in 1950.  What grabs me about this piece is, within the bay window where the woman is looking out in anticipation of something, it's a whole separate painting within the actual, fairly simplistic composition of the sky, trees, grass and siding of the house.  I just love it.

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


Saturday, November 10, 2018

"Blue Heaven"

12 x 12"
oil on panel


My new painting Blue Heaven will be included in a group show titled All The Blues held at the Vendue Hotel in Charleston SC - opening to the public on November 15th.  The show features work from 24 artists, all using ranges of blue as the predominant color.  My painting features The Flying Fish, by the Russian-French artist, Marc Chagall.

Chagall once said "In our life there is a single colour, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love."  Chagall is known for his dream-like scenes, filled with memories of his childhood in Russia and symbols of his Jewish faith.  In The Flying Fish, the newly-married couple represents love and passion, as do the red roses that surround them - the rooster was commonly known as a symbol of fidelity though it could be a memory of Chagall's early life in the village of Vitebsk - the upside-down house represents imbalance or doubt - the floating fish holding three candles references the Jewish religion and said to be a tribute to his father.  

It is impossible not to love Chagall's distinct style and thoughtful compositions.  This painting hangs in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.

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

~ View all the artworks included in All The Blues show here.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Checks and Balances"

5 x 7"
oil on panel
sold


Our United States Capitol Building in Washington DC.  A place where, hopefully, checks and balances will occur again.





Monday, November 5, 2018

Vote!


A REMINDER TO VOTE TOMORROW.

"Undecided"
Norman Rockwell - November 4, 1944




Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Iron Fist"

8 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


I started this painting on Halloween evening, right before I went inside the house and watched The Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price.  I savored the day.

I first saw Blind Pew, by N. C. Wyeth, in the Brandywine Museum of Art, which houses three generations of Wyeth artists - N. C. the father, Andrew, the son of N. C. and Jamie, the son of Andrew.  I worship all three.  I grew up nearby Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and my mom always welcomed a road trip to this area, she made countless pen and ink sketches of the old stone buildings and countryside.  It was an artist's haven and inspiration.  I'm sure that was around the time I knew I wanted to be an illustrator like N. C. Wyeth.

The blind beggar, Pew, is a minor character in Chapter 3 of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Pew knows Billy Bones is a boarder at the Admiral Benbow Inn and wants the map to Treasure Island.  Pew was a member of Captain Flint's crew of pirates and had since squandered away his share of pilfered riches, leaving him to beg and thieve.

Pew knocks on the door, terrifying the keeper of the inn, asking to see Billy Bones.  Pew takes the man's arm as they climb the stairs, Jim realizing the old man has a strong grip. An "iron fist".  Pew delivers a warning to a passed out Billy Bones.  Later on in the book, Pew returns to the inn with a group of buccaneers to ransack the inn and find the map to the treasures, but it is nowhere to be found.  A fight ensues, they take it outside in the moonlit road.  And the tale goes on.

Blind Pew is one of many illustrations in the Brandywine.  They're surprisingly huge works of art and treasures.




Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"The Long Game"

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


My new painting features a couple viewing two glamorous portraits in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  

On the right, quite possibly, is the most perfect painting John Singer Sargent ever produced (my humble opinion of course).  Mrs. Hammersley was the wife of a banker and known fashionista elegantly posed on a French sofa with her stunning, red silk-velvet dress taking your eyes down to the bottom left corner.  The edges of the fabric shimmer in lavender and rich reds.  Her netted, sparking collar is the sweet spot - tiny daubs of gold and white dance over it, making you want to touch it.  Mrs. Hammersley was included in an exhibit in London in 1893, ten years after Sargent's scandalous Madame X nearly ruined his reputation as a portrait painter.  Mrs. Hammersley received raving reviews and essentially restored the artist's career as a painter of the wealthy.  After Mrs. Hammersley's death, her husband kept the portrait until he was forced to sell it because of financial difficulties - a common ending to the many once-wealthy clients of Sargent.

On the couple's left is Mr. and Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes by Cecilia Beaux, also an American painter.  The couple was painted in an unconventional way with the wife more prominent in the foreground and her husband behind her.  Anson Stokes was an extremely wealthy man - a merchant, real estate developer, a banker, a silver mining tycoon, a warship designer and avid yachtsman (he owned 4 yachts), and a house on Madison Avenue in New York City. The couple left the city and moved to Staten Island when (gasp!) non-millionaires moved in.  His wife, Helen Louisa Phelps, yes Phelps, were both related, descendants from George Phelps, who came to America in the early 1600's.  They had nine children, the oldest wrote for the New York Times and died in 1970.  

When Anson died in 1913, it was reported he was worth around $620 million dollars.  After his estate was settled, it was determined he was actually worth about $19 million.

Please click here for a larger view.

~ Happy Halloween



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"Christina"

8 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


Today I just chose to feature one of my personal favorite paintings, by Andrew Wyeth, Christina's World.  It is moving. It represents human dignity.  In a word, it is perfect.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

"Posturing"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I've been to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art twice.  Both times, I stop at this portrait of Anne Page, by Dennis Miller Bunker, and soak it in longer than most paintings at the museum.  It's restrained, low in key, fairly neutral in color - no frills, just elegant.

Dennis Bunker is an artist you don't hear too much about.  He was born in New York City in 1861, an innovator of American Impressionism, hung out with some of the most famous painters of that time - John Singer Sargent, Wilmer Dewing, William Merritt Chase to name a few.  His circle of friends was crucial as an artist but none as beneficial as Isabella Stewart Gardner, a valuable patron of artists.  There is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, established in 1903, which owns some of the most outstanding works of art in this country.

A friend of Bunker's set up a date with Anne Page and the artist, thinking they'd make a good couple.  Bunker was smitten from the first encounter, wrote to his friend "She seems to have the same charm that some of your other friends have. I mean your female friends. I am quite at a loss when I try to define it and I begin to think it a bit out of my line. I don’t know that I am entirely comfortable in the presence of such natures, they seem too fine for me.”  

Bunker wrote Anne poems and long letters and eventually had her sit for the portrait you see above.  Although the two never formed a romantic relationship, they remained friends throughout his short life.  Bunker fell ill, just two months after he married, and died of meningitis at the age of 29.



Saturday, October 13, 2018

"Dawning On"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


The Song of the Lark by Jules Breton is near and dear to many who have seen it in person at the Art Institute of Chicago.  It's also one of those paintings that speaks to nearly everyone, in some way.

Breton was a French realist artist during the second half of the 1800's, known for painting classic scenes of what was familiar to him - the French countryside, the workers in the fields, rural life and some pretty cool religious festivals added in the mix.  Breton found greater success in the mass production of prints of his paintings, along with other French artists of the time. The subject matter was wildly popular in his native country as well as England and the United States.  

The Song of the Lark stands out as a symbol of life's challenges for many.  The pheasant girl, with the sun rising behind her, dirty clothes, bare feet - her shoulders back with her chin up, determined to face whatever lies ahead.  It says life ain't easy but it's worth living.

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


Saturday, October 6, 2018

"Boo"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


On this soul-sucking day,  I thought of one of my favorite paintings Automaton by Jamie Wyeth.  The definition of automaton is an android or robot, but also refers to a person who seems to act in a mechanical, unemotional way.

The Wyeth family celebrated Halloween with great enthusiasm every fall.  Beginning with the patriarch, N.C. Wyeth who had a large stash of costumes with swords and pirate hats and spooky masks for his illustrations - and his children relished the chance to dress up and pretend they were the buccaneers or ghouls taking over the family farm.  I wrote up a post about the Wyeth's love of Halloween here, back in October 2015.



Thursday, October 4, 2018

"Day Labor"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


The painting featured here, The Cotton Pickers, being viewed by a woman in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, is a historically important one painted by Winslow Homer in 1876 - a time in American when the Civil War had ended a decade earlier and the period of Reconstruction was nearly at an end.  Reconstruction attempted to end the Confederate nationalism and end slavery and give newly-freed slaves their civil rights and equality guaranteed by three new Constitutional amendments.

Winslow Homer was born in Boston in 1836, and at the age of 19 he apprenticed at a newspaper, then as a freelance illustrator and lithographer for nearly twenty years - tapping into a hot art market for urban and country social scenes (think Currier & Ives).  

In 1861, Harper's Weekly hired Homer to illustrate Lincoln's first inaugural address then stayed on with the magazine, as a battlefield artist, when the Civil War began a year later.  In 1874, Homer returned to Virginia, where he had spent time during the final siege of the war, and took a new direction in his subject matter, wanting to portray the lives of rural, black Americans - mindfully in contrast to the caricatured portraits he and other war correspondents took part in.  

That's where the importance of The Cotton Pickers came in - painting blacks in more heroic terms. Not the denigrating ways of the past. European artists nailed this representing their nation's peasants and field workers and Homer brought the same respect to our nation's black population. The two women stand in a cotton field, still laboring as they did before the Civil War, aspiring for a better life despite the Jim Crow laws preventing them from true equality. It's a very poignant and profound painting.

Please click here for a larger view.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"Tell Me More"

8 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


This was taken from my time at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, during a special exhibition of Georgia O'Keeffe's works as well as others.  The show was so well thought out and presented for the visitors, paying close attention to what works married well with each other and the colors of the walls surrounding the pieces.  I relished that.

One of the paintings included was O'Keeffe's Petunias, done in 1925.  When you think of Georgia O'Keeffe, you equate her with Southwestern subject matters, some Manhattan scenes, and mostly close-ups of flowers.  She was widely known to have lived in New York City when her career was taking off and promoted by her husband Alfred Stieglitz - then later in New Mexico.  You might not know, during the early years, her and Steiglitz spent their summers at the resort of Lake George, about 35 miles from the Vermont border.

During those years, from 1918 to 1934, at Lake George, O'Keeffe painted over 225 pieces.  The time and surroundings at Lake George played a significant role in her development as an artist.  There she painted many of the flowers you may be familiar with - poppies, petunias and canna lilies - poplar and oak trees - the brilliant autumn colors of nature - all those she became so sensitive to from long walks through meadows and gardens.

Stieglitz and O'Keeffe owned 37 acres, lived in a hilltop farmhouse that included a 'shanty' as her studio and a darkroom where Steiglitz printed his photos.  In the late 50's a developer bought the property, has the structures burned in a practice fire drill and built a hodgepodge of ranch houses that remain to this day.  

People still go on their pilgrimages to find where O'Keeffe lived, only to be disappointed to find a suburban subdivision.


Friday, September 21, 2018

"Too Loose?"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


Stand close to a painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec because there is much to see besides the general color scheme or composition.  You are probably familiar with this artist, his deformities, his alcoholism and his short stature but picture this man lost in a crowded bar, observing everything and everybody at the same time painting his masterpieces.

So... instead of a brief summary of things you already know about Toulouse-Lautrec, I'll give you a little background on the painting to the right of the museum patron - A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette, which was a popular location and subject matter for other artists in Paris like Pissaro, van Gogh and Renoir.

At a high point in the Montmartre district of Paris, one, of 12 windmills around the city, was built in 1622 - milling flour, specifically for a brown bread called galette.  The Moulin de la Galette is one of two remaining windmills, saved from destruction in 1915 and later moved to the corner.




The original owner of the mill was killed during the Franco-Prussian War and his surviving son turned the mill into a guinguette, a restaurant, that quickly became THE place to take a family on holidays and Sundays to enjoy the brown bread and a glass of milk from the local dairy.  In the mid 1800's, they replaced milk with locally made wine, bought an adjacent property and added an open-air dance hall and the windmill became a cabaret that was wildly popular with the locals, artists, writers, actors and tourists.  The photo above shows the present-day restaurant still named Moulin de la Galette with the restored original windmill built in 1622.  Amazing.

Please click here for a larger view.



Friday, September 14, 2018

"Aspirations"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


One thing I love in museums is witnessing people really connecting with art, like this young man who sat directly in front of this inspiring 1944 portrait of William A."Bill" Campbell by Betsy Graves Reyneau in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

William Campbell served as one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.  The Portrait Gallery's plaque reads:

"A decorated fighter pilot who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, William A. "Bill" Campbell joined the military in 1942, when all branches of the U.S. armed forces were rigidly segregated. Shortly after America's entry into World War II, Campbell enrolled in flight training at special facilities established for African American pilots and technicians at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). Earning his wings in July 1942, Second Lieutenant Campbell was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corps's Ninety-Ninth Pursuit Squadron. On June 2, 1943, he saw action as a wingman on the inaugural combat mission carried out by the Tuskegee Airmen. The first African American pilot to bomb an enemy target, Campbell flew 106 missions and ended the war as commander of the Ninety-Ninth Fighter Squadron. Awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, and thirteen Air Medals, he retired from the service as a full colonel in 1970."

It is one of my personal favorites in the National Portrait Gallery.




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Personal Thing



My painting of a dearly departed best friend of a friend. 


Sunday, September 9, 2018

"There's The Door"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I just returned from my second visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  I love the museum.  It's located in Bentonville, Arkansas - in the northwest corner of the state.  It's a small town, home of the Walton family who started Walmart years ago.  Alice Walton has been an art collector for decades and built this museum and is currently building a second one in town.  It's free admission and free parking.  It's so worth the trip.

I landed there on the final weekend of their exhibition The Beyond: O'Keeffe and Others.  Spectacular variety of many O'Keeffe's landscapes, flowers, etc mixed with other contemporary artists.  The painting above is one of my personal favorites - Black Patio Door.  It was hanging on this saturated turquoise wall that was so unexpected but so freakin' perfect.

O'Keeffe, in 1945, purchased and restored a 5,000 square foot ruined Spanish Colonial home in a small town, Abiquiu, New Mexico, which she owned until her death in 1986. She was in love with the simple beauty of the adobe house and its spaces and vistas inspired many paintings done through the years - especially the large enclosed patio.  She was quoted "When I first saw the Abiquiu house it was a ruin with an adobe wall around the garden broken in a couple of places by falling trees.  As I climbed and walked about the ruin I found a patio with a very pretty well house and bucket to draw up water. It was a good-sized patio with a long wall with a door on one side. The wall with a door in it was something I had to have."




Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"A Cornucopia of Color"

12 x 9"
oil on panel
sold


If I start by saying the artist, Thomas Hart Benton, has long been a personal favorite of mine, you think 'yah, yah, sure, sure. Who isn't a favorite artist of hers?'  But when I was 15 years old, I painted a long mural in the theme of American history, in a high school I attended in Warminster, Pennsylvania and based the entire painting in the style of Thomas Hart Benton.  The mural was, to the best of my memory, about 30 feet wide.  Benton's painting Achelous and Hercules featured in my new piece is over 22 feet wide by 5 feet high.  It's magnificent.

Taken from the Smithsonian Museum of American Art's description says it best "Intense colors and writhing forms evoke the contest of muscle and will between Hercules and Achelous, the Greek god who ruled over the rivers. In flood season, Achelous took on the form of an angry bull, tearing new channels through the earth with his horns. Hercules defeated him by tearing off one horn, which became nature's cornucopia, or horn of plenty. Thomas Hart Benton saw the legend as a parable of his beloved Midwest. The Army Corps of Engineers had begun efforts to control the Missouri River, and Benton imagined a future when the waterway was tamed, and the earth swelled with robust harvests.
Benton's mythic scene also touched on the most compelling events of the late 1940s. America's agricultural treasure was airlifted to Europe through the Marshall Plan as part of Truman's strategy to rebuild Europe and contain communism. Benton may have been thinking of his fellow Missourian's legendary stubbornness when he described Hercules as "tough and strong" with "a reputation for doing what he thought was right."

Please click here for a larger view.




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"Between The Two"

10 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


The National Gallery of Art in DC devoted a pass-through room to the Italian-Jewish artist, Amedeo Modigliani's paintings - a personal favorite of mine.  My mom, who was an artist,  l-o-v-e-d Modigliani.  She once carved a chunk of wood into a face emulating his oval, elongated shape that is one of my priceless possessions.

Modigliani was born in Italy in 1884, the son of Jewish parents who raised four children in poverty.  Amedeo was a sickly child, taught at home by his mother, exposed to literature, philosophy and art.  He was sent to study classical painting by a local master who often referred to him as 'Superman'. Throughout his young life, Amedeo dealt with severe bouts of tuberculosis, and when he recuperated he picked back up with intense studies of painting in Italy and Paris. He soon rejected the more traditional styles and persevered his own unique, bold artistic flair.

Amedeo was in his early 30's when WWI broke out.  Despite his poor health and continued drug abuse during that time, he produced much of his finest work including sculptures, which he devoted nearly five years to exclusively.  His only solo exhibition occurred in 1917, including over 30 female nudes which was well received by the gallery but not by the local police, who shut it down for 'indecency' on the day that it opened.

Modigliani's passion for art was short-lived and he died of tuberculosis meningitis at the age of 35, in Paris, France.  He is another example of a genius artist who had little success while alive but achieved great popularity after his death.

Please click here for a larger view.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Meanwhile.....


I've been working on several paintings for a client.  They are officially sold but I wanted to show them to you.


8 x 10"
sold


9 x 12"
sold


12 x 16"
sold

Always painting.....



Saturday, August 11, 2018

"Forty-Eight"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


Jasper Johns was one of the most influential American painters of the 20th century who produced over 40 versions of the American flag.  Johns created the first, Flag, in 1954 at the age of 24, two years after he was discharged from the Army.  

To give you some context, the US flag was often the news headline in 1954 - then President Dwight Eisenhower signed an amendment to the pledge of allegiance on Flag Day to add the words 'under God',  the McCarthy hearings took place three days after Flag Day, the year was the 175th anniversary of the birthday of Francis Scott Key,  who composed The Star Spangled Banner.  The Iowa Jima Marine Memorial was dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery.  Johns and his father were both named after Sgt. William Jasper who saved the fallen flag of the Americans in the Revolutionary War.  And in 1954, our country had 48 states - the 49th and 50th, Alaska and Hawaii, would join the United States of America in 1959.

To appreciate Johns' Flag, you must get close up.  It is made using oil paints, encaustic (wax mixed with pigment) and newsprint, which is visible under the red and white stripes.  There is no hidden meaning in the texts of the newsprint, purposely Johns selected non-political or national news.  Jasper Johns aimed to paint 'things the mind already knows', relieving him of creating new design and focusing on the execution instead. 

The painting was exhibited in Johns' first solo show in 1958 where the director of the Museum of Modern Art, Alfred Barr, wanted to buy it but was worried how it may look so he persuaded a friend to buy it instead, and he donated it to the museum in honor of Barr when he retired.

Please click here for a larger view.




Monday, August 6, 2018

"Enigma"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I'm home from a road trip up to Virginia to visit with family and got to visit the National Portrait Gallery in DC while we were there.  This museum, connected to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art is somewhat overlooked by visitors because it's not on the Mall with numerous other great museums, but it is SO worth it.

Credit to my sister-in-law, who took the photo for this new painting - a young man viewing an abstract expressionism painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, which I can't find the title to.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a young, prolific artist who created most of his work during the 80's.  Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1960, he was a talented artist at a young age, encouraged by his mother, fluent in French, Spanish and English.  His parents separated when he was eight, returned to his mother's home in Puerto Rico for a couple of years then returned to New York City.  He was 13 when his mother was committed to a mental institution and Jean-Michel's troubled teen years began.  When he dropped out of high school, his father banished him from the family's home and he stayed with friends, supporting himself by selling artwork and T-shirts.

Basquiat went from homelessness and unemployement to selling his paintings for up to $25,000 in a matter of several years.  He produced around 600 paintings, 1500 drawings and sculptures in his short life and died at the age of 27 from a heroin overdose.

To summarize Basquiat's life, his experiences, the magic of pure fate that shaped his future, would take up an entire book.  I think he was a genius way before his time, but he lived in the right time for his artistic talents to be seen and heard.  He once described his art as 80% anger and to be described from then on by critics as "80% anger and 20% mystery".

Just one more plug for if you're in Washington DC - go to the National Portrait Gallery.  The museum redid the President's portraits gallery and it's most excellent.  Especially the portrait of President Obama, by Kehinde Wiley.  It brought tears to my eyes.


The long line to see Obama's portrait up close.




Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Larger Than Life"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


Andy Warhol created many versions of the Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung, from small to enormous.  In the Art Institute of Chicago, his Mao, 1972, which measures nearly 12 feet wide by 15 feet tall, can't be missed.  

To understand why Warhol painted Chairman Mao is to know the artist and his fascination with celebrity and fame.  He created silk-screens of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Elvis to name a few. He contemplated what it meant to be famous and what it could possibly be worth to the world.

Warhol had read in Life magazine that Mao was the most famous person in the world and the forced ubiquity of the Chinese leader's image throughout his country inspired Warhol - also considering his image would lend itself to silk-screen.

Mao is said to be Warhol's first political portrait, even though he never openly stated his political views.  His widely known works had a focus on condemning the relentless consumerism of an American capitalism and the advertising giants who hammer these images into our brains - think Campbell soup cans, Coca-Cola, etc. - and his Mao portraits virtually said the same thing.  Controlled propaganda selling Communism in China. 

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




Friday, July 13, 2018

"The Naked Eye"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


My oh my, I'm glad to be back to painting a few small pieces.  I've been working on several projects for future group shows which you'll see down the road.

Okay... about this new painting....

Thomas Eakins is best known for his paintings of athletic rowers on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia and his extraordinary painting The Gross Clinic.  He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy and those paintings brought him fame and transformed the school into the leading art school in America.

Eakins found the study of anatomy to be essential in his teachings, however, it was frowned upon by the academy and Victorian Philadelphia in the 1880's.  After treading on ice, during one of his live model classes, he removed a loincloth from a male model to show the trace of a vital muscle and all hell broke loose.  Protests by students and parents forced Eakins to resign at the request of the Academy's board.

The Model by Thomas Eakins is part of the collection in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Get to this museum if you can.  It's so worth the trip.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

"Matchy-Matchy"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


A woman viewing one of my personal-favorite paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago - Portrait of Juanita Obrador by Joan Miro.

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


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"Baby Announcement"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


The two paintings featured, The Annunciation by Gerard David, were part of a multi-storied polyptych (typically an altarpiece consisting of more than three panels) commissioned in the early 1500's by a wealthy Italian banker and diplomat - for the high altar of the Benedictine abbey church of San Gerolamo della Cervara. 

Gerard David was a Netherlandish painter and manuscript illuminator, born around 1460 in Bruges, where he became the leading painter around the age of 34 and was known as one of the town's leading citizens.  He became dean of an artist guild, taught for years and around 1519 he and one of his students got into a dispute over a number of paintings and drawings the student has collected from other artists.  David was owed a large debt by this man, took hold of those works of art, only to be sued, ordered to return the artworks and served time in prison.

The two panels The Annunciation hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Please click here for a larger view.


Friday, June 8, 2018

"Chin Up"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


You might have run across Edgar Dega's sculpture of the young ballerina in several different art museums.  You're not crazy.  This Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen resides in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  When I visited the museum, it was not encased in a glass box, which made a huge difference in appreciating this perfect figurative sculpture.  And I mean perfect.

Degas painted young ballet dancers numerous times.  At rehearsals, stretching exercises and lessons in ballet studios.  He drew them in pastels and charcoal, painted them in oils.  The model for Little Dancer was Marie van Goethem who posed for the only sculpture exhibited in Dega's lifetime in 1881.  Little Dancer was originally executed in wax and later cast in bronze around 1922, after Dega's death.  Which is why you maybe have seen one yourself.




Saturday, June 2, 2018

"High Noon"

8 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


It's been my observation that men really like this Portrait of Balzac by Auguste Rodin.  The sculpture stands in the large French Impressionism gallery in the Art Institute of Chicago, strikingly bolder than the oil paintings by Renoirs and Degas, to name a few.

The Portrait of Balzac was one of several bronze sculptures commissioned by a literary society in the 1890's, in honor of the famous French novelist Honore de Balzac.  Rodin immersed himself in studying the writer - reading all his books, visiting his birthplace and studying all known existing portraits.  It took Rodin seven years before he created this particular one - intending to stress Balzac's 'vitality and candor' in a full nude portrait that was immediately rejected by the literary society and the public at large.

This rejection, among others, didn't prevent Rodin from becoming the most famous artist in the world at the beginning of the 20th century.  He is best known for the marble sculpture The Kiss and the bronze, The Thinker.   Not to mention there's an entire museum in Philadelphia, the Rodin Museum, devoted to the man. 





Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"Hearing Aid"

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


A Rembrandt painting is always recognizable.  Often a portrait, often dark, warm tones and dramatic light cast on the face - and in the case of his 1631 portrait Old Man with a Gold Chain, a repeated, favorite sitter.  The unidentified man, often mistaken for Rembrandt's father, is ennobled in an outfit of all the trappings of the wealthy - a steel gorget around his neck, a dark-purple robe, a plumed hat with peacock feathers and a gold chain and medallion over his cloak.  This is what he did. He simply wanted to portray a straggly, old man appearing more interesting and colorful.

Old Man with a Gold Chain hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Please click here for a larger view.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

"It's That Way"

8 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


The woman here is seemingly taking a cue from Pointing Man by Alberto Giacometti in the Museum of Modern Art.  My mom, who was a painter, printmaker and occasional sculptor,  L-O-V-E-D Giacometti.  I was introduced to this artist at a very young age, by my mom, who taped up dozens of his works on the wall of her studio.

Giacometti was born in Switzerland in 1901, took on formal training in the arts during the era of Cubism and the craze of tribal art - much like Pablo Picasso.  He dabbled in Surrealism for a while, broke off from that to the emergence of Existentialism.  He created small, thin figurative sculptures which took off because of the overall dismal, suffering atmosphere from World War II, and he became quite the popular artist of that time.

His works evolved all through the 50's and 60's, during which time he painted numerous portraits, which my mom was crazy over.  I am too.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Matching Set"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


This new painting is a smaller study of one I'm thinking of doing larger.  I wanted to test out the woman's skirt.  I like her skirt.

She stands in front of a crowd-pleasure in the Art Institute of Chicago - Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Two Sisters (On the Terrace) which hangs in the French Impressionism gallery.  Renoir named the painting Two Sisters, the first owner of the painting titled it On the Terrace.

Like Renoir's famous Luncheon of the Boating Party, the setting for Two Sisters was at a restaurant with outdoor seating.  In 1925, it was sold to a woman from Chicago for $100,000.  She requested the Renoir be donated to the Art Institute after her death where it has hung since 1932.

You may remember Donald Trump had a reproduction hung in his jet, before he ran for President.  The New York Times reporter Timothy O'Brien interviewing Trump was told it was the real thing.  O'Brien replied "Donald, it's not.  I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters (on the Terrace) and it's hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago. That's not an original."



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

"Sitting By"


Yes!  I have my Mac back in my studio.  Turned out I had to replace 'the body' with a refurbished iMac and put my old hard drive, 'the heart', into the new body.  Thanks to Ben at Onyx.  You saved my sanity and my career.  Lesson today, ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR STUFF.

I painted this new piece with my little, old laptop helping out.


 9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


My new painting features one of my favorite Edward Hopper's, Hotel Room.  I saw it at an exhibition of Hoppers at the Art Institute of Chicago a few years ago.  It, like many others, expresses solitude, in a hotel setting which was the first in a long series of paintings set in different hotels.

Hotel Room depicts a woman lost in her own thoughts, too tired to unpack, checking the time of her train the next day.  I particularly love the stark vertical, horizontal and diagonal shapes surrounding her.  And it's a scene we can all relate to - pooped out from traveling, plopping ourselves on the bed surrounded by luggage, wondering what the next day brings.

My painting will be part of the grand opening of the Red Piano Art Gallery in their new home in Bluffton SC, a quaint little area filled with galleries, restaurants and markets.  






They have moved from Hilton Head Island, just a few miles away.  The expected date is June 1st - stop in if you're in the area.

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




Saturday, May 12, 2018

Pause...


I'm on a forced break from painting - my studio Mac is in the hospital.  So I'm gardening....

~ Happy Mother's Day to all the great moms out there.


 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

"Rain Delay"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


Anyone who has been in the Art Institute of Chicago knows when you walk through the lobby and up the marble stairs, you walk straight into the large, open French Impressionism gallery and see the huge painting by Gustave Caillebotte Paris Street, Rainy Day front and center.  Most likely, there's already a dozen people standing in front of it.  It's one of the museum's prized possessions.

Gustave Caillebotte was a French painter and member of the Impressionists, distinctly different from the others with his more realistic manner of painting.  He was also known for having an early interest in photography as an art form.  Notably, he was a generous contributor of his fellow artists and friends - paying their rent if they needed and purchasing their work in support, largely due to his large inheritance after his father and mother's death when he was in his 20's.  Caillebotte also used his wealth to pay for various hobbies - stamp collecting, growing orchids, yacht building and textile design.  





Monday, April 23, 2018

"Girlie Magazine"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I took a break from a larger painting and enjoyed a looser, more painterly scene in the Art Institute of Chicago.  Edouard Manet's Woman Reading is in the company of other French Impressionists in a very popular gallery at the museum - frequently mixed up with Claude Monet, another famous Impressionist.

Woman Reading was painted in Manet's later years, a very quick-brushstroke, almost plein-aire quality of a young, modern woman taking a break at a cafe with a magazine and a beer.  If you're ever standing in front of this painting, look close, the brushstrokes are numerous and somewhat frantic - as if he was trying to capture the woman before she gets up and leaves the cafe.  And multi, multi, colors layered on top of other colors - the definition of Impressionism.  I tried my best to let loose - loving the form of the woman viewing the painting.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Quiet Please"

10 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


When you think of the French artist Henri Rousseau, you envision paintings of imaginery jungle settings and various animals.  My new painting features his deviation from the norm - The Sleeping Gypsy - described by Rousseau this way: 'A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her (a vase of drinking water), 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."

Rousseau was a self-taught artist, an artist before his time in many ways.  In The Sleeping Gypsy he incorporates key items from different countries - the African woman wearing an Oriental frock, the Italian mandolin - items customary to their respective cultures.  That was different in the world of painting.  

Stand next to this painting in the Museum of Modern Art and no doubt you'll eavesdrop on someone who points out the symbolisms - the lion representing power, the sleeping gypsy representing peace, the moonlight representing calm and possible unity.  Interestly, Rousseau had a difficult time selling this painting.  It changes hands several times - first to a French charcoal merchant, then to an art dealer until a controversary arose whether the painting was a forgery.  I mentioned it was a deviation from the normal paintings Rousseau was known for - that was the basis of the claim, albeit a stupid one.  It was finally purchased by the art historian Alfred Barr Jr. for the MOMA.

Please click here for a larger view.



Saturday, April 7, 2018

"Color My World"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


We are the fortunate ones here in the United States.  We can see Vincent van Gogh's iconic The Starry Night in person in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  We're lucky that way.

In 1888, Vincent van Gogh was hospitalized at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, an asylum for the mentally ill, after a breakdown. During his stay, he was encouraged to paint - and although he rarely ventured far from the building, he painted landscapes from his view through a window in his private room.  The Starry Night was an amalgamation of church spires and cypress trees and small villages and night sky constellations he drew from his memory of paintings done in the past.

His brother Theo thought the painting to be too stylized, too exaggerated but it has become one of the most recognized van Gogh masterpieces for decades.  Seeing a van Gogh in person is special - the colors are vivid and saturated, the thickness of the paint, the swirls and movement of pigments all give it motion and life.  There's nothing like it.

Please click here for a larger view.


Friday, April 6, 2018

Karen Hollingsworth Solo Show


A shout-out to my good friend, Karen Hollingsworth, who has an opening tonight at the Principle Gallery in Charleston SC.  Go by the gallery this month if you're in the neighborhood.

Here's one of my favorites....


'Slow Ride Home'
40 x 40"
oil on canvas


Good luck Karen!


Sunday, April 1, 2018

"Da Vinci Bestowed"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


Happy Easter.

A good day to paint a woman viewing Savior of the World by Leonardo da Vinci.

Da Vinci painted Salvator Mundi (Latin for Savior of the World) around 1500, depicting Jesus giving a benediction with his right hand while holding a crystal orb in his other hand - said to convey his role as savior and master of the cosmos.  Da Vinci painted another 20 or so versions of this work.

Thought to be the original, it was restored and exhibited in London in 2012. Although its authenticity was disputed by some, it was sold at auction by Christie's in New York for - wait for it - $450.3 million. The purchaser was Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Farhan and will be displayed in the new Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.




Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"Matinee Idolizers"

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold 


My new painting features Edward Hopper's New York Movie which I last saw at the Art Institute of Chicago, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art in an exhibition titled America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930's.  The exhibition included my very favorite painters - Hopper, O'Keeffe, Grant Wood to name a few - depicting scenes during the Great Depression.  It was unforgettable.

The Art Institute has several fun facts about New York Movie:

- Hopper painted the work in 1938 after a long dry spell of not painting anything.

- The location is the Palace Theater, now the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, chosen after scouting out the Strand and others.

- The woman on the right was modeled after Hopper's wife, Jo.  He had her stand under a hallway light in his building for sketching and studies.

- The outfit Jo is wearing was based on the wide-legged jumpsuits actually worn by the Palace Theater's staff.

- The theme on the movie screen was thought to be from a 1937 movie Lost Horizon by Frank Capra.

- The poet Joseph Stanton wrote an ode to the painting. 

Please click here for a larger view.