Saturday, March 23, 2019

"Rush Hour"

12 x 9"
oil on panel


Robert Lange Studios is hosting a group show, opening May 3rd, titled Perfectionists - inviting 25-30 artists "based on their intensive, realistic approaches to their work".  I'm psyched to see the paintings in this show.

My contribution is Rush Hour - the above-view of the main floor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, with the hustle and bustle and staying-put of museum visitors.  The tough perspective alone was the biggest challenge, something I had to get just right.

Here's a few close-ups....






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Sunday, March 17, 2019

"See and Be Seen"

6 x 8"
oil on panel


There is a dual result in Rene Magritte's The False Mirror.  The viewer looks through the iris of this large eye, passed the black pupil and into a blue sky with floating clouds - and yet, this eye is looking at the viewer.  How totally surreal.

Part of me, as an artist, generally loves surrealism in art for its representation/realistic quality and the other part of me feels like I'm always asked 'the meaning'.  Frankly, that annoys me.  I'm more inclined to relish the vision in front of me that a painter found interesting or particularly beautiful and had to paint it.  Magritte thought the opposite.  Surrealism as an art form was what he most enjoyed.

Rene Magritte was in his 50's before he realized fame and recognition.  Born in Belgium at the end of the 19th century, not a whole lot is known about his youth.  Magritte worked in an advertising agency for a time then involved himself in several exhibitions with like-minded artists such as Salvador Dali, Juan Miro, Picasso - all stunning the art world with Cubism and Surrealism.  When his gallery closed, he returned to advertising for a stable income - the influence is more than evident in his paintings, notably This Is Not a Pipe which could easily have been an ad for a tobacco shop.

The False Mirror hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Please click here to the auction page.  Auction ends March 27, 9 pm ET.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

"Going Dutch"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


So right after I finished the smaller study Go Dutch, I started on a more-realized composition along the same lines - featuring Rembrandt's Self-Portrait, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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


Sunday, March 10, 2019

"Go Dutch"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I know I've been quiet on this blog but I've finished two larger paintings during my absence - one for a group show coming up titled Perfectionists - a painting that took me 5 days to complete.  Yikes.  That rarely happens.  The other for a show of mine coming up.

So... I needed to get small.  Loosen up.  And I had just read about the famous Dutch artist, Rembrandt, who's work is on exhibit "like never seen before" and thought of his Self-Portrait at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Rembrandt did roughly forty self-portraits during his lifetime - this done in 1660 at the age of fifty-four.  This self-portrait admits his age with a furrowed brow, double chin, wrinkles and pouches under his eyes - it's beautiful and honest.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

"Red Neckwear"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I have an affection for this Picasso portrait of Pedro Manach.  I especially love the pose and the black outlines of the figure.  

Picasso was a young 20-year-old on his first visit to Paris in 1900 - one of his paintings was exhibited in the World Fair show of Spanish art.  It is then he met the industrialist and art dealer Pedro Manach and it was then he signed his first contract that gave Manach his paintings for two years in exchange for a monthly income.  Not a bad start for a young artist.

Pedro Manach hangs in the National Gallery of Art in DC.




Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"Performance Art"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


A woman admiring Mary Cassatt's The Loge with Edgar Degas' Before the Ballet beside her.  Both are hung in the National Gallery of Art in DC.

Please click here for a larger view.


Monday, February 11, 2019

"Join the Party"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I was enamored with At the Moulin Rouge from the first time I saw it at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was that haunting face on the far right, as if she was looking at me through a window seemingly inviting me in to join the party.  

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painted Paris' nightlife like no other.  Caricatures who he knew well, like Jane Avril in the center with the flaming-red hair or the dancer May Milton who stares at you with her painted face.  The painting is two joined canvases, said to have been severed by Lautrec's dealer after his death - hoping the separate canvases were more saleable.  The entire composition was eventually restored.


Monday, February 4, 2019

"Waiting Room"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


On the third floor, in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, you'll find the Picassos.  And a bench to rest on.  I happened to know where all the benches are.

The Red Armchair depicts one of the many women in Picasso's life - Marie-Therese Walter was 28 and married when she met the artist and he was smitten with her.  Notice her face is both the frontal view and profile in one shape, a new motif of Picasso's, maybe hinting at the double-life the model was leading, carrying on with the man.

Notably, Picasso used an industrial house paint which he had first used 10 or so years earlier.  The colors are brilliant and almost enamel-like, and here he mixed the paints with oils and produced a wide range of surface textures which you can see up close in The Red Armchair.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

"On Her Pedestal"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


It's always nice to see a woman placed on a pedestal.

The marble sculpture Dancer with Finger on Chin was completed by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova in the final years of his life, around 1822.  One of his most recognizable pieces is Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, housed in the Louvre in Paris.  We are lucky to have the one featured above in our National Gallery of Art in DC.

Canova displayed his talent for sculpture at a young age, by 27, he established his own studio producing works for Venetian nobility.  He went on to Rome, taking advantage of the popularity of the neoclassic style and becoming quite successful.  He received important commissions from the popes, Napoleon and many English aristocracy.

Next time you find yourself in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, stop and admire this woman on her pedestal.

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


Thursday, January 17, 2019

"Sweet"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


I was in the De Young Museum in San Francisco and a boy shrieked when he saw the painting of Superman by Mel Ramos - hardly able to contain himself.  When I saw, in person, Wayne Thiebaud's painting Dessert Tray in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City,  I didn't shriek but I felt the same excitement.  I l-u-r-v-e this painting.  I love every painting Wayne Thiebaud has done.

And it must be said, it was a total joy doing this new painting.



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"Overdressed"

10 x 8"
oil on panel


In the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, it's been my observation that most visitors find Henri Matisse's Dance a joyful and buoyant work of art which encourages a rest on the bench to take it all in.  I think Matisse would be pleased.

There are two versions of Dance - MoMA possesses the earlier painting, done in 1909, a 'study' of the final painting done a year later, which resides in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.  A Russian businessman and art collector commissioned Matisse, a long-time associate, for a piece to be hung in the staircase of his Moscow mansion.  Eventually the collector bequeathed it to the Hermitage - the 'study' was donated by Nelson Rockefeller to the Museum of Modern Art.

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


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"Composed"

12 x 12"
oil on panel


The two museum patrons are viewing two of the most influential men of the late 20th century - the award-winning musician and composer, Philip Glass and the artist who painted his portrait, Chuck Close.

Chuck Close and Philip Glass have been close friends for over 50 years.  Phil was painted in 1969, when Close was making his inaugural series of large-scale, black and white paintings of faces.  He took an 8 x 10" photograph of Phil, overlaid it with a penciled grid, and blew it up onto the canvas - showing ever skin pore, whisker and wrinkle in an intimate close-up of his subjects.  Just fantastic.

For those who don't know Philip Glass, he was recently a Kennedy Center Honoree, a National Medal of Arts Honoree, a 3-time nominee and winner of a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a nominee for three Academy Awards for Best Original Score - and there are dozen more relating to his composing and musical achievements.  Glass is a giant.  




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



Monday, January 7, 2019

"The Picasso"

6 x 6"
oil on panel
sold


In 1963, the great Pablo Picasso was commissioned to create a public art sculpture by the architects of the Richard J. Daley Center in the loop in Chicago.  Picasso completed a maquette, or a small-scale version, featured in my new painting.  The cost of the 50-foot sculpture was $351,959 (equivalent to $2.7 million in present day) - paid for thru foundations and gifted from the artist himself to the city of Chicago.  The maquette resides in the Art Institute of Chicago, also gifted by Picasso.

The Chicago Picasso, known as The Picasso, was dedicated in 1967 by the Mayor Richard Daley ...




... and met with mixed reactions.  The famed journalist Mike Royko ripped it to shreds in his newspaper column, saying "The fact is, it has a long stupid face and looks like some giant insect that is about to eat a smaller, weaker insect.  Its eyes are like the eyes of every slum owner who made a buck off the small and weak.  And of every building inspector who took a wad from a slum owner to make it all possible."  Quintessential Mike Royko.

Mayor Daley responded, at the dedication, saying "We dedicate this celebrated work this morning with the belief that what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow."

And it is familiar to anyone who lives in Chicago or has visited - or has watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off or The Blues Brothers.  It's a well-known "meet me at the Picasso" spot, enjoyed by the public with a farmer's market surrounding it in the plaza and many seasonal affairs.  So there Mike Royko.




Tuesday, January 1, 2019


~ Wishing you a happy and healthy year ~