Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Man and Wife"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

My new painting features the iconic portrait American Gothic by one of my favorite painters, Grant Wood, in the Art Institute of Chicago

The viewer usually assumes the couple in the painting is man and wife although it was meant to depict a farmer and his spinster daughter.  The models were Wood's sister, Nan, and his dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby, both Iowans.

Fun facts about American Gothic ~

~ It was an instant success, entered into the 1930 exhibition at the Art Institute and purchased by the museum.

~ The little, white cottage still stands in Eldon, Iowa.  I've been there.  The second floor window is 'carpenter gothic' style, which Wood found pretentious for such a humble home.

~ The dentist, Byron McKeeby, felt obligated to pose for Wood as he was a worthy patient who enjoyed sugar on most everything.  Even lettuce.

~ Both models and the house were all painted in separate sessions.

~ Iowans weren't thrilled with how they were portrayed to the world, as this wasn't how they saw themselves. One farm wife was so mad, she threatened to bite Wood's ear off.  Wood insisted he was a loyal Iowan and meant no offense, only a homage.

~ The artist's signature is hidden in the farmer's overalls.

The importance of American Gothic is, in Wood's own words, to celebrate the nation's fortitude and spirit during tough times.  It brought rise to Regionalism, or American Scene painting, making fellow artists like Thomas Hart Benton and John Curry and Grant Wood famous.  Personally speaking, all three of these painters are favorites of mine.

Please click here for a larger view.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"The Parents"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

Took a needed break from show pieces to loosen up a bit.

A view from the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, looking down on a couple taking a breather on the bench of the main lobby.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019


10 x 10"
oil on panel

Honestly, I've had my head in painting so much, I've neglected to show anyone what I've done for my upcoming show.  So here's the new one, featuring Johannes Vermeer's famous portrait, Girl with a Pearl Earring, which, after traveling far and wide in multiple exhibitions, now hangs permanently in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague.

The Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer, painted only 36 known works in his lifetime.  Like many of his fellow artists/peers, he depicted scenes of ordinary, domestic life doing mundane tasks - except for Girl with a Pearl Earring, of course.  It is intimate.  It is personal.  Much like da Vinci's Mona Lisa, her identity is a mystery.  While a young woman probably sat for Vermeer, it is thought to be mostly imaginary, focusing on what the artist was known for - painting expertise and representing light.

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

Friday, May 3, 2019


9 x 12"
oil on panel

Now that my computer is back and running, my internet has waged a battle with me for days.  Meanwhile I paint.

This is the first piece I did for my upcoming show The Ladies - Amy Sherald's portrait of Michelle Obama.  My admiration for Ms. Obama goes a long way and for her to have chosen Amy Sherald, the first female African-American artist ever to paint an official First Lady portrait, was so right.  Side note - President Barack Obama chose one of my very favorite artists, Kehinde Wiley, to paint his portrait, also the first male African-American artist to do so.  Both paintings reside in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

A little bit about Amy Sherald - she's 45 years old, born in Georgia and now lives in Baltimore.  Her paintings mainly depict race and identity in the South, something she developed while studying at Clark and Spelman in Atlanta.  I saw a brand-new exhibit of her paintings while I was visiting Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and her portraits are bold and just fantastic.  

Please click here for a larger view.