Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Checking in.



Checking in and hoping everyone is well. 

I'm working on one of the hardest reproductions I've ever done of the masterpiece by Albert Bierstadt - getting lost in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  There's a certain Zen to painting a scene so peaceful and awesome. 

Albert Bierstadt was a German-American artist, born in Prussia, moved to America at the age of 1.  He traveled westward with a U. S. land surveyor to witness the unseen, vast, mountainous landscapes and returned to New York, completing several paintings from sketches done on his trip.  He went back west for a second time, this time staying a couple of months in the Yosemite Valley - returning back home and painting his massive-scale pieces that he is well known for.

Bierstadt's images were vital to the aspirations of Americans and Europeans who were immigrating to the United States.  It showed them a world that had scarcely been seen and explored.

~ Stay healthy my friends and please stay home if you are able.  There's light at the end of this tunnel.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

"Mother Figure"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


Pablo Picasso's Mother and Child in the Art Institute of Chicago does seem to affect many visitors.  It moves them.  It's majestic. It's relatable.  It's a mother holding her child, surrounded by a serene background of sand, water and sky.  It's sweet.

Picasso painted this in 1921, the year his son Paolo was born.  In the following two years, he painted over a dozen works on the subject of mothers and children.  He had painted this theme during his Blue Period, depicting figures that were frail and in despair but this mother and child are noticeably more solid and happy - showing Picasso's general feelings of stability and sentimentality with the birth of his own child.

~ On a personal note, please take good care of yourself during these scary days.  Look out for your friends and family.  Be kind to strangers.  We'll get through this.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

"Chain Reaction"

9 x 12"
oil on panel


The astounding fact of Rembrandt's portrait Old Man with a Chain is that he painted it at the age of 25.  It was 1631 and he was honing his skills with classic portraits and, what is widely believed, used his father as the model and dressed him in a fancy coat with a plumed hat and an ornate, gold chain with a medallion.  I'll say it again.  Rembrandt painted this at the age of 25.

From the Art Institute of Chicago.

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


Thursday, March 5, 2020

"Valued"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


A couple of years back, I got to see one of Amy Sherald's first exhibitions in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - recognizing immediately this was the artist who painted the official portrait of the First Lady, Michelle Obama, unveiled just a few months before. 

Amy Sherald is a young 47 years old, from Columbus, Georgia - went to Clark University in Atlanta and after a chance encounter with a street artist who encouraged her to pursue art as a career, decided to do just that.  Her signature figurative paintings are large, featuring ordinary African-American people (some she knew and some she didn't), demonstrating everyone has value.  Her skin tones are in grey tones rather than brown "so the bright colors really pop out" and she's now one of the most successful black painters of our time.  I love everything she does.  

The painting above features Amy's portrait titled She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.  Amy's sister, a writer, often titles her paintings for her.



Sunday, February 16, 2020

"Front and Center"

8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


My new painting features Edgar Degas' paintings Woman at Her Toilette and Dancers at the Barre with the bronze sculpture The Fourteen Year Old Dancer front and center.  

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Please click here for a larger view.


Monday, February 10, 2020

"Self Interest"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I loved this man I spotted in the National Gallery of Art.  First glance, I assumed he was dragged to the museum but he stopped at every single painting during the five or ten minutes I watched him.  He seemed truly interested in any artist, any subject, and in any room.  He spent more time with Vincent van Gogh's work - most visitors do because they know who van Gogh is.

Vincent van Gogh painted 36 self-portraits in his short career of a mere 10 years.  Early on, he concentrated on landscapes and still life and a few portraits but after he admitted himself into the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, still painting the fields nearby and surrounding landscapes, he suffered a severe breakdown.  Many believe his demise resembled the symptoms of epilepsy, but the disease was not understood at the time.  Vincent was incapacitated for five weeks and retreated to his studio, during which he painted the Self-Portrait you see in my painting.

This self-portrait is a standout - done in a single sitting - the artist dressed in his smock holding his palette and brushes.  His face is somewhat haunting, his awareness of his gaunt, pale face is painted with stark greenish/blue tones, the brush strokes are thick with paint.  Most of all, it feels intense as if van Gogh's anxiety was portrayed so honestly.  Within a year, in 1890, the artist was dead at the age of 37.  

The astounding legacy Vincent van Gogh left, in just a decade, was about 2,100 artworks including 860 oil paintings.  A fact I still can't comprehend.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

"Dream a Dream"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


The most enthusiastic audiences for Edgar Degas' ballerinas are little girls.  Especially popular is the bronze sculpture you'll find in several art museums The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer - it's real to those young girls in a way that one-dimensional paintings are not.  It's one of those moments that art impacts a human being at an early age.

An art historian wrote an interesting article for Vanity Fair and claimed Degas was "a bona fide misogynist".  He apparently took pleasure in watching his dancer/models contort in agony and even referred to them as his "little monkey girls".  Degas never married, known to be anti-Semitic - a result from the Dreyfus Affair when a French military officer, who was Jewish, was wrongfully accused of treason.  He blamed his family's business difficulties on Jewish competitors and grew more and more resentful. His bitter prejudice cost him many friends and certainly the respect of his more-tolerant Parisian artists friends and peers.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a little girl is mesmerized while viewing Dega's Dancers Practicing at the Barre, with the sculpture The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer next to her.



Thursday, January 30, 2020

"A Day at the Office"

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


The Montgomery Museum of Art in Alabama, make no mistake, has treasured works of art.  My personal favorite is the striking New York Office by the great Edward Hopper.

Hopper painted this masterpiece at the age of 80, four years short of his death.  The painting is quintessential Hopper - an urban scene, a lone figure and a business office with the viewer or voyeur essentially unnoticed by the woman at her desk in the window.  Hopper featured women working in offices frequently, perhaps showing his admiration for who really runs the show.

Please click here for a larger view.



Saturday, January 25, 2020

Out of the Blue


An astonishing thing happened to me this week.

Out of the blue, I got an email from a woman who explained she had inherited a painting that had been in her family most of her life.  Her words "When I was a kid, I never thought about what I wanted to inherit from my parents when they passed away … except for this piece!  It was the one thing I would fight for, I thought."

She did her research online looking for information on the artist Lee Jurick and couldn't find anything, but did find my name then read that my mom was an artist and "Viola!", the mystery was solved.  The magic of the internet. 




This was a meaningful gift to me - to see a tangible reminder of part of my mom's creative soul and it happened to be on the anniversary of my mom's passing 38 years ago.

The painting shows my mom's love for color and especially painting in the Cubism style.  She loved Picasso and Braque.  She really loved all styles of art.  She did pen and ink drawings of life around her in Thailand, then scenery in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  She did linoleum and wood prints and mono-prints, which is when I learned all about printmaking as a young girl.  She even sculpted.  She belonged to the Doylestown Art League during our time in Pennsylvania, where this painting changed hands to the parents of this wonderful woman, who took the time, found me and wrote me an email that made my day.  My week.  My year.

I'm lucky to have a dozen or so pieces of my mom's work.  This has encouraged me to photograph all of what I have and create a devoted page on my website - I'll let you know when that's published.

Good things happen when you least expect it.  Thank you Kris.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

"Rest in Peace"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I imagine chefs, who prepared elaborate dishes in their restaurant's kitchens all day, sometimes go home hungry and the last thing they want to do is spend their time off whipping up something as elaborate.  I imagine they kick off their shoes and wing it. Maybe a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.

Today I opted for grilled cheese.  First staining a white panel with a rosy/lipstick red - then, without sketching anything out, just paint.  It's liberating.  It's necessary.

Part of my mindset this morning was to work with the paint much like one of my favorite artist, Jennifer McChristian.  Her paintings have life.  She shows constraint in overworking edges, using the rosy base color peeking through the colors she loads on top. 

From the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a woman rests in a sunlit area.




Saturday, January 18, 2020

"Feast Your Eyes"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


There are some artists who don't have much in the way of biographies, especially those who practiced their craft in the early 1800's.  Henri Lehmann is one of those artists.

Henri Lehmann was a German-born French painter and at the age of 17, Lehmann's father sent him to Paris to study under the well-known classical painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.  The portrait in my painting, The Girl, could very well be mistaken for an Ingres piece.  Very precise, classical pose, elaborate garb.  In fact, this painting shares the same room in the National Gallery of Art with his tutor Ingres.

Lehmann went on to teach at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Paris and taught notable artists such as George Seurat and Pierre Bonnard and you'll find many works of art in museums by those and other alumni.



Monday, January 13, 2020

"Casual Acquaintance"

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


The High Museum has this stunning portrait, Miss Bessie (Miss Elizabeth Newton) by a seldom-recognized painter, Albert Herter.  It has the trademarks of John Singer Sargent - the flush ear and fingertips - and James Whistler - the arrangement of tones and tints of whites, both artists and acquaintances of Albert.

Albert Herter took off running as an artist at the young age of 19, winning awards in Expositions in Atlanta, Nashville and Buffalo then at the Paris Salon in 1890 - most of his work being portraiture.  He created cover illustrations for Ladies' Home Journal and a number of books including posters of the Red Cross and YMCA in the early 1900's.  He painted murals in private homes, the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, the Supreme Court Building in Hartford, the State Capital of Wisconsin and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC.  He was sought after and hugely successful.

Albert married Adele, a fellow artist he met in Paris, had three children, moved back to New York, where he eventually founded a tapestry and textile firm.  Two of Albert's children went on to be artists, one served as governor of Massachusetts and later as U.S. Secretary of State under Eisenhower.  His wife was a founding member of New York City's Cosmopolitan Club and was known as one of the northeast's 'society' portrait painters.

Please click here for a larger view.


Monday, January 6, 2020

"Autumn"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


The very wise art historian Sister Wendy once explained Mark Rothko's work as the natural world around us.  This painting, Untitled, 1952, reminds me of autumn tones - Indian summer skies, leaves of browns/reds/golds.

Painting Rothko's colors is my way of practicing the mixing of paints, perhaps discovering tones I may have neglected in my own work.  Kinda like adding different spices or herbs to a recipe.  It's good exercise.




Friday, January 3, 2020

"Lie Before"

9 x 12" 
oil on panel


When I saw this painting Supine Woman by Wayne Thiebaud, in person, in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art,  I read more about it as soon as I got home.  There had to be more to this and I was right.

The definition of  'supine' can mean "lying on one's back" or "mentally or morally lethargic" so I suspected Mr. Thiebaud meant the first.  His model was his daughter Twinka  (don't you love her name?) and it was 1963.  Consider the time, women were oppressed in society and the workplace so the 'lying down' posture with open legs and a white dress, brown shoes and a clinched fist does make a profound statement.

Wayne Thiebaud will be 100 years old this November and he still creates amazing work.  There are few artists who have had such a profound impact on my life as an artist - the way I see, the way I handle paint and the exploration of many subjects.  Consider him a National treasure as I do.

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