Saturday, July 25, 2020

"Drink Up"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

I have a great admiration for the artist Winslow Homer.  He was self-taught.  He was an illustrator.  His mother was a watercolor painter and was his first teacher and nurtured his artistic abilities at a young age.  His father, on the other hand, sold his hardware store when Winslow was a teenager and took off for the California gold rush - which failed - then went to Europe to raise cash for a get-rich-quick scheme that failed.

Homer took on an apprenticeship for a lithographer at the age of 19, then joined the staff of Harper's Weekly that lasted over 20 years.  He was sent to the front lines of the American Civil War to document the battle scenes and soldier life, which didn't get much attention but it sharpened his skills.  When he returned to his normal life, he concentrated on paintings of rural life, scenes of childhood and young women - gaining great popularity with his images of nostalgia and simpler times.

Homer had this thing about portraying women and now-freed black men and women in a more dignified and strong way.  He corrected the disparaging images that publications like Harper's Weekly had printed for years in that respect.  

Homer's A Temperance Meeting is a perfect example, painted in 1874, hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Their description of this work is so well written - "Homer's painting cleverly refers to the rising American temperance movement, a crusade against drinking alcohol, by depicting a stout milkmaid pausing while a farmhand drinks from her ladle. Swaying under the weight of her pail and squinting into the sun, she presents the ideal of natural womanhood. Her powerful presence, marked by broad shoulders, muscular arms, and sunburned skin, counters the farmhand's relaxed stance and shaded face, visually reversing traditional gender roles. Far from flirting, the two figures awkwardly avoid each other's gaze, modeling rural wholesomeness and rectitude."

~ Stay healthy and wear your mask.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

"Color is the New Black"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

When it comes to really feeling the joy of a painting, top of my list is dogs.  Second is featuring any painting by Wayne Thiebaud.  He is a giant in my world.

Wayne Thiebaud has painted ordinary objects - wedges of pie, lipstick, sunglasses, neck ties, cupcakes, buckets of paint, gumball machines, shoes to name a few - for decades.  What sets him apart as a painter is he takes that subject, that thing, and injects life into it - with color.  Take one shoe you see in his painting Shoe Rows.  There is, approximately, no less than 10 colors of paint in that one shoe.  The edges vibrate. The devotion to every object and shadow is admirable.

And that's why this painting was pure joy to paint.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2020

"Mother and Child Reunion"

8 x 10"
oil on panel

Well, after painting my smaller study you see on the post below, I jumped right into a larger, more-realized piece.  The Mary Cassatt painting is larger, the details are more crisp and that gives me so much more insight to her colors and edges.

Cassatt, like other artists in her time, were influenced by other cultures and their artwork.  Picasso found African masks his springboard to more geometric paintings which lead to Cubism.  Cassatt and Matisse were inspired by Japanese design and printmaking which lead to figures that appeared almost 2-dimensional or cut-outs.  They incorporated fabric patterns in backgrounds and clothing on figures, which was fairly uncommon in painting up until then.  That's why I say The Child's Bath is so quintessential Mary Cassatt.

Please click here for a larger view.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

"Mother and Child Reunion" (study)

6 x 8"
oil on panel

The whole time I was painting this, Paul Simon's song was going through my head.  A mother and daughter viewing Mary Cassatt's The Child's Bath.  Quintessential Cassatt - observing the intimate relationship between mother and child, with an influence of Japanese block print and patterns on patterns.

From the Art Institute of Chicago.

~ a thank you to Stephania for the partial use of her photo.

Friday, July 3, 2020


5 x 5"
oil on panel

A gift for my neighbor on this 4th of July - the late and great Taz digging the pool.

Have a safe and happy 4th my friends.