Monday, March 1, 2021

"Facing the Music"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel


When I reproduce masters' works of art, I learn more about color, mixing paints, edging, brush strokes and composition than any class or book could possibly teach me.  My mom swore by it, which is why I spent a large chunk of my early years in museums.

Picasso's work is a whole other thing.  Three Musicians is defined as a Synthetic Cubist style - meaning the compositions are made up of jigsaw-puzzle-like shapes, flat planes and solid colors.  You don't look at it and think 'look at those brush strokes'.  But I look at every shape and try to figure out where it fits, which I probably shouldn't obsess about but that's the jigsaw-puzzle solver in me.

The recurring characters - the masked Pierrot playing the clarinet, the Harlequin strumming a guitar and the singing monk holding sheet music represents the then-popular Italian comic theater that Picasso and his friends were involved in.  

From the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

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



Monday, February 22, 2021

"Portrait Sitting"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel


I saw this painting on Instagram by Diego Velazquez, Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria in Hunting Dress and fell in love with the dog. Not Cardinal Ferdinand, but his dog. He obediently sat for the portrait. What a good boy.

From the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

Please click here to the auction page. Auction ends March 5th,  9 pm ET.

~ Stay safe, stay healthy and wear a mask.



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"Smile"

 

 
8 x 10"
oil on panel


Inspired by a recent article in the New York Times about the Louvre Museum's renovations taking place while the museum is closed due to COVID - I imagined a more accessible viewing of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

In reality, the framed portrait is encased in bulletproof glass with a distanced railing for visitors to view the iconic masterpiece.  Here's the new set-up at the Louvre.
 



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



Thursday, February 11, 2021

"Up Close"

 

 
10 x 8"
oil on panel


Your Moment of Zen today featuring Claude Monet's landscapes.
 
I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art years ago but I do remember this gentleman.  He stood inches from each and every painting, seemingly captivated by Monet's layered and impressionistic brush strokes in this case.  And for good reason. The gist of impressionism is those layered, tiny, angled brush strokes.  It results in life.  Movement.  Light.  

The painting on the left is Bend in the Epte River Near Giverny and to the right is Morning at Antibes - both by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet.

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



Friday, February 5, 2021

"Sympathy"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


There is, there should be, a profound personal experience when one sees an original painting by Vincent van Gogh in person. Speaking for myself, my reaction depends on the subject matter.  Landscapes and still-lifes are thick with paint and multitudes of rich, vivid colors swirling and defining edges.  You want to touch it with your fingers.  There's life and movement in outdoor scenes - you can hear the crows and the rustling of wheatfields.  It puts you there, where he was painting that day.

Van Gogh's portraits evoke emotion in me. I feel his trouble or ease or torment or admiration.  The Portrait of Dr. Gachet on the left is one of several versions painted.  Dr. Gachet was a homeopathic doctor and artist himself.  Gachet cared for van Gogh in the few months before the end of his life and understandably was important to van Gogh as a friend and caregiver.  This version was owned by Gachet, bequeathed to France by his heirs and resides in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

The Self-Portrait on the right was painted in 1889, the last self-portrait van Gogh completed a year before his death.  Over a 10-year period, the artist painted himself over 30 times - mostly due to lacking the money to hire a model.  He sent the painting to his brother, Theo, with a note reading "you will need to study the picture for a time. I hope you will notice that my facial expressions have become much calmer, although my eyes have the same insecure look as before, or so it appears to me."  The swirls of color in the background would suggest his state of mind as he was declining physically and mentally.  It's one of the most famous paintings van Gogh completed and resides in the Musee d'Orsay as well.

Please click here for a larger view.



Thursday, January 28, 2021

"Chill Factor"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


Every winter I obsess about wanting snow fall here in Atlanta.  I scroll through the Twitter posts of photos during snowstorms with deep envy.  Hence my inspiration for this new painting - bringing to mind one of my favorite landscapes by Claude Monet, The Magpie.

The low level sun behind the fence. The shadows of icy-blues and lavenders. You can imagine how quiet it was when Monet worked on this winter landscape.  The tiny hint of life of the magpie, perched on the gate completely in its element.  It is a perfect painting.

From the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. 





Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"It's Curtains For You"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
 

I remember the first time I saw this painting in the Art Institute of Chicago - Madame Paul Escudier (Louise Lefevre) - I wouldn't have guessed it was by John Singer Sargent.  It's not the classic Sargent portrait.  You have more of the surroundings of the Parisian apartment with more emphasis on the light  and curtains framing the woman.  She's not the dominant feature of the portrait, rather she's part of the composition.  And I love that.

I know very little about Ms. Lefevre other than she was French and Sargent was her choice for the commission.  Turned out this portrayal, subdued as it is, was a big hit in the Paris art world and Sargent's popularity grew larger than it already was.

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

~ Stay safe. Stay healthy. Wear your mask.  Enjoy the brighter days that are ahead.



Thursday, January 7, 2021

"Over There"

 

 
7 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


It may surprise you Portrait of Marie Breunig was painted by Gustav Klimt.  Klimt is widely known for his portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, aka The Lady in Gold. Before Klimt headed the Secession movement in Vienna in 1897, he was a sought-after portrait painter, much like John Singer Sargent.  Simply put, he painted the wealthy in a very classic, conventional style.

"Born in humble circumstances",  Marie Breunig married into wealth.  She was an avid client of the Floge sisters' fashion salon, keeping up with the rest of high society circles.  The Floge sisters were also immortalized in portraits by Klimt, several times.  

Although the Portrait of Marie Breunig belongs to a private collection, it currently in on display at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria.

For a larger view, click here.



Thursday, December 24, 2020

"Those Summer Nights"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


As I finished this new painting, I realized outside the cold wind was blowing and snow flurries were falling on Christmas Eve in Atlanta.  Truly unexpected. And pretty darn cozy.  John Singer Sargent's Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose - a most perfect painting in my opinion, depicts a warm, summer night - completely opposite of the evening outside my window.  

In 1884, Sargent had just experienced a scandal in Paris, resulting from the exhibition of his famous portrait Madame X.  It damaged his reputation all because the critics freaked out over the dress strap of Amelie Gautreau had fallen off her bare shoulder.  That was it. The prudes disapproved.

Seeking restoration, Sargent moved to England and spent summers in an artist's colony, where he completed Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.  He was staying at the home of his artist friend Francis Millet and the two girls he used as his models were the daughters of another artist Frederick Barnard.  His inspiration came from a boating trip where he saw Chinese lanterns hanging in the trees, combining that element with the girls.  

The painting was a hit at an 1887, and Sargent was once again the talk of the art world with his reputation restored.  It belongs to the collection of the Tate Museum in London, England.
 
~ Wishing you and yours a peaceful and beautiful Christmas holiday.



Wednesday, December 16, 2020

"Sweetie Pies"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


I've said it many times on this blog - Wayne Thiebaud is an artist who has and still does greatly inspire me as a painter.

Here are the reasons I continue to admire and love Thiebaud. His work ethic, still, at the age of 100, is admirable.  He's a humble man despite being considered one of America's greatest living artists.  He is best known for what critics describe as an artistic appreciation for everyday objects - although he's been known to dispute that, describing his "humble goals to try and paint at any time any subject matter in any medium under the general heading 'people, places and things.'"  I told you he was humble.

Featured in my painting is Wayne Thiebaud's Pie Rows.  

Please click here for a larger view.



Monday, December 7, 2020

Special December Sale!

I'm clearing out 3 paintings that I've held on to - and I'd like to make a charity donation with a portion of the proceeds.  All 3 are framed and ready to hang.

Thank you for considering a purchase.

 

"Sun Protection"
sold
 

"Foot Rest"
6 x 6"
oil on panel
 Framed, it measures 7" x 7"
 
 

"Tuckered Out"
sold
 


Friday, December 4, 2020

"A Man's Man"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


Our National Portrait Gallery in DC has a moving exhibition titled The Struggle For Justice, which is where I saw Andy Warhol's Portrait of Russell Means.  It blew me away.  Perhaps it's the largeness, or the bold colors.  I'm not a huge Warhol fan with an exception of his portraits.  I always question why he chose this person, like Mao Tse Tung for example.  

This is what I've learned since - the clue is this powerful portrait is included in an exhibit showcasing the men and women in the 19th century to present who struggled to achieve civil rights for the disenfranchised and minority groups.  Russell Charles Means was an Oglala Lakota activist for the civil rights of Native Americans.  He was a libertarian activist, an actor and writer and a musician.  He joined the American Indian Movement in 1968, becoming their prominent leader.

And here's more.  Means participated in the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969. He protested in Boston, seizing the Mayflower II replica, bringing attention to the mistreatment of Native Americans by the Puritans and the United States.  In '71 he joined the protest at Mount Rushmore, which is within the Black Hills and sacred to the Lakota tribe. He took part in the occupations at Wounded Knee, the Bureau of Indian Affairs in DC.  In the 80's he resigned from the AIM and ran for the presidency of his native Oglala Sioux tribe and lost. 

Means appeared in numerous films - The Last of the Mohicans being the most notable.  He actually made a guest appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing Wandering Bear, a skilled landscaper with a flair for herbal medicine.  He was married five times, had seven biological children and three adopted children and twenty-two grandchildren.  He died in 2012 from cancer.
 
Warhol did a Cowboys and Indians series in the time closest to his death in 1987.  He was fascinated with the movies and Westerns particularly.  The series included famed enemies and heroes of the genre - a commentary on the media pushing the iconography of what he considered exploitation, war, power and ownership - kinda thumbing his nose at what constitutes Western art.
 
I finished this painting yesterday and by this morning, it had sold.  But you can view a larger image here.
 



Friday, November 27, 2020

My 2021 Calendar

SOLD OUT!

My 2021 Calendars are here!

 This mini wall calendar measures 8-1/2" by 13" opened up, featuring 12 months of color reproductions of my paintings done in 2020.  

 
 




Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving

I know.

I haven't posted in days.  I've painted two pieces and in a blink of an eye, they both sold.  I've just been lucky.  And grateful.

Here are the two.

"Happy Dance" that features the joyous Dance by Henri Matisse.

 

10 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


"Kiss Her" featuring Gustav Klimt's iconic The Kiss.
 

9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


~  There are brighter days ahead, my friends.  Stay safe, stay healthy, wear a mask and be kind to one another.  And have a lovely Thanksgiving.
 
 




Friday, November 6, 2020

"Hair Solutions"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


In Washington DC, you can see many paintings by the famous portrait painter Gilbert Stuart.  Stuart's most recognized is of George Washington which you'll find in the National Portrait Gallery among the Presidents - the one featured above, Catherine Brass Yates (Mrs. Richard Yates) shares a room in the National Gallery of Art with other notable Americans.

In 1793, Stuart had just returned to America from a long stretch in England where he enjoyed popularity and recognition as being one of the lead portrait artists.  And a different America it was.  Catherine Yates is thought of as one of Gilbert's most famous paintings both for the artistic masterpiece that it is and, what is known as a symbol of this young country's rectitude - meaning moral righteousness.  Personally, I always get a kick out of looking at this portrait every time I'm visiting the National Gallery.

~  Keep wearing your mask and stay healthy.



Thursday, October 22, 2020

"Spooked"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


When October comes around, I always think of the Wyeth family - as in N. C., his son Andrew and his son Jamie.  The enthusiasm for pumpkins and Halloween started with N. C., with costumes and Jack-O'Lanterns playing a large part of the celebrations.  All three of the artists painted many versions of pumpkins placed around the home, in vines, lit at night and then there's Pumpkinhead, painted by Jamie Wyeth, a self-portrait done in 1972.

The best way to explain how this painting came to be is by Jamie himself:

“I had been elected to the National Academy of Design in New York, and one of the requirements was that you give a portrait, a self-portrait of yourself. Well, I didn’t want to do myself in a self-portrait, but I love pumpkins. It’s the sinisterness, the Halloween I’ve always loved. It’s a little bit edgy. So I did it and of course they were furious and rejected it.”
 
Imagine Jamie Wyeth's submission to a panel of stuffy art professors.  That's funny in and of itself.  It speaks to him messaging the art world's long standing rejection of the Wyeths being 'real artists' and more illustrators and saying 'take that'.  
 
Pumpkinhead has been and always will be one of my very favorite paintings by the great Jamie Wyeth.
 



Sunday, October 18, 2020

"Milkin' It"

 

 
8 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


The next time you're lucky enough to stand in front of an original painting by Johannes Vermeer, imagine yourself, in 1657 in the Netherlands.  You're standing behind the artist as he's painting in his studio on the top floor of a nice townhouse and the only lighting is the blue daylight coming through a window and the candles lighting his palette and canvas.  Their maid, an older, sturdier woman poses beside the window, seemingly unaware of the viewer, pouring milk in a ceramic bowl with stale bread used as props on the table.  Nothing fancy.  Just a domestic woman doing her everyday chores.

The Milkmaid is one of Vermeer's most-famous paintings - one of a few that survived a fire. And lucky for us.  Vermeer appreciated light like no other artist of his time.  The woman against the white wall, the glimmer of white on the stream of milk being poured, the left side of her face and clothing lit as the rest recedes into shadows.  And his details.  Right down to the nails in the wall and seeds on the loaf of bread.  Just wow.

The Milkmaid has traveled all over the globe and is currently back home at the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam.  Thanks go to Cindy Pronk, a photographer who lives in Holland and offered her original photo for a painting reference during this time when traveling and museum visits have been put on hold. I really appreciate the generosity of others.

Please click here for a larger view.



Friday, October 9, 2020

"Good Bones"

 

 
8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


I have this thing for morning glories and moonflowers.  The simple pleasure of being greeted in the morning with the purple and blue blooms that weren't there the day before and won't be there the next day - it reminds you to live in the moment.  The same with moonflowers - big, white blooms that open around dusk, just for that one night. 

So naturally, Georgia O'Keeffe's Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory ranks up there as a personal favorite.
O'Keeffe painted this during an important transition of her own life.  Described as marking the death of one aspect of her life as an artist and a woman and the blooming of even better things.  She had left New York City, possibly ending her career as an artist.  The morning glory symbolizes how much she flourished in her new home - isolated in the desert opposed to living in one of the country's largest cities.  She developed a deep respect for the land and the Hopi culture in many of her paintings during those years.

From the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Please click here for a larger view.

~ Stay safe, stay healthy and wear your mask and VOTE.



Monday, September 28, 2020

" Connoisseur"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I had started a smaller study for Penguin Zen and decided to finish it because you have to find joy wherever you can.  Painting an animal does it for me.

Someone let me know the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri also invited some penguins as guests to browse their galleries during their shutdown, like the Art Institute of Chicago had.  The most charming result is these penguins stopped and seemingly took in many of the works of art, much like this little guy.  Claude Monet's Water Lilies spoke to him.  Or her.



Saturday, September 26, 2020

"Penguin Zen"

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold
 
 
I needed to paint something fun and recently read about Chicago's Shedd Aquarium's penguins being guests at the Art Institute of Chicago while the museum was closed to the public.  Here's one of the guests admiring Claude Monet's Irises, 1914/17 seemingly recognizing familiar elements.
 
Soon after I posted my painting on social media, Shedd Aquarium responded how much they liked it and even have a penguin named Iris!
 
Please click here for a larger view.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

"Face the Music"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold
 
 
Personally, I have a love/hate for Picasso's art.  I favor most of his Cubist style, top of the list being Guernica and the featured painting Three Musicians.  They are jigsaw-puzzle-like, flat planes of solid colors, overlapping like cutout paper making sense in the end.  

Three Musicians is a complicated composition, so much so, this study may have convinced me to not tackle a larger painting.  Don't know yet.  I find Picasso's painting just plain fun.  You see a recurring figures, a Harlequin and a masked Pierrot - both familiar characters in the old Italian theater stories. You see sheet music on a stand, a clarinet and guitar and even a dog's paws stretched out on the bottom left corner.  

When I paint these reproductions of artworks, there's always a deeper understanding of each piece - a valuable lesson every time.  

From the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

~ Stay healthy, stay safe and wear your mask.


Friday, September 11, 2020

"Pull Up a Chair"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold
 
 
Two of our country's best art museums are in Washington DC and often overlooked.  The Smithsonian American Art Museum, conveniently connected to the National Portrait Gallery, which is located on F Street, not in the National Mall with all the other museums - where I want to stand and scream "go a few blocks down to the best two museums in the city!".

American art and American artists are my jam.  Top five personal favorites include Edward Hopper. This gem I featured is People in the Sun.  A perfect description, on the museum's website,  says this painting "suggests a crowd of tourists who feel obliged to take in a famous scenic view, but do so with little pleasure."  That makes me laugh.  Hopper traveled the American West, taking in motel scenes, landscapes, lonely tourists and a whole different light and brought it back to New York City.  He didn't paint out West, he found himself unable to deal with what he called the harsh light and monumental landscapes.  Many of his paintings are a result of sketches and memories, including People in the Sun.

Please click here for a larger view.

Stay healthy, stay safe and wear your mask.
 


Thursday, September 3, 2020

"Freeze"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


I've written about Andy Warhol, the famous Pop artist, and his fascination with idols like Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O, Mao Zedong and yes, Elvis Presley.  With movie stars, he was enamored with the oversize posters promoting the films, selling these celebrities like Campbell Soup labels sold soup. Warhol produced multiple silkscreens of Elvis, in many different ways - this one being two color silkscreens next to two grey-scale screens titled Elvis I & II.

Speaking of the King of Rock n' Roll, the image Warhol used was from the western Flaming Star that came out in December 1960.  His first "serious actor" role was void of any musical numbers.  A month, a month before, G.I. Blues came out and diehard Elvis fans LOVED it.  Plenty of music in that film satisfied audiences but the comparison was inevitable when Flaming Star premiered - proving his fans didn't share his dream of becoming a serious actor.  Another western was in the works, but the Colonel made sure he wouldn't attempt that again.



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

"Threat Assessment"

10 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


With my own traveling restricted most of this year and museums around the country closed until further notice, there have been many generous friends on Instagram who've allowed me to use their photos as a painting reference, including the one used for this painting.  Thanks to Jelmer, who photographed in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

The little girl is viewing the very dramatic The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn - and the story behind, what was the Rijksmuseum's first acquisition, is so interesting.  Asselijn painted this piece in 1650 - at first glance it's a furious swan defending her nest against the approaching dog on the bottom left (hidden behind the girl's head).  A closer look reveals three inscriptions - under the swan, translated, The Grand Pensionary, on one of the swan's eggs, translated, Holland and above the dog's head, translated, The Enemy of the State.

At the time the museum acquired the painting, it was understood as alluding to the famous Dutch statesman, Johan de Witt, who was the foreign policy guy also in charge of the commercial interests of Holland.  He strove for peace with England, a competitor and enemy of the province at the time.  De Witt's family symbol was also a swan, so it seemed obvious - the English dog threatening the swan symbolizing the enemy of the state.  You get the picture.  

But.... there's a big but - years later, someone realized the artist in fact died before De Witt even started his political career and he probably had no intention of his painting being propaganda.  It was then the museum discovered the inscriptions were added later but by whom remains a great mystery.

The painting on the girl's left is The Cannon Shot by Willem van de Velde the Younger.

Please click here for a larger view.

~ Stay safe. Stay healthy. Wear a mask.


Monday, August 17, 2020

"Taking a Shine to Magritte"

6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


Brett's comment to my finished painting was "The shine on the apple looks like the shine on the man's bald head."  Such a great observation and it didn't occur to me. 

Rene Magritte's The Son of Man is widely known and endlessly satirized.  Magritte painted this surrealist self-portrait in 1964.  It's simplistic.  It's ambiguous.  Left to interpretation like most Surrealism-style works of art.  

Rene Magritte started his artistic career as an Impressionist but his wit took over, wanting to paint more thought-provoking subject matters.  His first gallery exhibition in 1927 left the art critics puzzled and expressing a thumbs-down review so he moved to Paris meeting up with fellow surrealist artist - Joan Miro and Salvador Dali notably.  Although he tried, the critics in Paris weren't much different so he moved back to Brussels jumping back on the Impressionist bandwagon for a time in 1930.  It wasn't until the late 40's did Magritte revert back to Surrealism and the time, after the war, critics and patrons seemed to click with his work for the first time.

The Son of Man features a bowler hat, a prop that appears constantly in Magritte's work.  They say the hat hinted at his political leaning to the Communist party.  It's the shiny green apple, hiding most of Magritte's face, that's most curious.  There is a theory it refers to Christianity, as a symbol of the common man surrendering to temptation like Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Another interpretation is the apple simply hides a man's true self from society.  That is Surrealism.  We see what we want to see.

~ Stay safe. Stay healthy. Wear a mask.