Monday, June 14, 2021

"Sizing Up"

 

 
12 x 12"
oil on panel


When I first saw Jamie Wyeth's life-size Portrait of Pig years ago, it was love at first sight.  From that moment, I wanted to paint a pig.  And one day, I will.

I'll start by saying I worship Jamie Wyeth.  And Andrew Wyeth, his father.  And N. C. Wyeth, his grandfather.  Three generations of artistic brilliance.  Matter of fact, the exhibit "Three Generations" is where I first saw this masterpiece.

Jamie grew up on a farm in both Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania and the Wyeth summer home in Maine. At a 2011 exhibit titled "Farm Work" that included over 70 paintings by Jamie Wyeth, he was asked what inspired him to paint so many scenes of the subject, he said "Had I been born in New York City, I'm sure I would have been painting subways or something, but it's just that this what I was raised around and what was familiar to me."

As for the story behind Portrait of Pig,  Jamie said it was on a neighboring farm where he frequently painted, where the pig had the run of the place.  "The farmer asked me to help him with something, and after an hour I walked back to where I was painting.  And there was a snorting, and her whole snout was covered with cerulean blue and cadmium orange."  She had eaten and swallowed 17 tubes of paint.  "I thought it's curtains for you because oil paint is highly toxic".  The next few days she seemed fine but all around the farm there were rainbow-colored droppings and the farmer kept saying "What's wrong with my hog?".  Jamie couldn't bring himself to tell him what happened.  

Jamie soon learned the farmer was going to send the pig to the butcher and said "Oh no. I've got to take her."  He paid for the pig, brought her to his farm where she lived to a ripe old age.

My painting will be included in the upcoming group show Looking Forward, *opening July 2nd at Robert Lange Studios.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.
 
* Robert Lange Studios will welcome walk-ins during normal hours on Friday, July 2nd and Saturday, July 3rd.  Opening night for artists' shows will resume in the fall.



Sunday, June 13, 2021

"In the Buff"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
 
 
I broke from my larger painting marathon and loosened up with one of my mom's favorite Picasso pieces - Two Nudes, in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Like my mom, Picasso had a fascination with African sculpture and modeled women's figures similar to the thick bodies and chiseled features found in those sculptures.  Two Nudes hangs next to Picasso's famous Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and noticably the figures on the left of both paintings closely resemble each other.

You may think it never happens, but in 2014, a visitor in MOMA bumped up against the Picasso painting, leaving it unhinged.  No damage done.
 



Please click here to the auction page.  This link will engage at 9 pm ET this evening.




Monday, June 7, 2021

"That Was Then, This is Now"

 

 
12 x 9"
oil on panel
sold


The two young men taking in Pablo Picasso's iconic Guernica presumably cannot begin to comprehend the event depicted on the massive canvas.

Guernica is a town in the North of Spain. The Nationalist forces considered it the hub for the Republican resistance which made it a target during the Spanish Civil War.  In April of 1937, under the direction of Adolf Hitler, planes bombed the town of Guernica meant to intimidate the resistance.  Fires spread from building to building, destroyed roads and bridges and effectively trapped the people from escape.

The Spanish government asked Picasso, who was living in Paris during the German occupation of World War II, to complete a mural expressing the historic and horrific event for the Paris Exhibition in the same year.  He had read a reporter's eyewitness account of the attack, published in The New York Times, abandoning his original idea and creating his final painting based on that very detailed description. It received little interest despite the published eyewitness accounts and the Paris Exhibition, until the painting did a tour around the world.  The international community took great notice and raised funds and awareness for the Spanish war relief.
 
This new painting will be included in the upcoming group show Looking Forward, opening July 2nd at the Robert Lange Studios.
 
Please click here for a larger view.
 



Friday, June 4, 2021

"Peanut Gallery"

 

 
10 x 10"
oil on panel


Showcased in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam hangs the extraordinary painting by Rembrandt, Syndics of the Drapers' Guild painted in 1662.

The "drapers" were elected to rate the quality of cloth that weavers offered for sale to the members of their guild.  These dudes accessed the textiles three times a week and had a 1-year term in office. They commissioned Rembrandt's group portrait, which hung in their hall for nearly 100 years.

You may recognize the painting used on the packaging of Dutch Masters cigars.
 

 

My painting is included in the upcoming group show Looking Forward opening July 2nd at Robert Lange Studios.

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




Saturday, May 29, 2021

"Poolside"

 

 
12 x 12"
oil on panel


What says summer like a swimming pool and being this is the unofficial start of summer I'm posting one of my new paintings for a group show Looking Forward, held at Robert Lange Studios and opening July 2nd.  
 
Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1972,  is one of many paintings David Hockney used a swimming pool as his main subject.  While flying into Los Angeles from England, his birthplace, he marveled at what he saw below.  ‘I looked down to see blue swimming pools all over, and I realised that a swimming pool in England would have been a luxury, whereas here they are not.’  Without realizing it, he found one of his greatest subject matters for the following two decades.

Hockney's first attempt at this composition, after months of working and reworking it, ended with a total wipe-off.  He set off to take multiple photographs until he found the exact reference he was looking for - imagined months ago.  With just four weeks until a gallery show opening, he worked 18 hours a day and completed the finished painting the night before the shipper was to pick up the piece and get it to New York City.

46 years later, Hockney's most widely-known and loved works of art sold for a record $90.3 million in Christie's auction.  In 2019, he left Los Angeles after residing in California for 55 years, and now lives in Normandy, France where he says he'll live out the rest of his days.  The 82-year-old artist describes a normal day is working in his studio in the morning, breaking for an afternoon meal and maybe a nap, then going back to his studio for the evening.  

Now that's the life.

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



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Hard at Work

 

Nope.  Not on vacation.  Hard at work painting for a July show.



Friday, April 30, 2021

"Light Baggage"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


Irises are blooming everywhere here in Atlanta, inspiring me to paint Vincent van Gogh's Irises being admired by a visitor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Red Piano Art Gallery sold it before I could even add it to my website, so a larger view will follow soon.

~ Happy Friday. Go get your vaccination shots.



Monday, April 19, 2021

"Two By Two"

 

 
8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


In 1890, in a letter to his sister, Vincent van Gogh described his joy of painting multiple versions sunflowers.  He wrote the paintings were “almost a cry of anguish while symbolizing gratitude in the rustic sunflower.”  It brought him comfort and familiarity and raised his spirits, he continued to write.

A couple stands between van Gogh's Sunflowers and Still Life: Vase with Fourteen Sunflowers exhibited together in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Please click here for a larger view.



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

"Three's Company"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


This study was a test for me - wanting to take on a larger painting with David Hockney's Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy.  As simplistic as Hockney's composition is, it's the reproduction that just ain't as easy as I thought.  But I've always been intrigued with his painting.

The two were Hockney's friends in London - Ossie Clark, a dress designer and Celia Birtwell, a fabric designer.  Hockney portrayed couples in several very large paintings.  The difference here is notably the two are looking at the viewer, other paintings have at least one looking off to the side.  He painted them in their flat in Notting Hill Gate, in their bedroom where the light was favorable to Hockney.  The tough part, the artist said, was the couple was against the light which darkens the figures indoors.  He did many studies and experiments to get the composition, the lighting and the couple's expressions right - going against the standard portrait of a couple where the woman is seated and the man stands next to her.
 
Percy was one of the Clarks' cats who symbolizes a libertine and somebody who disregards rules and does what he pleases. Sounds right.  The vase of lilies to the left of Celia are a symbol of the Annunciation and feminine purity.
 
Hockney was best man at the Clarks' wedding.  The space between them in his painting is said to be prophetic - the marriage didn't last.
 



Saturday, April 3, 2021

"All the Fashion"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


The artist Jacques (James) Tissot had an eye for beauty and fashion, the son of parents in the fashion and designer hats business.  At a young age, he'd paint clothing in fine detail, a style surely influenced by what surrounded him.  He also knew at a very young age he wanted to pursue a career in art.

Allow me to tell you about the woman in Tissot's painting Mavourneen (Portrait of Kathleen Newton) - raised in England and Agra, India - her father rose from an Irish army officer to chief accountant for the East India Company, and worth mentioning, a strict Catholic.  When she was 16, her father arranged for her to marry a surgeon in the Indian Civil Service - she embarks on a trip to her wedding on a ship, where the Captain became obsessed with her and gets his way once they arrived.  She married the surgeon, hadn't consummated the marriage yet - felt guilty - went to a Catholic priest for advice - he told her to fess up to her new husband - he was enraged - filed for divorce - ship Captain said he'd pay for her trip back to England but if, and only if, she was to be his mistress.  She gets pregnant, refused to marry the Captain and ran off to live with her sister.

That's where James Tissot comes in.  They meet, he falls madly in love with her - she gives birth to another child said to be his - they live together in domestic bliss for a few years until she contracted tuberculosis.  Tissot suffered through her illness, she couldn't bear it all and overdosed on laudanum and died.  Tissot was so distraught, he laid next to her coffin for four days.  A true Greek tragedy.



Saturday, March 27, 2021

"Catch the Next Wave"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


My Mac died a couple of weeks ago.  I work on what they call a 'vintage' model.  I have to.  I run programs from days of yore - ones I built my website on, etc.  For about a week, I hunted down a 'vintage' replacement and turned it over to the experts and finally got my working studio back to normal.  Happy to report I'm no longer out of sorts.  

Meanwhile, I started this painting, working from a laptop screen.  It's a slower process but better than nothing while I waited.  So, that's where I've been lately.

When I stood in front of Ground Swell by Edward Hopper,  I stared for quite a while. What was that buoy doing there?  On an otherwise calm, beautiful day, surrounded by a sea of blues, there is this dark, ominous warning of sorts, alerting the people on the small catboat.  A sign of imminent danger?  Clouds signaling a storm is coming?  I looked for an explanation when I had time.  Hopper never offered one except - during the time he worked on Ground Swell in 1939, World War II broke out in Europe.  I think that explains it.

From the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Please click here for a larger view.

~ Stay healthy and safe and get your vaccination.



Sunday, March 7, 2021

"In Shape"

 

 
5 x 5"
oil on panel
sold


I do a lot of small studies, mostly to keep painting while I'm think about my next piece and to feel out how a photograph or featured artwork translates into a painting.  A generous Instagramer, Cilia, sent me the photo I used on this new painting, one of her viewing Henri Matisse's Blue Nudes in the Kunsthaus Zurich Museum in Zurich, Switzerland.

Matisse completed a large series of 'cut-outs' after a surgery which left him in a wheelchair with a limited ability to paint on canvas.  He painted sheets of paper with various, solid colors of gouache, some more opaque than others, cut out organic shapes, overlapping and glueing, and created some of the most famous works of art in his lifetime.  Proving that adversity can take you to unexpected places you may not have gone before.



Monday, March 1, 2021

"Facing the Music"

 

 
9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


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.



Monday, February 22, 2021

"Portrait Sitting"

 

 
6 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


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.
 
~ Stay safe, stay healthy and wear a mask.



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"Smile"

 

 
8 x 10"
oil on panel
sold


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.



Thursday, February 11, 2021

"Up Close"

 

 
10 x 8"
oil on panel
sold


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.



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
sold
 

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.

~ 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"
sold
 

"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.