Tuesday, September 29, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I'm not sure there is a more perfect painting other than 'Madame X' by the American artist, John Singer Sargent.  His painting debuted in 1884 in Paris - critics freaked out and deemed it scandalous and immoral - too 'erotic' for their delicate (prudish) eyes it seems.  Even the family of Virginie Gautreau (Madame X) was outraged, particularly because one of the dress straps was originally slipped off her shoulder.  Sargent appeased the family by repainting the strap and kept the painting for 3 years - meanwhile moving to London and becoming one of the most sought-after portrait painters of the times.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City purchase 'Madame X' in 1916.

I am quoting a portion of the Khan Academy's summary about 'Madame X', because I think it's so very well said -  'The painting - which debuted to severe disparagement but is today treasured as a masterpiece beloved in the history of Western art - is but one example of an artwork that gradually evolved from epitomizing the condemned to the celebrated.  Much of a work's initial reception is based upon society's tastes, standards of etiquette, and values of the era, and as these attitudes shift over the decades, the public may begin to look at older paintings with new eyes.'

There isn't a single painting that Sargent created that doesn't bring me to my knees - so it was an easy choice for the letter R in my series ArtistZ.

                         FYI - 


Monday, September 28, 2015

When Forgery Isn't a Crime

I watched a fascinating documentary last night about the art forger, Mark Landis.  It is part of the series POV on PBS - titled Art and Craft.   Artists should find this story and documentary compelling, but I think anyone would really.

The synoposis as described on PBS's website:

'Mark Landis is one of the most prolific art forgers of the modern era — and he isn't in it for the money. In the last 30 years he's copied hundreds of pieces, from 15th-century icons to works by Picasso and even Dr. Seuss, then donated them to museums across the country. When a tenacious registrar discovers the ruse, Landis must confront his legacy and a chorus of duped professionals intent on stopping him. But Landis is a diagnosed schizophrenic, driven since his teens to escape "the life of a mental patient," and ending the con isn't so simple. A cat-and-mouse caper told with humor and compassion, Art and Craft uncovers the universal in one man's search for connection and respect.'

I just had to tell you about it.

Read about Art and Craft here, where you'll find your television schedule or the link to stream it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

A new addition to my series ArtistZ - and I will say, the hunt for an artist for the letter Q wasn't easy.  I narrowed it down to three painters and chose the one that spoke to me - Qi Baishi.

Qi Baishi, a Chinese artist, born in 1863, is one of the most famous contemporary Chinese painters who could paint nearly every subject matter and is best known for his flowers, birds, insects and fish.  It is said 'he mastered the ability of suggesting the essence of his subject with a few, brief strokes.'  Which is why it appeals to me - it is very Zen.