I absolutely love the figurative paintings by the British painter Euan Uglow - an easy choice for the letter U in my series ArtistZ.
Uglow's painting method involved a lot of measuring and mathematics, and those markings could often be seen on the finished paintings. Taken from a biography of Uglow "his measuring process was laborious and time consuming to the point that Uglow himself joked that one model he began painting when she was engaged, was still painting when she got married and did not finish until she was divorced."
What I particularly love is how he painted color in blocks or areas, surprising any viewer with skin tones that include greens, violets, golds, reds, greys, etc. He, like Lucian Freud, has taught me so much about painting skin in a bold and realistic way.
I don't remember exactly the first time I saw a Wayne Thiebaud painting - I'm guessing years ago I framed a print and it was love at first sight. It was probably one of his fabulous dessert paintings - wedges of pie or decorated cakes. It stirred up my creative juices, it made me want to paint again. It made me want to paint with oils.
Thiebaud's distinct style is paint laid on thick, as if he's really icing a cake with his paint brush. You can almost see in your mind his process of outlining and swirling the brushstrokes. I love that. Besides his recognized plates of foods, pies, cakes, candies, ice cream cones, shoes, lipsticks and figures, he has painted the most stunning bird's-eye-views of California landscapes, laying on the paint and colors in patterns that just perfectly harmonize. He has painted cityscapes that defy perspective rules, stretching San Francisco-like streets and shadows to an almost vertigo-causing image. Just genius.
Wayne Thiebaud was born in Arizona in 1920, grew up in Long Beach, California - as a teenager, worked at Walt Disney Studios - essentially becoming a commercial artist until he was influenced to go the fine art route, like many artists I know. In the 60's, an art dealer in New York grabbed on to him - during the Pop Art movement of Warhol, Lichtenstein, etc. I read somewhere he didn't define himself as a Pop artist - he referred to himself as a 'traditional painter of illusionistic form'. Thiebaud is nearly 95 years old and I think still paints.
If I could personally meet any living artist, it would be Thiebaud. I regard him as one of the most influential, brilliant painters of our time. My great admiration for Wayne Thiebaud was an easy choice for the letter T in my series ArtistZ.
As for my painting, the young man is viewing 'Three Machines', which hangs in the de Young Museum in San Francisco. I tried to paint in the same swirly, free, ebullient style as Mr. Thiebaud.
I have two paintings in the Hilton Head Art Auction, held this coming Saturday - I'll include details below. Auctions can be a rare opportunity to get an original painting for a really good price, you just never know. The best way to play it, in my opinion, is to name your top price and roll the dice.
Here are my pieces in the auction, both are framed....
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is... unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." ~ Alice Neel
"If I had the energy, I would have done it all over the country" - Edward Hopper
"It's what you carry to an object that counts." - Andrew Wyeth
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"When I'm old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in."