Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Red Up On"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

One of America's great abstract artists, Ellsworth Kelly, died last weekend at the age of 92.  In 2013, President Obama presented Mr. Kelly with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for artistic excellence.  This man was important.

I've roamed thru the Art Institute of Chicago a dozen times, barely noticing those six, large, colorful, geometric panels hanging high on the top floor of the American Art gallery.  They're titled 'The Chicago Panels' by Ellsworth Kelly.  To be honest, modern art doesn't grab me like realism does - only because, often, I don't understand it. And being an artist myself, that's a pretty shallow comment.

There's many important 20th century artists I've never heard of or paid little attention to until I read their obituary. After I read several moving obits about Ellsworth Kelly this week, so much made sense.  This man saw patterns in shadows, shapes and colors in nature and in life which he transformed into sculptures and paintings like no other.

Take the example of 'White Curve', which hangs on an exterior wall in the Pritzker Garden at the Art Institute.

Now look at one of Kelly's own photographs taken in the countryside in New York.

Now I get it.  Now I see it.  The red panel in my painting above, one of the six panels I mentioned, was inspired by the rich, reds of a cardinal he photographed while bird watching.  Now I get it.

By most accounts, Mr. Kelly was a delightful, warm, friendly, humorous, creative man who lived in the moment.  That should always be one's New Year's resolution - every day, every year - to live in the moment and  appreciate the beauty around us.  And never judge or dismiss what we don't understand.  We'd all be better for it.

Speaking for myself, I find it hard to appreciate vegetables and Indian food, hot summers, crowds, crowds who sing, performance art and Donald Trump to name a few - but life is long and I'm willing to learn, except for the Trump thing.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy and Creative New Year ~

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Flower Child"

5 x 7"
oil on panel

It's been my observation that most young children are bored in art museums unless they happened upon a work of art that is familiar to them - like paintings of children, mother and child, or big shapes and bright colors - then they pay attention.   

It was no surprise to see a young girl seemingly mesmerized with the colorful, bold, modernist-style painting 'Le Tournesol' (The Sunflower) by Edward Steichen, which hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Edward Steichen painted this in 1920, he was around 40 years old and had practiced painting and photography and most of his paintings were landscapes and portraits with very tonalist colors, muted, like his photography.  Steichen abruptly changed his style in his late 30's to a more hard-edged, modernist style and painted 'Le Tournesol', which was exhibited in Paris in 1922, with great importance - along with similar works of art by Leger, O'Keeffe and others who's styles reflected stream-lined forms and off-key colors.

A few years later, Steichen apparently had a 'crisis in faith' and abandoned painting, destroying any photographs and artworks in his possession (this one was sold and not in his studio).  He left New York and returned to France where he dove into gardening, raised sunflowers, photographed them over and over - studied mathematics intensely and painted small, abstract, geometric pieces.  He did eventually return to the US, his photography continued to be his passion and his legacy.  In 2006, one of his photographs sold for $2.9 million, what was then the highest price ever paid for a photograph at auction.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"Have A Look"

5 x 5"
oil on panel

I spent 6 long days on a larger painting and gladly moved on to baking cookies and enjoying the feasts of Christmas.  Hope you had a nice holiday too.

Painting larger throws me off.  It kinda burns me out.  I love painting small.

From the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC - a woman gets a good look at Rembrandt's 'Self Portrait'.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Wishes

Wishing you a peaceful, happy holiday.

not for sale 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Special Set of Note Cards Available


I created this note card for myself and it's so cool,  I ordered more in the event you're interested.  The front of the card features my painting 'Women In Gold' and it is blank inside.  The card measures 4-/14" x 5-1/2", printed on a glossy finish - sold as a set of 10 note cards with 10 white envelopes.

on that note.... I'm so pleased with the quality and the response, thank you all.  I'll be doing more in the future.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My 2016 Calendars Are Here!

My new 2016 wall calendars Inspiring Artists are SOLD OUT.