Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule
by Norman Rockwell 1961

A little art history today for you.

Norman Rockwell's drawing was done in 1953, inspired by the United Nation's humanitarian mission, his idea was to portray the UN as the world's hope for the future, including 65 people representing the world's nations, "waiting for the delegates to straighten out the world, so that they might live in peace and without fear."

Rockwell was a compassionate and liberal man and the simple phrase 'Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You" reflected his philosophy.  He traveled all of his life and felt welcomed wherever he went and considered himself a citizen of the world.  Rockwell said, "I'd been reading up on comparative religion.  The thing is that all major religions have the Golden Rule in Common.  'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.  Not always the same words but the same meaning."

In 2014, the UN rededicated a large mosaic of Rockwell's 1961 illustration, which hangs in their New York City headquarters.  The mosaic was originally presented to the UN in 1985 as a gift on behalf of the United States by then First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Wayne's World"

20 x 11"
oil on panel

Women Rock.  Especially Wayne Thiebaud's women.  Big, bold, colorful and direct.

This new painting for the upcoming show features two of Wayne Thiebaud's women - I'll start with the one on the left, Supine Woman - in the permanant collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  The definition of supine can mean 'lying on one's back' or 'mentally or morally lethargic'.  Thiebaud's painted her, modeled by his daughter Twinka, in 1963 so the 'lying down' posture with open legs and a white dress, brown dress shoes and a clinched fist does make a profound statement if you consider the year 1963 given the oppression of women in society and the workplace.
The same can be said of Girl With Ice Cream Cone, also painted in 1963 - which includes the often painted subject of an ice cream cone.  This fabulous piece hangs in the Hirshhorn at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

I read if Edward Hopper can be called the painter of the East coast certainly Wayne Thiebaud can be considered the painter of the West coast.  If you count the artbooks I've collected through the years, both Hopper and Thiebaud dominate.  They're both hugely influential to what I love about painting.  Thiebaud's range of subject matter goes from the most-recognized dessert compositions to stunning, aerial views of California landscapes and cityscapes to bold portraits to etchings and drawings.  His attention to edges and his love of shadows have formed a likewise style in how I paint.  I really do gush when I start talking about Thiebaud, an American treasure.

Please click here for a larger view.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Here Comes The Sun"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

Before I started on my 11th painting for the upcoming show, I knew I needed a warm up - choosing one of my personal favorites in the Art Institute of Chicago, Jules Breton's The Song of the Lark.

Breton was a French realist painter, born in 1827.  During his childhood, his father tended land for a rich landowner and this subject matter of his native region was prevalent throughout his painting career. 

The Song of the Lark made news a couple of years ago, in an interview by Bill Murray in the Huffington Post, where he recounted his first experience on a stage, which did not go well.  Murray headed towards Lake Michigan thinking 'If I'm going to die, I might as well go over toward the lake and float a bit."  Before he made it to the lake, he stopped in at the Art Institute of Chicago and saw Breton's painting and he thought "Well there's a girl who doesn't have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun's coming up anyway and she's got another chance at it.  So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person and I get another chance everyday the sun comes up."

'Any form of art is a form of power. It has impact, it can affect change - it can not only move us, it makes us move.'   ~  Ossie Davis

Thursday, January 5, 2017

An Honor

A little while back I was asked, by Dr. Gary Schallert, a Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Western Kentucky University Wind Ensemble, if I would be willing to contribute one of my painting images for the cover of their CD Of Our New Day Begun.  I painted Emanuel AME at Dawn in June of 2015, a few days after the tragic shootings occurred in Charleston, a way to mend a broken heart I suppose. 

Mr. Schallert explained the title song was written by Omar Thomas "to honor nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015 while worshipping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston."  Mr. Thomas goes on to say "My greatest challenge in creating this work was walking the line between reverence for the victims and their families, and honoring my strong, bitter feelings towards bothe the perpetrator and the segments of our society that continue to create people like him. I realized the the most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from both sides of the line - embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims' families."

I am honored to be a part of this project and thank Dr. Schallert for including me.

Music and art do soothe the soul.