Friday, February 24, 2017

"In the California Sun"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

This new painting will be in my upcoming show Me Time - opening next Friday night at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston.  I'm psyched.

Let me tell you a little bit about this colorful painting American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman) by David Hockney, painted in 1968.

Hockney, born in the UK, lived in Los Angeles in the mid-60s, inspiring a series of paintings of swimming pools, portraits of friends and associates including the Weisman couple standing in their sculpture garden of their LA home.   Also an avid photographer, Hockney stumbled upon a new technique while using a series of reference photos, creating a collage of imagery as an art form itself.  By the mid-70's, he abandoned painting in favor of photography, lithographs and set designs for theater, opera and ballet, eventually returning to painting in the late 80's.

His truly inventive, brilliant mind led Hockney to explore the newer technologies such as laser printing, making his first homemade prints in the 90's.  In 2009 he began using the Brushes app on an iPad to create paintings, exhibiting over 100 of these works in 2011.

Known to be one of the most influentual British painters, he continues to paint and advocate for funding for the arts.

American Collectors hangs in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Please click here for a larger view.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Good Press

In the March issue of American Art Collector magazine is a featured article of my upcoming solo show Me Time opening March 3rd at the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston.  Yay.

larger view to read

I also have a paperback show catalog on Blurb for $15.

preview this book

Make your plans to stay in Charleston the weekend of March 3rd for the opening and the artwalk around the city.  Great art, great food, good times.  Hope to see you there.


Monday, February 20, 2017

The Art of Protest

 Every so often I take a day off.

~ Happy Presidents' Day

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"I Cannot Tell a Lie"

8 x 10"
oil on panel

What a timely post for today.

Our first President of the United States never said those words although it is still, to this day, a quote credited to George Washington.  This iconic story about the value of honesty was invented by a Washington biographer after the President's death - he wanted to please the masses who wanted to know more about this great man.  So he made it up - when Washington was a young lad, he received a hatchet as a gift and damaged his father's cherry tree.  When dad confronted his son, George bravely said, 'I cannot tell a lie.. I did cut it with my hatchet.'  Never happened.

This biographer, Mason Weems, was also a minister who thought the best way to improve the moral fiber of society was to educate children - even if it was fake news.  

Gilbert Stuart was the go-to-guy for portraits in Federal America.  His George Washinton (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait) was commissioned as a gift for Alexander Hamilton.  It was painted in Philadelphia in 1797 during Washington's final year in office.  It hangs in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Please click here for a larger view.

~ Happy Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 12, 2017


6-3/4 x 16"
oil on panel

If there is ever a reason to visit an art museum to beeline to one of the most perfect paintings ever created, John Singer Sargent's Fumee d'Amber Gris (Smoke of Ambergris) is it.  This prime example of Orientalism hangs in the Clark Museum in Boston - painted in 1880 and inspired by Sargent's trip to North Africa.

The painting depicts a woman creating a tent with her veil, catching the smoke and fumes from the smoldering ambergris in the silver censer.  Known and used for its unique aroma, ambergris was used in some religious rituals, also thought to have aphrodisiac qualities and be a safeguard from evil spirits.  Sargent's painting is a combination of Moroccan objects and customs he observed while in Tangier and Terouan.

In 1887, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Henry James wrote, 'I know not who this stately Mohammedan may be, nor in what mysterious domestic or religious rite she may be engaged; but in her plastered arcade, which shines in the Eastern light, she is beautiful and memorable.  The picture is exquisite, a radiant effect of white upon white, of similar but discriminated tones.'

I've had the framed print in my home since the first day I saw it, about 30 years ago.  It is a perfect painting.  My painting will be included in my upcoming solo show opening March 3rd at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Front Seats"

9 x 14"
oil on panel

A new painting for the upcoming show at Robert Lange Studios - a woman viewing Mary Cassatt's Little Girl in a Blue Armchair in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  I framed the print of this painting many, many times in my years as a framer and I can attest that seeing it in person is so much more impressive - largely due to the vivid blue-aquas of the overstuffed chairs.  Most don't even notice the little dog napping on the chair on the left seat until they see it in the museum.

Mary Cassatt painted Little Girl in a Blue Armchair in 1878 - it was said to be a radically new image of childhood.  The girl was a daughter of a friend of Edgar Degas, who was a major influence on Cassatt.  Both artists were similar in their upbringing, both had strong ties to America and both painted strikingly similar works of art.

Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania in 1844.  She studied early on at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, grew tired of the male dominance of instructors and students and moved to Paris at the age of 22.  She studied under Jean-Leon Gerome, returned to the U. S. for a short time, went back to Europe and blossomed as an artist in the years to come.

In 1879, Cassatt showed eleven works in the highly-seen Impressionist exhibit and finally experienced recognition and success.  The 1890's were her most prolific time, becoming a role model for young American artists, especially women artists.

In 1914, health issues and near-blindness forced her to stop painting.  She then took up the cause of women's suffrage and in 1915, showed eighteen works in an exhibition, raising money to support the women's movement.

Please click here for a larger view.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

"Not Always Black and White"

16 x 16"
oil on panel

My show at Robert Lange Studios is less than a month away - I'm hoping you'll take a long weekend and stay in Charleston and join me on March 3rd.  This is one of the paintings included in the show, let me tell you a little bit about the art.

John Singer Sargent made a lucrative living as a portrait artist for the wealthy in both America and abroad, including the two featured in my painting - Madame X and Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes.

Madame X debuted in Paris in 1884, critics deemed it scandalous, immoral and erotic based on society's tastes and standards of etiquette at the time.  The model, Virginie Gautreau"s family was outraged because one of her straps slipped off her shoulder.  Sargent appeased and repainted the strap, kept the painting three years before it was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1916.

Edith and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes were banking and shipping heirs.  Known as New York liberals, Edith insisted she be painted in street clothes (the kind she rode her bike in, etc.)  - she wanted to represent the New Woman Movement.  She flouted the upper-crust norms, marrying at 28, adopting a child openly and bringing kindergarten to the U.S., a then-radical idea.  Newton was something of a dandy, studied architecture during thier extended honeymoon, joined a New York firm and helped design buildings that stand today, like St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia U.  His advocacy led to the Tenement House Act of 1901, reforming low-income housing in Manhattan.

Both paintings hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Please click here for a larger view.

Friday, February 3, 2017

"Hang On To Your Hat"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

In between painting the show pieces, I painted this study thinking I'd do a trio of women viewing women - but then I got caught up in a John Singer Sargent piece that is one of my absolutely favorite works of art titled Smoke of Ambergris.  For now, I thought I'd put this small one on auction and revisit the idea in the future.

Featured is Edmund Tarbell's Preparing for the Matinee - one of those mouthwatering portraits done in the early 20th century.  The woman is Charlotte Barton of Boston, dressing up to go to the theater, with the most elegant tones and beautiful, subtle details to make one stop and study.

Tarbell was born in Massachusetts, interested in painting the lives of women in both interior and outdoor settings.  Tarbell was one of the Ten American Painters, a group formed in 1898, including the artists Childe Hassam, Frank Benson, Thomas Dewing, William Merritt Chase to name a few.  They exhibited as a group in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and beyond.