Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Checking in.

Checking in and hoping everyone is well. 

I'm working on one of the hardest reproductions I've ever done of the masterpiece by Albert Bierstadt - getting lost in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  There's a certain Zen to painting a scene so peaceful and awesome. 

Albert Bierstadt was a German-American artist, born in Prussia, moved to America at the age of 1.  He traveled westward with a U. S. land surveyor to witness the unseen, vast, mountainous landscapes and returned to New York, completing several paintings from sketches done on his trip.  He went back west for a second time, this time staying a couple of months in the Yosemite Valley - returning back home and painting his massive-scale pieces that he is well known for.

Bierstadt's images were vital to the aspirations of Americans and Europeans who were immigrating to the United States.  It showed them a world that had scarcely been seen and explored.

~ Stay healthy my friends and please stay home if you are able.  There's light at the end of this tunnel.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

"Mother Figure"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

Pablo Picasso's Mother and Child in the Art Institute of Chicago does seem to affect many visitors.  It moves them.  It's majestic. It's relatable.  It's a mother holding her child, surrounded by a serene background of sand, water and sky.  It's sweet.

Picasso painted this in 1921, the year his son Paolo was born.  In the following two years, he painted over a dozen works on the subject of mothers and children.  He had painted this theme during his Blue Period, depicting figures that were frail and in despair but this mother and child are noticeably more solid and happy - showing Picasso's general feelings of stability and sentimentality with the birth of his own child.

~ On a personal note, please take good care of yourself during these scary days.  Look out for your friends and family.  Be kind to strangers.  We'll get through this.

Thursday, March 5, 2020


6 x 8"
oil on panel

A couple of years back, I got to see one of Amy Sherald's first exhibitions in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - recognizing immediately this was the artist who painted the official portrait of the First Lady, Michelle Obama, unveiled just a few months before. 

Amy Sherald is a young 47 years old, from Columbus, Georgia - went to Clark University in Atlanta and after a chance encounter with a street artist who encouraged her to pursue art as a career, decided to do just that.  Her signature figurative paintings are large, featuring ordinary African-American people (some she knew and some she didn't), demonstrating everyone has value.  Her skin tones are in grey tones rather than brown "so the bright colors really pop out" and she's now one of the most successful black painters of our time.  I love everything she does.  

The painting above features Amy's portrait titled She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.  Amy's sister, a writer, often titles her paintings for her.