Thursday, October 22, 2020



6 x 8"
oil on panel

When October comes around, I always think of the Wyeth family - as in N. C., his son Andrew and his son Jamie.  The enthusiasm for pumpkins and Halloween started with N. C., with costumes and Jack-O'Lanterns playing a large part of the celebrations.  All three of the artists painted many versions of pumpkins placed around the home, in vines, lit at night and then there's Pumpkinhead, painted by Jamie Wyeth, a self-portrait done in 1972.

The best way to explain how this painting came to be is by Jamie himself:

“I had been elected to the National Academy of Design in New York, and one of the requirements was that you give a portrait, a self-portrait of yourself. Well, I didn’t want to do myself in a self-portrait, but I love pumpkins. It’s the sinisterness, the Halloween I’ve always loved. It’s a little bit edgy. So I did it and of course they were furious and rejected it.”
Imagine Jamie Wyeth's submission to a panel of stuffy art professors.  That's funny in and of itself.  It speaks to him messaging the art world's long standing rejection of the Wyeths being 'real artists' and more illustrators and saying 'take that'.  
Pumpkinhead has been and always will be one of my very favorite paintings by the great Jamie Wyeth.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

"Milkin' It"


8 x 12"
oil on panel

The next time you're lucky enough to stand in front of an original painting by Johannes Vermeer, imagine yourself, in 1657 in the Netherlands.  You're standing behind the artist as he's painting in his studio on the top floor of a nice townhouse and the only lighting is the blue daylight coming through a window and the candles lighting his palette and canvas.  Their maid, an older, sturdier woman poses beside the window, seemingly unaware of the viewer, pouring milk in a ceramic bowl with stale bread used as props on the table.  Nothing fancy.  Just a domestic woman doing her everyday chores.

The Milkmaid is one of Vermeer's most-famous paintings - one of a few that survived a fire. And lucky for us.  Vermeer appreciated light like no other artist of his time.  The woman against the white wall, the glimmer of white on the stream of milk being poured, the left side of her face and clothing lit as the rest recedes into shadows.  And his details.  Right down to the nails in the wall and seeds on the loaf of bread.  Just wow.

The Milkmaid has traveled all over the globe and is currently back home at the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam.  Thanks go to Cindy Pronk, a photographer who lives in Holland and offered her original photo for a painting reference during this time when traveling and museum visits have been put on hold. I really appreciate the generosity of others.

Please click here for a larger view.