Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hot Cocoa, Bedtime Stories and Teddy

                                        An original, acrylic painting on a gesso primed, masonite panel
                                        8 x 10", unframed
                                        $300.00, ( plus $10.00, pack and ship )

     Of all the incentives which parents may use to persuade their little children, that it is
time for them to go to bed, these three things must be among the most frequently used
enticements.  They are also three things which may awaken a bit of nostalgia in some
older viewers.

     This is a fairly traditional, little still-life painting.  The composition is static and calm
except for the drama of the sharply angled lighting and shadows.  The painting also
captures the several, different textures of the materials from which the three objects
were made.
                                                       ( click on image to enlarge )

     If my memory serves me correctly, stuffed, toy bears acquired the name Teddy, after
the well publicized incident in which President Teddy Roosevelt spared the life of a small
bear, while on one of his wild-game, hunting trips.

     Since that time, "Teddy" bears have taken on a permanent role in our daily lives
which makes them a part of the human circle of life   Teddy bears are often the first gift
for a baby, and the bear may become a constant  companion for the child, for several
years.  Later on, in the early teen years of puppy love, girls may receive teddy bears
from boys suffering their first crush, and they might dance to songs with lyrics which
request a girl to be a boy's, little, teddy bear.   When the time comes to marry and
raise a family of their own, those young parents pass on the tradition of giving teddy
bears to their children.  And then , much later in life, when elderly ladies are alone,
and in declining health, they often receive teddy bears, as gifts from kindly nieces or
granddaughters, as a thoughtful remembrance.  And finally. after a loved one passes on,
teddy bears often show up as a part of the memorial tributes
     So. our teddy bears have become primary symbols of  our desire to give comfort
and  enduring love, to those we hold dear, throughout our lives.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Tea For Two

                                       An original acrylic painting, on gessoed masonite panel
                                        8 x 10", unframed
                                       $300.00 - ( plus $10.00, pack and ship )

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )

     The two white mice in this painting, which appear to be trying to decide on whether
they would prefer a different flavor of tea than the one in the tin, were not painted from
live models.  Rodents do not rank very high on my scale of preferred pets.   But we
should be thankful to have the white mice, because of their usefulness as the foundation
of medical research.
    I painted the mice for a recent art-workshop, as a demonstration of how to paint
white furred animals, by starting with a dark under-painting, and then building up layers
of lighter value tones, before finally adding the pure white touches.  However, in this
painting, it is the blue and white glazed tea-pot, with its intricate decoration, which
steals the scene, and which proved to be far more time consuming to paint than a couple
of mice, out on a date.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Do The Mermaids Bring The Storms?

                                               An original acrylic painting, on illustration board
                                               20 x 30", unframed, - ( mat size, 26 x 36' )
                                               $2,200.00,  plus $40.00, ( pack and ship )

     The title of this painting is in the form of a question, as it might be asked by a small
child, who has seen and heard many video and literary references to the existence of
of the popular, mythical beings who live in the sea.  People have been creating disastrous
legends and folk tales about encounters with mermaids since men first began to venture
forth on the sea, to fish or to voyage to distant lands in search of valuable trade goods.
And, even as late as the voyages of Columbus, a number of mermaids were reportedly
seen to frequent the waters of the new world.  From Hans Christian Andersen to Walt
Disney, little mermaids have become a staple part of pop culture, thus reinforcing the
tales of ancient mythology, even as we have changed them from nightmare creatures,
luring men to their deaths, into fantasies for children's bedtime stories.

     But some of the old folk tales survive, to be passed down from one generation to
the next, such as the Greek legend of Alexander The Great's sister Thessalonike.
After her death she was believed to have become one of the immortal mermaids who
lived in the Aegean Sea.   Greek fisherman on passing ships were cautioned on how
to respond to her when she called out to them, "Is King Alexander alive?".  The correct
answer to her question, is said to be, "He lives and reigns and conquers the world!"
On hearing this answer, the mermaid calms the waters and bids the ship farewell.
However, if the wrong answer is given, she is said to become enraged, and stirs up
a terrible storm to doom the ship and all aboard.

     This painting is another from the series of fountain paintings which I have referred
to in previous postings, such as Neptune Rising, and A Sunrise Visitor, all of which
have the art objects of a well known shopping district in Kansas City, as reference
subjects on which I have based some new works, from time to time.. In this case,
the fountain features two large, carved, marble, mermaid figures, which are said to be
over three hundred years old, and which are blowing jets of water from their horns.
They were first installed here in 1930, facing each other from opposite ends of a
rectangular pool, and I first became acquainted with them in that configuration back
in the 1940's.  The fountain pool was restyled in 1968, into a larger, modified-trefoil
design, with a circular, fountain spray added to increase the water display.

     I chose to depict the fountain at a time of an approaching storm, with the mermaids
caught in the flickering light from the thickening clouds, with one mermaid in sun and
one in shadow.  And in between the two, old, worn figures is a very young one, asking
the question, "Do the mermaids bring the storms?".

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Neptune Rising

                                                         An original acrylic painting, on canvas panel
                                                         24 X 30", unframed
                                                         $2,800.00, - ( plus $40.00, pack and ship)

     In some of my previous postings, such as Raffaello's Boy, and A Sunrise Visitor,
I have referred to a unique shopping district here, dating back to the early 20th century,
and designed to have the character of a southern, European village.  The original
developer of the area purchased numerous art objects and sculptures to enhance the
architecture, and as I mentioned before, I have sometimes found those well-crafted
artworks useful as subjects for drawing and painting.  This painting, is on a more
generous scale than those I mentioned, and it is also based on another of the fountains
which grace the district.

     I chose to show the fountain at sunset so as to soften the architectural features of
the structures in the background, in order to let viewers concentrate on the fountain
rather than the shops behind it.   That time of evening would also probably be
appropriate, to the Roman mythology, which says Apollo's golden chariot is sinking
beyond the western horizon, and now King Neptune may rise from the sea, pulled
by his troi-ca, while brandishing his trident at all those who would risk embarking
on his stormy realm.

                                                              ( click on image to enlarge )

     As for the sculpture itself, it dates from 1911, and is credited to the Bromsgrove
Guild Of Applied Arts, of Worcestershire England, a company of artists and designers
best known for creating the main gates at Buckingham Palace.
     After arriving here to his new home in the early 1950's, Old King Neptune first arose
from his permanently landlocked, watery pool in Kansas City, in 1953..


Friday, August 22, 2014

Bambi's Game ( Lost and Found, No.18 )

                                          An original mixed media painting on illustration board
                                          3.5 x 5" unframed, ( Mat size, 8.5 x 10" )
                                         $65.00, ( plus $7.00, pack and ship )

     Fall is rapidly approaching; it will soon be the season of the harvest, and the hunt.
Deer hunters will be headed to the woodlands, and little girls will be accusing their
fathers of trying to shoot Bambi.  That reminded me of one of the pieces from the
Lost And Found series which kept me quietly occupied after heart surgery last year,
when I was trying to move as little as possible.  The title Bambi's Game, refers to one
of the "books" of children's card games, sold in the 1940's as a set of six, Disney,
licensed, card games, in a "library shelf" collection..  I had discovered that set and a
similar set, tucked away in the back of a bookcase, and untouched for decades.

     The rules for playing the Bambi Game, as with all the other forgettable, little games,
are simplistic little systems of exchanging or gaining cards, and are not actually based
on Disney's films.  If the Bambi Game had been based on the movie, from what I
remember of the story, it would have been a game of life and death.  Bambi's real
games were the tough lessons he had to learn by experience, about how to avoid
being burned alive in forest fires, and how to avoid being killed by hunters.

     When it comes right down to it, the toughest lessons we all have to learn in life,
are those that we must acquire by experiencing life as it comes, taking the good with
the bad, and moving on as we are best able.  Hope springs eternal..... for Bambi,
and for the rest of us.

Raffaello's Boy

                                           An original acrylic painting, on archival, watercolor paper
                                           30 x 20", unframed,  ( mat size, 36 x 26" )
                                           $2,200.00,  ( plus $30.00, pack and ship )

     A previous posting, in this blog, was of a painting I called A Sunrise Visitor.
It was a  painting of one of the fountains, in a unique, local shopping area, built in
the early twentieth century, in the style of a southern European village, and which
has a reputation as the nation's first shopping center. In that posting, I mentioned
that I had often used the various, imported, antique sculptures and fountains of that
shopping district as subjects for drawings and paintings.  This painting of another,
well-crafted fountain, was from that same area.

     The fountain was sculpted by Raffaello Romanelli, and is a combination of
bronze and Verona marble.  A joyous, little toddler splashes in the upper bowl,
while being squirted by a cooperative frog.  In the classical tradition, the bowl is
being supported by a faun, seated on a porpoise (which looks like a much more
menacing creature than a porpoise) and both are perched on the marble pedestal.

     I don't know if Romanelli used his own child as the model for the boy in the
fountain, but it seems likely that he would have used his own family members as
subjects for many drawings, and three-dimensional works as well. The fountain
was purchased in 1929, following the sculptor's death in 1928.

     I can still recall seeing the fountain when I was a child in the 1940's, in the
years when it still had its own corner plot of green space, with a background of
flowers and shrubs.  But in the ensuing decades, the escalating, property values
in the district have pushed the ever-expanding commercial development closer
and closer to the fountain.  As it stands now, there is barely room for it next to
a growing restaurant, and the eternally laughing child has been practically priced
out of a home.

     One of the old rules of commerce never changes----money always takes
precedence over art.

                                                        ( click on image to enlarge)


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vermilion Stripes

                                              An original oil painting, on canvas panel
                                              24x18", unframed
                                              $1,800.00, ( plus $25.00, pack and ship )

     Back in the late 1950's, abstract expressionism had conquered the New York
art scene and the art world in general.  Abstract expressionists were the artists that
the major, commercial galleries wanted to show, and they were artists that the
art critics wanted to talk about.  Many art students of the period, were so dedicated
to the "noble ideal" of art for art's sake, that they would sneer at any artwork which
was being painted in a representational manner, as being a sell-out and a cheapening
of one's talent for the sake of money.  It was a time of ultimate artistic freedom for
young painters, and although my own work didn't include a great many canvases
in which I deliberately avoided creating any recognizable imagery, that kind of
experimentation of just thinking about colors, gestures of the brushstroke, and the
balance of shapes and texture, was sometimes a useful practice for me.
     This painting dates from that period, and I see now that it combines some of
the abstract expressionist spirit with my ongoing admiration for the paintings of the
post-impressionists.  Much of the paint was applied directly to the canvas with a
palette knife, combining or blending the colors on the painting's surface, and
sometimes using the heightened color palette of paints straight from the tube,
such as the bold slash of the vermilion stripes of the fabric on the right side of the

     The still-life objects, consisting of an old, fireplace bellows with crumbling leather,
an old ceramic jug with the traditional brown glaze on top, and two, dried ears of
corn in a brass container, seem to be unrelated items in some ways.  However.
the overall manner in which they were painted gives them a unified relationship
beyond their original functions or purposes.  As with the abstract expressionists,
it's all about the love of paint.
                                                           ( click on image to enlarge)