Saturday, April 30, 2016

Topaz Ballerina

                                                   An original mixed-media painting, on illustration board
                                                   14.5 X 12.5", framed - (10 X 8", unframed )
                                                   $210.00, including frame, ( plus $30.00, pack and ship )

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )

     In a previous post, I mentioned that I had done a number of different color-studies
of this subject, prior to doing a larger painting of the ballerina.   I was trying to decide
what colors would best express the feeling of the stage performance.  I used a different,
dominate jewel-tone in each separate study, and in this case, I chose the colors of the
November birthstone, the topaz.  ( I believe jewelers say that the topaz is a symbol of
friendship, as if the stone is not expensive enough to declare a deeper emotion on the
part of the giver, but it seems to me that the gift of any expensive jewelry could simply
be considered a gift of friendship, and that true love can be expressed in any price
range, for those who can value the giver more than they value the price-tag of the gift. )

      I liked the results of this study enough to custom frame it, in a handsome, antique
gold molding with a linen liner, which I have included with the painting.  The photo
below is not perfectly accurate, but it gives the look of the frame molding.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waves Of Sand And Time


                                                      An original acrylic painting, on canvas panel 
                                                      24 X 18", unframed
                                                      $1,800.00,  ( plus $30.00, pack and ship )

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )

     Shifting sands have symbolized the passage of time, and the brevity of life, 
since ancient times, especially so following the invention of the hourglass, to
measure the passing hours of our days.  The old philosophers and religious
teachers warned us that our lives, like our houses, must be built on a firm
foundation, and not on an insubstantial bed of sand.  But time eventually turns
even the foundations of our finest plans and dreams, into grains of sand.

     This painting is the story of another life and another dream which has been
lost to unrelenting time and tide, and the shifting, wind-blown sands.  An old,
fishing boat which was once the pride and joy of its owner, gradually wore out
and deteriorated over the years, to the point that it could no longer be repaired,
and so it was abandoned to the dunes.  Now the shifting sands and beach grasses
are capturing this faded relic of a forgotten man's enterprise.   A passing seagull 
looks down at the derelict  boat as if expecting to see the old fisherman cleaning
his catch-of-the-day, and tossing away some tasty fish-heads.  But the fisherman
is just a fleeting ghost.

     The composition of this painting is one which is often referred to as a Zed
( or letter Z ) composition,  using a pattern of overlapping triangles and diagonal
lines which zig-zag up from the bottom of the picture-plain to the top, thereby
leading the eye of the viewer to proceed up from the foreground, to the middle-
ground, and on into the distant background.
                                                                   Gene McNerney



Monday, March 21, 2016

Sapphire Ballerina


                                                An original mixed-media on illustration board
                                                10 X 8", unframed, (mat size, 15 X 13")
                                                $110.00, - ( plus $15.00, pack and ship )

                                                           ( click on image to enlarge )

     This is one of a number of different color-studies I did of this subject, in
preparation for doing a larger painting of the ballerina.  In each case, I used a
different, dominant color of jewel-tones, as I decided what color would best
express the feeling I wanted to create in the final painting.
     A great deal of the fairy-tail magic which we see on stage during a ballet
performance, is created by the carefully arranged blends of the stage-lighting.
It is that evanescent glow of color washes which is a challenge and pleasure to
try and capture.
     Whenever I work on this kind of painting subject, I can't help but think of the
artworks of Degas.  He was certainly the master-painter of dancers, whether they
were on-stage, or waiting in the wings, or in rehearsal.  But we can all explore
the same subject matter in art, without necessarily imitating the work of those
who have mastered it before, in there own particular style.   Perhaps I will
photograph more of these color-studies, and post them in this blog.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Freeze Warning

     Spring officially arrives this weekend, according to the calendar and the passing
of the vernal equinox.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not always agree with our
time schedule, and she is a particularly fickle and temperamental  regulator of the
weather here in the middle of the country.  The center of our continent is where the
cold, dry air from the north is forever battling the warm, humid air coming up from
the gulf, which creates our dramatic weather changes and storms, including more
tornadoes than anywhere else in the world.  This spring is another example of the
fickle nature of our weather.  We began with an early warm-up, which soon started
the growing season in earnest, turning the lawns green and convincing the flowering
trees, shrubs and spring bulbs, that it was time to put on their show.  They were all
in full bloom when we got the news yesterday, that we would have a few nights of
below freezing temperatures, along with some snow showers.
     Such betrayals of our promising springs are a fairly common occurrence in this
region.  Everything is beautiful one day, and the next morning it is all brown and lost
for another year.   The loss becomes all the more poignant as we reach an age which
makes us question how many more shows of spring we are likely to see.
     I did go out last night and stumble around in the twilight, picking a few daffodils,
tulips, forsythia and magnolia blossoms, to look at them a bit more closely again
before they were gone.  Today I photographed some of them.  Perhaps I will use
them as subjects for paintings, or perhaps not.  Life and Spring are both unpredictable.
Mother Nature doesn't offer us any guarantees.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tired cowboy, ( composition study, No.3 )

                                            An original charcoal and pastel drawing, on Strathmore paper
                                            14 X 11" unframed - ( mat size, 19 X 16" )
                                             $75.00,  ( plus $10.00, pack and ship )

                                                           ( click on image to enlarge )

     Art collectors sometimes enjoy seeing the preliminary drawings and studies
which artists use, to work out problems of composition in a painting, before the artist
starts on the canvas.  This is one I did for the previously posted painting called
Saddle Weary.  This drawing is a bit more fully developed than most quick studies.
In this one I was working on some ideas about the color and the lighting of the subject,
to create a more dramatic use of shadow, and better contrast of tonal values.

     A finished painting is a final summation of an artist's efforts to express something
about his subject, using all of the skill and craftsmanship at his command, to make it
look effortless and natural, with none of the difficulties showing.  A preliminary
drawing such as this one perhaps lets the viewer have a glimpse into the mind of the
artist at work, looking for some solutions to the problems he poses.  But of course
there is never one perfect solution, there is only the constant quest.  Leonardo da Vinci
said that he continued his studies in bed in the dark of night, retracing in his mind, the
outlines of the forms which he had previously studied, particularly those which had
appeared the most difficult to comprehend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Saddle Weary

                                                      An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                                      20 X 16", unframed
                                                      $1,400.00 - (plus $25.00, pack and ship)

                                                        ( Click on image to enlarge )

     Oh, yes!  The heat, the dust, the thirst, the stubborn cattle and the long hours
in the saddle: that's the life!  Right?
     Little boys who run around wearing cowboy hats, chaps, and holsters with toy
six-guns, while twirling their lariats, often proclaim that they are going to be cowboys
when they grow up.  But, very few of them retain that idealistic view of the cowboy
life, as they gain a more mature perspective.
     The rugged, heroic figure of the cowboy, and also that of the noble Indian, are
central to the mythology of the American West, and their images have always been
the heart and soul of Western Art.  They have been romanticized in books, paintings,
and finally the movies, from way back, as far as Albert Bierstadt,, James Fenimore
Cooper, and Thomas Moran, up to Owen Wister, Frederic Remington and Charles
Russell, and beyond, to the present day.  They have become so embedded in our
mythological, American narrative, that we will probably always continue to elaborate
on the fantasy, rather than look honestly at the reality.  But maybe that is what art
is all about.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A New Spring Emissary

                                                 An original, acrylic painting, on gesso primed masonite
                                                 5 X 7", unframed
                                                 $115.00, - ( plus $10.00, pack and ship )

                                                          ( click on image to enlarge )

     Many of us across this country are now experiencing bouts of cabin fever, especially
so in those areas where the record-setting, winter storms have impacted so heavily on
lives and property.  Those storms have also kept many people snowbound in their homes,
often without electricity.
     I have full empathy for those folks.  A few years back, we had a similarly disastrous
snowstorm here, which destroyed many, ornamental trees and shrubs in the garden and
left me without power for a week or more.  ( I showed photos of that disaster March 11,
2013, in a posting called Snow-bound. )    And, as for this winter, this metropolitan area
is not out of the woods yet.  Our deepest snowfalls of record tend to hit us in March.

     But perhaps this little painting will help to serve as a reminder of the joys of the
spring and summer to come, after this winter too has passed.  In just a few months
we may be watching the magical, other-worldly creatures we call butterflies, fluttering
and drifting about, over our, sun-lit fields and gardens.