Tuesday, September 1, 2015

No Fish Today

                                                   An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                                   18 X 24", unframed
                                                   $1,800.00, - ( plus $45.00, pack and ship )

                                                         ( Click on image to enlarge )

     This painting, of a courtyard fountain scene, is one from a series of fountain paintings
I have done, which feature the fountains of a well-known shopping district in Kansas City.
I have shown other paintings from this series in previous postings, such as Neptune 
RisingA Sunrise Visitor, and Do The Mermaids Bring The Storms?, and I may show
more of them in future postings.
     Although the fountain itself features four little faun figures, which sit at the four corners
of a rectangular pool, I focused my composition on one end of the pool and two of the
figures.   The four fauns were purchased in Brindisi, Italy, in 1928, and there is some
evidence that they may have had a previous life as ornamental features of a Italian villa's
lighting fixtures. And, their years since their installation as a fountain have not been
uneventful.  The story is, that someone once managed to steal three of the fauns, but
the thief was unable to pry away the last one. It was that remaining faun which was used
to make a mold to cast the three, new replacements for the missing trio.
     Fauns, the mythological half-human, half-goat creatures, have been frequent subjects
for artists, writers and composers, from the time of the ancient Greeks right up through
the nineteenth century.  They were originally believed to be the manifestations of forest
and animal spirits, which could help or hinder humans, at their own whim.  The Romans
believed fauns inspired fear in men traveling in lonely, remote or wild places.  But fauns
were also believed to be capable of guiding humans in need, as in the case of the ancient,
well-known fable of The Faun and the Traveler ( later called, The Satyr and the 
Peasant).   That fable was a popular subject for European artists for centuries.
     In the case of this painting, it is the cat I added to the scene, rather than a traveling
human, which appears to find the fauns companionable.  The title of the painting suggests
that the cat may be stopping by regularly, to check on whether the pool has been stocked
with goldfish, but he never has any luck.  No doubt there are a great many cats living in
the large, high-rise apartments surrounding the district, but it is unlikely that any of them
get to leave their buildings.  A cat which could visit that fountain regularly, would truly
need to have nine lives, in order to survive the run through all the heavy traffic.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mellow Autumn Mollusk

                                           An original acrylic painting, on a gesso primed, masonite panel
                                           5 X 7", unframed
                                           $135.00, ( plus $8.00, pack and ship )

                                                         ( Click on image to enlarge )

     This is one of a number of smaller paintings I have done, in which I used snails as
the subject, or in which I used snails in addition to the main subject.  Snails are of an
appropriate scale to fit well into smaller dimension paintings, and the wide variety of
their colorful, patterned shells is surprisingly beautiful.  
     I feel that I managed to pack enough different elements into this painting, that it
gives the impression of being larger than it is in reality, and yet I don't think I made it
too busy.  Other artists will recognize the composition device, of overlapping similar
shapes, which I used to provide depth and a feeling of movement in the painting.
The snail, extending from its shell, almost perfectly echoes the shape of the fallen pair,
even including the extended lines from the head of the snail and the stem of the pair.
Thus, by playing the two shapes against each other in reverse, a circular movement is
created, which helps to keep the eyes of the viewer focused within the painting, rather
than slipping away, out of the little story it is telling.

     This painting can also available ready-framed, as shown here, in a carefully selected
and well suited frame, for $185.00, ( Plus $15.00, pack and ship ).

                                                        ( Click on image to enlarge )


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Donning The Suit Of Lights (Matador #3)


                                              An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                              20 X 16". unframed
                                              $1,400.00, - ( plus $35.00, pack and ship )

                                                        ( Click on image to enlarge )

     People often ask artists and writers why they continue to ponder bullfights and
the bullfighters, as subject matter for their creative works.  The questioners probably
hear as many different answers to their quires as the number of famous, or less well
known creative personalities, that they have asked, including Picasso and Hemingway.
But for me, the answer has to be the endless, abstract, visual possibilities of the
dramatic, ceremonial, and ritual costuming.  The rich, hand-embroidered gold-work
and gem-encrusted presentations the matadors wear, along with their vibrantly colored
capes, are echoes of our ancient past, going back to ceremonial, human and then animal
sacrifice. And those elaborate appointments still symbolize man against the dark forces
of nature, and the one sacrificial hero who goes out to face death, for the sake of all the
others, as their heroic proxy in the arena.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Winter Morning Encounter

                                           An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                           16 X 20", unframed
                                            $1,400.00, -( plus $35.00, pack and ship )

                                                        ( Click on image to enlarge )

     This was one of my demonstration paintings for my last workshop.  It was painted
as a response to questions about how to paint snow, and it showed how to build up
layers of undertones before adding the final touches of pure white.  The scene is entirely
     Creating a landscape completely from one's imagination can give an artist unlimited
freedom and possibilities, and yet it can be a trap or dead-end for some who try such
risky ventures.  We have all seen those twenty-five minute, TV art videos, which promote
painting as some kind of happiness therapy, and which value speed of completion over
thought  and observation.  The "landscapes" they crank out do not capture a genuine
sense of place, or a believable feeling of depth of field, or delineate objects in a space
of adequate capacity to hold them.
     In the case of this snowy, forest scene, I hope that I have given it a believable sense
of place, but also that I have given it the better advantage of being a completely imaginary
setting.  That advantage is,of course, the freedom o go beyond simply recording a
landscape as it is seen, to tell more of a complex idea, or even offer suggestions of a
story in the completed composition.  The imaginary landscape can become fantasy
( or even reach into a surreal vision,  such as the painting in one of my previous postings
titled Merlin's Enchanted Keep ). This painting is not that mystical, but it is an attempt
to capture a surreal moment in time, one of those rare, personal interactions with a wild
creature, which a Native American might see as a meeting with one's spirit-animal guide.

    The encounter occurs during a walk along a forest road, early on a perfectly quiet,
windless morning, when a nobble deer silently appears and acknowledges the human
presence with a calm exchange of greetings, looking into each other's eyes knowingly
for a time, before it turns away to walk up the road, perhaps as an invitation to follow
along.  Perhaps the other-worldly nature of such a meeting may suggest the kind of
dream-spirit encounter which can come in the final moments of life, offering assurance
that the last journey will not be too uncomfortable, and that the destination will be
welcoming and natural.

     I'm sure that there are many people who will simply describe this painting as a
picture of a deer in the woods.  I can't argue with that view; we all see what we want
to see.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sunrise At Portland Head Lighthouse

                                             An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                             18 X 24", unframed
                                              $1,800.00, -( plus $25.00, pack and ship )

                                                      ( Click on image to enlarge )

     The Portland Head light, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, has stood witness to almost our
entire history as a nation.  It was commissioned by George Washington's directive,
and it is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.  Construction began in 1787, and it was
completed in 1791, when it was first illuminated by whale oil.
     Untold numbers of fishermen, whalers, merchantmen and sailors, have looked to the
light, for over two centuries, to guide them through darkness and stormy seas, to find
their safe harbor.  If only it could talk: the stories it could tell!
     All who sail past the light now, should probably lift a glass in a toast to its enduring
legacy.  We can only hope that it will continue to stand for centuries of sunrises to come,
still offering the light of a democracy, ignited by our first president.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sand Dollars for Long John Silver

                                           An original mixed-media painting, on gesso primed Masonite
                                           8 X 10",  unframed
                                           $300.00, - ( plus $12.00, pack and ship )

                                                           ( Click on image to enlarge )

     This painting is another from the series that I have talked about in previous posts.
Each of these paintings is built around memories of favorite, story books of childhood,
usually books containing tales of high adventure, which may still stir some nostalgic
recollections in the grown ups who view the paintings.  For this painting, I imagined a
family vacation at the beach, where the parents planed to catch up on their reading,
and the children have also brought along some of their own favorite books to read.
And what could be more appropriate than Robert Louis Stevenson's rousing tale of
a fabulous, buried treasure on a deserted Caribbean island, and the cut-throat pirates
who will stop at nothing to get the gold for themselves.
     The young reader in this case, has not discovered any gold doubloons washed up
by the storms.  So, if a peg-legged old sea-captain, with a parrot on his shoulder,
should come by, the only treasure pieces that the child can offer him are not a pirate's
pieces-of-eight, they are his treasured, sand dollars, freshly gathered from the beach.

Someone Left Tom Sawyer On The Beach

                                           An original mixed-media painting, on gesso primed Masonite
                                           8 X 10",  unframed
                                           $300.00, - ( plus $12.00, pack and ship )

                                                           ( Click on image to enlarge )

     This painting is another from the series that I referred to in my previous blog, all of
which center about favorite books of boyhood, and the frequent forgetfulness which is
often a part the equation, in children's, easily distracted lives.  In this case, the child has
taken the book farther from home than he has before.  He carried his book to the beach,
but there were many things to see and do on the beach, before settling down to read.
He explored the shore, gathering some of the sun-bleached, sea shells he discovered,
to take home with him when it was time for him to go.  Then he wondered off, following
the calls of sea birds or other children.  But he didn't think about the incoming tide, which
could claim his treasures before he remembers to return.
     We can only hope that all such happy, adventurous lads grow up to enjoy lives with
a love of learning and discovery, before the inevitable tides of time and misfortune come
back again.