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.  Also, that time of evening would probably be
appropriate, to the Roman mythology, which says Apollo's golden chariot is sinking
to the west, and now King Neptune may rise from the sea on his troi-ca, while
 brandishing his trident at all who would risk traveling on his domain.

     I see that this photo of the painting is not as good as I would prefer, so I will try
 to replace it as soon as I can get a better one taken.

                                                              ( click on image to enlarge )







       

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
painting.

     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)


Thursday, July 10, 2014

White Violets From The Strawberry Patch



                                                      An original acrylic painting on Masonite panel
                                                      8x6", unframed
                                                      $200.00, ( plus $10.00, pack and ship )


    All violets are not blue and all violas are not musical instruments.  The viola in this case
is one with white blossoms, which are a bit smaller than the flowers of its more colorful,
viola cousins.  The heart shaped leaves are also smaller, but the plant stands higher, and
it has a more extended, blooming period than the other violets which grow in this part
of the country.
     One of the eternal chores of having a garden is the job of weeding, and disciplined
gardeners tend to call  wild-flowers weeds, if the plants sprout and grow where they
are not wanted, such as in the well ordered and tidy rows of edible produce.  So, when
these unwanted migrants venture out of the fields and woodlands and into our gardens
and lawns, they are most often pulled up, mowed down or sprayed to death.  But
sometimes the wild-flowers can manage to win a reprieve and escape the gardener's
ill will, for a time at least, because they offer a bit of floral bribery, to try and keep their
places among the food bearing plants.  Such an immigrant plant is the violet, which,
contrary to the lyrics of the old, popular song, is not a bit shy, when it comes to
springing up in unwanted locations.

     For those who are long-time gardeners, gradually over the passing years, along with
the loss of youthful energy, comes the understanding that we never really owned the
garden; we only borrowed it for a time.  Mother Nature is the real owner, and she is
a much more tolerant steward of the land than we are.  She scatters her seeds with
equal opportunity for all.

                                                           ( click on image to enlarge)





  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Back On Old Mount Adams

                                                        An original oil painting on canvas panel
                                                        20x24" unframed
                                                        $2,000.00 - ( plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     Mount Adams is a very old, residential, district, which rises up sharply to a high
elevation along the top and steep sloping sides of a hill, bordering the eastern side of
Cincinnati Ohio's central, downtown area. The lofty elevation of the hill provides sweeping
views, down to the central city and along the Ohio River Valley.

     In the early to mid 1960's, when I first saw Mount Adams, it still had the feel of stepping
back in time, to visit an old European, hill town.  For many decades, the district of mixed
nineteenth century homes had been bypassed and ignored, as the city had expanded far
out to the suburbs. A large freeway had even been sliced right through the hill, to
speed up the traffic, to and from the newer, suburban, housing communities, which also
served to further isolate Mount Adams.

     However, by the time of my arrival, Mount Adams had been rediscovered.  Artists
were attracted to the quaint charms of the little streets, which curved up and down the
steep terrain, lined by the houses which were like visions from the past.  Mount Adams
rapidly became the hip place to be, for the younger generations.  Night spots began to
flourish, and more people wanted to live close to this new, lively, social scene that had
developed there.

     That newborn popularity (and the new opportunities for profit), were what attracted
the investors who began buying up the uniquely, quaint, old homes, in order to
"redevelop" Mount Adams.  But unfortunately, as it usually does, the redevelopment
consisted of tearing down rows of the charming, old houses, and replacing them with
bland, modern, apartment buildings, thus destroying the very qualities which had drawn
people back to the hill in the first place.  Such was the case with one street of houses
which I depicted in a painting I showed in a previous posting, which is called
Ten Ten Celestial; those houses were long ago destroyed and replaced by an
apartment building.  
        .  
     I have not revisited Mount Adams in the years since I finished this painting of a steep,
little intersection.  Those tidy, little nineteenth century dwellings, had been huddling there
together through many decades of historic changes, but it was uncertain how much longer
they were going to survive.  The flickering sunlight and shadows, filtering through the
breaking clouds in the painting, seem to forecast greater changes yet to come.

     I don't know what that area looks like now, but my guess is that most, if not all of those
houses have been demolished and replaced with boring and uninteresting structures.
This is a painting of another time and another place, which will not be seen again, except
in someone's dreams.
                                                               ( click on image to enlarge )



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Stranger In A Strange Land ( Lost and Found, No.4 )



                                         An original mixed-media painting, on illustration board
                                         4x6" unframed, ( mat size, 9x11")
                                          $70.00, - (plus $7.00, pack and ship)


     This is another selection from the series I worked on during recovery from my
recent surgery.  All of the pieces in the series featured the same lost and forlorn
Disney animation character as their center of interest.  In this case, he is befriended
by two other little characters who also traveled far from their places of origin, many
years ago. They had been recently discovered in the back of a dusty but cozy and dry
bookcase, rather than suffering the tougher journey experienced by the Snow White
dwarf figure, which washed up in my street's curbside gutter last year, like a refugee
from a sad shipwreck.

     Both of the little animal figures were travel souvenirs.  The bear was purchased in
a California Redwoods park, in the early 1940's, when my brother and I were small
boys.  One of us chose the bear and the other chose a squirrel figure of similar size.
The two animals were molded out of pressed wood, which was probably redwood
sawdust, to make them more authentic souvenirs from the park.  The squirrel and the
bear must have been played with a little bit, because they both suffered some slightly
chipped toes and ears.

     The little rabbit figurine was chosen decades later, in one of those generic, Indian
tourist-trap, souvenir shops of the American Southwest.  It was most likely produced
by the thousands, someplace in the orient, so it has no particular relationship to the
town or the state where it was sold.  It was probably purchased because of the ease
of transporting such a tiny figurine home, rather than chosen simply for its perky
personality.  It is less than an inch tall.