Friday, August 31, 2012

A Sunrise Visator

                                                  An original acrylic painting on stretched canvas
                                                  24x20" unframed
                                                  $2,000.00 - (plus $35.00, pack and ship)

     In the beginning decades of the last century, a Kansas City real estate developer
decided to create a unique shopping district, away from the central business district,
which later became known as America's first shopping center  He planned the
buildings and settings to have the character of a Spanish village, with decorative,
tiled walls, courtyards and towers.  And as a distinctive part of his plan, he
purchased numerous European artworks, sculptures and fountains, to install
throughout the district.
     Over the years, I have used a number of those fountains as subjects for drawing
and painting, including this painting of a masterfully carved, little, marble fountain,
shown here in the bright glow of sunrise.  The arrival of the little bluebird at the
fountain is a wistful idea, but an unlikely occurrence at that location, in a busy
commercial district, in the middle of a large metropolitan area.

                                                              (click on image to enlarge)

     This painting breaks one of the old rules of composition, which says that the
subject must never be placed directly in the center of the canvas.  But In this case,
I was more interested in trying to capture an accurate rendering of the sculpture,
than I was in using it only as a starting point from which to develop a painting of a
more expressive, personal viewpoint.  So, I treated it as an example of classical,
monumental sculpture and put it in the center, even though it is not actually
monumental in size.

Queen Of The Lilly Pond

                                                 An original watercolor painting
                                                 20x14" unframed, (mat size, 26x20")
                                                 $1,200.00 - (plus $20.00, pack and ship)

     Swans are painting subjects which I have returned to frequently over the years.
In the bird world, they have always seemed to be the epitome of graceful elegance,
in their form and in their movements.
     In this impressionist watercolor, I was primarily concerned with trying to capture
the feel of brilliant sunlight reflecting off of the shining surface of dark pond-water.

                                                             (click on image to enlarge)

     I still find the informal balance of this painting to be very pleasant.

     Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.

The Winds In The Pine Grove

                                                        An original mixed media painting on paper
                                                        13x19" unframed, (mat size, 19x25")
                                                         $300.00, - (plus $20.00, pack and ship)

    Well over a century ago, one of this city's real estate developers gave the city a very
big tract of land, to be made into a great park  The unspoiled land had large, forested
areas, and a diverse topography, and as it was developed, it became the home of our
zoo, some golf courses, a large, outdoor theater, and various other civic amenities.
     The early designers of the park planted groves of evergreen trees and other varieties
as well, along the sides of a grand mall, which stretches down toward the wooded
river valley, and as those trees matured they became peaceful sanctuaries away from
busy city life.
     This little expressionist painting was an interpretation of one of those groves, on a
breezy day, as I was listening to the winds whispering in the pines.
                                                         (click on image to enlarge)

     It is landscape (particularly landscape without figures) that is the subject matter in
which I sometimes feel most free to let myself go and become more expressive about the
beauty of nature as I am experiencing it.  Then I can allow myself to follow my feelings
into abstraction, rather than simply doing a purely representational rendering of a scene.
That is the artist's equivalent of a writer giving himself permission to write an expressive
poem about a scene, rather than writing a simple, descriptive essay.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bartlett And Fellow Travelers

                                                   An original acrylic painting, on gessoed panel
                                                   7x5" unframed
                                                   $200.00, (plus $8.00, pack and ship)

     The fruit that we buy at the big, mid-western super-markets is, of necessity, often
picked in the far corners of the country and the globe, especially when it is out of season.
So, of course, it is often picked when it is still green and hard, in order to travel well
in shipment.  Then when we buy it, we can never be certain that it will ripen into a
juicy, delicious treat, or simply spoil.  This pear for example: it was still green and hard
under that first, hopeful blush of color, but it did look promising.  Only time will tell.

                                                             (click on image to enlarge)

     The composition of this painting is pyramidal, with an informal balance of the
light and dark value patterns.

     Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.

Echoing Voices

                                                     An original watercolor painting
                                                     15x22" unframed, - (mat size, 21x28")
                                                     $1,200.00, ( plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     How many times have we heard that old expression "If these walls could only talk..."?
That is a question which certainly comes to mind in referring to this Ozark, pioneer
log-cabin and the various modifications to the old structure which had occurred over
the decades, such as the tin-roof replacement for the hand-split, wooden shingles.
How many generations of children played in front of the cabin and on that porch which
has now collapsed?  How many trips were made to the well to fetch fresh pails of water?
And how many cords of firewood and kindling were cut and split to keep the fireplace
tended and to fuel those families' cook stoves over the years?
     Now the decaying homestead waits, abandoned and destined for demolition.  It stands
open and welcoming still, but the only visitors are of the four footed variety, and they
don't report on what kind of echoing voices they hear inside, from those timeworn walls.  

                                                            (click on image to enlarge)

Shadows And Reflections

                                                    An original pastel painting
                                                    24x18" unframed, - (mat size, 30x24")
                                                    $2,000.00, ( plus $25.00, pack and ship)

                                                                             (click on image to enlarge)

     This painting was an interesting challenge of composition questions, concerning
the off-centered, figure placements, and the capture of shimmering, light reflections.
I'd say that I was finally, fairly well pleased with the overall balance in the composition,
and with the various, textures in the shadows and reflected light.

The Sentinel Pines, No. 3

                                                  An original watercolor painting
                                                  18x24", unframed - (mat size, 24x30")
                                                  $2,000.00, (plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     There is a large acreage near here, where at some point earlier in the twentieth
century, a long, double row of little pine trees was planted along the slope of a hill
or berm.  The trees were probably planted to provide some privacy screening,
with little thought given to how big they would eventually grow or how closely together
the trees were planted.  Later on, when I first saw the trees, they had matured into
a substantial, evergreen avenue, standing stately and strong, along the contours
of the hillside.
     I did four successive watercolors of the pines, from one point of view, beginning
with a very traditional, representational study of the trees, paying careful attention to
detail in the painting.  But that first painting didn't quite satisfy what I wanted to achieve
with the subject, so I continued to experiment with the additional attempts.  With each
successive try, I kept pushing for a more expressive feel to my renditions of the pines
and the landscape.
     The first two paintings of the series, which had the more traditional, detailed landscape
approach, are now long gone, but the third and fourth paintings are still here.  The one
I'm showing in this posting was the third one I painted.  In this version, I had moved on
to a more expressive use of line and color, which now looks something like a Derain
or one of the other Fauvists, but I think it does capture some of the drama of the light
and shadow of the trees.
                                                           (click on image to enlarge)

The Sentinel Pines, No. 4

                                                       An original watercolor painting
                                                       18x24" unframed, - (mat size, 24x30")
                                                       $2,000.00, (plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     This painting was the fourth in this series, and my final interpretation of this landscape
with pine trees, as seen from this one vantage point.  In this last version, I was pushing 
even stronger, to get a more expressive rendition of the scene, using more vigorous 
strokes of the brush, and deeper color.  By comparison to the first three paintings of this 
scene, this final one became nearly abstract, with even more interest in a feel for the 
dynamic shapes of the trees and shadows, rather than details of branches and foliage.
     Perhaps I was subconsciously feeling an influence of Franz Kline or one of the 
other abstract-expressionists at the time, but I think it was simply a more personal
exploration for me, to see where my feelings about that scene on that day, would take me.  

                                                          (click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dawn Over Mount Adams

                                                 An original oil painting, on gessoed panel
                                                 18x9", unframed
                                                 $600.00, - (plus $20.00, pack and ship)

     This was another painting which I hadn't looked at in years.  The subject was from
an area of Cincinnati, in the mid to late 1960's.  Mount Adams is one of a number of
steep, hilltop communities clustered around the central city, and it is surmounted by a
venerable, old cathedral at the very summit of the hill.  At that time, the formerly
blue-collar area had become a trendy, artist's colony, with an old-world atmosphere.
But its growing popularity destined it to be taken over for redevelopment as as an
enclave for residents who were wealthier than the displaced artists, who could no longer
afford to live there.

                                                               (click on image to enlarge)

     The painting seems to reveal a variety of different influences in my work at that time.
The houses and windows are simplified to a nearly cubist treatment, reminiscent of a
Cezanne landscape, as are the the equally simplified trees and shrubs, which are rounded
into flowing shapes to fit the composition.  While at the same time, the dawn light,
breaking from behind the cathedral spire, is fractured into extended planes which are
reminiscent of Marin or Feininger.  But even so, for me, somehow the whole
composition still manages to capture a feel for that place at that period of time, which
has a ring of truth to it.

     Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.

A Seedling For Van Gogh

                                           An original charcoal and tempera painting, on toned paper
                                           12x9" unframed, (mat size, 18x15")
                                           $400.00, - (plus $20.00, pack and ship)

     Some decades back, I did a useful series of paintings in this size format, in which I
purposely limited myself to using charcoal and a few jars of leftover tempera paints,on
manila toned paper.  There are still a half dozen or more of them around, and this bright
and lively little expressionist painting of a lemon tree seedling is one of the remainders
of that group.  The series was useful to me because it was a good exercise in the use
of heightened color and strong, visible brushwork.  I find that those are good lessons
for me to remember and apply, when I am working on paintings of a more traditional
nature, which can sometimes tend to become too subdued and muted in color and
                                                            (click on image to enlarge)

     Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.

The Contented Pelican

                                                     An original pencil drawing on illustration board
                                                     15x20" unframed, (mat size, 21x26")
                                                     $125.00, - (plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     As with most older artists, I still have large stacks of drawings waiting for me, to
be gone through and sorted out.  Some of the more finished studies that I find, may
be of interest to the viewers of this blog, such as this pencil rendering of a seated
pelican.  I recall that when I drew it, I had an excellent model for the drawing;
the bird never moved a muscle for the whole afternoon because it was a permanent
resident of a natural history museum.....a stuffed and mounted example of the art of

                                                        (click on image to enlarge)

      Viewing a pelican often reminds of a well known, old limerick by Edward Lear.

A wonderful bird is the pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belly can.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week!
But I'll be damned if I know how the hellican?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Hibiscus Aloha

                                                  An original acrylic painting, on gessoed panel
                                                  8x10" unframed
                                                  $400.00, - (plus $12.00, pack and ship)

     After a perfect day in a Pacific paradise, the sun is setting over Hawaii, and the
fading rays of sunlight glow on a single hibiscus blossom, in the final moments of its
one, brief day of beauty.

                                                          (click on image to enlarge)

     The hibiscus we like to associate with Hawaii is not actually a native variety to the
islands.  It traveled there from across the orient, along with the immigrants from those
lands, who came to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations, but that takes nothing
away from the exotic appeal of the flower.  I chose the Japanese, porcelain spoon and
bowl to use for this still-life painting, to carry out the theme of an exotic, tropical
 paradise, at the romantic ending of the day.

     Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Merlin's Enchanted Keep

                                  An original acrylic/mixed media painting, on heavy card-stock
                                  19x26", unframed - (mat size, 25x32")
                                   $2,300.00, - (plus $30.00, pack and ship)

     What if there could be one, last, mystical and undiscovered glen, somewhere in the 
secret heart of an ancient British forest, where the captive soul of the legendary,
Arthurian wizard awaits to return?  And if such a magical spot still existed, might it not
appear something like this mysterious, forest landscape?  

                                                          (click on image to enlarge)

      The composition of the painting is designed to contrast the bright outer-world, beyond
the narrow entry-pathway through the forest, with the mystical, dark inner-world of the 
spirit of Merlin.  The painting was composed using various scraps of paper, painted and
glazed with acrylics, and then assembled into the final image.

     As a side note, although we may not have a Camelot world today, we could use a 
few wise wizards to counsel some of the Warts who are seeking political power now. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Three Leaves

                                                          An original mixed-media painting, on paper
                                                          18x22", unframed - (mat size, 24x28")
                                                           $1,600.00, - plus $25.00, pack and ship

     Some years ago, we had a potted, rubber-tree plant in the house, a bold plant with
very large, oval, leathery-green leaves, which tended to grow rapidly.  As the plant grew
taller, the large, old leaves at the base of the plant would fall off.  Three, thick, heavy
leaves dropped off in quick succession, and then began to curl and twist as they started
to dry.  That drying process transformed them into interesting, natural life-forms which
were sculptural objects, like other cast-offs of Mother Nature, such as sea shells and
deer antlers.  They became worthy subjects for drawing and painting, and I did several
studies of them, including this one, which came closest to showing them full size.     

                                                             (click on image to enlarge)

     The rich earth-tones, and the rhythm of the composition, set up by having three similar
objects placed in a row, give this study something of a classic feel.

     As a side note, the title of this piece (Three Leaves) reminds me of a quote by the
famous ecdysiast Gypsy Rose Lee, who said that when she was on stage performing,
she always had to remember to keep her three leaves from falling, or else
the cops would come in.