Monday, October 31, 2016

The Last Pumpkin ( Composition Study )

                                             An original oil painting, on canvas panel
                                             20 X 16", unframed
                                             $600.00,  ( plus $25.00, pack and ship )

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )

      I pulled this still-life from storage, to post on the blog, because it seemed like an
appropriate choice to show on Halloween.  The title of this imagined setting reflects the
idea that this pumpkin, and its ornamental-gourd companion,  may be located in an old,
farm fruit-cellar, awaiting their final destiny, after the rest of the bountiful, autumn harvest
has already found its way to the dinner table, in some dish or other.  The light, filtering
down from a broken window-frame or doorway, reveals two things which are always
guaranteed to be found in such ancient cellars: dust and spiderwebs.  So, all-in-all, it is
not the kind of painting which most people would like to have hanging on their walls.

     But actually, the subject matter of the painting was not what was important to me,
at the time that I was painting it.  The subjects might as well have been bottles, or jugs,
or boxes or any number of objects.  What was important to me back then, was the study
of the dramatic use of light and shadow, which some of the Renaissance masters used
so effectively, called chiaroscuro.   And, although this painting, and others from this
series, will never achieve the status of a Caravaggio, they still hold up fairly well, for the
simple studies that they are.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Sayin' Howdy For Hillary

( click on image to enlarge )

Introducing Horatio H. Hamster III Esq.  You may have seen Horatio before.  He has appeared on my cards and in a number of other works, but this is the first time he has had a blog posting all his own.  I don't know what name his middle initial stands for; whenever I ask him, he always seems to come up with a different answer every time.  He has a way of sneaking into my drawings at unexpected moments.  I think that is a part of his attempts to talk me into making him the star of a new book, but that possibility remains to be seen.

     As an artist's model, Horatio is often seen wearing a variety of different hats.  When he is feeling Lincolnesque, he wears a stovepipe hat, but he is a bit too vertically challenged to carry off that roll convincingly.  At other times, when feeling in a Dickens mood, he may shorten the top-hat and add a long, woolen scarf to his ensemble , to evoke the spirit of Bob Cratchit, asking Mr. Scrooge for the whole day off, on Christmas Day.  And there are some days when he appears with a deer-stalking hat and meerschaum pipe, as if inhabiting the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, investigating a mysterious crime.
     Now he has popped up wearing a western, marshal's cowboy-hat.  I admired what I called his "ten-gallon" hat, but he has corrected me, saying that his hat is the "ten-ounce" model.  Today he informs me that his middle name is Hopalong, and that I should call him by that name, which was also the nickname of a famous, Western film hero, Hopalong Cassidy.  When I asked him if he had ever known Mr. Cassidy, he said that he had not known his namesake personally, but that he had a mole friend who once lived in Mr. Cassidy's front yard, and had therefore seen the star regularly, so he felt that there were very few degrees of separation  between himself and the cowboy hero.
     I couldn't help but notice that the marshal's badge on Horatio's hat was covered by a card with a political emblem I had seen before, and I asked him what it stood for.  He then replied, with soul-stirring emphasis, that it stood for the call to "Make America intelligent again !"  He then went on to express his concerns about the upcoming, national election, and to make an appeal for everyone to go to the polls and vote for only the most qualified, competent and thoughtful candidates for high office.
     I was a bit surprised by Horatio's knowledge of the high-minded candidates who are running for office, and his ability to recognize which candidates were just greedy, self-serving frauds.  But his ability to distinguish between the good ones and the rotten ones, probably derives from his very unique perspective. Horatio happens to be well acquainted with the crude characteristics of the more destructive varieties of rodents, and he has noticed that there are a number of such vermin seeking public office, from the top of the ticket on down.  For example, he says that the candidate at the top of the ballot, who represents the party of the wealthy and the banking and insurance interests, has been exhibiting the kind of manners which are more commonly associated with those of sewer rats, as well as the the lack of intelligence which is more commonly associated with suicidal lemmings.
     It is hard to argue with someone who has such an intimate knowledge of the behavior of the despicable classes of rodents.  Horatio is certainly convincing me.  Perhaps everyone should hear his appeal to common sense, and then vote wisely.

                The original, mixed media drawing of Horatio, in his "ten-ounce" cowboy hat,
                is on illustration board, and it measures seven by five inches.  It is available for
                $45.00, ( plus $8.00, pack and ship )

                A giclee, private-edition print of the drawing, also seven by five inches,
                is available for $10.00, ( plus the $8.00, pack-and-ship charge )