Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cowbells ring. Are you listening?

Probably many of you have participated in a "dirty Santa" gift exchange. Everyone brings a gift but a white elephant kind of gift. And because one man's trash is another man's treasure, sometimes a white elephant becomes a thing desired.
So it was with the cowbell above. It's real; it's old; and though I've never seen a cow wearing one, it seems very much a part of where I live. Somehow the bobble-head we brought as a present never made the transition to desired!
Cow Belle is an 8x8 oil.

In 2011, may you also find treasures in unexpected places.

Happy New Year...
Bonne Annee et bonne sante...
Gelukkig nieuwjaar...
Kul 'am ua antum bik hair...
Feliz ano Nuevo...
Kali hrona...
Shana Tova...
Yin nian yu kuai...
Felice Anno Nuovo...
Ein gluckliches neues Jahr...
S Novym Godom...

Please excuse the absence of pronunciation marks and any misspellings!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Idealized Reality


The statue fragment in the above painting is what's left of Poseidon, an over-life-size marble that once decorated the exterior of the Parthenon in Athens. Or rather it's a cast of Poseidon's torso; the original is in London and is one of the famous Elgin Marbles. This Poseidon can be found in my hometown, inside our full-size replica of the Parthenon. Even though he's made of concrete rather than Pentelic marble, he still has the power to inspire.
He's an excellent example of the Greek love affair with idealized reality. Some 2,500 plus years ago, Greek artists abandoned the stylizations and conventions of Eastern art and began their pursuit of the real.
They wanted to recreate what our eyes see. This necessitates all sorts of tricks and illusions on the part of the artist. And though the rules of perspective probably weren't formulated (the rules had to wait for the Renaissance), foreshortening, the creation of form and mass, the illusion of depth and distance were all part of the Greek artist's bag of tricks.
I said that the Greeks wanted to reproduce what our eyes see. Actually they wanted to create a vision of reality perfected, where the real is always beautiful. It's a goal artists are still pursuing 2,500 years later.

Admiration Society is a 14x9 oil. By the way, passing viewers often reach up to touch Poseidon; they simply can't resist.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Culinary Arts

Ezra Pound was a poet.. Ezra Pound Cake is a blog written by a chef who majored in English Lit. The recipes posted are nicely different with a meatless category for vegetarians and lots of pastries and cakes to try this holiday season.
Ken Auster is an artist. If you've ever eaten at a Ruby Tuesday, you've probably seen some of his paintings (at least, my Ruby Tuesday is decorated with them). Ken was helped in his restaurant commission by having a culinary school nearby where he had permission to paint the students. In his work, Auster eliminates detail, simplifies shapes, goes for dramatic design, uses impasto and has a definite sense of humor.
Mark, the model for the above painting, is a real chef who's married to a painter friend. (It's good to have connections!) The Culinary Arts is a 24x20 oil done in open studio.

Monday, December 6, 2010

There's a Rumor Going Round...

Rumor has it that the Impressionists didn't like or use black. Ah ha, it's rather easy to squash that particular bit of gossip. Simply look at almost any Manet.
Hmmm, what's that? You say Manet wasn't really an Impressionist? Okay, you have a point. But of course, Degas and Caillebotte were surely Impressionists with a capitol "I." And they used black a lot.
Okay, okay. You're right. They used black when painting people and manmade things like buildings and hardwood floors, stockbrokers and ballerinas. Perhaps, as you say, black for these kinds of things would be a special exception to any rule.
But Monet, Claude Monet, the primo Impressionist, sometimes used black as well and used it for landscapes! Ah yes, though many beautiful Impressionist landscapes haven't a stroke of black, others surely do.
Lots of my landscapes haven't any black either; but some do, like Junk Trees above. It's a 12x9 plein air of a much-maligned species, the hackberry tree. Hackberries grow fast and grow just about everywhere in Middle Tennessee. They're not "good" for anything like building or burning so they only rate as junk, though beautiful junk.