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Archive for the ‘Painting’ Category

Vincent van Gogh picked up a paintbrush for the first time when he was 28 years old. He died less than nine years later at the age of 37, and left us some 800 paintings. Van Gogh changed art, yet he sold only one painting ever, and that to his own brother.

He died under mysterious circumstances, and like many deaths of famous people (for example JFK) there are many theories that speculate about what really might have happened, versus what is common knowledge on the record.

Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, Loving Vincent is a film that explores the life of Vincent van Gogh and some of the speculations about his death.

What is unique about this film is that it is an animation based on painted images. Every frame of this movie is a painting, and thousands of them have been stitched together to make the film. Nothing like this has ever been done before, and it may well never be done again. Van Gogh’s painting style, using bold colors and rough, thick brush strokes, lends itself to this approach and I applaud the filmmakers for the unique, risky and ultimately very successful idea. Many scenes in the movie are based on actual van Gogh paintings.

One of them has special meaning to me: Harvest at La Crau with Montmajour in the Background. Sometimes it’s called “the blue cart.” The original is in the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh in Amsterdam. Here is an image:

In the movie, Vincent is pulled past this scene in a cart on the road in the foreground.

When I was a child, some 11 or 12 years old, our German professor (now my friend Wolfgang referenced in this blog from time to time in the Latin Corner) assigned this painting as the subject for the essay form of “Bildbeschreibung” or image description. I remember struggling with this assignment, but doing a good job of it in the end. It stayed with me for life, and this painting represents the first exposure for me to van Gogh. I had tears welling up when this image went by in one of the scenes in Loving Vincent.

I am a painter. Van Gogh has always been my favorite artist. I have seen many original van Gogh paintings over the years. How could I possibly not love this movie?


 

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Outdoor Painting Finally Framed

More than three years after finishing Morning Moon over Kensington, a painting done in oil on a plywood panel, I finally today hung it outdoors. David A. of Urban Reclaimed Woods built a farm table for our porch out of scaffolding boards, which is visible in the foreground. I asked him to make me a frame out of the same type of scaffolding wood.

Here is the painting, proudly hanging outside on the back porch, in 82° F weather, when the rest of the country is suffering brutal cold.

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‘Tis the Season, 12/2016, Oil con Canvas, 24 x 20

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Painting: Motion

I wondered if it was possible to paint an optical illusion. Here is the answer. This a 24 x 24 painting. Judge for yourself.

Motion, Dec 2017, 24″ x 24″


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Maud (Sally Hawkins) is afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis and has been since she was a child. Her fingers are twisted, her legs misshapen, and she has a hunchback. When her parents died, her brother sold their home and put Maud up to live with her overbearing aunt. Nobody takes her seriously.

Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) is a local fish peddler in a village in Nova Scotia. He is a socially challenged, extremely reclusive, and verbally and physically abusive. When he puts up an ad for a housemaid, Maud sees it and applies for the job. She comes to live with him in his very small house out in the country.

Maud starts cleaning up around the place and decorating it with her own little paintings. By chance, one of Everett’s customers sees the artwork and starts commissioning works from her. Over time, Maud’s work gets the attention of the folk art scene in New York City.

Gradually the unlikely couple develops a bond of love.

Maudie is based on the life story of painter Maud Lewis, who lived in Nova Scotia with her husband Everett Lewis. They lived in poverty for most of their lives in a famously small house. You can google “Paintings by Maud Lewis” and find many of her paintings, her house, herself and her husband.

Maudie is a movie of unusual circumstances and deep emotions. It’s a story about life, its simplicity, and its cruel reality. Watching it made my eyes tear from time to time, and most of all, it made me go home and pick up my paint brushes again, which have been lying idle for too long lately.

Maudie is a celebration of the human spirit and life. In one of the scenes, when asked what painting means to her, she looks out the window and says:

The Whole of Life, Already Framed, Right There!

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the-path-for-linda-and-dick

My painting The Path just became a wedding gift for our friends (L&D). This was done after a motif by Masqua’s Art, who published a photograph that got my attention, and I challenged him to a “paint-off”. I was happy with the outcome.

Here is the painting at their house.

Here is a full digital image for reference.

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On Friday night I visited the MoMA, since they have extended opening hours until 8:00pm. To my surprise, they had free tickets for all on Friday. I just walked in. It was packed! Everyone in the world seems to come to New York for the MoMA. I am less interested in “modern art” per se, and particularly in “modern” furniture as produced in the 1920s. But their collection of some of the classics is amazing.

For instance, there are some beautiful works by Gaugin, Cezanne and Seurat. I am not usually a Chagall lover, but this is my absolute favorite Chagall. It’s huge, taller than I am.

my-favorite-chagall

And then, there was the absolute prize, one of my favorite paintings in the world – Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Just imagine, walking around a corner and there it is:

starry-night

What an amazing painting to see. People literally gasped as they spotted it. I stood there for a while, taking it in.

But then, there is a problem with taking it in with serenity. Because here is what it looked like stepping back a few feet:

starry-night-2

But just a few seconds of reflection, while I was in the front, was worth the entire visit.

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A good friend (PG) went on a safari in East Africa many years ago and brought back some photographs, one of which inspired this set of paintings I titled Waterbird.

It’s a diptych (two paintings in a series), each 18 by 36 inches. Here they are separate, and then together.

Waterbird 1

Waterbird 1

Waterbird 2

Waterbird 2

waterbird-combined

Waterbird – Combined

I found it a challenge to align the colors and compositions sufficiently, having to switch back and forth between two large paintings on an ongoing basis. My studio area isn’t big enough to put them side by side.

I might need to try this once more.

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Trees on Mt. Baldy

Trees on Mt. Baldy, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″

Near the very top of Mt. Baldy in California, at over 10,000 feet elevation, rugged trees battle hard winds and blistering sun every day. In the winter, it’s bitter cold and icy. I took a photograph in the summer and made a painting, trying my hand at a loose brush.

It turned out so-so, but I am done with it.

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JarJar

Our friend Brad asked in an innocuous Facebook post to “Bring Back Jar Jar Binks.” So I did. Little did he know that he would be in the picture with Jar Jar. I thought a retro movie poster would do the trick. I transposed the first and last names of the characters. Petra is his wife. Tonight I gave him the finished and framed painting. Now it’s no longer a secret and I can publish it here.

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California Poppies

California Poppies, 36″ x 36″

California Poppies are the state flower of California. They are protected. When I hike pretty much anywhere in California in the spring, they grow like weeds.

Photo Cal Poppies

Here is a little stand right next to I-15 to the left of the fence, a freeway with 6 lanes in each direction.

I did the painting above to be a diptych to go with the previous painting of daisies. Both these paintings are quite large, three by three feet each, so they’ll fill a large wall when they are next to each other.

Daisies

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Devin 2006Devin in 2003, 36″ x 36″

Chelsea

Chelsea in 2008, 36″ x 36″

Both of these large paintings with identical frames are hanging in my office.

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My painting of 1980: Children

07/80 Oil 24x30

Children – July 1980 – Oil 30 x 24

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My painting of 2012: Old Man

Old Man - sm

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Elephant

Inspired by a photograph Trisha brought back from her Safari in Botswana in 2014.

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