I've been playing around with my photos - looking for possible diptychs and triptychs - and tried it out with a small group of women sitting on the beach, watching the ocean tide flow. It's tricky, and takes time matching up the colors and composition and the goal is that each painting could stand alone as well as together.
Jean-Michel Basquiat is probably the most recognized Neo-Expressionism artist of the 20th Century, born in Brooklyn, NY in 1960, his father was Haitian-American, his mother was Puerto Rican. I would describe him as brilliant (he could read and write at the age of 4, fluent in French, English and Spanish at age 11) self-sufficient (at 15, he ran away from home, living in a park in New York City for a week, later supporting himself by selling paintings on postcards and T-shirts) creative (became a well-known graffiti artist under the pseudonym SAMO) musical (formed a rock band Gray and played all over New York) all before he found fame in the elite art world at the age of 20.
Basquiat then rolled with the famous - David Bowie, Madonna, Julian Schnabel and collaborated with Andy Warhol - was on the cover of magazines - his paintings were selling for as much as $50,000 - all the while loosing his grip with a heroin addiction. After his good friend, Warhol died in 1987, he sank into a more isolated existence and died of a herion overdose at the age of 27.
It's tragic, I know. The man had a lot to say and express about race, love, beauty, culture, pain, success, snobbery (I could go on).
One of my top-10 favorite movies is Basquiat - Jean-Michel played brilliantly by Jeffrey Wright, directed by Julian Schnabel who knew Jean-Michel well, David Bowie as Warhol - man, it is a great movie. Watch it.
A big thank-you to my good friend for the reference photo - two young, African-American men soaking in Basquiat's Untitled (Cadmium), in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
This new painting took a good part of a week. There's something that happens to me when I'm painting a John Singer Sargent piece - call it an overwhelming respect for accuracy. His colors and brush strokes are complex. That's what made him a master at his craft.
From the Museum of Fine Arts Boston - one of their prized possessions, John Singer Sargent's 'The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit'.
I've got all of my paintings done that will be included in the Small Works Art Auction held in July.
I'll have seven pieces in the auction and there will be around 250+ total - great deals to be had. More details at the end of this post, for now, here are my seven.
Everyone knows this iconic painting. People from all over the world recognize the farming couple. If you observe people in the Art Institute of Chicago, when they see Grant Wood's American Gothic, they immediately stop to look closely.
Truth be told, the man and woman were models for Grant Wood's vision of 'the kind of people I fancied should live in that house'. The woman was Wood's sister and the man, their dentist. The house still stands in Eldon, Iowa - I've seen it myself. We took a road trip along the Grant Wood Scenic Byway several years ago - a most splendid drive through rolling hills, all too familiar in Wood's paintings.
Grant Wood is in my top-10 favorites list of artists. I have books of his work dating back to the 70's. I have a love affair with the Regionalism artists - referred to as American Scene painting done from the 20's thru the 50's. Thomas Hart Benton, John Curry, Grant Wood are the most recognizable of that art movement. It is said that their depictions of rural life in the American heartland made people feel better during the Great Depression - specifically American Gothic came to be seen as a depiction of steadfast American pioneer spirit.
Wood entered his painting in a competition at the Art Institute of Chicago and although the judges poo-pooed it, a patron convinced them to award it with a medal, a cash prize and persuaded the museum to buy the painting, where it is today.
Geezaloo - I wanted to tell you about J.M.W. Turner, the painter of Fishing Boats with Hucksters Bargaining for Fish the day after I posted this painting, but, when an A/C guy came to my house to check on a simple thing, he ended up breaking my A/C. No sorry ma'am, just said he'd order the broken parts and he'd call Monday. I promptly told the jerk never to return and someone else find the parts. I was kinda in a snit most of the weekend. I still have no word on the parts. And no A/C. In Atlanta.
About Turner - an Englishman born in 1775, he was a talented, budding artist at age 13 selling his drawings and at 17, the Royal Society of Arts gave him the top award for landscape drawing and he was off and running. He sold his drawing designs to engravers and gave private lessons at that young age. He exhibited his works up until 1850, sold approximately 2,000 paintings, 19,000 drawings and close to 300 finished and unfinished paintings were still in his studio by his death.
Turner was known as the 'painter of light'. Not to be mistaken for the hack artist, Thomas Kinkade. (is that too personal?) There was a great movie that came out a couple of years ago, Mr. Turner, and if you've seen it, you know as an older man, he becamean eccentric. He was a recluse, had few friends except his father, who lived with him for 30 years. He never married but had two profound relationships with two women, the second one, Sophia Booth, became a widow and Turner took his place in her home as Mr. Booth for 18 years until his death in 1851.
Turner died and left a small fortune that was grabbed up by his first cousins, who contested his will and won a portion. The remainder went to the Royal Academy of Arts, which named an award given to accomplished students the Turner Medal. His paintings were scattered around, into museums in Europe and beyond and some selling for millions in auctions in the last two decades. Stephen Wynn, the casino magnate, bought one in 2006 for $35.8 million.
So if someone ever asks you who the most famous landscape painter was, it's J.M.W. Turner, hands down.
From the Art Institute of Chicago, a woman viewing Turner's dramatic seascape.
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is... unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." ~ Alice Neel
"If I had the energy, I would have done it all over the country" - Edward Hopper
"It's what you carry to an object that counts." - Andrew Wyeth
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"When I'm old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in."