Sunday, November 3, 2019

Getting started in the art world.

Artists often ask each other how they became interested in becoming and artist.  The most common answer is that they were told as a child that they had talent drawing.  Although I enjoyed drawing, I never thought of myself as an artist.  The desire to be a painter and print maker came during my senior year in high school.  For talking in class, I was held in after school detention.  When I was released, the hallway was empty except for me and the abstract expressionist Charles Seliger.  He and his mother had a small business creating and selling hand painted silk scarves which they sold to
such stores as Henri Bendel  and Saks Fifth Avenue, plus a few stores in Greenwich Village.  Charles, and he was always Charles, not Charlie or Chuck, asked if I was taking an art class.  Yes.  Would I like to learn how to paint silk scarves?  Yes.  We would chat about the art world, while his mother complained we were not paying attention to our work.  Charles encouraged me to visit all of the art museums in New York City.  I was hooked.  Art world here I come.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Homage to Frances Gearhart (1869 - 1958)

Frances Gearhart was a water colorist and print maker.  I came across some of her color woodblock prints several years ago and fell in love with them.  It seems she did most of her printmaking during the 1920's, 30's and 40's when the Japanese style of color block printing was most popular.  The black key block technique used to unify the color areas has a strong visual impact.  I wondered how that would translate into a large format painting.  Here are a couple of my acrylic paintings.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Folk Art was for many years an invisible part of the art world.   And Western Art was also nearly invisible. To my knowledge, another area almost completely ignored by the art establishment is the work of Eclectic Artists.  Museums, of course, tend to favor work validated by their peers or the public.  Understandable, since the museum that doesn't develop a brand that attracts the public will not last long.  Commercial galleries, too, have spent a great deal of time and money identifying their market.

Jason Horejs of the Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale cautions artists against approaching galleries without a consistent body of work.  Once you become known for a particular style, both galleries and the public expect to see the same style in each new work. In my opinion, Jason"s Red Dot Blog is the finest blog for artists, especially emerging artists, that I have yet found on the internet.   George Rodrique, in one of his interviews, insists that unless you develop a recognizable signature style, you have not found your true voice.  Hmm.  Yes, that guarantees you will receive more attention. I'm not sure about George's "finding your voice," but I do agree with Jason that if you expect to find representation in a successful gallery, consistency is a must.  However, in other aspects of the art world sometimes you can find a crack in the system.  When I decided I'd like to become a member of the Woodstock Artists Association in Woodstock, NY, I noted that the requirements for membership was to present a consistent body of work for jury review, or have the jury accept your work for four shows within a single year.  I chose the four show route.

Once I became conscious of the roadblocks, I wondered why I kept experimenting, changing my pallet, changing the type of image -- or no image at all.  The best answer I could come up with was that I had fallen in love with the world of visual art and wanted to taste as much of it as possible.

All that said, I sincerely hope that someday,  a gallery owner, a museum curator, a serious collector, will bring the invisible eclectic painters to light. And although I contradict myself. I agree with Jason and George.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

American Folk Art

I was reminded this past week of American Folk Art which is a nearly invisible area of the art world.  My first awareness of how interesting it can be came from seeing a reproduction of Ammi Phillips' portrait of Harriet Leavens.  I believe the original is in Harvard University's collection.  My next delightful encounter with folk art was at the Smithsonian.  Two sculptures, a most fierce tiger and a daring man on a unicycle. these three paintings are the result.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Now that I'm 80 years old I find that age has slipped in a few surprises. My hands no longer do what eye and mind suggest. The solution is to simplify. Often an artist's style changes not simply with age, but because of age. Here's a couple of my latest paintings.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vertical Landscapes

In a recent conversation with a gallery owner in Cincinnati she mentioned that no one currently is painting vertical landscapes. I tried to remember last seeing one. Naturally, I couldn't resist doing one. Later a friend mentioned that my landscape reminded him somewhat of a Chinese scroll. Darn, those Chinese thought of everything.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Painting a Series

Years ago, I recognized that I loved experimenting. Trying different things. Not surprising, my art work can best be described as eclectic. The closest thing I have come to painting a series is to return, loosely, to "View of Mombacus Mountain." from time to time. Not interested in replicating a photographic image, simply using Mombacus Mountain as a stepping off point to experiment. This is one variation.