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Showing posts from May, 2014

John Singer Sargent

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Portrait of Léon Delafosse  By John Singer Sargent 1899
This painting hangs in the Seattle Museum of Art. It is a lovely painting a little unlike most of Sargent's portraits in that is was not commissioned. Sargent was a great admirer of the composer and pianist Léon Delafosse.  The two of them became good friends. The painting was inscribed, in French, "to M. Léon Delafosse in fond remembrance."
Not knowing who this Delafosse was, you now see the underlining description of him as a pianist in the portrait. The mostly black use of color contrasted only by his face and hand. It just about shouts 'piano'!
Of course Delafosse is a decadent especially in the matter of neck-ties-but he is a very intelligent little Frenchman, and a composer and excellent pianist, who is probably going over to America in a year's time, so I sent his portrait over as a forerunner.

—John Singer Sargent, to Isabella Stewart Gardner, on Léon Delafosse, 1899
Cosmopolitanism has been one of the…

Red Barns

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3 paintings in progress on my easel

Have you ever wondered why so many old barns are painted red? There are many theories, I will go with the one that red became fashionable for barns when red paint was cheap. So, I find myself painting those red barns more and more.


Albert Bierstadt

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Albert Bierstadt was born in Germany 1830, the following year his parents moved the family to Massachusetts. He returned to Germany in later years to study painting. As a member of an informal group of painters known as the Hudson River School, Bierstadt’s style conformed likewise. His travels west sparked a plethora of paintings covering Yellowstone through California’s Yosemite and Oregon coast, to name a few. The style in which he painted was later criticized for being to theatrical. More museum displays of his work came to light in the 1960’s, which brought on a resurgence of his paintings. His paintings are quite dramatic with glowing, luminous lighting in a romantic style. Upon a recent visit to the Seattle Art Museum I was able to get up close to study Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast.

Monet - 'House of Parliament Series'

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House of Parliament, Sunlight Effect Claude Monet 1900-1901

In March 1, 1900, Monet began a series of paintings at sunset. He worked on the ‘House of Parliament Series’ over a month’s time. He started with 44 canvases covered with paint working vigorously to capture the mood. Doing so, he built up the number of canvases to 65 within 3 weeks. The typical London fog atmosphere is what he was after. Many days proved to be a disappointment when there was no fog, but changed with smog for a mist. Not unlike Montana, the weather was constantly changing by the hour. Monet woke up one morning to find roofs white with snow and quickly, a thick fog moved in. The light was changing to a point where he was working on 15 new canvases, putting one down, picking up the next in turn. Monet’s frustrations grew by the hour as he painted. Some of his paintings he decided were too awful to continue with. As with most artists, sometimes the next day looks brighter. At the end of March, Monet left London o…

Color Accents

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Accent colors are usually compliments or near compliments to the colors in the painting overall. The accent is more intense and chromatic in its hue. There is no need to place the accent just at the center of interest. With the center of interest having the strongest impact, sprinkle the accent colors in other large areas of color to break them up. Just mixing swatches of color schemes in my sketchbook is a good exercise.
Color swatches using water soluble color pencils

'New Every Morning' 16" X 20" Oil


'His compassions fail not, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness' Lamentations 3:22-23

What's in a Title? and Joaquin Sorolla

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'Spring Rain' 16" X 16"
How does one decide a title for an artwork? To me, sometimes it is difficult and other times it is straight forward. Usually, I am sparked by scripture passages especially if the painting evokes a spiritual refrain. Some of my titles just describe the scene, which is not too clever. This first day of May was so spring like that the painting of a rainy scene just had to be 'Spring Rain'. And that title I call not too clever.

I was curious as to what were some of the titles of Joaquin Sorolla's paintings. I have put some of his paintings below. The show "Sorolla and America" will be exhibiting at the San Diego Museum of Art from May 30 to August 26. He was indeed a master of painting people en plain air.

'The White Boat, Javea' By Joaquin Sorolla 1905
'Running Along the Beach' By Joaquin Sorolla 1908
'Portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany' By Joaquin Sorolla 1911