Friday, February 22, 2008

Plein air, Terra cotta alfresco,Palette knife


"Terra cotta Alfresco", 8x10, oil on gallery wrapped linen

I painted this little pot of vibrant flowers today in downtown Venice at Restaurant Luna, where all the alfresco diners were having a ball on what was a gorgeously warm and balmy afternoon.

The diners sipped wine and chatted under cerulean-colored umbrellas, and the stucco wall was lined with buoyant and very colorful flowers to add to the festive feel of the carefree setting. I took the easy road and decided to paint just this simple but lovely pot, instead of attempting to capture the gestures of the happy diners and the windswept umbrellas. The palm tree behind the pot is a teaser, asking the viewer to envision the rest of the swaying palm tree in that small courtyard and wonder what it would feel like to bask in the sunshine on a lazy afternoon with nothing to worry about except the quality of the food and the mood of the present company. I like the way this one came out , because the late afternoon shadows made for a very nice composition.

, , , , , ,, , ,,.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Front Entrance"-Impressionist/Fauvist Floral

SOLD "Front Entrance", 5x7, oil on canvas panel

This wild little impressionist painting depicts the front entrance to a home or little pied à terre, that most likely could be situated in Paris, Venice, Majorica or London. A pot of flamboyant flowers greets and seduces the guests as they approach a gray and non-descript entrance door. The pot of flowers appears to have been casually set on a pedestal, perhaps by a beautiful young woman, or a gardener, or any whimsical free spirit with a flair for romance. One can only wonder if the flowers are the only enticements on this little side street that seems most comfortable in a setting in Europe, Copenhagen, or possibly La Jolla, Ca. No this isn't an ad from a J. Peterman catalogue. I've just had too much coffee this morning!

Happy Valentine's Day!

"Art from the Heart, A historical look at love's effect on art"
by Maryanne Jacobsen

There’s no question about it.

Falling in love causes people to act quite strangely. So does drinking absinthe, I suppose.

I have been trying to take some time each day to study the art of the masters recently, and have noticed that love has played a huge role in the creation of some of the weirdest paintings I have ever seen.

Example One:
“Isabella and the Pot of Basil” by William Holman Hunt

Hunt was a famous Pre-Raphaelite Artist. At first glance his painting looks rather innocuous. A tired woman is getting ready to make pesto sauce perhaps. But look a little bit closer, please. A recent visit to an exhibit at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota assured me that that is not the woman’s hair that is cascading so profusely over the sides of a dungeons and dragons- type basil pot.

It happens to be Lorenzo’s hair- Lorenzo being the sad woman’s murdered lover. Hunt painted this picture of a distraught Isabella after reading a Keat’s poem based on a tale from Boccaccio. It’s a very sad tale indeed, about a simple maiden whose lover is murdered by her brothers because he was not wealthy. When poor Isabella discovers the body, she cuts off her lover’s head and hides it in a basil pot, where it is obviously thriving deliciously along with tomorrow’s pasta herb, as we can see from the Hunt depiction.

Did Hunt really need to be so literal in his description, I wondered? And although Keats' prose is descriptively beautiful, evoking images of a lovesick woman whose ‘lute strings echo her beloved’s name, as she spoils her embroidery with much the same…’ in the end those lousy bastards steal the Basil pot from the poor sick chick and she dies of a broken heart.

Sheesh. (And I thought it was a pain replacing my wardrobe.)

Example two:

“Orpheus” by Gustave Moreau.

Moreau was one of those late nineteenth century French painters who felt threatened by the young upshots that had come upon the scene in his day- namely the Impressionists. Prior to the Impressionist movement, the artworld was dominated by teachers and artists that stuck to a few simple, intangible rules which had to be applied zealously and submissively. Originality was despised and acceptable painters of the day were forced to limit their canvasses to acceptable subjects like the gods and goddesses of the ancient myths.
Moreau took this to a bit of an extreme when he painted his rendition of Orpheus, and his own verbal explanation of the painting had to be included in the exhibition catalogue in order to clarify his deviation from the more typical and orthodox depictions of that very same legend.

According to the legend, the inventor of music was so beautiful that he could charm man and beast, but Orpheus ultimately met a gruesome end to his talents when he was torn to pieces by the enraged women of Thrace whose love he had spurned. The poor guy’s head and lyre were thrown into a stream by these aggressive and vindictive women, and one night in an opium-induced stupor; Moreau conjured up his own romantic depiction of how the legend should end.

I suppose Moreau was a hopeless romantic, for in his painting a young girl reverently recovers Orpheus's head and lyre, (the head now permanently attached to the musical instrument), and falls madly in love with this uhh… contraption. I have to give Moreau credit. He changed an act of overt violence into one of erotic contemplation, and is credited with being one of the earliest pioneers of surrealism.

Example Three:

“Luncheon on the Grass” by Edouard Manet

Manet was the guy that is now officially designated as the spiritual leader of the Impressionist movement.

It all began when a group of very talented young French painters were rejected en masse from the 1863 exhibition at The Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. These upstarts wanted to paint things their way, and the people in charge, who were all a part of France’s powerful “Pompiers” or bourgeoisie, would not allow it.

Manet was just doing his own free-spirited thing when he submitted his painting to the exhibit, but dear Lord…what in the name of sanity was he thinking?

My, my, my. Even in sexy, seductive Paris, this painting was considered a scandalous affair and Manet became an instant laughing stock among his teachers as a result.

Now I ask you this. Since nudity has always had a place in art, what’s wrong with this picture? Was there a typical lack of opposite sex communication between the parties? Should the parties have communicated beforehand regarding proper picnic attire?


Once again, being in love and the extreme stress that Cupid’s arrows can place upon its victim’s sensibilities, rendered Manet incapable of seeing the truth. The truth was that in submitting that painting he had sealed his fate and rendered himself the object of the vilest of attacks from the Pompiers, who used the opportunity of the scandalous painting to debase at all cost the emerging master of a dissident movement. Manet’s model, the buxom Victorine Meurent, happened to be an unsophisticated streetwalker, and Manet certainly immortalized her in her merry picnic pose, don’t you think?

So what is the moral of the story?

Love inspires, love kills, love blinds and love and lutes go well together if you’re headless. But then again, so do basil pots.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mixed gerber daisies

SOLD Mixed Gerber Daisies in a Crystal Vase, 8x 10, oil on canvas

I've been working on color and flower combinations for my oldest son's upcoming wedding. He and his fiancee asked me to help them decide on flowers and colors, but are stuck on an orange and sage green combination. I am trying to convince them to add some red to the mix since red is the compliment of green which is the color of the bridesmaid's gowns. I bought this bouquet and arranged it , and then took photos. They are talking orchids and lillies, and I, of course, am trying to be practical in choosing the less expensive daisies. After taking the photos, I decided to paint the arrangement, because it was so pretty. I don't know if I'll change their mind, but at least I enjoyed painting this floral.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Abstract floral, knife painting

SOLD "Potted Palette", 5x7, oil on canvas panel

It's been awhile since I've posted regularly and although I have a couple of large projects that I am working on, by request of some of my regular collectors I intend to try to fit in a couple of small florals this week. Here's the first.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Opening of plein air exhibit this week...

The Little Blue House, 12x16, oil on linen on board,

This is one of the paintings that I will be offering for sale in an exhibit of 13 Southwest Florida plein air painters. The exhibit opens next week in Sarasota, Florida, at the Women's Resource Center and will run until the end of March. If you happen to be in the Sarasota area, please stop by and see this colorful exhibit! Press release below includes additional information regarding opening reception as well as the names of the other artists in the exhibit.

There will be an exciting new plein air art exhibit at the Women’s Resource Center in Sarasota from February 7th to March 27th, 2008, which will feature recent works by thirteen well-known local plein air artists including talented artist and teacher Julie Hanson, a graduate of the Ringling College of Art, whose award-winning works have been featured at Art Uptown, Art Center Sarasota, the Venice Art Center, and Art Center Manatee, among others.
The exhibit titled, “The Colors of Florida and Beyond” will feature an eclectic mix of vibrantly colored and wonderfully textured plein air landscapes that have been sensitively rendered by Julie Hanson and her circle of plein air painters, that include Betsy Bisson, John Blue, Shirley Carron, Chris Torgerson Dibble, Heidi Gaudry, Penny Hendry, Maryanne Jacobsen, Sally Birnkrandt Myers, Dorothy Nichols, Ingrid Seals, Karen Williams, and Anita Zimmerman. These thirteen plein air painters represent a wonderfully diverse national and international mix of backgrounds and artistic accomplishments, and their works portray a refreshing and jewel-like array of paintings after the tradition of the French Impressionists. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, February 7th from 5 to 7PM, which will feature music, refreshments and door prizes that include an opportunity to win an original piece of artwork. For additional information regarding exhibit times, please contact the Women’s Resource Center directly at (941)366-1700, or artist Julie Hanson for more info at (941) 923-1293.

, , , , ,, ,,,, ,, .