Saturday, May 8, 2010

Studio Figures

Lately I have been focusing much of my efforts on painting from the live model. Painting people offers an endless supply of inspiration and challenges. All my paintings are direct, alla prima paintings which adds another level of difficulty to the issue. It makes painting very exciting, not knowing where things might go, or if the painting will go where I want, or become a failure. So much in life is planned. I like having my work be something that occurs in the moment and is a discovery as it happens.

" Peonies and Silver" oil 36x24
"Afternoon Tea" oil 30x24

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Figure Paintings

My latest efforts have been mainly Figure and Still life paintings. Painting people is the most challenging of all subjects in art. I love painting people and the endless variation of expression and meaning represented in the human form. Among the challenges for the figure artist are the anatomical demands to start and then the concerns about expression. The first hurdle to cross is the need for the figure to "read" correctly and believably. If I can get past this point, then the work begins to be about feeling, or mood and expression. For me this is the goal, to get past the technical aspects and try to approach something that might be "Art".

Fuchsia 24 x 18 oil
Remembering 36 x 24 oil
Warm and Cool 24 x 12 oil

Friendly 16 x 12 oil
Sitting Pretty 24 x 18 oil

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Still Life Paintings

Since the weather has been so cold this winter and I have a new work space, I have begun to paint still life again after many years. I have always enjoyed the challenge of painting beautiful objects. The challenge for me now is to try to preserve the form of the objects and still paint them in a loose and painterly fashion. I feel my most successful paintings are achieved with the least detail yet an accurate and faithful portrayal of the subject. It is also great to paint some rich color during the winter, as outside it is rather gray and sometimes my mood tends to follow.

Autumn Still Life 20 x 24 oil

Pink Roses 20 x 16 oil
Copper and Red Onions 16 x 20 oil

Roses and Tea 30 x 24 oil

Thursday, January 21, 2010

William McGregor Paxton

William McGregor Paxton (June 22, 1869 – 1941) has been one of my favorite painters for the past 25 years when I was first introduced to his work by my teacher. The poetic feeling of his work is superb. The understated quality of his light combined with great draftsmanship always inspires me.

William McGregor Paxton (June 22, 1869 – 1941) was an American Impressionist painter.
Born in Baltimore, the Paxton family came to Newton Corner in the mid-1870s, where William's father James established himself as a caterer. At 18, William won a scholarship to attend the Cowles Art School, where he began his art studies with Dennis Miller Bunker. Later he studied with Jean-Léon Gérôme in Paris and, on his return to Boston, with Joseph DeCamp at Cowles. There he met his future wife Elizabeth Okie, who also was studying with DeCamp. After their marriage, William and Elizabeth lived with his parents at 43 Elmwood Street, and later bought a house at 19 Montvale Road in Newton Centre.
Paxton, who is best known as a portrait painter, taught at the Museum School from 1906 to 1913. Along with other well known artists of the era, including Edmund Charles Tarbell and Frank Benson, he is identified with the Boston School. He was well known for his extraordinary attention to the effects of light and detail in flesh and fabric. Paxton's compositions were most often idealized young women in beautiful interiors. Paxton gained fame for his portraiture and painted both Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge. He taught at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School from 1906 to 1913. Paxton was made a full member of the Nation Academy of Design in 1928.
Like many of his Boston colleagues, Paxton found inspiration in the work of the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Paxton was fascinated not only with Vermeer's imagery, but also with the system of optics he employed. He studied Vermeer's works closely, and discovered that only one area in his compositions was entirely in focus, while the rest were somewhat blurred. Paxton ascribed this peculiarity to "binocular vision," crediting Vermeer with recording the slightly different point of view of each individual eye that combine in human sight. He began to employ this system in his own work, including The New Necklace, where only the gold beads are sharply defined while the rest of the objects in the composition have softer, blurrier edges. Paxton crafted his elaborate compositions with models in his studio, and the props he used, appear in several different paintings.
Paxton was working on his last painting, a view of his living room at 19 Montvale Road, with his wife posing for him, when he was stricken with a heart attack and died at the age of 72.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Julius LeBlanc Stewart

Here is one of my favorite artists. What caught my eye is the natural light he uses and I love figure painting and especially the nude outdoors.

Julius LeBlanc Stewart (September 6, 1855, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - January 5, 1919, Paris, France), was an American artist who spent his career in Paris. A contemporary of fellow expatriate painter John Singer Sargent, Stewart was nicknamed "the Parisian from Philadelphia."
His father, the sugar millionaire William Hood Stewart, moved the family to Paris in 1865, and became a distinguished art collector and an early patron of Fortuny and the Barbizon artists. Julius studied under Eduardo Zamacois as a teenager, under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux Arts, and later was a pupil of Raymondo de Madrazo.
Stewart's family wealth enabled him to live a lush expatriate life and paint what he pleased, often large-scaled group portraits. The first of these, After the Wedding (1880), showed the artist's brother Charles and his bride Mae, daughter of financeer Anthony J. Drexel, leaving for their honeymoon. Subsequent group portraits depicted his friends — including actresses, celebrities and aristocrats — often with a self-portrait somewhere in the crowd.

He exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon from 1878 into the early 20th century, and help organize the Americans in Paris section of the 1894 Salon. The Baptism (1892), which reportedly depicted a gathering of the Vanderbilt family, was shown at the 1893 Chicago World Columbian Exposition, and received acclaim at the 1895 Berlin International Exposition.
He painted a series of sailing pictures aboard James Gordon Bennett Jr.'s yacht Namouna. The most accomplished of these, On the Yacht "Namouna", Venice (1890), showed a sailing party on deck and included a portrait of the actress Lillie Langtry. Another, Yachting on the Mediterranean (1896), set a record price for the artist, selling in 2005 for US$2,312,000.[2]
Late in life, he turned to religious subjects, but Stewart is best remembered for his Belle Époque society portraits and sensuous nudes.