Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Washington Monument Cherry Blossom Season" (oil on linen; 11" x 14")

click here to buy

The sun sets over the Washington Monument and cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. It is a breathtaking view. I used the pointillist technique for the cityscape, pretending that my dots are stardust. Aren't we all made of stardust after all?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

"Detail from Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks" (oil on stretched linen; 10" x 8")

click here to buy

The painting is the copy of a detail from "The Virgin of the Rocks" (before 1508) by the Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. The original hangs in the National Gallery in London. My painting shows the Archangel Uriel.

Leonardo da Vinci, "The Virgin of the Rocks" (London version)

The Virgin of the Rocks (sometimes the Madonna of the Rocks) is the name used for two paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, of the same subject, and of a composition which is identical except for several significant details. The version generally considered the prime version, that is the earlier of the two, hangs in The Louvre in Paris and the other in the National Gallery, London. The paintings are both nearly 2 metres (over 6 feet) high and are painted in oils.

Both paintings show the Madonna and Child Jesus with the infant John the Baptist and the Archangel Uriel, in a rocky setting which gives the paintings their usual name. The significant compositional differences are in the gaze and right hand of the angel.

I chose the London version for my week 3 exercise of the Let's Face It workshop", because I like its angel better and, more importantly, I have seen the huge painting in person. Several years ago, I sat in front of it for a long time, mesmerized and utterly enchanted. Here I am, copying Leonardo da Vinci's beautiful angel!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Detail from Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes" (oil on stretched linen; 10" x 8")

click here to buy

My New Year's Resolution is the pursuit of beauty. Well, I have been pursuing beauty in my paintings for many years, but I have a specific goal in mind. I started taking the year-long online workshop called "Let's Face It". It is run by Kara Bullock and 20 guest instructors; this year it focuses on portraiture throughout art history since the Renaissance. The students can follow the week's lesson step by step, or do whatever they wish to do, which suits better my independent style. Caravaggio was the second week's artist.

My painting is the copy of a detail from "Judith Beheading Holofernes" (c.1602) by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. The widow Judith first charms the Assyrian general Holofernes, then decapitates him in his tent. The painting was rediscovered in 1950 and is part of the collection of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Rome.

The deuterocanonical Book of Judith tells how Judith served her people by seducing and pleasuring Holofernes, the Assyrian General. Judith gets Holofernes drunk, then seizes her sword and slays him: "Approaching to his bed, she took hold of the hair of his head." (Judith, 13:7-8).

Caravaggio's approach was, typically, to choose the moment of greatest dramatic impact, the moment of the decapitation itself. The figures are set out in a shallow stage, theatrically lit from the side, isolated against the inky, black background. Judith and her maid Abra stand to the right, partially over Holofernes, who is vulnerable on his back.

The faces of the three characters demonstrate his mastery of emotion, Judith in particular showing in her face a mix of determination and repulsion. Artemisia Gentileschi and others were deeply influenced by this work and even surpassed Caravaggio's physical realism, but it has been argued that none matched his capture of Judith's psychological ambivalence.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Alice Floating Down the Rabbit Hole" (mixed media on paper; 12" x 9")

click here to buy

Recently I reread Alice's stories and fell in love with her. Alice is a plucky little girl who doesn't get fazed by the bizzare adventures that are thrust upon her. After checking first the famous black-and-white illustrations by Sir John Tenniel are out of copyright, I decided to render some of my favorite illustrations in color.

Alice follows a white rabbit into the rabbit hole. As she slowly floats down, she has time to look around.: "Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? 'I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud." This is the event that starts off Alice's strange adventures in Wonderland!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"French Dinner Table with Rose Bouquet" (oil on linen; 12 x 12")

click here to buy

The table is set for dinner at a shaded courtyard of a farmhouse in Provence, France. A bouquet of pink and white roses, wine glasses, blue plates, and silverware with yellow handles on crisp white linen table cloth beckon us to join in a laughter-filled family time.

Last fall, I took an online painting workshop with Dreama Perry. It took a while to finish the "homework" and I got around to paint "French Dinner Table" only at the beginning of 2018. It is a happy, sunny painting, auspicious as the first painting of the year!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

"Kiss Me Twice" (oil on linen; 4" x 5") sold


Two Hershey's Kisses--dark and milk chocolates--beckon you. Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me twice!

"White Peony Glory" (oil on stretched canvas; 12" x 12") sold


This painting was forced on me. I didn't want to paint it. I protested that it was impossible. But my client insisted that it should and could be done. So, willy nilly, I transformed a rectangular painting in watercolor into a square one in oil. I rather like the result. How about you?

"White Peony Rhapsody" (watercolor on paper; 7" x 10")

"Winston Churchill Statue Faces off the Big Ben" (oil on stretched canvas; 14" x 11") sold


The bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill faces off the Big Ben and British Parliament Buildings on the Parliament Square in London against the sunset sky. I thought that the picture was a fantastic summation of his political life, much of which was spent in the House of Commons before and during World War Two. Even my loose rendition of the statue eloquently captures the resolute character of the statesman.