This summer I fell in love with the pink roses in my garden. They were full and burgeoning with pink beauty. I took photos of them, delighted in them, and drew them. It was my intention to paint them. But suddenly, I found the painting in my head was of a beautiful woman, very high fashion, in a glorious hat with my roses blooming from her hat. So that's what I painted. Hope you like it!
We have been going up to Pleasant Valley, New York, for years. My husband's grandfather used to own a farm on Malone Road (named after him). My husband was nostalgic for his roots, but I soon discovered there were goldfinches on Malone Road! They would appear in August and fill the trees. One minute there would be nothing, and then a flash of gold. Nothing thrilled me more. I love birds, as you know if you"ve looked at my paintings, and goldfinches have always been particularly magical to me. They symbolize happiness, and unexpected beauty. Recently, I looked out my window and a darling little goldfinch was at the feeder (the seed that attracts them is nyger). My heart was filled with joy and this painting literally popped into my head.
Mount Katahdin, Autumn"
Marsden Hartley was a very original American artist (1877-1943). This exhibit was close to his soul, the landscapes of his native Maine. By turns, these landscapes, lyrical, bold and haunting, allowed him to express his unique intimacy with the mountains, water and rocks of Maine, through the seasons (autumn being the most vibrant and powerful).
Some of the paintings are tapestries of rich color, such as "Summer", (1908, Oil), and "Carnival of Autumn" (1908, Oil).
Some are simple and strong, painted in bold thick color such as "Mount Katahdin, Autumn (Oil) and "Smelt Brook Falls," (Oil, 1937), which has a rich glaze. "An Evening Mountainscape" perfectly captures peace and tranquility.
But Hartley went through a dark period when he was living in New York City. There, he painted the mountains of Maine from his imagination. And this series of paintings, "Paysages" (Dark Landscapes) done in 1924, are a bit scary. In depressing grays and blacks, the brooding mountains show the harsher side of nature.
Hartley was influenced by Winslow Homer and Hokusai and painted "The Wave" in several versions. I found these to be flat, static and lacking in the strong vision revealed in his mountain landscapes. Even when painting a French mountain, "Mount Sainte Victoire" (1927, Oil) he captures a happy exhuberance in bright brilliant color. Obviously, mountains were his métier. the show will remain on view at the Met Breuer through June 18, 2017.
MATISSE AND AMERICAN ART
This is the first comprehensive exhibit to examine Matisse's influence on American artists from 1907 to the present. There are 19 works by Matisse and 44 works by American artists.
Matisse was famous for his nudes, his spare, fluent lines, love of texture and design and bold color. It is fascinating what a wide net his influence cast. Let me say from the get go that the best paintings and drawings in the show are those by the master himself. Nudes in charcoal with perfect lines. "Pianist with Checker Players", 1924, an oil painting with all the detail and love of textiles Matisse is so famous for. The well known, "Yellow Odalisque", 1937, with the strange large hands. What I love best about Matisse is his playfulness.
As for his followers, the net is wide. Stand outs for me, include, Walt Kuhn's "Portrait of Vera", with its bold color and strong lines. Walter Pach, whose oil, "Girls Bathing", has a very Matisselike feel, joyful with colorful flat female bodies romping in the water. "Spring in Central Park", by William Zorch, with deep blue, outlining two nude lovers with flowers springing all around. A real stand out is Andy Warhol's "Fabulous Woman", synthetic paint and silkscreen inks on canvas, 1985. He perfectly channels Matisse with his fluid lines, and yet, Warhol's own unique vision shines through. He pays homage to the strange large hands.
In some cases, the kinship to Matisse is a stretch, such as George Segal's sculpture, "Girl On A Chair." The only parallel drawn is that it is a nude and the chair is bright red. On the other hand, Patrick Bruce was Matisse's student. And his painting of flowers in a pot from 1911, is a direct imitation of his teacher. And less remarkable for that fact.
There is an adjacent exhibit by Janet Taylor Pickett, "The Matisse Series, in which she expresses, through collage and water color, her admiration for Matisse while incorporating her own African American cultural references.
This show is at the Montclair Art Museum, February 5-June 18, 2017. Let me add that it is a wonderful museum with a Native American Gallery and a permanent collection of the mystical works of George Inness, who lived in Montclair at one time.
I love egrets let me count the ways: they have so much dignity, they are happy to be alone, they know what they like (shallow wetlands, cloudy skies, fish) and they go for it. And they are so beautiful, whether just standing there, or flying high in the sky. I go to the wetlands bird sanctuary in Cape May, New Jersey every summer. I trek in the hot sun, binoculars and camera in hand. Sometimes I have to glimpse them from afar, but sometimes they let me get up close and personal. This great white egret actually let me watch him as he plucked his lunch out of the water. He was majestic and beautifully feathered, but also, humorous with that little silver fish dangling from his mouth. He seemed to pose for his portrait. Hope he likes it.
The Neue Galerie is one of my favorite museums, because it is not like a museum. From the moment you enter and ascend the twisting circular staircase you are not in a stuffy institution, but in an elegant Fifth Avenue home. There is something so intimate about the space, and even when crowded, you can get up close and personal and really see the paintings.
I love Expressionism and come to the museum often to see the works of Klimt and Schiele. This was a special exhibition of the art of Alexei Jawlensky (1864-1941). He was Russian and went to Munich where he was influenced by the Expressionists.
But he kept his own individuality and is actually quite different. His work involves bold blocks of color, and is extremely simple. No ornate details. Portraits of plaintive faces, including "the Savior", as well as landscapes that are charming in their effect, as if one were viewing a garden or mountain scene in a dream. Sometimes, more hinted at than actualized, blurry and unfocused.
He used strong palette knife strokes. Sometimes, I found some of his more abstract blocks of color too simple! But I loved his childlike flowers, and the faces of exotic women, from Spain and Asia. Definitely a show worth seeing. And to cap it off, there is nothing more elegant and old world than the Café Sabarsky.
I was totally inspired by the movie, LA LA LAND, which, among other things, is visually spectacular. Falling in love is expressed visually in the movie without words. Trying to do the same thing in this painting, as my husband, Joe and I approach our 53rd Anniversary. This painting puts our younger selves into that memorable La La Land scene in the Planetarium, plus I've added a magical moon. I used Acrylic to get across the Technicolor of my hometown, LA sky. l highly recommend the movie which is a love letter to LA, and a great romantic musical in the classical sense while breaking new ground in an innovative contemporary way.
,Dazzled is the only word to describe the dahlias I saw at Locust Grove Garden, in Poughkeepsie. Locust Grove is the former estate of Samuel Morse the man who invented the telegraph. Besides tapping his fingers, he truly tapped on his shovel and created sumptuous gardens that live on, 144 years after he died, thanks to master gardeners. I love dahlias, but have never seen such huge and brilliantly colored dahlias before. They popped before the eyes like fireworks! There were people painting in the garden that day. Believe it or not none of them even dared to paint the dahlias! Instead they aimed at a small house behind the garden. Were they crazy!
This Tuxedo Cat, whose name is Sylvester, is becoming my muse, this is my third painting of him (see Cats). He is so serene and Buddhistic as he finds that perfect spot of sun in our backyard. Like me he loves the sun, sky and flowers, and like me he respects the birds who feed on the wild berry bush over his head. He is too busy dreaming to chase after them (honest!). Like all males, he looks good in a tuxedo. I hope I have captured his special quality of inner peace.
I am totally inspired by my garden! I see each flower as a living being with its own personality. This gladiola spoke to me. I felt it was beckoning to me and smiling. And let's face it. The gardener is in a way the mother who gave birth to the flower. I did plant the bulbs. This gladiola was planted a few years ago. And has come back. But each time it is as if it is a new wondrous flower I am seeing. I tried to capture the magnificent color, a crimson/red with acrylic. I like to get up close and personal, like Georgia O'Keefe, because I believe every flower has a face.