Saturday, August 29, 2009

"A good artist borrows, a great artist steals." - Picasso

Yep, I am going here again! It's Saturday afternoon and I just got my new copy of The Artist's Magazine. Eagerly, I open to the first page and I see a letter from Cynthia (CJ) Rider, president of an artists' league. The letter is titled "On Competitions: What's Ethical?"* Then she goes on to say
" .....copying the masters [is] not for creating original art."
I could really offer hundreds of examples, but I am only offering one for the sake of brevity. The first painting shown here is Titian's, Venus Of Urbino c. 1538. The second painting is Manet's Olympia c. 1863. I wonder if Ms. Rider would not allow Manet to enter Olympia into one of her juried competitions due to lack of originality?

It has been a long held tradition among artists to recreate over and over the artwork of those they admire. They all did this, Michelangelo, Raphael, Manet, Picasso, Monet I could go on and on! Without this recreation we wouldn't have Icons!

I do understand that we have to be careful to respect other artist's ability to make a living and to be fresh with our creativity. However, I am really surprised that in our world of lawsuits, fear and greed that creativity hasn't been stifled all together.

Ms. Rider furthered her argument by stating that "...if I change a few or many words in a Shakespearian sonnet, it will never make it mine." [sic] Okay I have only one thing to say to that --West Side Story, baby!

We are artists and we are creative but we do need inspiration. God doesn't always talk to us directly, usually he speaks to us through other people.

Alice Cooper mentioned the other night on his radio show that he was once asked why he didn't sue the Beastie Boys for using his music. He said (to paraphrase) " is for everyone man. If they could use it I was happy."

I really want to hear your opinions on this. Later on I will post a painting I have been working on which really relates to this issue.....

Looking forward to your comments.

*(The Artist's Magazine, July/August 2009 pp. 8 -10)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The pose of these two women was inspired by the dance of the three graces in Botticelli's "La Primavera."
I will probably revisit those three again and again because they are just so beautiful and if you pick apart the composition it is just genius. Full of triangles and what they call "golden sections." Following their postures was very similar to when I paint esoteric symbols like the Celtic Knots - over and under - and it becomes quite meditative and I am tired at the end.
The harmony between the women in his painting reminded me of friendship thus the title.
As usual I had a hard time capturing the blue in the photos. The background is warmer than shown here. To me blue is so important and always so difficult to translate on the internet. Ah well.......
Hope you all are having a great week.
Warmest wishes,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I am learning to see again........

Okay... The past couple of weeks I have been studying the masters. Following what these great artists have done really changes the way you think when you paint. I better understand color and form and also better understand my limitations! A few years ago when I was painting a lot I remember that I began to look around and see the world in brush strokes - everything looked beautiful to me; full of depth and composition. I then entered a time in my life where I just didn't have the time to paint and this seeing slowly ebbed away. When I had the time to think about it - I missed it - but usually I was too busy. I am so grateful that I am in a place now where I can develop my art.

Part of this development has been studying the masters. I am especially enamored with Botticelli's flowers. I was reading that in La Primavera (shown) "a total of five hundred species of plants have been identified in the painting, of which around a hundred and ninety bloom between March and May in the countryside and gardens of Florence." (The Great Masters of Italian Art, Elena Capretti) I realized that in order to paint that many flowers identifiably that man must have been paying attention and recognizing the beauty in his surroundings. Since studying Botticelli and many others, I have noticed that I am beginning to see the beauty around me again. Simple things. The way the leaves cast a shadow on the gas tank, the way my dog rests his head on his paw or the curve of a face. It feels good to see again!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

American Sybil

Well here are this week's listings on ebay . I have to say that I have really been trying to blog more often but I sometimes find it very difficult. Especially these last few weeks. I have really been bleeding into my art lately and I feel like words pale in comparison to the emotions I am able to express in my art work. I also feel "done" by Sunday.
I know that I love reading other blogs and peeking into other artist's creative processes so I will continue to try and share.
I hope you all enjoy and thank you so much for continuing to visit through my labored process!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My First Commissions

This week for the first time I did a painting on request. Actually I did two commissioned paintings this week.
I have gotten requests in the past to paint a particular subject or scene but I have always declined. I didn't have the confidence in myself as an artist to capture the "vision." There was added pressure for the Madonna because she is such an icon and I wanted to do her justice. I pushed myself harder than ever with these paintings because I really wanted them to be something my two new patrons would like. I am so glad I finally braved these endeavors. Firstly, it was so fulfilling because the painting became an interactive project. I didn't paint these paintings, we painted them. Secondly, it pushed me to really hone in on quality and technique. So here they are, Madonna And Child and In Flight