Two years ago I began painting scenes of Frederick and other significant memorabilia on holiday ornaments. These ornaments have been very well received by the public and have become a valuable piece of one-of-a-kind artwork for many collectors. This year I’ve added additional scenes and have created some commission pieces of homes and pets.
The ornaments of Frederick landmarks as well as blank note cards of winter scenes in Frederick are available for sale at The Candy Kitchen, 52 N. Market St., Frederick, MD 21701 (301) 698-0442, and at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, 40 S. Carroll St. Frederick, MD 21701 (301) 698-0656. For special orders and commissions, please contact me through the SALES AND COMMISSIONS form on this web-site.
Right and Left, a 1909 painting by American artist Winslow Homer, is the copy I’m currently producing at the National Gallery of Art. It’s quite a change from the Impressionist gallery where I painted for the past three years. It is a substantially different style. Also, I am physically located in a different gallery within the museum, one in which quietness and tranquility rule so I can concentrate with fewer distractions although I miss the hustle and bustle of the Impressionist galleries.
Homer painted Right and Left a year before his death and is a culminating achievement of an extraordinary career. The title, provided by a viewer during the works first public showing, refers to the act of shooting the ducks successively with separate barrels of a shotgun. Scholars have suggested that the diving posture of the duck on the right indicates it is the one which has been hit by the hunter’s initial blast. Its mate is attempting to escape the second shot which has just been fired, the flash of the shotgun barely visible within the gray smoke at the middle left.
This painting makes you want to stare at it and wonder what thoughts were on Homer’s mind as he worked. Perhaps he wanted to convey an ambiguous message deliberately, in order to illustrate that crucial moment of transition between life and death. Not ever being interested in hunting, I find this painting a bit sad but it is magnificently painted and although void of the brilliant colors of the Impressionist, it is filled with beautiful paint strokes and emotion.
I will be at the National Gallery of Art, gallery #68, working on this piece every Tuesday until mid December when I expect to complete my copy of Right and Left.
The Frederick County Art Association will open its Member Exhibit with a reception this Saturday, January 4th from 3 to 5 pm at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, 40 S. Carroll Street in Frederick, Maryland. I have entered two works into the exhibit, “Young Dancer” and “Bridge at Argenteuil” after Monet. I hope to see many of my friends and family at the reception. It is also First Saturday in downtown Frederick which offers many activities to be enjoyed all over town, not to mention great restaurants and shopping. So bundle up, come out and enjoy the town as well as great art during the opening of several new exhibits at the Delaplaine.
On Tuesday, January 7th I will be putting the finishing touches on my copy of Vincent van Gogh “Roses” at the National Gallery of Art. I’m also very excited to see for the first time the NGA’s newest acquisition of van Gogh’s painting “Green Wheat Fields, Auvers,” which has not been seen publicly since 1966 and was painted months before the artist’s death in 1890. It hangs right next to “Roses” in gallery #83 so I will be able to admire it all day long.
On Tuesday, January 21st I will begin work on Paul Cezanne’s “Landscape near Paris” in the Impressionist gallery. This masterpiece is a bit different from the ones I’ve previously copied. It is a very loose oil painting done in thin washes almost like a watercolor. It will be a new challenge for me. I will keep you posted on the progress.
The Needlewoman by Diego Rodriquez de Silva y Velazquez (1566-1660), Spanish, was the second project attempted in the Copyist program. Because The Needlewoman was an unfinished portrait with little detail, the copying process took only 4 Tuesdays to complete, about 20 hours. The head of The Needlewoman was modeled in light and shadow and is the most fully realized part of this painting as opposed to the remainder of the painting including the arms, hands, etc., which are sketched in only briefly. The resulting painting displays the Velazquez facility to portray gesture and his ability to suggest the subject melding into the background. It is believed that The Needlewoman was not completed by Velazquez. The painting was found upon examination of the inventory in his home at the time of his death. The Needlewoman is very similar to several of his other works.
I participated in a workshop entitled “Painting in the Manner of Velazquez” with Robert Liberace in the summer of 2011 at the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia. I was intrigued by the Velazquez style and therefore welcomed the opportunity to copy an original at the National Gallery of Art. During the workshop I used authentic paints as were used in Velazquez’s time. I prepared my linen canvas according to conventions of the period. I felt transformed back in time. Many of Velazquez’s paintings were dark compared to other more colorful painters of his time. However, he put down paint beautifully, very thin paint, almost nothing at times and yet in chiaroscuro style achieved a luminosity that made his work glow.
I learned a great deal from the study of Velazquez. How much? You be the judge.