Twenty Years Later

The American Cowboy (20 Years Later)

I am enjoying drawing and painting in the tradition of the old masters.  Here is a study in oil of the same cowboy in my previous post, except that here I painted him 20 years later.  Being from Arizona, I am going back to my own roots and painting "American" themes from the old west.    While I am applying the technique of the old European masters, these studies of the American Cowboy is actually the first time I've ever painted iconic American themes. This cowboy reminds me of Ernest Hemingway.  I can totally relate to Hemingway because Hemingway was also an American in Paris.  When I was young in my twenties I was reading his "Paris: A Moveable Feast" and tracing all the places he had been while reading from the exact spot he was describing. Being a young American from Arizona in Paris was one the great experiences of my youth and it continues to influence me to this day.


The Cowboy (An Study in Oil)

"The Cowboy" A Study in Oil

Thanks for all your interest.  As for what I'm working on right now.  I strongly believe  I can never have enough time spending on improving my drawing skills.  Right now I am actually working on drawing and sketching with oil.  So I did a portrait of a Cowboy in my regular "Expressionist" style, but the paint is still wet.  Before I finish it, I decided to spend this week on a series of studies where I am simply focusing on drawing and sketching this iconic image of a cowboy in basic tones without any other colors, much like the method of the old masters.  I was really at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and was so impressed by the artists from the "Realist School".  They are my absolute favorites!


Inspiration from Life

"Oliver on Bed"

People are always asking me what inspired my paintings.  Nine times out of 10, they are inspired from my life.  For example, I was just shopping in an antique store in Maine and bought this bed for my dog Oliver.  Oliver has quite a following.  In fact, he should probably have his own website.  In the meantime, however,  he has been posing for me on his bed.  He's one of my favorite models. So this is now a great source of inspiration for an upcoming work of art.  So stay tuned!


Traveling Through History

"Mother and Child"
Oil on Canvas

I love to using my imagination to learn new techniques.  With this painting, for example, I started imagining what it would be like for a young artist in Italy traveling through different styles in the history of art from the Renaissance to Impressionism, Post Impressionist, Expressionism, the Brucke, Modern Art, and ending up with something contemporary that was completely fresh and new.  I chose the theme of mother and child because that is timeless.  As I'm creating for myself, I even made sure to keep the purity of primary colors not only to denote that oil painting is clearly contemporary, but to create a work of art where I am essentially just drawing with paint.

Party Time!

Party Time!
Yes, I admit it.  My dog is spoiled.  Yesterday, we threw a Birthday party to celebrate Oliver's 4th Birthday.  I'm posting these pictures because I hope they inspire you to go to your local animal shelter and adopt an animal in need of a loving family.  Trust me, it will literally change your life!  Animals give us so much joy and unconditional love. 

How can you resist this face?  
One of his Birthday gifts was a Giraffe Print Bed. You can find a dog just like Oliver in your local animal shelter.  Please consider bringing an animal like Oliver into your life!


The Birthday Boy!

The Birthday Boy
Oliver, the miniature dachshund I rescued from the shelter, was born on September 4th.  So we are celebrating his birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Oliver!  Woof!  Woof!
"Oliver's Portrait" Oil on Canvas


The Gentleman

"The Gentleman"
This painting is now hanging my Drawing Room which I also call in the Import/Export Gallery.  Essentially, it is my living room with very high ceilings set up as a gallery.  I just had a home full of house guests.  Oh God, you can only imagine how much I resented having to try to describe my work and their meanings... People always ask me to describe the meaning of my works.  Honestly, I do not like to describe my own work because then there would be no need to create art.  Besides, visual intelligence is a primordial sense we have as humans. Why should I have to interfere with someone's interpretation or personal experience?   I prefer that people look at the painting and have a dialogue with their own senses.  I find that words actually can defeat the purpose of appreciating a work of art, and I run the risk of shutting off the communication of the emotional intelligence in the visual cortex of the human mind.  

As an artist, I need to keep an open channel of mystery, intrigue, discovery, and sense of wonder in the process of creating a work of art.  For this reason, when I paint I find the experience of creating art most rewarding when I do not think at all.  In fact, I prefer to remove my own ego altogether and align myself with the creative life force that exists in something much greater than myself.  For me, painting is a "spiritual" process.  How does one describe spirit?  All I know is that a life force exists.  For me, this life force is much like electricity exists and I simply must turn on the switch for the light to appear to illuminate and brighten the room and my ability to see where there was once darkness.   That said, once the work is complete that does not mean there cannot be interpretations.  In fact, I enjoy it immensely when the painting finally speaks to me and reveals what I believe to be the meaning and the original source of inspiration.  I find that absolutely fascinating!  It only enriches not my life personally but also my faith in the wonders of creative life force. Even then, however, they are only my interpretations.  When looking at the painting, someone else may never have this depth of personal experience.

Only when the work is complete, do I dare to even begin to allow myself the freedom to contemplate and begin the process of interpretation in terms of words to others.  Naturally, every artist is different.  This is my personal truth.  I know many artists copy exactly what they see.  That never works for me.  My process is the exact opposite.  Again I strive to relinquish my own ego to the creative spirit and just let nature take its course. 

Now that this particular work is complete, however, suffice it to say, I believe this abstract self portrait embodies my feelings rendered with purity; that's why it is created with primary colors.  I believe it represents not only the influence of my experience and time in France, particularly the landscape from my time in the countryside of Brittany, but also with the tradition of French artists known as the Fauves. I remember being impressed by the juxtaposition of finely dressed men in the French countryside with an old world sincerity I seldom see today.  It's hard to explain, but I saw myself very clearly in them.  Therefore, I do like that this work of art is conveyed in the abstract, as I believe the intention is not to necessarily represent me personally in terms of realism, but rather as an artistic metaphor, much like seeing one's reflection when looking into a mirror.  Again, this is only my own interpretation, but I believe this work of art is abstract because it functions as a visual depiction of the gentleness of manhood, an essence of the universal man as "The Gentleman".