This small painting is the beginning of a new series. Habana, Cuba.
The best of 2016
2016 was an excellent year for me. Despite the craziness on the planet I painted circa 350 paintings. Read and listened to 83 audio books. Sculpted and decorated my manga eyes. And painted those four mannequins that pinched a nerve in my back.
In April I had a show with Carré d’artistes in their Saint Germain gallery with excellent sales. Then in November my paintings were at the Luxembourg Art Fair.
In August I began painting landscapes of the American Southwest. These paintings sell faster than I can make them.
For some time I’d wanted to liberate my technique, to go abstract. Painting the red rock formations and big skies , was the ticket.
It’s true that to master your craft you need to produce a massive quantity of work and to stay concentrated.
The result is this final painting for 2016. Up close the details are abstract, the use of the palette knife apparent. Step back and it blends beautifully. It looks hyper-real.
Marianne at La Republique
The Monument à la République was inaugurated in 1883. Léopold Morice is the sculptor.
The bronze on the pedestal is Marianne. She is an allegorical figure of the French republic.
Three stone female figures, also allegorical, flank the pedestal. They are La Liberté, L’Égalité et de La Fraternité. A bronze lion symbolizing universal suffrage stands at Marianne’s feet.
A bust of Marianne is present in every state school. Marianne wears a phrygian cap.
I think this fact is interesting because phrygian was somewhere in the middle east. The bonnet is considered to be of anatolian origin. This hat became a symbol during the revolution because it represents the pursuit of freedom. Emancipated Roman slaves wore a similar hat.
Michel-Eugéne Chevreul and Color
As the planet spins off axis in a flurry of bad news I’ve decided to tackle the subject of color.
I wanted to write about Eugéne Chevreul’s influence on the French Impressionists for my Masters in painting. But I never got a M.A. Oh, the shame. But who the hell wants to contract twenty thousands bucks in loans to get a M.A. in painting? Not me. At the time I lived in the U.S.A. and I didn’t know the Eurpoean universities were basically free.
Color in artworks has changed drastically since paeleolithic France. Back then some dude burnt a stick in a fire and drew a horse on the wall of a cave. Dude then colored it in with different colored rocks, kind of like drawing on a chalk board. Amazingly, artists still use charcoal to draw on paper. Others draw on subterranean walls, like Parisian catacombs, but with spray paints.
There are more than 180 paleolithic decorated caves in France. That’s seriously old. France has been through a few wars since then. Even a revolution. I guess there is a reason the government took all the guns away from a bellicose population and now spends money on advancing knowledge in science and the arts.
One of the most important scientists in French history is the chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul. From the photos of him, let’s say bad hair day didn’t matter.
Among other scientific writings Chevreul penned The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors (and their application to the arts) ©1987 based on the first English edition of 1854 as translated from the first French edtion of 1839. Here is the title in French.
De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs et de l’assortiment des objets colorés considéré d’après cette loi dans ses rapports avec la peinture, les tapisseries des Gobelins, les tapisseries de Beauvais, pour meubles, les tapis, la mosaïque, les vitraux colorés, l’impression des étoffes, l’imprimerie, l’enluminure, la décoration des édifices, l’habillement et l’horticulture.
In 1992 I wanted this book so badly after I saw it at an artist’s flat in Florence but it wasn’t available in any book stores and Amazon was yet to be invented, so was the internet. My lovely mother knew how to obtain it. She wrote to Shiffler Publishing Ltd. and I sent it across the Atlantic ocean.
M.E. Chevreul revolutionized the use of color. I’ll tell you more about that in the next post.
After every exhibition there is always a downtime.
I can hardly believe a month has passed since my signing, the dédicace. It was a fantastic success.A big turnout. Lots of paintings sold. A big thank you Aurélia, Edith and Charlotte for your engagement.
This mannequin is one of the things I’ve worked on in the last four weeks. It’s from a painting I made of Place Colette. The building is the Hotel du Louvre. It’s lit from below with red lights. It’s at the end of Avenue de l’Opéra.
Lots of Parisian buildings are lit from below, often with white lights. During the Christmas season some buildings are illuminated by changing lights. It’s hypnotic to watch the colors of the rainbow flow over the façades of the Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché.
I’m also working on sculpture but I won’t post any photos until the project is finished. It’s top secret. Something completely different.