Woman With a Fan
Whatever else I do, and whatever styles I attempt, I invariably return (stylistically, I mean) to Japan.
This graceful lady was inspired by the work of the Japanese woodblock master Hokusai (1760-1849). Hokusai began drawing at six; but as an old man he claimed that he had done nothing worthwhile until the age of seventy-five. He estimated that by the age of 150 he would finally be a mature artist; but he died a few years short of that. He is famous (and infamous) as the father of Japanese woodblock pornography.
The Mt. Fuji print behind the lady was borrowed from the master Hiroshige (1797-1858), several of whose woodblock images were recreated on canvas by Vincent Van Gogh.
In the words of W. S. Gilbert, I “long for all one sees / that’s Japanese.”
For me there is something instantly comforting in the simplicity and elegance of Japanese art, architecture and even cuisine; and there is more artistry in a single brushstroke from a Japanese master than in the most laborious artistic efforts of most of the rest of us.
This young Japanese lady is partly real and partly imaginary, the imaginary part being inspired (just a little) by the work of cartoonist Milt Caniff.
The Japanese character on the left is the Japanese symbol for perfection. At least, I am pretty sure that’s what it means! If it means PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE, I’d rather you didn’t tell me.
Recently I’ve created a number of pieces that have reminded me (usually after the fact) of late 19th Century advertising poster art. In this case, I decided to create such a piece in earnest.
What to advertise? It was an easy decision: Some of the best advertising of the era was created to promote absinthe, the infamous wormwood concoction that inspired and destroyed so many of the period’s greatest minds and talents; so I decided that I would create my own absinthe poster and hope for the best.
Here we see the green fairy (La Fee Verte herself) who lives in the absinthe, inspiring men to genius and madness. She’s a bit hefty for a fairy, but she belongs to a day when men preferred their beauties with a little extra fat on their bones; and I know a few ladies who would welcome a return of that fashion.
Les Gants Rouges
Here’s another faux Art Nouveau poster, this time advertising some imaginary cabaret production entitled “The Red Gloves.”
Though originally painted in digital oils, the image has been altered to suggest the distinctive colors and textures of 19th Century lithography.
Trisha as a Nude of the Baroque
Here is a decidedly horizontal study of the model in the style of the Baroque masters. The light (from a single source) is rich and golden; the shadows range from chocolate brown to almost black. This is perhaps the most emotionally intense of all painting styles.
Apres La Guerre
Stick figure bodies (and parts thereof) lay strewn across a ravaged landscape, red with flames. The title is meant in irony, as it is “after the war” only for those who are dead.
This piece is intentionally random in design and crudely executed: Not every picture is supposed to be pretty.