Painting

Framed abstract artwork hanging on wall of home with grand piano, Christmas tree and additional artwork in distance.

Home Sweet Home

It’s always exciting to see where your creations end up! I just received this photo from a new collector. He told me that the painting greets him and his wife whenever they come home; it’s the first thing they see when they come through the door. For a painting called Domicilio (“home” in Italian), that’s

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Eight handmade wooden signs at roadside, advertising Painting Goats as well as various farm and craft goods.

Painting Goats?!

Driving along the Long Beach Peninsula in our beautiful state of Washington, I saw the above roadside sign, and had to pull an immediate U-turn. “Painting Goats” raises more questions than it answers. Yes, there really are goats who paint with real art materials on this art studio/working farm. We took a tour with one

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365 Days of Art: December 27 – NYC Mayor Doesn’t Understand Gorky’s Work

December 27, 1935 At the opening for a group exhibition that features one of Arshile Gorky’s sketches, for his airport mural, New York City Mayor Fiorella La Guardia meets Gorky, views his work, and tells a reporter: I am conservative in my art, as I am a progressive in my politics. That’s why I perhaps

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Las Meninas depicts members of the Spanish royal court serving the young princess, as well as the court painter.

365 Days of Art: December 24 – Las Meninas Saved from Fire; Over 500 Other Works Burned

December 24, 1734 Las Meninas by Velasquez is saved from a devastating fire by throwing it out the window. The fire at the Alcazar, where the Spanish royal family lives, originates in the rooms of French painter Jean Ranc. Alarm bells are mistaken for the call to Christmas Eve Mass, so the fire takes hold

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365 Days of Art: December 21 – Donors Raise $68M to Keep Painting in Philly

December 21, 2006 A group of Philadelphia donors raises $68,000,000 to keep the painting The Gross Clinic by favorite son Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia. A month earlier, the painting breaks auction records (highest price for an Eakins painting, and highest price for an American portrait) when it sells jointly to the National Gallery of Art

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Woman seated in front of misty landscape with mysterious smile and folded hands.

365 Days of Art: December 10 – Art Thief Tries to Negotiate Return of Mona Lisa

December 10, 1913 A man enters Geri’s antique shop in Florence, and after waiting for the other customers to leave, announces that he is in possession of the stolen Mona Lisa. The man gives his name as Leonardo Vincenzo, and says he has the painting in his hotel room. He explains that he has stolen

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365 Days of Art: November 29 – Mona Lisa Thief Contacts Antiques Dealer

November 29, 1913 Two years after the theft of the Mona Lisa, the thief contacts an antiques dealer named Alfredo Geri. Geri has innocently placed an ad in several Italian newspapers to advertise his business as “a buyer at good prices of art objects of every sort.” The thief, who signs the letter as “Leonardo,”

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Pollock stands on a large canvas unrolled in a field, among paint cans, crouching and concentrating, holding a paintbrush.

365 Days of Art: November 5 – Pollock Moves to Long Island, Obama Portrait Joins NYC Exhibition After Presidential Election

November 5, 1945 Jackson Pollock moves from New York City to Long Island, to a farmhouse in Springs. This is a shocking move at the time, since NYC is the center of the art world. The yard and barn where he keeps his studio become the backdrops for some of the most iconic Pollock moments:

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God creating Adam by the touch of a finger, from the Sistine Chapel.

365 Days of Art: October 31 – Completed Sistine Ceiling Unveiled, Egon Schiele Dies

October 31, 1512 On All Saints Eve, an important date on the Catholic calendar, exactly four years and four weeks after beginning the project, the entire Sistine Ceiling is unveiled for Pope Julius and 17 cardinals for evening vespers. Vasari, the art historian, writes: When the work was thrown open, the whole world could be

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365 Days of Art: October 10 – Leonardo Shows Three Paintings to Possible Patron, Watts Towers Kill Stress Test

October 10, 1517 Leonardo shows three of his paintings to the Cardinal of Aragon: Portrait of a Florentine Lady commissioned by Giuliano de’ Medici, Young St. John the Baptist, and St. Anne. October 10, 1959 Before the planned demolition of Watts Towers, a DIY art project created over 34 years by one man without the

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God creating Adam by the touch of a finger, from the Sistine Chapel.

365 Days of Art: October 4 – Following Extended Break, Michelangelo Resumes Work on Sistine Chapel

October 4, 1511 After a break of 14 months to accommodate a halfway unveiling ceremony as well as Michelangelo’s travel to Milan to get money from Pope Julius, Michelangelo and his team finish rebuilding their scaffolding and resume work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. After the opportunity to critique his work from the ground without

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Marble statue of David with his slingshot.

365 Days of Art: September 13 – Michelangelo Begins Carving, Childe Hassam Travels to Gloucester, Art Vandal Prepares to Attack, Boston MFA Exhibits Stolen Painting

September 13, 1501 About a month after signing the contract for his first commission, Michelangelo picks up his tools early in the morning and begins carving the statue of David. He will work on it for over two years. September 13, 1900 American Impressionist Childe Hassam arrives in Gloucester, Massachusetts to paint. The area is

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Picasso's Guernica painting is about the horrors of war.

365 Days of Art: September 10 – Picasso’s Guernica Returns to Spain After 42-Year Exile

September 10, 1981 Picasso’s anti-war mural, which he insists must never rest on Spanish soil until democracy is restored there, returns to Spain after 42 years. Although Picasso doesn’t live to see this happen (he dies in 1973), it seems like his posthumous salute to Spain’s democracy after decades of dictatorship. The painting is inspired

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Mary lovingly cradles Jesus' limp body in her lap.

365 Days of Art: August 27 – Michelangelo Takes 1st Commission, Krakatoa Colors Sky for The Scream, and Guernica is Displayed for 1st Time in US

Another big day in the history of art! August 27, 1498 At age 25, Michelangelo receives his first big commission: a statue of Mary and Jesus for a cardinal. He selects the Carrera marble himself from the quarry and carves the statue from that single piece of stone. The 450 ducats he’s paid make him

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A painting of Pope Julius II, wearing red robes and sitting ona gold throne.

365 Days of Art: August 18 – Pope Falls Ill; Michelangelo Fears Sistine Ceiling Won’t Be Finished

August 18, 1511 Michelangelo, halfway through painting the Sistine ceiling, fears for the future of his project when Pope Julius II, at age 67, comes down with a severe fever. It’s severe enough at his age that everyone assumes he’ll die. In an unstable time, with enemies circling, his strong personality and sheer force of

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Keith Haring painting of energetic stick figures in motion.

365 Days of Art: August 10 – Keith Haring Discusses AIDS Diagnosis

August 10, 1989 Rolling Stone publishes an interview with Keith Haring, in which he discusses his AIDS diagnosis vis a vis his career: No matter how long you work, it’s always going to end sometime. And there’s always going to be things left undone. And it wouldn’t matter if you lived until you were seventy-five.

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A portrait of John Salisbury, circa 1820.

365 Days of Art: July 9 – Portrait Subject Describes Sitting for Gilbert Stuart

July 9, 1823 Stephen Salisbury, from Worcester, Massachusetts (holla!) writes home to his son about having his portrait painted by Gilbert Stuart at Stuart’s studio in Boston: Your aunt &c. has prevailed on me to Sit before Stuart for a likeness, which he has accomplished to their Satisfaction, as well as my own.” His wife

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Richard Diebenkorn painting shows a person standing in the sun overlooking a coastal landscape.

365 Days of Art: June 29 – Richard Diebenkorn Describes Struggling with Watercolor

June 29, 1985 In an interview, Richard Diebenkorn (one of my favorite artists ever) describes reworking an old watercolor while he was in the Marines during WWII, stationed in Hawaii. He says he vowed he “was going to get it even if he had to make the black white and the white black.” I know,

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An abstract painting with light shapes against dark, hard-edged background shapes.

365 Days of Art: June 9 – Gorky’s Newark Airport Murals Unveiled; Said to Look Like Atlantic City Hangover!

June 9, 1937 Arshile Gorky’s murals for the Newark Airport murals are unveiled. A reporter at the opening reception collects bystanders’ reactions, and prints them in the Newark Ledger the next day. My favorite is that the artwork looks “like a hangover after an Atlantic City convention!” Poor Gorky. You know my heart goes out

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Michelangelo's painting of Adam, Eve, and the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

365 Days of Art: May 10 – Michelangelo Begins Work on Sistine Chapel Ceiling

May 10, 1508 Michelangelo writes this note to himself about the Sistine Chapel: On this day, May 10, I, Michelangelo, sculptor, have received on account from our Holy Lord Pope Julius II five-hundred papal ducats toward the painting of the ceiling of the papal Sistine Chapel, on which I am beginning work today. Today, we

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Brightly colored abstract painting on paper.

365 Days of Art: April 26 – Helen Frankenthaler Exhibition Opens at Andre Emmerich Gallery

April 26, 1990 Frankenthaler: Paintings on Paper opens at André Emmerich Gallery. Helen Frankenthaler loved paper since she was a child, and worked on paper exclusively at the end of her life, for at least a decade. Like many artists, she found working on paper to be easier while traveling, and when studio space was

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Paintings of figures on cave walls.

365 Days of Art: April 22 – Scientists Announce Discovery of World’s Oldest Oil Paintings

April 22, 2008 Scientists announce they have proved the world’s first-ever oil paintings were made in caves that were discovered behind, and after the destruction of, two giant statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Ironically, the dynamiting of the statues by the Taliban in 2001 revealed the caves and art behind them. Scientists discovered that paintings

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The winged, headless statue of Nike of Samothrace.

365 Days of Art: April 15 – Brunelleschi Dies, Da Vinci is Born, Nike of Samothrace is Unearthed, Impressionists Exhibit Together, and Thomas Hart Benton Reveals Himself to Be a Fool (Again)

April 15, 1446 Filippo Brunelleschi, father of Renaissance architecture and engineer of the Duomo, dies. April 15, 1452 Leonardo da Vinci is born. April 15, 1863 An excavation on the Greek island of Samothrace unearthed a winged female statue carved from white marble, known as the Nike of Samothrace, or Winged Victory of Samothrace. It’s

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A bold Lee Krasner painting with blocks of patterned lines.

365 Days of Art: April 11 – Lee Krasner Gives Interview, Recalls Mondrian

April 11, 1968 Lee Krasner gives an oral history interview with Dorothy Seckler and remembers a time when Piet Mondrian gave her a mini-critique. An excerpt of the interview: LEE KRASNER: Now I’ll tell you something Mondrian said to me about my painting which does interest me enormously. This was at the time that I

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A painting of two Tahitian women in a tropical location.

365 Days of Art: April 1 – “Evil” Gauguin Painting is Attacked

April 1, 2011 A museum visitor at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC leapt at Paul Gauguin’s painting, Two Tahitian Women, tried to tear it from the wall, and pummeled it with her fists while yelling that it was “evil.” Luckily, the painting was protected by plexiglass, and the woman was quickly apprehended.

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A trio of people sing or play piano together in the drawing room of a home.

365 Days of Art: March 18 – Thieves Steal 13 Works in Biggest Art Theft EVER

March 18, 1990The largest art robbery in history occurs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where 13 paintings valued at $100 million are stolen. Disguised as Boston police officers, the two thieves claimed to be responding to a call. In Boston, in the early morning hours of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, this sounded

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Two disembodies legs vulnerably meet at the knees, amid background of dripping and/or geometric shapes.

A Big Week

In one week recently, four of my paintings found lovely new homes. My portrait of Abe Lincoln (read more about its backstory here) now hangs above the desk of a businesswoman from Brooklyn. In Secret went to a home in Manhattan and, in a neat turn of events, surprised a visitor who had seen it

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The Abe Lincoln Debacle: Ethics Commission Rules It Was, In Fact, a “Debacle”

By popular demand, I’ll close out the saga of the Abe Lincoln paintings which were refused exhibition by the Slater Museum, against its own contest rules. The Ethics Commission of the City of Norwich convened hearings to hear testimony against defendant Vivian Zoe, Director of the Slater Museum, and sponsor of the contest to replace

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Maura McGurk’s First Solo Show: Pride and Prejudice, An Exhibition on Gay Bullying

Maura McGurk’s first solo exhibition will feature paintings created in response to gay bullying. McGurk began this body of work in fall of 2010, on the heels of several suicides by teenaged boys who had been bullied by classmates. These suicides were well-publicized due to their sheer number and proximity in time: five suicides in

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