Monday, May 26, 2014
Honor Memorial Day
Over a million Americans have died in our nation’s wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for ALL of our Soldiers. For those who fought to win us our independence, to those who fought to unite us as one nation, to those who fought in wars that they didn’t agree with. I thank my bother, cousins, uncles, and all my family who have and still do defend our country.
Here are a few of my military paintings that I have created showing our soldiers in the trenches. Some of these oil paintings I created for books, but most were personal images that I created showing the faces of war and the brave decisions our soldiers make to survive.
I think General Logan said it the best when he started the first Memorial Day after the Civil War. Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
Friday, May 9, 2014
Last night I had an opportunity to sit and talk with Simon Schama. He currently teaches at Columbia University in New York City. He is a prolific writer and brilliant historian.
He just released his new book this year titled “The Story of the Jews” that was also made into a film series by PBS.
I was able to meet with Simon just before his lecture at the Des Moines Art Center. We talked about the artist Caravaggio as well as my son Caravaggio. We also discussed his series that he created called the “Power of Art” for PBS and his book “Rembrandt’s Eyes”. I strongly recommend reading these books and watching his PBS series.
What I came away with was inspiration beyond words. Simon is passionate, loud, ambitious and above all humble. He was so gracious, kind, warm, and intense. His knowledge of art history is unmatched. He has taught at Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford and after talking with him I know why.
I discussed my art and teaching with him and gave him a copy of my art book “I Before E except After Death” which made him smile. Schama understands art that doesn’t always fit the mold and for that I appreciate him even more.
His lecture later in the evening was about his latest book called “The Story of the Jews” and as Simon says, “It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds.”
Schama is a genius and will always be an inspiration to my work and me.
(I would also like to thank Eric Salmon who took the photo)
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Since I have been showing some of my old master studies I thought I would also show some of my scientific studies as well. As I have mentioned in several of my entries sketching is key to understanding an artist development both in ideas and in technique.
DaVinci of course knew this better than any other artist. We still have hundreds of his anatomical, medical, botany, and science drawings. They give us insight in our own lives and the world we live in. An artist commitment to science needs to be as strong as their commitment to art. If you understand the human form on all levels you will be able to render the form as you wish in your work.
As an instructor I am trying to make sure that my students have a firm foundation in the arts and sciences. They need to understand anatomy, botany, biology, physiology and parts of biophysics through art. Even if they don’t become medical illustrators they will have a starting place to develop characters for their own work in comics, movie concepts, or personal works.
These studies that I created are based off Netter’s medical illustrations. Frank Netter, M.D. (1906-1991) was one of the greatest artists in the field of medical illustration. Trained as a doctor, he began doing illustrations to clarify his understanding of anatomy. As he stated in his own words “I found that I could learn my subjects best by drawing," he said. His life work of more than 4,000 illustrations grew, “in response to the desires and requests of the medical profession.”
I used gouache, oil, and pen and ink to create these studies.