Stitches in Time

The painting below (30 x 30 cm) is one of the last I started (and not yet finished) in Israel, while in the middle of taking the house apart, dismantling paintings, contemplating the mess, shipping out boxes, and running out of milk in the process. While I was busy packing up, I developed a rather serious addiction to knitting, which has been keeping me very busy and more quiet than usual. I have happily spent many many many hours completing stitches, one after the other, teaching myself how to do it, and it has been a very therapeutic process. Just what I needed in order to face the stress of moving. I just need to sort out some particular cables and finish up a sweater, and then maybe another, and then I will get back to the paints…

Self portrait with Milk and Mug, 30 x 30 cm, oil on panel, 2011

I also recently delivered 16 paintings to Bernard Gallery in Tel Aviv, a bright ground-floor gallery space on Ben Yehuda Street, run by an elegant and savvy couple from France with enthusiasm for figurative art. Introduced by an enthusiastic art curator I met in Israel, Bernard selected several of my “messy bedroom” paintings and self-portraits from Israel, and I will post details of upcoming exhibition details as soon as I have them. If you are interested in the purchase of any of the following pieces, feel free to contact Bernard Gallery directly.

Twilight violet and lime, 35 x 40 cm, 2010
Stage 2-4, Oil on paper, 2010, 50 x 70 cm
Self-portrait Study, 2010, oil on linen
Self-Portrait in Studio, Oil on paper on wood, 2009, 50 x 65 cm
Self portrait in floral blouse, 2010, oil on panel, 25 x 30 cm
Self portrait as Housewife with Cat, 2009, oil on linen, 70 x 50 cm
Salmon Lover, 2010. Oil on panel, 35 x 40 cm
Red Pareo, 2011. Oil on panel, 30 x 30 cm
Pink Sheets, 2010. Oil on panel, 35 x 40 cm
Pink Sheets Study, 2010. Oil on paper, 50 x 70 cm
Pink Pillow Study, 2010. Oil on paper, 50 x 70 cm
Memory Window, 2011. Oil on panel, 25 x 25 cm
Memory Painting with Cat, 2011. Oil on panel, 25 x 25 cm
Implosion, 2011. Oil on linen, 70 x 70 cm
Gabriele's Trumpet, 2009. Oil on linen, 40 x 60 cm
Bathroom Laundry, 2010, oil on paper, 50 x 70 cm

On the Easel

My time in Israel is winding down quickly, and with it also my painting time. I have much to look forward to, including the city of Naples, a new home, further academic studies, getting married, seeing my family, as well as all the Italian food and etiquette I have been missing like crazy. Sometimes it can be hard to concentrate on the painting with all the things that need attention right now. I thought I would show a couple of my works in progress in their various stages of starts and restarts before I may find it necessary to pack them away and resume them again later after moving.

The sink study above was a quick one, maybe about an hour at most. I plan on doing another one, but much more “finished,” because I like both quick/sketchy paintings and more defined ones for so many reasons. They have different things to see about the experience of perceiving the space and subject.

The square bedroom ones below instead already involve many days and hours overlapping. I don’t share these because I am happy with them now as they are as a whole, but rather to share the process of what I am thinking about as I paint them and look at them. They have parts or aspects that perhaps I am pleased with or make me think of new directions to take. In the square painting below, for example, I am happy with the back left corner of the room, particularly with the cat cage and Christmas tree sticking out of it. But in order for the painting to be more representative of reality, in my opinion, the painting needs numerous other “days” inside of it, and in particular I need to work on the colors. I may prefer to make this painting more black and white.

This second bedroom start has a bit more room in the approach to the bed, and I like that. I also like the cooler and softer colors, and I am wondering if I don’t want to make the painting a bit more blurry-eyed in general. Below this top surface are, I think, at least 6 or 7 other paintings I had started, though I am not sure I can remember what they were.

This last square painting had originally been an interior one, depicting my kitchen, at least until the washing machine/sidewalk scene outside my front door distracted me so much to the point that I needed to grab the closest, least precious, most suitably sized surface available. Hence, no more kitchen painting. The photo below shows the first half hour of frenzied changes, and it has been an absolute joy to be outdoors painting again. I do this a lot, painting over older paintings, and not because I am convinced that the new painting will be better, but because the new motif interests me more. Painting is a passionate enterprise, involving impulsive actions which can ultimately lead to a failure. But you must take a breath and jump all the same.

Fausto Pirandello

“Thanks, but I’ve got my own soap.”

Though relatively unknown today in the art school and painters circles, Fausto Pirandello (1899-1975) is one of my most favorite modern artists, and one I dutifully try to find every time I am in Italy. Pirandello’s approach into different layers of reality, while also focusing on the mundane behind closed doors, strikes deep chords in me. I also appreciate immensely his very original motifs and compositions, as well as his ongoing explorations of the figure and bathers. Son of the dramatist Luigi Pirandello, he trained with the sculptor Sigismondo Lipinsky between 1919 and 1920, before turning to painting. His early work was influenced by Armando Spadini and Felice Carena, colleagues of his, as well as by Gauguin, Kokoschka and van Gogh.

After a four year experience in Paris, where he mingled with some of the more important Italian-Parigian artists of the 1920s and 30s, Pirandello returned to Rome in 1931 and was welcomed into the Roman School, distinguishing himself by his originality and solitary research. Pirandello’s painting was oriented towards a realism of daily life, including the grimy and gritty, and expressing himself through dense painting. His intellectual vision translated the naturalistic facts, even those most brutal, in a sort of magical or poetic realism with archaic and metaphysical tones, adding spatial concerns stemming from cubism, tonalism and expressionistic painting, such as in La Scala, depicting a woman ascending and descending a staircase in a brothel, or in Pioggia D’Oro, with a foreshortened female figure falling out of a domestic scene.
During the 1950s, Pirandello develops his style further, reabsorbing cubist suggestions from Braque and Picasso, and living through the difficult phase afflicting Italian painting at that time, the split between realism and neocubism.  Through expressionistic deformations, he comes up with new solutions that sit between abstraction and figuration, with paintings that refer strongly towards a cubist synthesis in the tiling of colors and in compositions which slowly lose their narrative.


(La Scala – no better resolution found)

Pirandello exhibited widely during his career, including the Venice Biennale and the Rome Quadriennali, along with solo exhibitions at the Galleria della Cometa, Galleria del Secolo, and Galleria di Roma.  After the war, he held a solo exhibition at the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York in 1955, and the solo show “Nuova Pesa” (New Weight) in Rome in 1968.

Exhibition: Antonio Lopez Garcia


Photo of Lopez Garcia on the streets of Madrid by Oscar del Pozo

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If you have not yet been able to make it to Madrid this summer for the major retrospective of Antonio Lopez Garcia at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Museum makes it a little easier to cope with through an excellent online virtual tour through the exhibition. The virtual exhibition walks you through the ten rooms of Lopez’ development, thematically displayed in categories of Memory, Surroundings, Madrid, Gran Via, Trees, Nude, Characters, Interiors, Food, and Projects. The new six curvilinear perspective paintings of Gran Via, talked about in the El Pais 2010 interview below, are displayed in progress, as well as a recent landscape view of Madrid, his newest flower paintings and sculptures of his grandchildren. The phenomenol show opened on June 25 and will be up until September 25, 2011.

Closed on Mondays, the Museum recommends early booking to the limited entry exhibition.

You can buy the soft-cover Spanish exhibition catalogue here online, with 176 color illustrations and 45 black & white ones for about 30 euros, but only if you have a Tax/VAT #.


Some of the works on exhibition, and others I love looking at:

Settling In

So, here I am, settling into my new studio in the hew house. The walls are white, which is new for me considering the pink hue that was invading the walls in our former apartment. The window faces north, lucky me, and so two days ago I began this painting. It’s small, 30 by 30 cm, but I am happy that I managed to catch a better likeness this time. It can be tough, considering the size of the face is only about 2 cm across, but I liked the challenge. I may do a few more things to it yet, but over all I like how it captures some of the serenity I am feeling about being in a new place, with a new beginning.


(click for larger view)

All Mothers Are Masterpieces

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Artists in order that they appear: Berthe Morisot, Émile Friant, Mary Cassatt (3), George Bellows*, Arshile Gorky*, Gustave Caillebotte*, Camille Pissarro*, Carl Larsson, William Merritt Chase*, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec*, James Tissot, Alberto Giacometti*, Jean August Dominique Ingres*, Berthe Morisot, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Pablo Picasso*, Cecilia Beaux, Leon Jean Bazile Perrault, Anders Zorn*, Édouard Vuillard (2)*, Georges Seurat (2)*, Sir Thomas Lawrence*, James Abott McNeill Whistler*, Albrecht Durer*, Agnolo Bronzino, Camille Corot*, Rembrandt van Rijn(3)*, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Kunisada, Umberto Boccione*, Vincent Van Gogh*, Lucian Freud*, Charles Burchfield*, John Constable*, Christen Købke*, Édouard Manet*, Guido Reni*, Sophie Jodoin*, Marc Dalessio

* the artist’s mother

Happy Mothers Day!

The Coolest Way to Crack an Egg

With Easter and Passover approaching, eggs are appearing everywhere. I have also been working on a number of little quick sketch paintings on panel, which I will post soon. So today this got me to thinking about Duane Keiser, and I went over to visit his blog, A Painting a Day. To my great delight, I found the following video where he “cracks” an egg in the marvelous magic trick known as oil painting. I appreciate it greatly because it shows terrific skill in painting abstractly from observation while having “fun” at the same time.

Pathways to Landscape Exhibition – Curated by Dean Fisher

On a recent trip to the US, I had the enormous privilege to meet and talk at length with the artist Dean Fisher. An accomplished artist and gifted teacher based in Connecticut, Fisher recently put together “Pathways to Landscapes,” an extensive exhibition of landscape paintings by 25 contemporary artists at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. As a survey of this nature and size is so rare today, I recommend that you run over to visit it before it closes on Saturday, March 26.

Fisher received the request to curate an exhibition after being awarded the Best in Show at the 33rd Annual Juried Show of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. The artists he selected for inclusion – Robert Bauer, Frank Bruckmann, Hollis Dunlap, Nicholas Evans Cato, Eileen Eder, Dean Fisher, Josh Gaetjen, Christopher Gallego, Israel Hershberg, Diana Horowitz, Alex Kanevsky, Constance LaPalombara, Claire Maury-Curran, William Meddick, Lawrence Morelli, Artie Mihalopolous, Lenny Moskowitz, William Nathans, Josephine S. Robinson, Stuart Shils, E.M. Saniga, Jesus Villareal, Justin Weist, Brian Wendler and Jordan Wolfson – represent his consideration of some of the most cherished paintings available for collecting today: “If I were a collector, these are the works I would own.” Special lending arrangements were made with several galleries such as DFN Gallery, Forum Gallery, Steven Harvey Fine Arts Projects and Marlborough Gallery in New York, as well as with the artists to bring such an extensive exhibition to the public, including two or three representative works per artist. For those who cannot travel to Connecticut to see the exhibition, the following slideshow of photos provided by Fisher will offer a good peek.

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Dean Fisher is a contemporary classically oriented realist painter and has shown at Hirschl & Adler Gallery and Tatistcheff Gallery in New York. A highly respected teacher and exquisite painter of stillife, landscapes and the nude, he is a guild artist and instructor of painting at the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut and conducts workshops in Italy during the summer, including the new landscape painting program at the Certosa di Pontignano from August 27 – September 3, 2011, with details of the course yet to be announced.


Fisher, Beach-Windy Day


Fisher, Tide Pool

To view works of the selected artists in the exhibition, websites have been provided here when available:
Robert Bauer
Frank Bruckmann
Hollis Dunlap
Nicholas Evans Cato
Eileen Eder
Dean Fisher
Josh Gaetjen
Christopher Gallego
Israel Hershberg
Diana Horowitz
Alex Kanevsky
Constance LaPalombara
Claire Maury-Curran
William Meddick
Lawrence Morelli
Artie Mihalopolous
Lenny Moskowitz
William Nathans
Josephine S. Robinson
Stuart Shils
E.M. Saniga
Jesus Villareal
Justin Weist
Brian Wendler
Jordan Wolfson

Works in Progress


This painting is in about stage eight, with a ton of work to go, measuring 90 x 90 cm. My cat Visa is that grey thing that keeps showing up, and she is bound to show up a few more times, if I don’t edit her out!


These two window paintings I hesitatingly call “memory” paintings. I wake up often in the middle of the night, and on my way to the kitchen I pass by my studio door, where the window looks out on the building facing mine, lit up by some bizarre pink light.


This one is a sketch I did for the first painting, and I might take it in another direction, or leave much of it alone.


This one needs some serious work on the background, for I do see that horrible size of the door and wall treatment. Part of the problem is where I decided I needed to put the mirror: resting inside the ledge of the window, against a wire screen, difficult to ever get at the same angle twice – the wind one time knocked it over, but thankfully it did not break. So much is to be added yet and changed, but I found the size of the portrait a good challenge, with the panel measuring a total 40 x 60 cm.