6″x6″ (15×15 cm) – oil on aluminum panel
… isn’t Gold.
Of course this is the main idea behind the title and the painting.
Sometime when I am long gone, and my paintings would command exorbitant prices, and museums would be fighting for them (dreams are allowed 🙂 !!), then art historians will be scratching their heads about what did I mean by this image and coming up with their usual nonsense. To spare them this awful fate, I’ll explain :).
This is a Venetian carnival mask called Medico Della Peste, translated Plaque Doctor. Back then in medieval time they began to realize that medics needs some kind of protection when attending the sick, and a mask of this configuration was used cover a face. A scary thought! Centuries later it transformed into a carnival mask, if a little macabre.
The draped dark silk and upturned goblets hopefully add to the dark carnival mood. But there is more to this fabric, this is a blue scarf that I wore as a teenager back in Russia in Kishinev. God only knows how I still have it decades later and continents away, but I do. So when I wanted blue for color composition, I remembered it. Almost every painting I paint has a hidden meaning or a little joke that I keep for myself, for my private entertainment and chuckle. This blue scarf is a reference to my own self in a different time and a different world, when I knew frighteningly little and possibilities were so big.
All That Glitters is the 4th painting for my series Phantasmagoria.
6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord – SOLD
The second painting for the second show I am painting for. This one in California.
But let me tell you a story. I have this church down the block, I am sure many of you have heard of it by now. Every year they have a rummage sale, and every year I go to hunt for props, and every time I hunt I score. A winning proposition :).
This year I went again and found a basket-full of mismachted bone china, bent silver spoons, a large shell with an ocean sound inside, and a set of 16 prints by Toulouse-Lautrec. Every object was a dollar or two. The fun started at earnest when I went to pay for my loot. The nice elderly gentleman was a singularly wrong person to manage the cash box! He decided to do the sums in his head and kept making mistakes in my favor. By the time he had 9, I had 11 and corrected him… by the time he had 14, I had 16 and corrected him again. All the while he wanted to talk about Lautrec, American realism, painting in general, and modeling for life sessions. In the end he got 18. I no longer believed him and gave him 20 – God bless!! 🙂
Here I have for you the three cups from the rummage sale… Plus the two dollars difference in our sums.
6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord
The second painting for Buck County 6 x 6 show later this fall. Two down – one more to paint. I had fun with new textures I had to play with – leather, suede and velvet.
Being curious I Googled John McCormack and The Trumpeter and to my delight found a recording – from a vinyl – of John McCormack singing The Trumpeter in 1915 – 98 years ago. It is so good – it gives me goosebumps!
8″ x 8″ (20 x 20 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission
This was one of those very rare paintings that practically painted itself. It happens sometimes, not too often, and I wonder what is the reason for this. This is the second painting that did this: I am working on it… mixing and painting…, and suddenly it informs me – I think I am done, thanks! 🙂
I absolutely love my patron for whom this is painted. C.B. contacted me through my online gallery and basically said some variation of the following: I like your style, why won’t you paint something you like and I will buy it. I nearly fainted – the best art patron in the world!
Painting this was smooth and logical and presented very few problems. I did have a little bit of a fuss with strawberries – I did not nail the color right away, and the texture was a challenge. It was an interesting problem to paint graphite and pen drawing in oil. I had fun with that.
The only difficulty I had was coming up with a title. Polling family members yielded several possibles, none of which had a WOW factor. I did a crowd-sourcing thing on Facebook (again), and what a great idea it was – I got a dozen excellent titles. Combining ideas from 3 or 4 different people I came up with this – What I Drew Last Summer.
And here’s the sketch that got painted in this composition. I drew this in cafe Metropolis while drinking tea and sketching with my friend Don Colley.
8″ x 10″ (20 x 25 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission
Finished it today. At least signed it! Showed it to the client and she likes it! What a great thing! It is now drying, then will get oiled out and studied with great precision – I already see two spots that need some touching up, – then varnish and done.
This was probably the most challenging painting I ever attempted. Was even harder than the crinkled paper! Are you seeing all these ellipses? Those who are curious enough can count them and let me know.
The client asked me – How can you stand to let your pictures go? After all you put into them?
That’s a great question! I remember time when it was hard to part with artwork I made, but it changed. Some time around 2011 I started thinking of myself as a professional artist. This is what professionals do – we make artwork and we let it go into the world. That is if we are so lucky that the world wants to take our works.
And yet they never leave completely, do they, these sold paintings, commissioned images, pieces of our imagination? I may be working on a passage and it would be a slow going, and then I’d remember – I’ve done this in Fiddlesticks or in Waiting for Adam. I learned something invaluable in every painting. And then there’s another thing… I flew over France on my way to Israel a couple of months ago and I thought: one of my paintings is down there in Normandy. And I heard some news from Fresno CA the other day and thought: ah yes one of my paintings is there in Fresno – how about it…
So yes, I am happy to let them go. And to be paid for them too.