May 27, 2014

Art Renewal Center 2013-14 Salon

I am proud to report that A Moorish Man-at-Arms (blog post from September 15th) has won the distinction of inclusion as a finalist in the figurative category at the 2013 - 14 ARC Salon.  ART RENEWAL CENTER is the world's foremost advocate for appreciation of realist painting.

A hi-res image is featured on their website at: (please scroll halfway down the page). 

May 3, 2014

Black Hat Jack

Recently, I completed the book illustrations for Black Hat Jack: The True Life Adventures of Deadwood Dick as told by His Ownself, JOE R. LANSDALE's rip-roaring western novella published by Subterranean Press.


African-American Nat Love (aka Deadwood Dick) was a real life Texas plainsman.  In Black Hat Jack, master storyteller Lansdale introduces a new generation of readers to Nat's thrilling adventures as a buffalo soldier, hide-hunter, Indian fighter, cowboy and lawman in the Old West.

The adventures continue in Joe R. Lansdale's Paradise Sky to be published by Mulholland/ Little Brown in 2015.

December 18, 2013

The Arms and Farms Expedition / part 2

Art talk and sketching around the breakfast table at The Westborough Inn.  Topics ranged from the John Singer Sargent Watercolors show to Viking sagas to art education to Norman Rockwell to J.L.E. Meissonier to illustration then and now (from left to right): Chad Smith, Richard Scarpa, James Gurney, Ken Laager, Jeanette Gurney.
Bedouins, my personal favorite John Singer Sargent watercolor.

The breathaking Santa Maria della Salute

  We learned that the textural effect seen on roofs, stone and gravel patches in Simplon Pass Chalets was achieved by wax resist applied by drawing with a candle.
Garin Baker contemplates An Artist in His Studio one of several oils included in the exhibit.
James Gurney, Garin Baker and Jeanette Gurney discuss Sargent's masterful evocation of sunlight in Dolce Far Niente, another oil.  Photos courtesy of Greg Shea.

November 26, 2013

The Arms and Farms Expedition / part 1

Artists "armed and dangerous" in front of the Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester Massachusetts (from upper left):  Sean Murray, Ken Laager, Marc Holmes, Greg Shea, Richard Scarpa, Chad Smith, Garin Baker, Jeanette Gurney, Joe Salamida, John Caggiano
Last week I joined a remarkable group of fellow artists for the Arms and Farms Expedition to Massachusetts. Activities included seeing the John Singer Sargent Watercolors show at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, sketching at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester and Old Sturbridge Village, impromptu roundtable discussions of art and plenty of good fellowship.

 At work in the Higgins Armory Museum blocking-in my en grisaille study of a mounted crusader knight.

James Gurney produced this video of our sketching trip to the Armory Museum.

With grateful acknowledgement to the Higgins staff, I want to offer special thanks to Greg Shea, Senior Museum Preparator at Yale Center for British Art who coordinated this great event.
(Photographs courtesy of Greg Shea, Laurel Holmes and James Gurney)

November 12, 2013


Autumn Hillside   Franklin Carmichael
No season of the year stirs my blood like autumn.  I welcome it's bracing climate, so invigorating after months of summer's indolence.

Among all our senses however, it is the eyes that are most richly rewarded by this climax of nature's cycle.  The fiery colors of hardwood foliage here in the northeast are legendary, but at "the golden hour" when the setting sunlight raking through clear dry atmosphere transfigures those trees...

Albert Camus described it best:

L'automne est un deuxième printemps où chaque feuille est une fleur.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Here are more splendid celebrations of the fall season painted by Canada's Algonquin School impressionists -- also known as The Group of Seven
Guide's Home   Arthur Lismer

Serenity: Lake of the Woods   John Johnston

Falls of the Montreal River   J.E.H. MacDonald

October Gold   Franklin Carmichael

The Jack Pine   Tom Thomson

October 28, 2013


Perhaps the greatest pirate picture NOT painted by Howard Pyle or N.C. Wyeth is The Buccaneers by Frederick J. Waugh (1861-1940).  Heir to Winslow Homer's title as dean of American marine artists, Waugh's depictions of surging coastal seas are renowned for their brilliant design, lyrical beauty and majesty.  But rare are his figurative works, let alone grand action pictures like the hand-to-hand melée seen here.

The power of the painting (and it's obvious influence upon every filmmaker who ever staged a scene of pirates boarding an enemy ship) speaks for itself!


October 4, 2013

The Molly Maguire Memorial

A little known example of great contemporary public art stands in the tiny Molly Maguire Memorial Park at Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.  

The larger-than-lifesize bronze depicts a common man bound at the wrists and ankles, hooded for execution -- he is seconds away from death by hanging.  This haunting sculpture dedicated in 2010, is the work of American artist Zenos Frudakis.   

Between the years 1877 and 1879 twenty Irish American coal miners were sent to Pennsylvania's gallows for murders they allegedly commited as members of a trade-unionist terror cabal known as "The Molly Maguires".  

Modern scholarship however, has raised grave doubt that the legendary conspiracy ever existed (Execution of Molly Maguires Historical Marker).    

This work bears silent and somber witness to the memory of the region's anthracite coal miners who suffered terrible injustice in their struggle to win fair wages and decent working conditions.    

Zenos Frudakis website