I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I also want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. This blog is a labor of love for me and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
I specifically want to thank Jim Gurney, Matthew Innis, Stapleton Kearns and Frank Ordaz, who according to my stats, send me the bulk of my readers; I am truly humbled by their generosity.
I also want to thank my lovely partner Diane who has supported all my artistic endeavors all these years; I couldn’t do it without her help.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon painting a demo in the Barrel Oak Gallery in Middleburg. If you haven’t been to the gallery yet and you are in Virginia please come on by, taste some fine Virginia Wine and view the art. I have 60 paintings on display.
I started with a small field sketch from autumn last year. The sketch was painted in one of my favorite areas of Virginia on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the town of Etlan.
The demo painting is 20×24 on linen panel. I followed the same procedure I do for most of my paintings by establishing a drawing with my brush and then blocking in the larger masses and refining those into smaller shapes . I’m careful to preserve the light and shadow in the painting and not let the details detract the big effect. The complete working time was about four hours.
8×10 field Study
Autumn near Etlan 20×24 oil on linen
Tomas John Thomson was born near Claremont Ontario Canada August 5, 1877. One of ten children he was raised in a rural area on a farm where Thomson developed a love of the outdoors and nature.
Thomson tried different jobs during his twenties apprenticing as a machinist for a short time , attending business school and working as a commercial artist. He tried to enlist for the Boer war in 1899 but was refused because of his health.
It was in 1909 after securing a job as an engraver for Grip LTD that he began to paint in his spare time. The other employees included Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Frank Charmichael and Fred Varley. These men would later form the Group of Seven along with AY Jackson, JEH Mac Donald and Lawren Harris. Though Thomson painted with these men he was never officially part of the Group of Seven.
Thomson continued to work as a commercial artist until 1913 when he decided to try and paint fulltime. He never realized his goal and found side work as a guide, fire fighter and ranger to help supplement his income. Thomson painted many outdoor sketches of the untamed northern wilderness. It is this raw and rugged aesthetic that he is best remembered for. His strong graphic design and bold, sometimes crude brushwork captured the spirit of the places he painted.
Thomson died unexpectedly, in 1917 at the age of 39, of a possible drowning accident. Since his death his art has come to stand as Canada’s first national art with little connection to Europe and its influences. The work of Thomson and the Group of Seven still has a powerful influence stylistically on Canada and its subsequent generations of artists who respond to its bold honesty.
The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson
David P. Silcox
Firefly Books 2003
The source of our art then is not in the achievements of other artists in other days and lands, although it has learned a great deal from these, our art is founded on a long and growing love and understanding of the North in an ever clearer experience of oneness with the informing spirit of the whole land and a strange brooding sense of Mother Nature fostering a new race and a new age… ~Lawren Harris
In my opinion, Joaquin Sorolla was one of the greatest painters of the early twentieth century. While I know many readers are familiar with his formal and finished works I thought it would be interesting to post some of his sketches or apuntes as they were called in Spanish. These were quick small notes used as reference for his larger works. Most were painted on cardboard and were 3×5 to 12×16 inches.
These are in the catalog from the show in Spain at the Sorolla Museum. The catalogue is in Spanish but contains 1283 images, most in color of these sketches as well as his larger finished works.
Catalogo de Pintura
Del Museo Sorolla
I have a workshop coming this year in Bernard, Maine on beautiful Mount Desert Island. Last time I was up there at Acadia Workshops I had so much fun I signed up to do it again. We had a great time and the weather was perfect. If you are interested in painting in one of the most stunning coastal areas of the country I hope you’ll consider signing up. The dates are September 17th
Please contact Gail Ribas at AcadiaWorkshops.
These are some of the paintings I did of the area.