Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Will Hunting

This is a painting by Edouard Leon Cortes entitled ”Marche aux fleurs” or ”Flower Market,” which sold for $40,600 at a Sotheby’s auction a few weeks ago. Here's the story:

EASTON, Md. - An old painting dropped off at a rural Maryland Goodwill store turned out to be a work by a French Impressionist. And now, thanks to the sharp eye of a store employee, the charitable organization is $40,000 richer.
The Parisian street scene, left at the store in March along with daily donations of pots, pans, old clock radios and other items, turned out to be a work by Edouard-Leon Cortes, probably from the early 20th century.
The painting — called "Marche aux fleurs" or "Flower Market" — was sold for $40,600 at a Sotheby’s auction a few weeks ago.
"It could have very easily ended up put in a pile, marked for $20," says Ursula Villar, marketing and development director for Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake Inc.
Store manager Terri Tonelli said employees asked her to look at the donated painting because they suspected it was valuable. She found the artist’s name on Google and discovered that Cortes was a notable French Impressionist whose work had sold at auction for prices near $60,000.
If the owner of the painting wants the money, he or she may be out of luck. Goodwill says it doesn’t keep track of donors. Donations, meanwhile, are gifts that are considered legal and final transactions.
© Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Édouard Leon Cortès (1882–1969 ) was A French impressionist artist of French and Spanish ancestry. He is known as "Le Poete Parisien de la Peinture" or "the Parisian Poet of Painting" because of his beautiful and diverse Paris cityscapes in a variety of weather and night settings.
His work also has had some strange things happen to it. Before this Goodwill event four of his paintings had been stolen!
Stolen Paintings On November 30, 2000, four paintings by Cortès were recovered in Kalispell, Montana,following an eight-month investigation conducted by the FBI's San Francisco Division. The recovered paintings were stolen in 1988 during a burglary at the Simic Gallery in Carmel, California. [2
FBI site

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Its A Small World

This water color measures~ 1 x 3"

These two acrylic paintings were sold to a
collector of Doll Houses. Each piece is about an
inch and half square.

"Coastal California"

This piece is 2x 3" painted in Acrylics (Sold)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Prime(ary) Colors

Here is a landscape that owes its glow to a good prime coat of cad red. Once dry I then applied a thin coat of violet and blue/violet to the sky, followed by top clouds of unbleached titanium and parchment. I allowed the red prime to peak thru the foreground greens and added some bits more as top dressing. I really liked the effect, like a warm summer evening.
The painting is 8x10 on canvas. Price on Requet.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Along the Towpath Trail

This is an acrylic painting, 16 x 20” inspired by scenery along the Bike Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. near the working farm in the Park, Szalay's Sweet Corn Farm.

The trail runs along the Ohio Canal towpath, through old farmlands and pastures from Cleveland to Akron and in this painting I wanted to give the viewer a sense of place and time. The path dips down before it slowly works its way back up hill to the old farmhouse.
I used warm sienna and umbers in the foreground and much cooler blues and greens in the distance to increase the sense of distance. A touch of red on the roof helps bring the eye all the way to the back of the painting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saving Mona Lisa

A recent edition of Smithsonian Magazine featured an article on the soldiers called the Monument Men who were charged with the task of finding and cataloguing works of art that had been lost or stolen during World War II. It’s a fascinating story of dedication and team work that saved some of Western Civilizations greatest cultural treasures.

Smithsonian magazine article, complete with vintage photos:

From the website that has been established to celebrate the achievement:

The “Monuments Men” were a group of approximately 345 men and women from thirteen nations who comprised the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section during World War II. Many were museum directors, curators, art historians, and educators. Together they worked to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II. In the last year of the war, they tracked, located, and ultimately returned more than 5 million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Their role in preserving cultural treasures was without precedent.

The Monuments Men remained in Europe for up to six years following the conclusion of fighting to oversee the complicated restitution of stolen works of art. During that time they played instrumental roles in rebuilding cultural life in the devastated countries of Europe by organizing temporary art exhibitions and musical concerts. Art and culture mattered greatly then – today – to the Monuments Men.

The Monument Men Foundation:

President Bush awards 2007 National Humanities Medal:


Lady with an Ermine
Leonardo da Vinci, 1485
Oil on wood panel
54 × 39 cm

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bronx Zoo Adventure

Back on Monday, June 2, 2008 I posted about my trip to the Cleveland Zoo under the title: "Ellies"
...and my sister Peggy reminded me about a trip we made to the Bronx Zoo on Easter Saturday 1983. The reason for the visit was to show my sons the exhibits at the children's zoo which my Dad had built. Dad was a carpenter in NYC for 40 years and worked on many famous projects but his work creating the artificial tree which houses the slide was by far, our favorite.

(Bronx Zoo - Dad's tree is the one with the big knothole)

The trip was even more memorable because when we got to the Zoo we accidentally left the car keys in the ignition and locked ourselves out! This was NOT a happy moment. But with the help of one of NYC's finest we got the car open.

Rather than be of help, I took photos of the event. In posting them today I was devastated to discover that the photo of the policeman with his lock opening tool is missing!

In the photo on the left you can see how happy and relieved we were!

And 22 years later more grandchildren visited the tree and the big bird's net:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Clothesline Art Show

Today was the last day of the the Hudson society of Artists Annual Clothesline Art Show. The show is a featured event at the Hudson June Days Festival and traditionally the artists offer matted, unframed work in a casual setting. For years the art work was hung on clotheslines but we recently moved inside and share a space with the Hudson Garden Club.
The show is a great tradition. Its an opportunity to buy greaat art at reaonable prices and visit with old friends at the same time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Exciting than Plein Aire!

In her recent book "Rule 53: Capturing Hippies, Spies, Politicians and Murderers in an American Courtroom" (Lake Claremont Press, April 2008) Andy Austin describes her experiences being a courtroom sketch artist.

She describes the trial of Bobby Seale…..
(who was) "brought into court strapped to a chair with an ace bandage around his head and a gag in his throat. However, he managed to tip the chair over whereupon all the defendants got up and started fighting with the marshals. Everybody is screaming and yelling, and I was supposed to be drawing this! In those days they were really casual about where they let people sit and we in the press sat right next to the defense table—we had little folding chairs and we could sit right there. The fighting was so intense that the chairs were knocked over and we had to get up and move out of the way, and it was really a mess."

As an artist I cannot imagine this workplace! As a former paralegal I have spent many hours in the courtroom and know the kinds of pressure and tension that exists there. And I couldn't begin to draw or paint in that environment. Years ago there was a funny skit on Saturday Night Live where the courtroom artist works away and when he finally reveals his sketch the Official Artist Rendering is .......a stick figure! That would be my result too.

June ACEOs

Most of my ACEOs this month have been painted in acrylics. Here's a slideshow of some of them:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Down by the Station

.........Well, it wasnt exactly early in the morning....But I was there and I enjoyed taking photos of the old station in Peninsula.

The single large pine tree beside the waiting area is so striking that I knew I had to paint it. I think I'm a better painter than videographer. The video clip of the train pulling into the station turned out to be about 2 seconds long. I have a problem seeing the LCD screen when its really sunny outside and I must have turned the camera off by mistake. I'll get better footage next time!

The painting I did is 8x10, acrylic, price on request:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Peninsula Art Academy

The Peninsula Art Academy is part artist co-op, part studio space and part classroom. I recently joined the group and enjoy volunteering there.

We had a of people come through yesterday, Father's Day. The Academy is next to the train station and whenever we hear the whistle blow on the old steam locomotive we know we'll soon have lots of visitors.

I have a small space where I display my paintings. I enjoy talking with the visitors while I paint. (A big hello to the nice family from Akron - I enjoyed meeting you!) Bob, the glassblower was in studio yesterday and taught us all about the art of making glass.

Link to the Peninsula Art Academy:
To see future events in the town of Peninsula click:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

One Woman Show

I am currently showing my work at the Silver Lake Country Club in Stow, Oh.

It was a strange feeling to see so many of my paintings hanging all together in the same room. Rather like walking into a party and finding all your old friends in the same place.
I have more than two dozen pieces hanging in the main rooms.

I hung the larger pieces on a 50' long wall and the smaller works are in the entrance and main lobby as well as a hallway to the club room. I found there were pieces that shared similar palettes and complemented each other well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pocket Art

Over the past 18 months I have devoted a lot of my painting time to the creation of Pocket Art. This term refers to work 2.5 x 3.5”. Painting in this very small format can be challenging but it is always rewarding. I have posted three of my ACEOs here - the first one is done in oils, the other two are acrylics.

ATCs Artist Trading Cards are small playing card sized works of art that were meant to be traded with other artists. During the Impressionist Age artists traded art cards among themselves to study each other's style and techniques. They also traded or sold the art cards for supplies, food and lodging. Among certain art and crafts movements, ATCs are about exchanging art without exchanging money, and without interference of the business side of the art world. Artists trade their cards in face-to-face trading sessions as well as via mail.

ACEOs While artists were happily trading cards, group of artists realized there was a market for these miniature art works and quickly made their cards available for sale at remarkably low prices. Art Cards Editions and Original, or ACEOs for short, debuted and quickly became a worldwide success. Cards are sold either as originals or editions. If it is a print it should say so, and it should be numbered and signed, usually on the back. The largest venue for buying and selling ACEOs is eBay.

There are just three basic guidelines to define the ACEO art form:
1.The size of an ACEO should be 2.5” x 3.5”. This uniform standard size, is widely recognized by collectors. Any sizes larger or smaller would not qualify as ACEOs.
2.All work must adhere to basic Copyright Law. This was very important to the founding artists, who understand the importance of respecting and acknowledging original work.
3.There are no other rules.

Artists have complete freedom in making creative decisions, such as the subject of the ACEO, or the materials used in its creation.
Artists from all over the world are creating, and now selling these little gems in different mediums and of different subjects. Supply stores are beginning to stock specialized materials that help artists create and showcase them. Perhaps most significantly, art critics are beginning to take notice of these small yet exquisite works of art.

Pocket Art is highly collectible and addictive. As an artist I find I can experiment with different art forms, use ACEOs as a study for larger works and afford to use better quality materials since the support area is so small. I can get instant feedback from my eBay auctions, increase patronage and meet great folks from around the world. I invite other artists to give it a try!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Election Year Art Graphics and Iconography

A while back I started to notice the distinctive style of Barak Obama's campaign material.
More than any other politician in recent memory, Barack Obama has been the subject of iconography. His campaign's official posters often portray Obama in a beatific light--clad in a white shirt and silver tie, eyes squinting and looking into some middle distance above the camera, a nimbus of wispy clouds illuminating his sacred head.
The style was familiar but I couldnt quite place it. A friend helped me connect the dots when he sent me an article in the Weekly Standard.

Los Angeles.-based street artist Shepard Fairey is the main man behind the design. Fairey first made a name for himself in the late 80's with black and white stickers featuring wrestling legend, Andre the Giant. He's known for putting his stickers and posters in unlikely and often illegal places. "That's always been my style," Fairey says. "I don't get permission, I just do it."

In the style of the propaganda posters of the old Soviet Union,some of his iconic posters feature the directives:

OBEY manufacturing quality dissent since 1989

OBEY Propaganda

Today his designs direct Obama supporters to

Fairey looked to Korda’s famous poster of Che Guevara in designing his two tone poster of Obama with the directive CHANGE in arial typeface. This cult of personality, exemplified by the resurgence of Che tee shirts, has been called totalitarian chic.

More links on the subject:
Michelle Malkin links:

Update JULY 24, 2008

This is the poster that was handed out in Germany to promote the candidate's speech:

The Circle O in the upper right hand corner is the official logo.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I See you!

In an age of instant communication there's something quirky and charming with the idea of a trans-Atlantic telescope that allows New Yorkers to 'see' Londoners and visa versa.

I love this project!

Imagine digging down through the earth to see the people on the other side.
Its not the idea of fabulist Jules Verne but is the brain child Paul St George, a 53-year-old artist based in London. The artist said he was quite taken "with the idea that if you just had a hole in the ground, and you’re looking down, you’d see up because the person you’d see is on the other side of the world," he said.
The project was timed to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge.
So step right up and take a peek. Wave, dance, write a message to those on the other side of the pond. But hurry - the Telectroscope will be in place at the Fulton Ferry Landing in Dumbo, Brooklyn, until June 15.

For more info check out:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Nothing Compares to the Simple Pleasure of a Bike Ride

On a day when the temperature reached well into the 90s we found the bike trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park a cool and shady place to ride. There is a place near Lock 25 where you travel through a small tunnel. The old canal runs along just to the right of the trail.

John Kennedy was right - nothing compares to a bike ride. the next best thing for me is painting the scene:

I painted this in acrylics, 8 x 10". Price on request.

Consider a man riding a bicycle. Whoever he is, we can say three things about him. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle he will fall off it. That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things. ~William Golding

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My American Sycamore

Twenty six years ago we planted a small sycamore tree in the back yard. It conquered the dense clay soil and survived the strong winter winds. Today it's majestic in scale and the home to a baby swing and a birdfeeder. It offers dense shade in the summer and the interesting bark is a source of beauty.
I painted this from a photo taken in April before the tree leafed out. Its 8x10", acrylic on canvas. Price on request.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Cleveland Zoo

I had a great day visiting the Cleveland Zoo with my grandsons. Their favorite thing at the zoo is to visit the 'Ellies', maybe even have lunch near their house. You can also enjoy the famous Schreckengost sulptures of the elephants.

Viktor Schreckengost was a Cleveland artist, teacher and industrial designer who was credited with producing the cab-over-engine design for trucks and buses that allows for greater towing length and a tighter turning radius. The little red metal wagons that so many children use were also Schreckengost's brainchild.

His beloved giant sculptures of elephants at the Pachyderm Building of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo are shown in the following link:

Here's my 16 x 20" version of "Ellie"