Everyone says that a painting tells a story. They also say that you put yourself into the painting. In the beginning I don’t think I understood that. I thought I was just creating pretty pictures.
My story begins at the end; the end of my high school teaching career, which as it turned out was the beginning of my career as an artist. I learned about the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore, Maryland, a highly respected atelier that produces some of the most successful artists in the country. The classical program of instruction includes sculpture, watercolor, oil painting, anatomy, still life, figure and portraiture. Students also learn to stretch, prime and tone canvases; prepare traditional gesso for boards; produce paint from powder pigment; and make their own medium and varnishes. Most graduates are interested in oil painting, as was I.
I began as a painter of still life, primarily in the classical style of the Old Masters, choosing subject matter like oranges and lemons, flowers, stems, plates, jars, urns and wooden boxes. I painted dark backgrounds with drapery. I also traveled to Europe and painted scenes of Italy, France, Prague and Germany. I painted portraits and figures, too. If I could see something, I could paint it. But I didn’t think I was painting a story or that I was part of the story. Eventually I decided that my work needed to be more contemporary. I chose different objects for still life compositions and I painted lighter backgrounds. I didn’t want to be restricted to regional subject matter so I began a series of paintings that used toys that people across the country would recognize from childhood. I had a lot of success and it was about this time that I received a very important piece of advice. Looking at my entire portfolio, a gallery owner said that, although he admired my skill, a lot of other artists were doing similar paintings. I needed to do something to make mine different.
That is not an easy thing to do and it seems like the harder you try the more difficult it becomes. To make my toy paintings different from others, I chose posters as backgrounds. I spent hours searching for posters that would relate in some way to the toys in the paintings. Often, I would have a toy bursting through a poster. I also tried to create a title that would add humor to the composition. Overall, I produced about 30 compositions, which did very well, winning awards and being rewarded with signature memberships.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Using a refined method gives artist Catherine Hearding the framework for her paintings
John Lovett provides tips on how to use circles in perspective
The Spirit of Volunteerism at the Portrait Society of America
My home state of Tennessee is known as the “volunteer” state, which means volunteerism is in our DNA.
OF LOVE and LONGING
Portraits by Alex Venezia
Each composition Sue Miller paints has specific technical goals to enhance the overall vision
Evie Zimmer uses her background in representational art to paint detailed abstractions that combine color and shapes
Of all the things that inspire me, I am mostly drawn to painting people— portraits, figures, figures in a landscape, etc.
THE ART OF THE PORTRAIT
Anna Wypych’s paintings are united by positive feelings and encouragement
A Painter's Journey Part 7 – The Painter As Teacher
In the final article of this seven-part series, John Hulsey concludes his visual journey through his outdoor and studio painting processes.
EU PROPOSES RULES FOR HIGH-RISK ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE USES
European Union officials unveiled proposals for reining in high-risk uses of artificial intelligence such as live facial scanning that could threaten people’s safety or rights.
Hands Off My Football Team!
The European Super League followed a model shaped in the U.S. Opposition from fans scuttled the idea
Does Congressman Andy Harris represent the future or end of the Maryland GOP?
STARVING FOR MORE CHIPS IN A TECH-HUNGRY WORLD
As the U.S. economy rebounds from its pandemic slump, a vital cog is in short supply: the computer chips that power a wide range of products that connect, transport and entertain us in a world increasingly dependent on technology.
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
The usurper has come
FLAMES OF HATE!
Ex-police chief torched for twisted midnight arson rampage
Luxury Summer Hideaways and Boltholes in Europe
The Little State That Could
Delaware becomes a worthy destination——and not just because of Joe Biden.
Venture out in Vienna, a city of opulence and grace.
COUNTRIES URGE DRUG COMPANIES TO SHARE VACCINE KNOW-HOW
In an industrial neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s largest city lies a factory with gleaming new equipment imported from Germany, its immaculate hallways lined with hermetically sealed rooms. It is operating at just a quarter of its capacity.