Happy Thanksgiving !
It has been my custom, and tradition, to offer my thanks on this American holiday by sharing some works of art with you. The works selected for this year’s Thanksgiving Day post share no common theme, no particular style, and are clearly not Thanksgiving based works of art.
I’ve offered the famous Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Day painting at least twice before so we won’t see it again this year. I also won’t be offering any of my long time favorite artists either. So we won’t have anything by James Bama, Steve Hanks, Alfredo Rodriguez, or Robert Duncan (all subjects in previous Thanksgiving posts) this time. This year is a no-repeat artist offering.
As usual, there are a myriad of things that people will do on this day, many of which are weather dependent. But besides activities like watching football, carving a turkey, traveling to Grandma’s or Grandpa’s home, or simply taking some time to relax, this year, Black Friday starts on Thursday in many places. And that means people will be manning the cash registers and working the shopping aisles in many stores.
So they won’t be relaxing. If shopping is part of your agenda for Thursday evening, so be it. Hopefully you will run into the bargains you seek. And be sure to thank those who are working on Thanksgiving.
But now it is time for the art. We will start with an art work where the subjects are clearly not happy about Thanksgiving.
It is called Three and a Half Toms. The artist is Guy Coheleach. Guy is an American Wildlife artist, and he was born in 1933 which makes him about 80 years old. His works have been featured in our own White House.
In fact, prints from Coheleach American Eagle series have been given to visiting Heads of State. As for the turkeys in Tom’s painting, I can only offer my best wishes.
I’m not sure if fox-hunting is something that is done on Thanksgiving, but it does have a fall seasonal flavor to it. Below is a painting called Waiting for a Friend by Carol Lee Thompson.
Carol is a Signature Member of the OPA (Oil Painters of America). She resides in Maryland. Doesn’t that rolling hill country look great.
As long as we have introduced horses into our Thanksgiving Day art offering, let’s have a look at a pair of fine paintings by Jim Norton. Below is On The Ridge Top. I’m not sure why these fellows have stopped or what they saw, but the painting is a delightful mix of colors. Check out the jaunty angles of their head feathers.
The second one from Norton is called Winters Hush. It is certainly beautiful, especially the way the snow sort of white’s out the background. Did you pick up on the subtle difference between the two paintings. On the Ridge Top shows two riders with saddles and stirrups, while in the second one, if there are stirrups, I can’t see them.
Jim Norton is a member of the CAA – Cowboy Artists of America. He’s world renown for his unique depictions of historical and modern life in the west.
Staying with horses – how about this one – called A New Day Begins by Liz Lesperance. Imagine the amount of work to get the details of that field just right. Her trademarks are color, shape, and light.
Liz was born in rural Ontario, Canada, but she lived for quite a long time in a place considered to be one of America’s most stunning locations as horse country – the Santa Ynez Valley.
Staying with horses and returning to Native Americans as subjects of the artwork, we have The Storms Clears (Below Top) and Horizon Clouds. Both by Logan Maxwell Hagege.
The artist is a native Southern Californian. His work differs from the other art works in the post as his work is far less detailed. His strengths are subtle colors and shadows. And surprisingly, quite often his subjects are looking elsewhere – maybe it is that they are heading home.
Speaking of home, how about this pair of homesteads by Jeremy Browne. The first one is called Seasonal Colors,
and the second is called Clear Skies.
It looks like Browne favors colonial houses with wood and stone. Maybe that signifies growing up in the eastern part of the country. If you look at these paintings, you will notice the starkness of the homesteads, clearly they are not brimming with life. Browne explains this by stating that his focus is not the foliage, or what a home is about. Rather, he chooses to focus on the light and mood of the piece, free of the obstructions of bright sunlight, and surprisingly – life.
Well, I was a bit off on the address. Browne is from Brampton, Ontario – which is a bit west of Toronto, but not all that far from western New York State.
Changing gears and the season, we will have a look at something completely different. Rather than an isolated homestead, these small ships and boats live in close proximity to another. This harbor side painting is Late Summer Westport Washington. The artist is Ian Ramsay.
I ike the details of this work. The rigging of the ships, the telephone poles, and even that Coffee shop tucked in on the left third of the painting.
Ian Ramsay was born in Farnborough, Kent, England. He eventually migrated to the US and became a licensed architect in Utah. In 1979 Ramsay put aside his architectural training to become a full-time water colorist. He has lived in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah for the last 35 years.
Okay, how about getting some people into the art again?
Let’s start with The Penny Dress by John Gawne. I really like this work. I notice the light as air feather in her hair, the patterns in her dress, the details of the circular discs of her belt, her braids, and the leg coverings.
In case you were wondering, Gawne didn’t grow up in the West – unless you consider the Chicago suburb of Oak Park as being in the west. Gawne didn’t have extensive training in art either. He was an option trader on the Chicago Merc Exchange. By the way, Oak Park, Illinois is the hometown of Ernest Hemingway, and where Frank Lloyd Wright put up more than two dozen homes and public buildings.
Staying with female subjects – next we have two by Dan Schultz. The first is called Looking Beyond, and the second is called Warm Breeze. I like the fact that Schultz has placed both of his subjects in fields. There’s a wonderful sense of lightness to these works. I mention the lightness because Schultz works with the idea rather than the detail.
Check out Looking Beyond, and then the closeup – this shows that his preferences are people and light.
He calls this his way of communicating visually as we can all relate to the experience of enjoying a favorite place. Schultz moved his family from Colorado Springs to Ojai, California in 2011.
Our next painting is called Tranquility. The artist is Mike Malm.
The time frame of the painting is up for your guesses. From the clothing of the female subject, I’d say she’s not from our own time period. What do you think?
Malm is a native of Utah, and currently lives in one of the most scenic areas of the country – The Cache Valley. Malm studied art in college and holds a Masters Degree in Fine Art. But it was his skills that enabled him to walk a way from his job in construction and to take up painting as his livelihood.
Our next artist is Jacquelyn Bischak. The work is called Reverie. First look at the full painting.
Then look at the detail in the subsection. Just amazing is that fact that she could maintain the detail and the focus.
Bischak discusses her work: My work is about moments that transport us beyond every day life. Expressions of contemplation, undisturbed and hidden, that share our common experiences. The artist says she uses Belgium linen for her canvases.
Our last two paintings with female subjects are by John Michael Carter. The first is called Maine Morning. It is a simple work of a woman and a cup of tea. I notice three things immediately – she’s surrounded by the green foliage, and then there’s the plant in the pot below her left arm. I also loved the contrast of the all white blouse, and the softly tie-dyed skirt she wears.
The second painting, as a point of discussion, isn’t about clothing or even the model. Carter calls this one Savannah Stairs. Except for the model, and the plants, one can’t help but notice the curved structure of everything else. The steps, the banisters, the objects at either side at the bottom of the staircase, and of course the Savannah styled sun-room which curves out from the main house. To complete the inventory of rounded objects – did you notice her yellow umbrella? Of course what make the painting really work are the shadows. Simply marvelous.
John Michael Carter is a Chicagoan. He grew up there and studied Art there, before moving to Los Angeles to further study at the Art Center College of Design. Doing some quick math, 1975 is 38 years ago. Since 1975, Carter has had 39 one-man art shows. Impressive.
Okay – just two more. As a tribute to those who work today in the world of retail, restaurants, public transportation, military, medical, as well as law and order, or those who work today because they must. This next one is called Another Day at The Office – Hurricane Hunters. I guess it is the ominous cloud, and the fact that somebody is going to take that bird right up into the storm above. This is a fitting painting for this holiday, as the weather has been dreadful lately.
The artist is George Angelini. He is from Westchester County, New York, and he studied at Cooper Union.
Our last painting for Thanksgiving 2013 is a lighthearted look at an artist. I’m fairly certain that this is not a self-portrait. The title is Applying the Finishing Touch. The artist is Thomas Jefferson Kitts.
Kitts is a Signature Member of the LBPAPA – that’s the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters Association. We thank him for his work about ‘finishing up’.
By the way – may I offer my best wishes to all who read this for a happy holiday season and cheers for the coming new year. I write about art from the standpoint of some one who enjoys art, and can appreciate the skills involved. For the record, I am neither an artist, nor am I trained to write as a formal art critic. My training in art ended shortly after I learned to open a box of crayons by myself.
In case you missed my previous Thanksgiving Day posts. below are links to them: