Vermeer / real VS forgery

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, Delft 1632–1675 Delft) Study of a Young Woman, ca. 1665–67 Oil on canvas; 17 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (44.5 x 40 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau Jr., 1979 (1979.396.1) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/437879

Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, Delft 1632–1675 Delft)
Study of a Young Woman, ca. 1665–67
Oil on canvas; 17 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (44.5 x 40 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau Jr., 1979 (1979.396.1)
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/437879

Do these two paintings look like they were done by the same artist?

Did you ever hear the story about the artist during WW2 who did paintings trying to forge Vermeer because Vermeer had recently been “rediscovered” and was suddenly popular? The forger had a respected art dealer who was in on the con game and convinced his wealthy art patrons he found early Vermeer paintings in an attic. The rich people wanted to own a Vermeer so badly they believed what they were told without question. The forger made a nice living during the war when most of the public was suffering. If my memory is correct, even Hitler fell for the scam.

When I looked up Vermeer, I saw tons of photos of the one I saw in DC, “Girl With a Flute”. I think it’s a fake because it’s so far below Vermeer’s standards. It seems there’s a lot of debate about the authenticity of “Girl With a Flute”. But I also saw an article saying that painting is a real Vermeer. It was one of his “early works”.

One of the reasons I think “Girl With a Flute” and this painting “Study of a Young Woman” are both fakes is this, if Vermeer only left the world, what, 30 some paintings? Why would he keep a bad one? It doesn’t make sense to me, so I think it’s not true.

You can find articles that say not much is known about Vermeer’s life, then you can read all about how the model for some annoyingly weak Vermeers was his wife. I  think it’s possible that the stories were made up by the con man art dealer and passed down since then until they are taken as truth. If there are no records of Vermeer’s life how did they know the model was his wife and gave him 15 children? (as stated in one of the articles)

Do these two paintings look like they were painted by the same artist? As an artist myself, with little hope of ever finding fame and fortune, I can tell you, when I look back on my old paintings and drawings, I throw out the ones that make me say, “Oh No! I can do better!”  When I die I don’t want to leave my daughter hundreds of paintings that show my progress. I’m going to only keep the best ones for her. And when I’m dead 500 years and “rediscovered” if there are any forgeries coming out, no one will get away with saying it was one of my early works. I think other artists might feel the same way, including Vermeer.

I say ALL the weak Vermeers are FORGERIES!

a statue with a real presence at Agecroft Hall ooooOOOoooooOOOOoooooOOOoo

Do you ever get that feeling a statue is watching you?

Do you ever get that feeling a statue is watching you?

When I was working on that last painting, every time I turned around there’s this kid in ideal proportions right behind me! And he’s NEKKID! except for a seashell covering the naughty parts, and an animal hide over his shoulders. Sometimes, as I unloaded my art supplies around the base, I thought he might hit me with his flute! I know it’s only my imagination, but  others said the same thing about it.

One lady said she kept thinking it was a live person standing there, and I heard a little girl call it a weird statue! So, I just have to chalk it up to the mad skills of the artist who made it, because it’s only a sculpture made of lead. It won’t start walking around on Halloween, (or will it?)

Searching for Letters Abroad

letters-abroad“There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all”  In My Life” – John Lennon

Of late, the Full Moon has been my time of introspection. Urged on by the changing of the seasons, so it was again this month. The feeling of melancholy surrounds me as I see the leaves change colour and begin their spiral dance to the earth. And the progression continues with change as the only constant.

I have mentioned how much the Artistcellar Labyrinth series has inspired my work. Believing in Synchronicity, they came to me just when I needed them most. This time my chosen stencil to work with was Gonzaga. I love the clean straight lines. It would be a superb counterpoint for the elements I collected for the collage.

A new medium for me is the Deco Art Media Crackle Paste. Application is easy and all that is needed is a palette knife and patience to allow for an adequate drying time. I picked a piece of copper metallic writing paper for my substrate. As I spread the paste through the stencil I wondered how it would hold up. Would this technique be its demise? It’s an interesting process to watch. The thickness of application varies the size of the eggshell cracks. And like magic…there they were. I pulled the stencil away from the paper and started my clean-up. I’m happy to report, as with all Artistcellar products, cleaning was easy and the stencil held up beautifully. Quality, quality, quality!

Hearing “In My Life” on the radio brought back so many wonderful memories from a time before email. It’s no secret that I am a passionate lover of the written word. Letters, postcards…anything in the mail is nourishment for my Muse! I relish the anticipation as much as the delivery. Just to see an address in a familiar hand is uplifting. I wanted my theme for the collage to be the art of correspondence.

I admit I find it difficult to meditate. So many ideas, so many images interrupt what should be a place of quiet and wonder. By using the labyrinth as the focal part of my work, I am getting closer to quieting my mind. The Labyrinth pulls together my random thoughts. So the work you see here is an attempt at stream of consciousness meditation, for lack of a better phrase.

It was time to complete the collage. Drawing from my Book of Backgrounds (aka the Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal) I selected other stencil designs I created: Halftone Dots, Seafoam, and Open Works from the Blocks series. Placing the images went smoothly…as if they knew where they should “live”. I allowed myself to feel, and to journey looking back at what once was with a definite optimistic view of the future. I recognize that accepting change is an integral part of the progression.

In my life all these places had their moments. And for that I am grateful.

Shameless Plug: The Labyrinth Series in addition to other works incorporating Artistcellar Stencils will be on show at the Oyster Mill Playhouse, Camp Hill, PA November 4 through November 20, 2016

MATERIALS USED:

Agecroft Hall and Sunken Garden / oil

My palette knife is in my hand as much time as my paintbrush.

My palette knife is in my hand as much time as my paintbrush.

When I get to my location, it always takes me 1/2 hour or 45 min, to mix up my colors for the day.  I decide what area to work on, then mix light medium and dark values of the colors I want to use. By mixing my colors on my palette with my palette knife, I get them closer to what you see with the naked eye, and avoid the problem of the colors mixing too much on the canvas and coming out muddy.

But one thing I really enjoy a lot, is making thin lines with my palette knife. It’s easier to scratch a skinny line than it is to paint one. If you can get a clear enlargement of this photo on your computer, maybe you can see where I scratched all around this painting to make lines and give it texture.

The way I did the brick wall, for example, was to paint the colors of the mortar first. I painted the wall with two shades of gray in the places I wanted there to be light and shadow. So, the whole wall was gray. Then, when that dried, I blobbed in brick colors on top of the gray and scratched through the wet layer to show the gray mortar color coming though as lines. You get bricks without painting every brick. But people see the detail, and might imagine I painted every brick. It works if you paint in the couch with Maroger Medium and glazes.

I also like to scratch through my brushstrokes to feather the edges, and add texture. For the trees behind the house, I blobbed in three shades of green and scratched through the wet paint so the edges of my brush strokes wouldn’t be sharp, but a little blended. Visually, that helps the background trees recede a little. The trees in front of the house got scratched on the trunks but not the foliage.

It took a long time to finish, and I could still keep on working on it, but I’m not going to. It looks like I painted a lot of detail, but I left out the detail I didn’t want to paint, gutters and downspouts, a planter with nothing blooming, and whatever else you might notice is missing, if you have a photo to compare it to.

It seems like I worked on this painting at home as much as I worked on it at Agecroft. A lot of times, I can mix up some colors there, and paint at home on the more time consuming parts of the painting.

a painting by Helene Ruiz / acrylic

That was a real fun art opening last night at the Petersburg Area Art League

That was a real fun art opening last night at the Petersburg Area Art League

This is my favorite one of Helene’s paintings from her “Skulduggeries” series. Helene illustrates life’s hardships and the strange people you meet, with humor in her paintings.

The show I entered with her group, the Urban Individualists, was titled “Entangled”. It’s a collaborative effort between visual artists and poets. The authors wrote a poem for a painting, and a painter illustrated a poem. The paintings and poems are hung together. And Helene had a section of the gallery for her Skullduggery paintings. The show is GREAT!! in my humble opinion.  If you’re in the area and didn’t get there last night, you should go check it out.

This is my daughter, Sarah, and me standing in front of two of our entries. (my paintings and her poem and story)

This is my daughter, Sarah, and me standing in front of two of our entries. (my paintings and her poem and story)

We also enjoyed the poetry readings and the Latin music !

In Finding the Moon

in-finding-the-moon“Don’t think. FEEL! It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!”   Bruce Lee – “Enter The Dragon”

The Artistcellar Labyrinth series holds great inspiration for me. The variety of designs is an encouragement to slow down and listen, and to allow their voice to guide you. Or in the words of Bruce Lee, “Don’t think. FEEL!”

So it was, during the last full Moon, with my Strathmore Journal in hand, that I started my next design. I chose the Anasazi stencil. My heart was telling me it was the right one to use.

I stenciled directly on to the page in my Journal with Dye-Na-Flow Midnight Blue. By drying between applications I was able to produce a dappled effect of varying shades. Once the base was complete I layered lunar inspired colours of metallic acrylic. Warm highlights were added to accent and compliment the cool.

It is wonderful to experience the positive aspects of the full Moon by revising goals and setting intentions. Because of this powerful lunar energy, meditation is encouraged. I find just looking at the Moon introduces calm and stillness to what is usually a frenetic life. Mindfulness is highlighted. It is the perfect time to seek the benefit of walking a Labyrinth.

It was my time to put the work together. I’ve mentioned that I am compiling a great collection of images in my journal and from there I chose a watercolour swatch in shades of indigo. I also selected the Open Work stencil from the new Artistcellar Blocks series.  It has become one of my favourites!

The Bruce Lee Estate recently released a series of his 1968 pocket notebooks.  He filled them in neatly written script noting appointment details, affirmations, and his philosophy on life. They are inspirational. Reading through them, you can’t help but see how his life and work were intertwined…the fluid with the sharp, the public with the personal, and the strong with the sensitive. But above all, he had the power to still the mind and allow his spirit to soar. He found the compliment in opposites.

I kept his quote foremost in thoughts while working and allowed the collage to build itself. I wasn’t thinking of technique but rather was permitting the elements to find their own home. I allowed myself just to feel. When my collage was finished, I knew I had discovered a place of deep stillness. And once there I too did not will miss all that heavenly glory.

MATERIALS USED

The Corn God Returns From The Underworld / mixed media

the-corn-god-returns-from-the-underworld

I’m excited because this collage I did a few years ago got a lot of attention yesterday at the art opening of the James River Art League, at the Montpelier Art Center!

It was inspired by the Maya legend and I tried to copy their style of illustration. I have a good book about the Maya titled “The Maya” by Michael D. Coe. One thing I remember from this book is that it wasn’t too difficult for the Spanish who invaded Central America to convert the Maya to Christianity because there are similarities between the two religions, a resurrection being one important story.

This is how the story goes, if I remember correctly. The Corn God was in the Underworld. That’s him, with the green sprout coming out of his head, in my collage. The two guys paddling the canoe are gods who were sent to rescue him. It’s a dangerous trip, and they could all get killed in some violent bloody way. If the Corn God doesn’t make it back to the Maya city, the crop will fail and the people will starve.

The two girls in the canoe are virgins sent to wait on the Corn God. They’re offering him food and water. Later, at their ceremony, the virgins will be sacrificed and the Corn God will be drenched in their blood. Yes, they really did sacrifice virgins. They were a bloody tough tribe that didn’t fear pain or death.

The Maya, never boring, always an inspiration.

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