June by Violet Oakley / oil, charcoal, graphite on board

This was the cover of

This was the cover of “Everybody’s Magazine” in 1902.

It’s at The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk VA. They have a really great show of American Impressionists. It’s worth the drive from Richmond!  The show is titled “The Artist’s Garden”.

One thing I love about the Chrysler Museum besides the great art exhibits is that it’s FREE! Free parking! Free entry to the art! YEA!!

The show is a real inspiration! Now I want to paint like an Impressionist! But not a contemporary Impressionist, because these old dead artists beat out the live ones!  It’s too much writing for me to go into all the painting technique I observed in this show, but I think I can do it! I’ll post more pix from the show soon.

Today was a good day to go to Norfolk. The show ends Sept. 4. If you’re interested, you should probably go this week, because traffic will be worse next week. (end of Summer and Labor Day traffic jams coming to your tunnel soon!)

I’m giving you this one 1st because I want Shelby to see it. She’s a fan of Violet Oakley.


The Temptation of St. Anthony / Bosch and follower of Bosch

One or both of these paintings was done by Hieronymus Bosch.

One or both of these paintings was done by Hieronymus Bosch.


One of the plaques at the museum says the painting was done by a follower of Bosch. I don’t see a signature. I think the bottom painting is the Bosch, and the top one is his follower, but feel free to correct me if I got it wrong.

As soon as I saw them I said to myself “Bosch!” That boat with the naked lady inside a giant cherry is crazy, isn’t it. The plaque says the Medieval view of life was that the world is the Devil’s playground and only faith can save you from it. St. Anthony managed to not give in to the temptations by praying all the time even though there were naked slutty girls all around.

What do you think that one person in the pink dress is carrying on their back? It looks like a potato with legs.

I’ve always been fascinated with Medieval art and history. Just think, all of us with European ancestry had ancestors that survived the Black Plague. Mine were probably hiding in the mountains somewhere.

Ganymede and the Eagle by Bertel Thorvaldson

Danish 1815

Danish 1815

The plaque at the museum says Ganymede was the prince of Troy and the eagle is Zeus in disguise. Zeus then carried Ganymede off to Olympus to be cup bearer to the gods.

Do you think Ganymede wanted be cup bearer to the gods? Is that all Zeus wanted from Ganymede? I don’t remember this story, but it sounds kind of fishy to me that Zeus had to disguise himself to get Ganymede to go with him. I remember Zeus disguised himself as a bull and became Europa’s pet so she trusted him enough to go for a ride on his back. Then he abducted her. Ganymede, who probably had a nice life as a prince was another good looking victim for Zeus. Did ancient Greek parents tell their children if a wild animal wants to be your friend RUN! Because it sounds like Ganymede might be Zeus’ slave. And I was surprised Zeus went after a boy because I thought he only went after girls. Those ancient Greek gods had a bad reputation. Zeus was the worst and he was the boss.

Amor Forgiven / Venus and Cupid / Prosper d’ Epinay

marble 1888

marble 1888

Cupid was Venus’ baby, and a naughty boy. Always shooting those love arrows into people who weren’t a good match for different reasons. And Venus herself broke the rule about the gods and goddesses not interfering in the affairs of mortals when she promised Paris the love of the most beautiful woman in the world if Paris would pick her as the most beautiful goddess. Paris gave the golden apple that was the prize to Venus and she gave Paris the love of Helen of Troy. Helen was married to the prince of Troy and when she ran away with Paris it started the Trojan War. Plus, remember the stories of how Zeus changed his appearance to disguise himself as an animal in order to seduce some woman, man or nymph? All of the gods and goddesses broke the rule. So how could Venus stay mad at Cupid for messing up people’s lives? She couldn’t stay mad at him. Cupid was just too durn cute!

The Torch Bearers by Anna Hyatt Huntington / aluminum

One of the castings sold for $315000.

One of the castings sold for $315000.

I am one of the torch bearers. My strange ironic life made me this way. Here’s a story about me.

I grew up in a family where the adults didn’t talk much. It might sound bad but I thought I was lucky because no one was paying attention so I did what I wanted to do, and if I didn’t want to go to school I didn’t go. Maybe I was a little naughty. Still lucky for me, York Academy of Art accepted anyone who would pay. It turned out to be a crash course in traditional art which isn’t taught in art schools much these days. I’m one of the few in the world with the real old school academic art background and even though I’m swimming against the current with it, I’m not part of the ruin that is modern art because I’m carrying the torch of the Academy.

In York I shared a house with other girls who were art students. Our next door neighbors were Dick and Mai Clayman. They always invited me over to eat. Mai was very kind and Dick was an artist, genius and a gentleman. Dick loved to talk and he was worldly and wise. We stayed friends till he died. His talk was like college classes about his favorite subjects. ( art, history, politics, religion, the Civil War, the opera) I liked listening to him. I should have taken notes. Dick tried to impart his wisdom to me.

Now I want to share what I remember. But here’s another thing:

Two guys I know had the same dream about me. They both told me they dreamed it was pitch black and they saw me walking in the dark carrying a light. What does it mean about me? Was it a flashlight a tiki torch or a camping lantern? I don’t know, but if I ever do a self portrait I might try to draw myself carrying a light on a dark background.

Acis and Galatea by Antoine Jean Gros

The cyclops Polythemus loves the nymph Galatea, but she loves the shepherd Acis. They’re hiding from the cyclops, but they can hear him calling her.

I was sad after I read the plaque in the museum, because it says this genius master artist committed suicide after the critics hated this painting. They thought  Gros was too old fashioned because he still painted in this neoclassical style, and the art world had moved on to newer styles..

He could have made more great paintings if he’d have lived out his natural life. Why didn’t he reject the criticism as coming from unreliable sources ?  Through out the history of modern man, the art world has been a magnet for fakes , fraud and con men. I think he probably knew that.

As an artist, I know a little about depression. But I’m not opening that can of worms. You’re welcome.

I just want to say, artists and non artists, STAY ALIVE ! KEEP WORKING !

Maybe you’re life sux and there’s nothing you can do about it. Time will change things for you.  Mental health gets better. Meanwhile distract your brain with art, music, sports, games or conversation as much as possible. Eventually you will have a new perspective and be better than ever ! You know I’m not lying.

Now lets talk about those critics that drove Gros over the edge. Click all that apply. They were :

A. perceptive

B. obtuse

C. independent thinkers

D. sheep

E. good at making judgement calls

F. on drugs

G. honest

H. taking bribes

darn, I don’t know how to tally votes.  🙂

The Bath by Charles Gleyre

This is my favorite painting in the Chrysler Museum. The figures are illuminated ! And sculptural ! And translucent ! I want to paint like this !

Charles Gleyre taught Renior, Monet and Bazille, among other great artists.

If you love this painting, you should look at his painting titled “Lost Illusions, or Evening, Before 1843 ” . It shows a Greek God who thinks he’s a pretty good lute player, but then is humbled when a boat of beautiful girls comes up to him, and there’s a goddess with her maidens playing harps. He puts his lute and his head down.