Joan Mitchell's 1970s work at the Baltimore Museum of Art was perhaps my favorite part of the exhibit. I wish I could have taken photos of her 1980s and early 1990s work, but unfortunately photography was not allowed in those rooms.
Joan Mitchell: Bonjour Julie, 1971
Joan Mitchell: Weeds, 1976
With a general revival in painting in the mid 1970s, Mitchell's work was starting to be appreciated by a new audience. She was also looking to van Gogh for inspiration at times.
Joan Mitchell: No rain, 1976
Having the opportunity to see this many Joan Mitchell pieces in one place was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Thank you to the Baltimore Museum of Art and everyone involved for making this exhibit a reality.
Moving through the Joan Mitchell exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Lauren and I were treated to Mitchell's work of the 1960s, which according to the museum were made during her travels and residency in Europe. Most (with the exception of Untitled pictured below) are characterized with dark greens, blues or purples.
Joan Mitchell: Blue Tree, 1964
Joan Mitchell: Vètheuil, 1967-68
As Lauren and I made our way into the Joan Mitchell exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art we were greeted by some of her earliest canvases from the 1950s. Signage in the exhibit cites her moving to the city (Brooklyn) as much of the inspiration for these early works.
1st room of the exhibit featuring (from left) City Landscape, Hudson River Day Line, Untitled and Lyric.
Hemlock, Swamp and Harbor December
Recently, Lauren and I were able to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art and experience their amazing exhibit of Joan Mitchell works. We were able to see room after room of her large canvases (which I will share soon), but also works on paper that were new to us.
Joan Mitchell: Untitled, charcoal and pastel on paper, 24 x 18, 1964, private collection
Joan Mitchell: Sketchbooks featuring pastel and marker.
Joan Mitchell: A pastel and ink work on paper featuring poetry
Joan Mitchell: A charcoal sketch of the Brooklyn Bridge
It's no secret that the Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of the greatest influences on my work. In particular, his drawings have always been a source of pure inspiration. I was even fortunate enough to visit the Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of NY in 2017 (see sketches from the visit here).
In fact, I've always been drawn to the twisting and frenetic energy of his studies for the Battle of Cascina. See examples below:
From those studies, I took inspiration for my recent painting Startled Man. I sought to capture that twisting urgency and heightened awareness in black and white washes of latex paint. The resulting painting owes a deep gratitude to Michelangelo's studies for the Battle of Cascina.
Startled man, latex paint on canvas, 43 x 55, 2022
I recently came across this photo of retired art professor John Clovis in the 1980 edition of "The Mound" - Fairmont State University's (then Fairmont State College's) student yearbook. The caption reads: "JOHN CLOVIS, associate professor of art, helps students individually in painting class for oils and acrylics."
I've written several times about John Clovis (here, here, here and here) and his impact on my time as a student at Fairmont State. Very happy that I came across this photo taken nearly 20 years before I met him myself, and glad to see that his active approach to teaching was his approach then too. Many students benefited from his instruction, and Fairmont State was fortunate he was such a large part of the department.
If you were a student of John Clovis, or a similar instructor that impacted your career, feel free to share them below.
Conflicted man, latex paint on canvas, 30 x 48, 2021
Forerunner, latex paint on canvas, 48 x 30, 2021
My recent classically-inspired mixed-media works on raw canvas - Nemo propheta in patria, Progenitor & Patrician - were inspired by the Roman portraits in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. In their collection you will find gods, emperors, senators, and all manner of citizens of Rome, all beautifully carved in marble. One particular piece always caught my attention - the Marble Portrait Bust of a Man:
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art - check out this link for a 360 view of the portrait
I even sketched this piece in black and white ink during a visit to the Met in 2017:
This piece, and the others in the Met's collection, display a penetrating gaze and distinct personalities that traverse the thousands of years that separate their subject and ourselves. As with the above image, they often possess a softness or vagueness due to damage and time. These characteristics only serves to enhance their personality and emphasize that great chasm of history.
Nemo propheta in patria, latex paint and graphite on canvas, 55 x 60, 2021
Mixed-media painting on natural canvas, inspired by the marble portraits of ancient Rome. The title of this large painting, "Nemo propheta in patria," is a Latin phrase that translates in English as: No man is a prophet in his own land.
Below; two simple mixed-media portraits in white on natural canvas, inspired by the marble portraits of ancient Roman citizens.
Drawing 632, ink on paper, 9 x 12, 2021
Drawing 633, ink on paper, 9 x 12, 2021
Drawing 634, ink on paper, 9 x 12, 2021
The Madman II, latex paint on canvas, 72 x 36", 2021, private collection
This painting was a revisiting of the theme from 2020's 'The Madman' pictured below:
The Madman, latex paint on canvas, 30 x 48", 2020
Drawing 629, ink on paper, 9x12", 2021
Drawing 630, ink on paper, 9x12", 2021
Drawing 631, ink on paper, 9x12", 2021
Check out this short video of 3 quick gesture drawings: