A Day With Famous Artists From The Past
Fasten your seat belts as we are about to take off with another group of artists from the Artist Showcase Gallery as they share their fantasies with us. Enjoy their art and answers to the questions: What artist from the past would you like to spend a day with and what would you do together?
Artists are featured in reverse alphabetical order. They include: Linda S. Watson, Frantisek Strouhal (whose artwork is shown above), Allison Coelho Picone, Valerie Patterson, Gaia Orion, Darlene Kaplan, Arthur Jacob, and Elliot Appel.
Can you see how their chosen artists have influenced their art? Please comment below.
Click on artists’ names to visit their pages.
I would go back to New York in 1950 and spend a day painting with Joan Mitchell in her West Tenth Street studio. Afterwards, we’d go to an art opening at the Betty Parsons Gallery on East 57th Street and then wrap up the evening at the Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village, hanging out with other Abstract Expressionists like Franz Kline, de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.
I join Joseph Mallord William Turner in London after the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1840. His head is hanging in disarray after his painting “The Slave Ship” was labelled an absurdity.
Leaning towards me he whispers in his coarse voice “I meant to make people weep, to show the tragic truth.” Then he sighs.
Like two old friends we spend the rest of the afternoon in a small café discussing how the mind is enriched when one understands the whole existence of oneself and one’s relationship to the world at large.
Because of our mutual connection with Nature, I would ask Vincent van Gogh to accompany me to his native Netherlands’ countryside where he fell in love with light and solace. We reminisce about childhood and perhaps reveal a significant memory.
I ask him about his color intuition, rhythmic brushstrokes and line work. Are the colors and strokes a result of his fervent observations and intense emotions? Are the lines a mark of his personality or are they an aspect of control?
We immerse ourselves in Nature’s silence and beauty.
If I could spend the day with an artist from the past, I would choose a day in the late 1960’s with Diane Arbus. We go on a photographic excursion where she had never been before. I would take along my own camera, searching for subjects on the margins of society that I could utilize in my paintings.
I am interested in where she went, how she discovered her subjects, how she related to them, how she embraced and captured their strength, beauty and stories and how her depression informed her work.
I would learn a lot from spending a day with any skilled Tibetan artist. What interests me is that he or she paints as a form of meditation. The timeless murals are an expression of deep peaceful states that can be reached with a life dedicated to practicing the art of peace and happiness. This kind of art transmits the states it was created in and is profoundly transformative.
I would like to just observe the rituals he or her might have as they approach their work area and learn from simply being in that meditative presence when it is applied to the arts.
When I visit The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Peter Paul Rubens’ art takes my breath away. His paintings are so alive that you feel as if you are in them. The details, the colors, and composition are phenomenal.
On my fantasy day with Mr. Rubens I would just watch him create his masterpieces… See how he prepares his paintings and where he gets his inspiration. Then we would have a glass of wine.
The artist from the past that I would like to spend some time with is not a photographer but the painter Georgia O’Keeffe. I am always amazed at how soothing and comforting her works affects me and how it has influenced my Floral Abstracts series and Blossoms on Black Abstract series.
After arriving at her home in the early morning, we take a long walk around her Adobe home in New Mexico. We discuss which subject matter has the most meaning for us and why we would choose to use it in our creative work. Later, I watch as she paints and engulf myself in her work.
Roaming the cafes with Picasso in Paris in the early part of the century comes to mind. We might have even gotten some painting done!
Given the choice, though, I would have enjoyed spending a day with Henri Matisse on the French Riviera. Just watching him work, viewing his studio, and sharing dinner and a glass or two of wine with the great man would have been special.
My favorite artist and one of my favorite places; what could be better than that?
Read Artists Share Their Time Travel Fantasies that features art and replies by Peter Treiber, Rose Adare, Barbi Leifert and Elaine Franz Witten.