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Showing posts from 2016

Suzy Aalund, Painter/Watercolorist, 1933-2016

Suzy Aalund, aka:  Susan "Suzy" Beatrice (Quick) Aalund, 83, of New London, CT, died earlier this year.  I never knew her, but I did know her artistic work.  The internet is filled with examples of her work and after reading her obituary online, I decided something more needed to be said.  Some notable details of her outstanding art career are added here, so I have borrowed parts of obituary and added my own commentary.  
She was born on Long Island in Amityville, N.Y.  She studied extensively through independent studies and went on to achieve notable national recognition for her work specializing in paintings of a nautical nature, however at times she also painted the back roads of America as presented in the blog. The painting below shows a tight architectural illustration and areas where she has scrapped the paper to get the effects of winter tree branches and grasses.



The Country Antique Shop SLR Suzy Aalund Image size:  10” X 10”  - Watercolor and Gouache on Paper Framed:…

Ruth Perkins Safford, Room Portraitist (1892 - 1979)

Ruth Perkins Safford, Room Portraitist, (1892 - 1979)

"Early Fall in the Back Yard" Gouache/Watercolor on Linen Gray Rag Paper  Signed in Pencil - Lower Right Corner Image Size 16 X 12.5 inches Framed with glass: 22 X 18.5
Way before there was HGTV and tons of decorating ideas.  There was Ruth Perkins Safford, who set out to document many of the great American interiors by watercolor.  She painstakingly drew interior perspectives and then knitted the interior finishes and furnishings on to the paper.  In this regard, she is best known for being the portrait painter of famous interiors of historic homes.  
She started painting interiors after one of her early interior paintings was on display in a frame shop where the late Andrew Mellon saw it.  He said to the proprietor, "This is excellent work.  Whoever painted this should do more like it."  That chance remark changed her whole career.  Mr. Mellon is most noted for generously giving to establish the National Gall…

Douglas Denniston (1922-2004)

Douglas Denniston (1922-2004)

Born in 1922 in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, Douglas Denniston (1922-2004) arrived in Santa Fe in 1945. Finding inspiration in the romantic nostalgia of the region’s unique landscape and cultural identity, he established a prolific and varied career spanning six decades. Attracted in particular to the tradition of the Taos school of painting and Raymond Jonson’s Transcendental Painting Group, Denniston delved into a highly individual and spiritual artistic journey. As Jonson’s protégé, he began a life-long relationship with abstraction that has positioned him as a historic figure within the development of American Modernism. Most notable are Denniston’s non-objective paintings completed before 1950, a period of marked productivity and expansive formal and expressive development. A synthesis of the artist’s New York origins and southwestern experience, these works are characterized by loosely geometric, non-objective forms. An emphasis on surface, shape, and…

Zanne Hochberg (1931-2001) Abstract Expressionist

Zanne Hochberg (1931 - 2001) Abstract Expressionist

2/25 Artist Proof, Signed and Dated 1992
Zanne Lee Rosenthal Hochberg as an artist is well-known to my Texas readers.  She is esteemed for her abstract expressionist work in an area of the country that did not produce many noted abstract artists.  While noted for her colorful abstract canvases that looked similar to Helen Frankenthaler work, few knew her as a printmaker.  
She accomplished some great prints during her lifetime.  The one above has an ideogrammic expression that has a tendency to become calligraphic as soon as the symbols establish themselves.  These unreadable kanji characters become a pattern of light and dark which she tried to ideogrammize.  The print possesses hair lines that need to be examined up close as well as bold gestural strokes, yet all lines, thick or thin with dark spots, are fight to stay within the boundaries of the composition.  Just like her noted abstract paintings, this print has an air of spontanei…

Conrad House 1956-2001, Navajo Oneida Artist

CONRAD HOUSE (b. 29 November 1956, Rehoboth, NM / d. 2001) 
Today I want to introduce you to the work of Conrad House.  With a name like Conrad House, your first internet search will have you looking at mansions that belong to the Hilton family.  That was the struggle of chasing down detailed information on Mr. House, very little information exists on the internet.  Then I came upon book that provided biographies on Native American artists, and low and behold, I found the details.  This blog provides some of the details referenced in the book, I go on to provide further updated details.    
Mr. House was a master artisan that worked in several different medias.  During the review of his exhibit at Sacred Circle Gallery in Seattle, it was noted that the exhibit looked like a group show than just a solo show.  He worked in fabric, glass, beadwork, accomplished ink drawings and intertwining pastels.  
Joyce Szabo, Professor, Native American Art History, University of New Mexico, essay on H…

Herb Opitz, 1925 - 2013 London Based Artist

Herb Opitz, 1925-2013      London Based Artist Herb Opitz was a founding member of the Brixton Artists Collective and the Brixton Art Gallery in London. He began painting in 1977 after an architectural career which began in Detroit in 1953.

Opitz grew up in Ludington, MI, joined the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet, but switched to bombardier and was a week short of graduation when WWII ended.  He returned to Michigan and enrolled in UM studying to be a physicist.  After his freshman year, he moved to St. Louis to care for his grandfather.  In St. Louis, he worked as a window dresser for Stix Baer & Fuller, then 2nd largest department store in St. Louis. While in St. Louis he enrolled in Washington University, where he graduated with a degree in Architecture.
His architecture career was full of exciting commissions around the world.  He accepted his first position in Detroit (1953), went off to Frankfurt in 1957 to further his studies in modern architecture.   Served as an ass…

Charles Edward Blackwood (1916 - 1995)

Charles Edward Blackwood (1916 - 1995)



Stone Lithograph print - "San Marine Yacht Basin"
Image Size: Approximately 14" x 10.5"
Charles Edward Blackwood is still being remembered every year at Furman University's School of Art. They provide an art scholarship in his honor. Blackwood was on the forefront of the visual arts in Greenville, SC. He served as the head of Furman's Fine Art Department and a founder of Greenville's Art Association. It has been difficult to find detailed information on Blackwood, but I have been able to gather enough to give you a broad scope of his life (provided below).
Blackwood was a skilled stone lithographer. For this blog I have provided two illustrations of his work: San Marine Yacht Basin and Still Life with Chair (below). Blackwood's stone lithography is based on natural antipathy of oil and water. His images were made on a stone with a greasy crayon. The texture of the stone was such that, if moistened, …

C. Smith Marks - Maryland Artist

C. Smith Marks - Maryland Artist
C. Smith Marks, AKA Cissy is a Baltimore artist who shares her life with husband and fellow talented artist/architect Paul Marks.  Smith Marks has exhibited extensively within her community and works to show off her paintings in local coffee shops to formal gallery shows.  
Some of her latest work involves portraits, and we take on a bold assumption that they are paintings of local Baltimoreans serving as models, (some nudes and some neighbors/friends).  Out of all her portraits, I like a painting called Ellen.  It seems most reflective of what Baltimore should look like.    
Smith Marks also takes on flowers and fruit in her version of the still life.  Her website says, "My love of brilliance, vibrancy of color and composition in regards to interplay of negative and positive space best describes the priorities in my work. I have a bold, graphic style using flat planes and minimal modeling.” I agree with her assessment when it comes to her execution …

Harlan H. HOLLADAY, AKA DocH3, Artist & Educator

Harlan H. Holladay Born 1925
Time has a way of getting away from all of us.  Harlan H. Holladay who is now in his early 90s, spent most of his life being an educator and researcher.  He is most noted for his time at St. Lawrence University first as an instructor, then ahead of the art department.  University professors and department heads spend a lot time serving on committees and providing outreach to their communities.  A simple internet search demonstrates that Dr. Holladay had a life filled with such activities and was a member of such organizations, as:  College Art Association; Society of  Architectural Historians; American Association of Univ. Prof.; Northeast Museum Association; Cooperstown Art Association, etc.

Holladay, was born in Greenville, MO, has three degrees, and studied at a couple of different institutions:  SE Missouri State College (B.S. Education); Washington University; State University of Iowa (M.A.) and Cornell University (Ph.D.).  Frequently in old newspapers y…

L. Jean Liberte, Artist (1896-1965)

L. Jean Liberte, Artist (1896-1965)
“Grand Manan”




“Grand Manan” is one the great strong examples of a nocturnal coastal scene by Liberte.  Grand Manan is located in the midwestern end of the Bay of Fundy, a body of water between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  It is home to some of the strongest tides in the world. The painting has rich impasto textures that provides a dramatic dark brooding image, and some say that he was influenced by Albert Pinkham Ryder, whose paintings were also dark and moody.  The painting is oil on canvas, approximately 30 by 24 inches.  It still includes its Babcock Galleries tag on the reverse, and it is from the mid-1940s.  


L. Jean Liberte, Artist (1896-1965)   
Starting in the early to mid-1940s, L. Jean Liberte was hot!  His paintings were now in the collections of the Whitney, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Tel-Aviv Museum and at numerous universities and colleges.  His work was being exhibited in Carnegie Institute…