Botticelli - Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Botticelli - Virgin and Child (Madonna of the Book) 1478-80

Botticelli - Virgin and Child (Madonna of the Book) 1478-80

I am not a Botticelli expert nor all that incredibly knowledgeable about the Pre and Renaissance art movement - but it's that very work that influenced me early on during my first year at School of Visual Arts. With that, this post will be relatively brief.

The Boston MFA had a wonderful Botticelli exhibit recently. I am a little behind putting this up. The show just closed a week or so ago but hopefully these images will be inspiring. It was the largest show of his work and his predecessors ever in the United States.

Through my instructors and required trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the History of Art class, I was introduced to this art period and the first things that I was attracted to was the flattened perspectives and the basic color palettes. The colors, while advanced, did seem very 'out of the tube' to me. The work I did throughout college and a little after had its base in this work.

At the time, while I was interested in some of the work, I was more attracted to contemporary illustrators of the time. That was the 120 year old me more interested in what was happening 'now' than 500 years earlier. The influence was there but I didn't pay too much attention to it or really its history at that time.

Visiting this show, I noticed within myself my appreciation of art history and the work has grown. Especially in the craft of the work itself. I think this likely has a lot to do with being an instructor and discussing history and artists from all time periods fairly regularly. I can't say that it will alter my own working methods now, but as most shows are to me, it was incredibly inspiring and all I wanted to do after I left was draw or paint.

Below are some photos and brief notes of things that stood out in the exhibit.

Antonio del Pollaiuolo - St. Michael the Archangel Killing the Dragon, 1465-70

Antonio del Pollaiuolo - St. Michael the Archangel Killing the Dragon, 1465-70

This painting above was particularly interesting to me. Del Pollaluolo's work actually help shift Botticelli's work in that his figures became a bit more athletic in physique that previously.

This work interesting because the subject matter is kick ass but what jumped out to me was the incredible amount of visual tangents in the piece. The first visit to the show, I was with a student and they know that I am one to make sure that the piece doesn't have tangents because it really distracts the viewer. 

I am thinking during this time period, these tangents were created as a compositional element to keep the eye moving around the piece. Maybe we've gotten more advance with tangent use a few hundred years later?

I challenge everyone looking at it to see how many tangents you can find. There are tons!

Still, it's a cool piece of art.

Sandro Botticelli - Madonna of the Loggia, 1467

Sandro Botticelli - Madonna of the Loggia, 1467

This was one of Botticelli's earliest Madonna and Child paintings above. This is a bit surface-y, but I love the frame.

Botticelli - Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist, 1505

Botticelli - Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist, 1505

The foliage and ground in this painting above just blew me away. It is likely one of my favorites in the exhibit. The minute details, composition, color and mood are amazing. He did this one later in life and during the pinnicle of his abilities.

Botticelli - The Nativity, 1482-85

Botticelli - The Nativity, 1482-85

The alter-piece painting below was interesting to see because I was able to see the wood structure it was painted on. It might be somewhat present in this first photo but when looking at the painting, you can really see how the wood curved over time. 

Still, the art is in stellar condition being over 500 years old.

Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Sebastian, Lawrence, John the Evangelist and Roch (Altarpiece of Montelupo), 1499

Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Sebastian, Lawrence, John the Evangelist and Roch (Altarpiece of Montelupo), 1499

Detail

Detail

One of the centerpieces of the exhibit, is Botticelli's study for 'The Birth of Venus'. It is an incredibly tall painting. I had to stand back quite a few feet to take this photo so it doesn't look warped to give you an idea of size.

Beautifully rendered and a sneak peek into what will become one of the best known pieces in the history of art. Unfortunately, The Birth of Venus wasn't at this show.

To finish off this quick post, something jumped out at me going through the show which amused me. It was the blatant similarities of how Botticelli painted feet in his paintings. Even though the paintings were created many years from one another, it seemed like he used one set of feet. Did he trace them? Did he have a master sketch and just flipped the drawing as needed? They appear to be the same elongated feet and toes in every piece.

Cleansing The Mind

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This last week I've taken some time for myself to relax, dote around the house and refocus myself. I got myself a 90 minute massage and have been meditating.

I can only go 100 miles per hour for so long before I stop being able to concentrate and get things done. The last couple of months were difficult but I am finally relaxing and finding my center. I lead a pretty full life and the last year, I've started to lose some focus. I didn't have much of a vacation last year so I didn't have time to reset. I started not to enjoy much of anything I was doing. That is pretty bad.

The first thing is to clear my mind then take care of my body. Get on a normal exercise routine again and eat healthier. It's too easy for me to fall into bad habits when I am running thin on time.

My experiences getting a massage this week, meditating and actively trying to cleanse my mind of the stress which has led me to actually being physically affected, I imagined this image.

RISD Presentation

On Tuesday the 25th, I spent the day at Rhode Island School of Design working and talking with students.

My friend Mary Jane Begin invited me to speak to the Illustration Department's Portfolio students. I first spent a few hours in her Portfolio class. I then did a presentation of my work to the entire Senior class.

The students are really quite talented and also very charming. I received a few gifts and had some very lovely conversations. I am sure I will see them out in the world living their dreams as artists.

Thank you everyone for making the day so wonderful!

Keep Abortion Legal Poster

PURCHASE POSTER HERE.

In between work, I've started creating various social justice posters. I am not creating them for any specific show but just to get the ideas and issues I am concerned about out of my head.

In this case, within a couple of hours of posting this poster, I was asked to have become part of a poster show traveling the world called 'Women's Rights are Human Rights' curated by Elizabeth Resnick. As of this month, it is being exhibited at the 360 Gallery at Northeastern University and in April, it will be going to the Warsaw Poster Museum in Poland. More exhibitions will be coming up.

Currently in the shop now, is an 18"x24" version in an edition of 100 for sale. Each poster hand numbered and signed. Profits from this poster will be donated to Planned Parenthood. Please visit for more information.

Long Island Pulse

A new piece for Long Island Pulse magazine and art directed by Marika Zervos.

In a geeky sort of way, I am delighted I got to do a job with them. It's a free magazine that I've seen around Long Island for years and years when I lived there. It's like a homecoming in a way.

The story was about preparing inheritances for your family before you pass away. I went with a more minimalistic direction with these paintings which ended up working well for the general layout of the magazine.

Another interesting tidbit was that the image above was supposed to be the full page and the one below a spot. The magazine decided to flip that. I don't mind and it did make visual sense but each was handled in a way that catered to the size they were going to be printed. I would have painted things a little differently. The original spot piece was to be square format. The original is below. This needed to be digitally adjusted for the vertical format of a standard page. No big deal.

As I mentioned, these and a few other jobs were a bit minimal. It is something I wanted to go back to for a little while. I've spent a few years really making my work dense with elements. I also wanted to challenge myself with white space and open area.

The image with the figure in it will be the next mailer going out in the next week.

The Last Novelist - Tor.com

For the first release of Tor.com of 2017, I did this painting for a short story called The Last Novelist written by Matthew Kressel. It's a wonderfully surreal story. I'll note it when it is released.

if you follow me on various social media, in particular, Instagram, you may have seen that I've been getting a little dirtier with my work. I used to be pretty loose with my art but over the last 10 years, I've gotten tighter and tighter. It's just my nature to over-work. I have to make a conscious effort to tear it down and loosen up again.

Here is a quick time-lapse of a spike being painted.

Society of NYC + Society of Los Angeles Annual Awards

The Universe! for Nautilus

The Universe! for Nautilus

Over the last month, I've gotten two notifications from the Society of Illustrators (New York) and the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles that I a total of seven pieces in these annuals including that I will be receiving a Bronze Medal from the Society of Los Angeles for this piece below.

It's an honor to have work selected for these shows. 

The Judge for The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles - Bronze Medal

The Judge for The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles - Bronze Medal

Virtual Reality - Portrait of Gwen Jorgenson

Virtual Reality - Portrait of Gwen Jorgenson

Portrait of Jan Hus for Liberty Magazine

Portrait of Jan Hus for Liberty Magazine

Opiates for Benefits Pro Magazine

Opiates for Benefits Pro Magazine

The Day I Tried To Live for the Society of Illustrators

The Day I Tried To Live for the Society of Illustrators

Sterilization - Personal Piece

Sterilization - Personal Piece

Wall Street Journal

This is a piece for the Wall Street Journal and art directed by Orlie Kraus. 

In pursuing my goals to continue to bring in more of my sketchbook work back into my art, I pushed for a more abstract solution to the problem.

The story is about the issues surrounding using sleeping pills for people who have insomnia and other sleep related issues. It goes into addiction and also the negative side effects of taking those pills.

I wanted to convey that feeling when someone who is sleep deprived. Confused. Staring blankly. The 'wall of sleep deprivation' becoming larger than him. 

Go to the story here.

Palette used when working on this piece.

Palette used when working on this piece.