This post is about the ten artists whose works inspire and inform my work. They say that Picasso is the father of us all, that being said I’d like to begin with my personal favorite Milton Avery. Avery’s profound sense of color and purist approach to painting make him stand out as a giant in painting. His work is incredibly sincere and moving. I once arranged to have a private viewing of one of his large canvases at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The experience was quite thrilling for me.
Next on my list is Alice Neel. Neel has personalized the portrait for me. Her depictions of the people in her life are so gripping. All the people she painted come alive right before your eyes.
She was able to tell their story perfectly without words. Number three is Philup Guston. His drawings and paintings take place in an alternate reality where things are both familiar and foreign. His paintings are like unsettling dreams free of censorship and etiquette. So bold and full of courage. Axel Kargel is a Swedish painter who’s works transform the natural world into simple shapes and forms. I often refer to his work when deciding on colors and composition because of how delicately he laid out his pictures.
William H. Johnson had a fascinating career as a painter with a very sad ending. His worked evolved over time and the reason I enjoy his work is because it is devoid of pretention . He captured people and places as they were by using color as a tool to convey the energy of the moment. He broke down barriers and refused to let the color of his skin get in the way of leaving his mark on the world. Moving on to Jean Souverbie. Jean Souverbie is this obscure French painter from the early nineteen century who figured out a way to combine a figurative classic style with cubism. He was doing this at a time when experimenting in this manner was very uncommon. I love how full his figures are and how he laid down his paint. Mary Fedden‘s still life’s are simply remarkable. I discovered her work only a few years ago and was moved when I sifted through her catalog of works. Her paintings are more like moments. Little snapshots of inanimate things that are able to live in a very special way.
With Mary Fedden less is so much more. Onto Marsden Hartley . Hartley is legend who lived precautious but painted courageously. His expressive approach to painting his subjects gave his viewers an opportunity to experience painting in a whole new way. He treated his portraits, landscapes, and abstract works all in the same vain. There is a line that runs through all his works. Louisa Mathhiasottir was an Icelandic-American painter and that’s cool enough for me.
Her paintings are so colorful and so simple looking on the surface. A closer look reveals just how skilled of a painter she was. Her brushstrokes are almost singular in nature but fill up each form and make them real. Her landscapes of horses grazing are spectacular. Last but not least, David Park.
Park came out of the figurative school in the Bay Area of California. I aspire to paint people the way that he did. He taught at Berkley for a while in the 50’s and totally immersed himself into painting people instead of following the trends of the abstract expressionist movement in New York City.
He stayed true to his practice and over time received recognition for his innovations in figurative painting. If you have never heard of any of these painters, I implore you to check out their work in person if you can. By the way, I have ten more of these lists. If I left you out, you know who are.