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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life and Death

I just finished reading a book the other day titled "Healing Grace" by David A. Seamands. The book ends with a story that sort of dramatically puts the whole premise of the book into crystal clear perspective.
Life Goes On - 24"x 36" - Oil

Franz-Josef I, Emperor of Austria died in November of 1916. The House of the Hapsburgs had been the ruling power of the Austro-Hungarian Empire since 1273, and its family was a major political force in Europe until the Great War of 1914-1918. The funeral of Franz-Josef I is significant because it was the last of the grandiose imperial funerals.

The Hapsburgs are buried in the family crypt located in the basement of the Capucin Monastery of Vienna. On the day of the funeral, the entire court assembled in full white dress, their hats covered with ostrich plumes. A military band played somber dirges and an anthem by Haydn. The cortege wound its way down stairs illuminated with flaming torches, bearing the coffin draped in the imperial colors, black and gold. Finally it reached the great iron doors of the crypt, behind which stood the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna, along with his entourage of high church officials.
The officer in charge of the procession was the Court Marshall. As he approached the closed door and pounded on it with the hilt of his ceremonial sword, he was following a ceremony prescribed from time immemorial. "Open!" he commanded.
"Who goes there?" intoned the Cardinal.
"We bear the remains of His Imperial and Apostolic Majesty, Franz-Josef I, by the Grace of God Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Defender of the Faith, Prince of Bohemia-Moravia, Grand Duke of Lombardy, Venezia, Styrgia..." And so on, through the thirty-seven titles of the Emperor.
"We know him not," replied the Cardinal, from beyond the door. "Who goes there?"
"We bear the remains of His Majesty, Franz-Josef I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary" - this very abbreviated form was allowed only in dire emergencies.
"We know him not," came the Cardinal's reply again.
"Who goes there?"
"We bear the body of Franz-Josef, our brother, a sinner like us all!"
Whereupon, the massive doors swung slowly open and Franz-Josef was borne within.

My comments here are not to be critical of the emperor, the Hapsburgs or the unholy alliance of religion and power. My sole intention is to enjoy the profound truth this story illustrates...the truth that... titles, accomplishments, intellect, sincerity of motives, justification of our behavior, generosity, fame, power, popularity, wealth, and a host of other things that we consider qualifies us to enter the gates...none of them amount to a thimble full of worthiness.
Lying Down in Green Pastures - 30"x 40" - Oil

Only receiving the healing grace of God, extended to us through the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, will open those gates of pearl.
The funeral story led me to a couple of paintings I have done. The first, Life Goes On is about life and death...the pursuit of living and at the same time the inevitable reality of death. What about those in the cemetery? How many entered the heavenly gates because they received the grace of God through faith, and how many died in their worldly pursuits, bringing an armload of self achievement but not allowed entry? The second, Lying Down in Green Pastures is a painting of peace and contentment.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.

It's by grace that anyone is saved...and that through faith. Salvation does not come of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should be able to boast.

"Healing Grace", David A. Seamands - Victor Books, Wheaton, IL 1988


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snow and the Artist

Winter Freeze - John Pototschnik

I don't often have the opportunity to paint snow scenes from the actual subject. Snow, in this part of Texas is not too common, however this year has been different. We had three separate snow falls including some ice.
Winter Blast - John Pototschnik

I am not a fan of cold weather but I do know that nothing is impossible with God, so I would like to some day be able to set up my easel in the snow while wearing shorts and a T-shirt...and enjoying glorious 70 degree temperatures. In my younger days, I did paint outside in the snow but now I paint in a more comfortable setting.
The two paintings above were painted from my north facing studio window.
(All the images below are snow scenes painted by some truly magnificent artists)

A Farm at Montfoucault - Camille Pissarro

The whole country has experienced quite a winter. Do you know snow is not really white? It's actually clear/transparent, glass like. When water freezes inside clouds, ice crystals form. The ice crystals form around tiny bits of dirt that have been carried up into the atmosophere by the wind. The ice crystals join together creating snowflakes. Once the flakes are heavy enough, they float to the ground at 3.1 mph.
New England Winter Landscape - Aldro Hibbard

Each snowflake is made up of from 2 to 200 individual crystals, and each of these crystals come in one of six basic shapes. As snowflakes pile up, all these little ice crystals act as tiny prisims reflecting the light and scattering the color, thereby creating the appearance of white. Snow is not always white however, because the color of the soil carried up into the atmosophere can affect the color.

Cornish Hills - Willard Metcalf

Most snowflakes are less than one-half inch across, but amazingly, the largest recorded snowflake was 15" in diameter. The colder it is outside, the smaller snowflakes tend to be and the most beautiful, fluffiest snow occurs around 15 degrees.
Argenteuil - Claude Monet

A few other interesting facts about snow...averaging 94" of snow annually, New York City receives more snow than any of the other largest US cities. Practically every location in the US has received snow at some point, even south Florida and Hawaii. A record breaking snowfall for Phoenix occurred in inch. Finally, if there is a blizzard in the forecast, run out and load up on cakes, cookies and candy, a lot of other people do.
Home at Montclair - George Inness

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Monday, February 14, 2011

29th Anniversary Celebration

Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art
San Antonio, TX
L>R: Jim Janes, Ron Rencher, Kathryn Stats, Mark Smith, John Pototschnik, Rod Chase

My wife and I arrived home Sunday afternoon to a house where only a few of the electrical circuits were actually working. No heat, no hot water, no computer, no stove, no TV and just a handful of lights would come on. So, there you go, no Blog for you Sunday night.

We had attended the 29th Anniversary Show at the Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio. There were a nice amount of people in attendance for the Friday night opening reception. Jim Janes and Mark Smith, gallery owners, felt the show was the best yet, "Spectacular", they said.
I was one of four artists in attendance. The others were Rod Chase, Ron Rencher, and Kathryn Stats. Kathryn was not only in town for the show but is also teaching a workshop in San Antonio all this week.
Each of these artists are extremely popular and yet could not be more diverse. Rod is an incredible photo realist, I mean incredible. Every inch of his canvas is highly refined. Examining his paintings up close...well, I just don't know how he does it. His painting of the Alamo sold for $45000 and is an excellent example of what I'm talking about.
Ron's work is very refined and well designed. Like the others, his work is easily recognized from across the room. His paintings are high-keyed, his palette is subdued and he is a master of atmospheric perspective. His painting, Spring in the High Desert is an excellent example of his quality work.
Kathryn is undoubtedly the gallery's most popular artist. Her work is brilliant. Her color and confident execution are the envy of many artists, including me. Pastoral is one of her beautiful paintings on display at the gallery.

This is one of my paintings in the show, Twin Owl Guardians. I sold one painting opening night and there is interest in a few others. I hope those sales come to pass. You can view the entire show right here. Jim Janes, Mark Smith and their incredible staff have once again hosted a show that confirms them as one of the best galleries in the country. The show will hang through the end of February.

Click on the names of the artists to view more of their work. To see the highlighted paintings, click on the title.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Art Show

Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art
29th Anniversary Show
11-25 February 2011

Full page ad in the February issue of
American Art Collector

I prepared these nine paintings for this special show.
For an enlarged view of each image and a detailed explanation of each painting, please click here.
Also, to receive my Newsletter automatically, click here.

I hope you'll plan on attending the show. It would be nice to meet you and also a great honor for me to have you select one of these paintings for your personal enjoyment.

Thank you.

Opening reception is Friday, 11 February, 5-8 PM
Open house all day Saturday, 12 February

To purchase, or for further information, please call:
Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art