Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Henri Rousseau

An artist who had trouble balancing his dream vs. reality and problems with acceptance from the "art world" is the artist is Henri Rousseau (1844-1910).  He was called a "Sunday Painter".
Rousseau came to art in his 40's.  Before art, he tried many occupations, law, military and government work.  Finally he became employed as a tax collector to support his widowed mother, wife and 7 children.  He quit working at the age of 49 to devote his life to art.  To support himself he played the violin on the streets and occasionally did illustrations.

Rousseau did not study art, instead he was self-taught.  He is considered to be a Post-Impressionist in the Primitive manner.  In fact, his art was ridiculed by art critics.  Frequently, when I read about the art world I think it's very similar to middle school.  The in group decides how it rolls.  For my money, Rousseau is the man!

I've always admired Rousseau for his jungle scenes which are unlike any that I've seen.  They are inspiring and creative.  The great secret is that Rousseau spent his life in France and never set foot in a jungle.  The details in his paintings came from books on tropical plants combined with rich imaginative color and fantasy.  He created paintings that depict the tropics of our dreams and or nightmares.  His jungle scenes are in the small group of "The Best Paintings" anyone has ever done.  At least they are on My List.

Rousseau was belittled by art critics for creating paintings that are nice to look at but not serious artwork.  His work was considered naive or childlike.  Things were so bad for Rousseau that Picasso found one of Rousseau's paintings sold on the street as trash canvas to be painted over by another artist.  Picasso recognized his genius and threw a party to honor Rousseau.

On many levels Rousseau is an inspiration.  The fact that he was ridiculed by the art establishment and that he managed to support his family and still have time to paint and finally the fact of his detailed depictions of the lush, forbidding jungle of his imagination.  In the end he did conquer the world.  We know his name Rousseau today as an artist of merit and his work has inspired generations of artists and designers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Painting with Zen and Cubism

Cubist Still Life Oil Painting on Canvas
Colorful Abstract Cubist Still life Painting

Shapes and colors that come together when I'm dreaming but still awake. 
"There is no music allowed..."

"How can I do that?"
Alone, no noise
Painting with cubism and zen.