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Friday, February 23, 2018

Wasilly Kandinsky - Famous Artist Friday

Wassily Kandinsky
From Russia With Love

"Color is a power which directly influences the soul."

I love this quote, because color definitely influences my soul.

Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian born artist who was musically and artistically gifted as a child, was guided into a profession of law by his parents and would later leave that profession to take up art full time.  

While researching for this blog post, I got the feeling that Kandinsky would have been successful in whatever career he chose. His teaching, and organizational skills were put to good use in many endeavors.

Kandinsky was born in 1866 in Russia to a well to do cultured family.  His father was a businessman, owning a tea factory.  His parents saw his future as a lawyer and in 1886 he went to Moscow to study law and graduated with honors in 1893.  While there Kandinsky excelled becoming an associate professor and soon a professor at the Department of Law.  It was at this point in his life he visited an art exhibition and received an emotional shock at K. Monet’s
 “Haystacks" and an impression of Rihard Wagner's "Lohengrin" at the Bolshoi Theatre that Kandinsky decided to walk away from his successful career and turned to painting full time.  

In 1896 Kandinsky moved to Munich, Germany which at that time was considered one of the enters of European art.  He entered Yugoslavian artist, Anton Azbe’s private school where he received a foundation for image composition and line and form.  Evidently Kandinsky was a quick learner because he often either got bored with his classes or he saw so many ways to use what he learned that he was always on the move intellectually and physically.  

Kandinsky divorced his first wife Anna after meeting artist Gabriella Munter and the two spent 5 years traveling across Europe, painting and being involved in exhibitions.  They settled in Bavaria in a small town at the bottom of the Alps.  While here Kandinsky painted mainly landscapes, but also began painting more and more abstractly.  Kandinsky spent the rest of his life teaching and writing about line, form and color. 

Of the many paintings Kandinsky painted in 1901, this one "Clear Air is my favorite.  I think it is because I like soft romantic realistic paintings.  This one definitely has those qualities, but if you will squint at this painting you will see shapes begin to take form such as the lines in the bench and the street, triangles of the dresses ovals, circles and elipses of the parasols.  Those were all shapes that Kandinsky would later use in his abstract work.  

Binz on Rugen 1901
was painted the same year and you can see how the abstract is beginning to affect his art.

Because Kandinsky had such keen organizational skills and was so active creatively, he attracted anything intellectual, restless and striving which was in the art world at that time.  Those are words which could easily describe him as well.  He taught, opened schools of art, offered free classes, wrote about line, color and form, organized exhibitions for himself and other artist friends and painted prolifically.  You have heard the phrase, a force to be reckoned with, well Kandinsky was a creative force to be reckoned with. He became the father/founder of abstract art by 1911 and his work took on a totally different feel and look, to me.

Im going to add a progression of Kandinsky's work every 10 years so you can see the progression.

These were both from 1911.  The colors in the top one drew me in, but the colors in the bottom one stole my heart.
Both of these fill up the entire canvas.  In his later work he is not afraid of negative space.
Kandinsky worked in oils and water color.


You can see color shifts in his palette in tis one done in 1931.

Palette changing again by 1941.
I really like this one.
It's almost like they are dancing.

Last watercolor in 1944.

Like many other artists, Kandinsky worked up until his death.  I guess that is the nature of art.  

I hope you enjoyed this look into the life and art of Wassily Kandinsky.  He is another artist I have learned a lot about in the research.  

Information for this post came from

You can read much more about his life and accomplishments and view his art by the years it was produced.  

Hopefully, you're receiving this post in your inbox, but if you found it in some other way that's great too.  But if you would like to make sure you receive my regular posts of Famous Artist Friday, Motivation Monday and Working Wednesday, where we explore a single topic for a month in drawing and painting, then by all means,
scroll to the top and on the right hand side, there's a box that says, "sign up for my blog".
I know, very original, but it works.

Put your email in that box and when you receive a confirmation email that you did in deed sign up, you need to click that link.
Then finally, drag that email into your priority mailbox so my posts don't get lost out there in spam hell or promotional purgatory.

Anyway, have a great day, a great weekend, and don't forget to leave me a comment about Wassily Kandinsky.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Adding a Pear To Our Still Life - Working Wednesday

Adding A Pear to Our Still Life

Hey Painter Nation!

This month we've been working on drawing and painting a pear and an apple in a still life.  Last week we started a still life by painting an apple from the drawing we did the week before.  Today we will paint the pear.

I added those two colors to my palette for this painting;
Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna.

Here's Video #1 in this 4 video series.

Video #2 

Video #3 

Video #4.
Let's gittr done.

Hopefully you've enjoyed this series and made it through all three weeks of classes.  
Leave a comment if you did either the drawing or the paintings and let us know how it went.

Please feel free to share this with anyone
 you think would enjoy it. 

Click HERE to visit my website and learn about a free class, a single subject class, or my full blown art course.

See you Friday with Famous Artist Friday.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Does Michael Jordan Paint? Motivation Monday

Does Michael Jordan Paint?

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. 
–Michael Jordan

I love this quote!
Michael Jordan admitting he failed and then assuring the rest of us mortals that success involves failure.
Learning to paint and painting so often involves failure.
Frustrating, disappointing, debilitating failure.
And then, out of the blue
you have a day where everything just flows off your brush.
You struggle, you study, you practice, you think it through
and nothing seems to work.
And then... it does.
I think Michael Jordan is teaching us all to press on.
That's how he became maybe the best basketball player of all time.
He got cut from his high school basketball team as a sophomore.  Most kids would have given up.  But not someone who truly believes in himself and his dream.
As painters, especially beginning painters
it is so important to realize this is a learning curve.
Yes talent is involved,
but so are skills
and skills take time
and practice.
So just because things didn't go well at the easel today,
doesn't mean you can't paint.
It means, if you love it,
you must keep going.
and since this is an art blog,
enjoy some art.

This is my granddaughter Karen.
This was part of a 30 paintings in 30 days I participated in in 2016.  I don't usually paint figures but really wanted to.
So that was the goal, to paint all of my grandchildren doing what they love during the challenge.  
I'd never painted figures before.
I'd tried drawing them with very limited success.
But the only way to do it is to do it.
And learn with every brush stroke.

 I painted this from a photo I took on maybe the hottest day of the summer that year.
But Ren loves baseball so on he played.
Naturally neither of those paintings are for sale.
Their parents have them.

Good Eatin
10" x 10" 
This is more like what I normally do.
This was painted from a photo I took at Findlay Market
in Cincinnati, OH.
It is a permanent and a temporary farmers market in the heart of the city and it has been there for years.
I remember going there as a little girl.
Seeing all the cheeses and sausages hanging was amazing to me as a child.
Painter Nation,
keep at it,
keep painting,
don't give up.
Leave a comment on how you keep on keeping on,
or what it feels like when the stars align
and things go right.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Marc Chagall - Famous Artist Friday

Make Lemonade Kind of Artist
Marc Chagall 

 Marc Chagall survived being stuck behind enemy lines during two world wars, being persecuted for his religion, the death or divorce of several wives, yet he produced art like a mad man, mastered several art mediums and still he had enough money and foresight to leave a legacy for future artists.

1920 by Pierre Choumoff

Born Marc Zarkharovich Chagall, July 7, 1887 was a Russian-French artist raised in a small Hassidic village on the outskirts of Vitebsk, Belarus.  His Jewish roots would always be very important to him and would prove problematic later on in his life.
Chagall showed interest and talent in art as a child and began his art studies at an all Jewish art school at age 19.  He left several months into his studies to go to St. Petersburg in 1907 to study at the Imperial Society for the Protection of Fine Arts. 
In 1911 Chagall received an allowance from Russian Parliamentarian and patron Maxim Binaver and was able to move to Paris, France to study.   Chagall originally landed in the Montparnasse neighborhood, but soon moved to an artist colony known as LaRuche, The Beehive.  Working alongside painters such as  Amedeo Modigliani and Fernand L├ęger as well as the avant-arde poet Guillaume Apollinairethese artist encouraged Chagall to lighten his palette and embrace Fauvism and Cubism and to push his style even further from reality. Possibly
his most notable work, I and the Village was produced during this time in 1911.

 Chagall's work has a dreamy style and he is not afraid to push the envelope, remembering this was 1911.  While the salon's of Paris were loosening up their death grip on controlling the art world at the time, Chagall's work was embraced and maligned at the same time.  Lucky for him, more embraced his work initially but it did fall out of favor later on.

The Fiddler
became the inspiration for the musical The Fiddler on the Roof.

In 1914 Chagall had gained fame beyond Paris and traveled to Berlin to organize his first solo exhibition at Der Sturm Gallery.  Chagall remained in Berlin until after the highly acclaimed show in June when he returned to Vitebsk.  In August Chagall was trapped in Vitebsk when World War 1 broke out.  He remained there until 1923.  This is where the "making lemonade" came into his life.  Chagall never let his circumstances detract from his inner desire to create art.  He continued to work even as WWI raged on.  It was there in 1915 he married long time love Bella and a year later she gave birth to their daughter Ida.  Bella and Ida would be subjects of his art for years to come.  In order to avoid military service and stay with his young family, Chagall took a position as a clerk in the Ministry of War Economy in St. Petersburg.  Chagall continued working as an artist and did shows and gained notoriety.  All that helped in the aftermath of the Russian revolution when he was appointed to be the Commissar of Fine Arts in Vitebsk.  In 1919 he founded the Academy of the Arts in Vitebsk but became disillusioned when he and his colleagues had serious disagreements and in 1920 he relinquished his position and moved to Moscow.
While there he was commissioned to create sets and costumes for a Yiddish theatrical group which proved extremely helpful at a later time in life.

 Bella in a White Collar

Chagall never seemed to be unwilling or unable to change gears and go with the flow.  Each time circumstances forced him in a direction, he always seemed to make the very best of it which later proved to be to his advantage.

Chagall left Russia for good in 1922 and took his family to Berlin where he unsuccessfully tried to recover his work from the show 8 years prior.  In 1923 he moved his family to Paris.

Chagall began work on a commission of etchings almost immediately upon his return and worked on a number of different projects.

As Chagall's notoriety spread across Europe, so was Fascism and Nazism.  You can see where this was headed.  During the "Cultural Cleansing" by the Nazi's in Germany, Chagall's work was removed from several German museums, burned and was included in the 1937 exhibition of degenerate art in Munich.  Chagall was forced to move his family several times after World War II broke out and was able to flee to America after MOMA, Museum of Modern Art added his name to a list of Jewish artists in most peril.  Chagall was one of 2000 artists who received a visa and was able to escape certain incarceration.

When Chagall arrived in America in 1941 he did not realize he already had a large following and audience there.  Despite the language barrier he connected with an exiled European artist community.  Within a year, Chagall was again commissioned to create sets and costumes for a ballet.

Chagall's art would reflect world events as he worried about the fate of other fellow Jews in Europe and the destruction of Russia.  In 1944 Chagall's wife, Bella, died of a viral infection, which left him devastated for years to come.  His grief was also represented in his work. 

In 1945 Chagall began the set design and costumes for Igor Stavinsky's production of the ballet The Firebird, which ran from 1949 through 1965.  He also became involved with a young English artist, Virginia and in 1946 she gave birth to their son David.  During this same time Chagall had showings at MOMA and the Art Institute of Chicago.

After 7 years in exile Chagall returned to France in 1948 with Virginia and David and Jean, a daughter of Virginia's from a previous marriage.  In 1950 Chagall moved his family to the French Riviera and the next year Virginia left him.  In 1952 Chagall met and married Valentina Brodsky and she also became his manager.  

Having established himself as a serious painter, Chagall began to move into other mediums as he explored ceramics and sculpture and mastered stained glass.

Ceramic plate titled Moses

This stained glass is in Metz, France.

 This stained glass is titled Peace and is at the U.N. in NYC.

In 1977 Chagall received the Grand Medal of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest accolade. That same year, he became one of only a handful of artists in history to receive a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre. He died on March 28, 1985, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence at age 97, leaving behind a vast collection of work along with a rich legacy as an iconic Jewish artist and pioneer of modernism.

Websites used to create this article are:

I hope you enjoyed learning about Marc Chagall as much as I did.  I found his life fascinating as he was not the tortured soul that many artists were.  He went about his work of creating art regardless of his surroundings and I believe he truly made lemonade out of the lemons he was given.  He worked up until his death and his work can be seen in synagogues, churches, museums and other places of notoriety throughout the world.  

I also hope you have subscribed to this blog as I work to bring you art education for the beginning artist and home school family, motivational ideas to keep you going when things get hard in your life, and interesting art history like the life of Marc Chagall.  If you haven't subscribed yet, scroll back to the top of this blog and on the right hand side is a box that says "Subscribe to my blog".  Put your email address in there and you're in.

I also want to let you know that I am currently working on a huge project of redoing my website and hope to be bringing you a ton of new options of different classes in the future geared for beginning artists and homeschool families as you incorporate art into your curriculum.  My FREE Famous Artist Fridays would make a perfect addition to your art curriculum.  I am shooting to have my new website up and running by the end of March. 

Thank for stopping by today and have a great weekend. 

About Me

My photo
Ghent, Kentucky, United States
I'm a nature artist and I love to paint old barns, rivers and lakes, trees and fence rows and flowers. I work almost daily. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at and there is also a tab across the top of my blog for available paintings and one for small paintings with buy now buttons. You can also purchase through my Etsy shop using the name of Fine Nature Art. . Thank you so much for stopping by.