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TEACHERS & INFLUENCES

  Josh Goldberg 

  Leon  Kroll

  Isabelle Hall 

  Arthur Dove

  Odilon Redon

  David Barbero




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Leon Kroll

Josh Goldberg
One day I went in a local Tucson gallery and saw for the first time an exhibition of Josh Goldberg's abstract paintings.   They struck me so profoundly that I almost fell down on the spot.   I realized this was the direction I wanted to take my art and decided to study with him.  

Josh's teaching is really guiding one to paint from your authentic self.   Some of the principles he stresses:   nurture doubt as a creative strategy;   dismiss thoughts of "good, bad, right, wrong, success, failure";   learn to reconcile the loss of the painting;   recognize Presence as completion of the painting;   view the painter's path as a series of unintentional turnings and playful permutations.         

I found this approach caused me to observe with respect the internal process I experienced as I moved through the stages of the devolving/evolving progression of the painting.  

Here is an excerpt from Josh Goldberg's statement:
     "For the past thirty years, the desert has been a teaching presence. 
      To remain silent and alone is to be open to the influences that are 
      crowded out of occupied city life. Communication in the desert is 
      through a waiting presence, not through incessant thinking. 
     This approach speaks to my deep interest in Taoism and Chinese poetry."
 Abraham Leon Kroll (American artist, 1884–1974) 

Known primarily as a classic figurative artist who painted many nudes, Kroll was part of a circle of New York artists that included several members of "The Eight",  and he was especially close with Robert Henri, William Glackens, George Bellows, Ernest Lawson, Edward Hopper, & Eugene Speicher.  

I studied with Leon Kroll at the National Academy of Design in New York City..   He was an excellent artist and an inspiring teacher.   
Isabelle  Hall
​Barbara
1919 - 2014

Barbara, Isabelle Hall Fiske Calhoun
 (American artist, 1919 - 2014) 

Barbara was actually born Isabelle Daniel Hall in Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up.

 When Barbara Hall married Irving Fiske, they bought 140 acres in Vermont called Quarry Hill (later called Quarry Hill Creative Arts Center) and made it an artists’ and writers’ retreat and gathering place for creative and freethinking people.  Barbara Hall was a pastel and egg tempera painter.   The Fiske's had two children, Isabella (Ladybelle) and William.   Hall eventually divorced Fiske and in 1989 remarried Dr. Donald Calhoun, a writer and sociology professor.  

Prior to meeting Barbara Hall at Quarry Hill, I was visiting Tucson, Arizona.   While in Tucson I met Ted DeGrazia, an artist.   This was for me a time of artistic existential dilemma.  DeGrazia liked my work and let me use the back table in his studio to make art for the summer.   His kindness was a turning point in my artistic direction and determination.  A year or so later when I first met Barbara Hall at Quarry Hill in Vermont I was astounded to see a beautiful large egg tempera portrait* she had painted of Ted DeGrazia.   Of course, she grew up in Tucson, Arizona and knew him.  The painting depicted DeGrazia as beatific.  When I got to know Barbara I realized she saw everyone that way.  She had a profound reverence for her fellow man.  Through her my purpose for making art was clarified and I confirmed to myself that the most important thing I could do in life was make art.

*I am hoping I can find a photo of that portrait for this journal.
Barbara died April 28, 2014
Neil J. Colligan created a beautiful film of her memorial:​
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hi7GeK33VE
QH2 Celebration of Barbara
Ladybelle, Mishcka, Barbara and William
Ted DeGrazia and Mishcka

 ARTHUR G. DOVE (American artist 1880–1946) 
 Responding to Dove’s 1997 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art the critic Robert Hughes stated:        
“If there was ever an artist in the American grain, it was Arthur Dove, with his obstinate home-made lyricism, his complete authenticity and his desire to be modern on local--not Euro-imitative--terms.”

Soon after Dove's return from an 18 month trip to Europe he met Alfred Stieglitz in New York, who was to be his dealer and adviser for the rest of his life.  Stieglitz invited him to submit work to the Younger American Painters exhibition held at his gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue in 1910. Dove's first one-person show was in 1912;   by then, his place in the artistic avant-garde of the Stieglitz circle (Dove, Marin, Hartley and O'Keeffe) was assured and Dove established himself as one of America’s most prolific and inventive artists working with abstraction.

Like other artists in Stieglitz's circle, Dove sought to represent the unseen rhythms and nuances of his environment and to record personal interpretations of nature by reducing form to its purest essence.   He was fascinated with natural cycles of growth and renewal and sought to make those universal harmonies visible in his work.  He was also frequently inspired by the parallel between the visual arts and music.  Dove shared these interests with Georgia O'Keeffe who was perhaps his closest ally among the other artists of the Stieglitz circle. 

Arthur Dove's reputation continued to grow after his death, and he has been credited with exercising an indirect influence on the first generation of Abstract Expressionism, such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, who placed similar emphasis on the artist's subjective experience of his surroundings and on the intrinsic emotional power of color and line.


   Odilon Redon 
(French artist 1840-1916)
"True art lies in a reality that is felt."

In trying to explain the darkness present in Redon's early works, predominately black-and-white charcoals, critics described them as "mutated, terrifying creatures dominated this macabre period which Redon called "le noirs' ", but which Paul Gauguin says in Beyond the Visible:  The Art of Odilon Redon: "If we look closely at Redon's profound art, we find little trace of 'monsters' in it."  Gauguin called them "imaginary beings" instead.  My personal favorite of these pieces is The Smiling Spider.  However you choose to call these creatures, in the 1890's his work became ethereal, lush and rich.  His scenes combined romantic literature and religious myth .

Years ago when I lived on the east coast I went to a Gauguin exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.   One of Gauguin's paintings was of a vase of sunflowers on a chair.  One of the flowers had an eye in the center.  This was a tribute of sorts to Redon who (I read) speculated a flower was a rudimentary experiment of God as an eye into this world.  ( I am paraphrasing).
In a review of the 1868 Paris Salon, Redon wrote: 
"True art lies in a reality that is felt." 
What a divine character and a wonderful artist !

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