Thursday, May 25, 2006
Clouds Overhead, 2005, Oil on Panel, 9x12
Having been inspired by reading The Crionna Collection and The Intrepid Collector, I thought that I'd occasionally post an image and talk a bit about the paintings and photographs that Doug and I have collected over the years.
When we lived in Utah, we began to buy art, rather seriously. I wanted to buy paintings that I liked and felt a connection to without concern about whether they were good investments or not. As Doug has a background in photography (he has a BFA from Tyler School in photographer and worked as a professional photographer for a time in Philadelphia), he decided to focus on buying photographs. He wanted to buy ones that he loved and admired but that also would gain value. He has been very successful with that, having sold two pieces at a profit.
When I was in college as an illustration major, Mark English was our god. His illustrations were everywhere in the eighties and we could only dream of having a career that successful. From his website: "He has won hundreds of awards for illustration and was the most awarded illustrator in the history of the Society of Illustrators in New York." He lives in Missouri and has since moved into fine art, showing his paintings in galleries in San Francisco and at the Eleanor Ettinger Gallery in New York. Doug gave me this painting by Mr. English for Christmas in 1999 and it amazes me. Without a direct light source on it, it kind of looks like nothing, a vague, dark dreary mass. But put a spotlight on it and it has space, depth, intensity and colors (though subtle) that glow. It has been one of the most inspiring pieces to me, when I started to paint again and it has qualities that I strive for in my own work everyday. I don't like all of Mr. English's current work, but I love this one.
August, by Mark English, Oil on Board, 10x13 1/2
I found when trying to photograph this painting that it's nearly impossible to capture the qualities that I described above. Despite being annoyed at not having a good representation of it to post, and I really apologize for the big shadow at the top of the painting, I am also comforted by that. I think it's a great sign when a painting doesn't give up its secrets so easily.
Over the years I have met people that have known Mark English and I hope that I will have a chance to meet him someday. If I do, I will more than likely make a ridiculous fool of myself, trying to converse intelligently with someone who I have admired for so long. He has a son, John, who is also a talented painter and illustrator and a daughter, Donna, who makes frames, including the one on the painting that we own. In fact, she made a custom frame for a bathroom mirror for us several years ago.
All of the paintings we have are my favorite, but this piece is really my favorite. I totally get it and I feel like it gets me, if that makes any sense.