This is the auction page! Please read the rules at the bottom of this post and leave your bids in the comments! Good luck!
oil on canvas
Please read the auction rules here:
This auction will close tomorrow, Friday the 16th, at midnight!
When I painted this still life many months ago I was working, as usual, in my mezzanine-level studio in the Old Town Hall in Lancaster. Usually, my studio is a very solitary space. But that summer, there was a community theater working in the hall, practicing their music just beyond and below the curtains that form the southern wall of my studio. The performance they were preparing was Don Quixote. As I painted away during those days, the themes of valor, optimism, inspiration, and "tilting at windmills" were wafting around me. The beautiful melody about the leading lady, Dulcinea, was what ended up finding its way on to this canvas here. The silver of the tea service became the armor of a knight, with the blossoms representing the inspiring loveliness of his muse.
oil on canvas
This piece will be included in an upcoming exhibit at the Whistler House Museum of Art, most likely in 2021 (original dates for this exhibit were this fall, but of course this exhibit was postponed).
I am offering it for pre-exhibit purchase now, via auction, here on this blog!
The auction starts tomorrow morning, Thursday, October 15, at 8:30 am.
Please read the auction rules here:
It has been a crazy year for us all, this thing we call 2020!
In response we have had to be creative and get a little crazy ourselves
So many events and plans have been canceled and disrupted this year, and it has been true for us too! Many live painting events were canceled or delayed as well as all of the in-person art sales and in-person art sale opportunities to which we were looking forward. As I'm sure you know, art sales are how an artist makes his money. This state of affairs has left us with a bit of an earnings gap - right when we were trying to make arrangements for our first home purchase AND we have recently learned - to our joy - that our fifth little one is on the way!
Well, this is when some good news comes in for you. Since some of these beautiful paintings have not made their way out into the world due to lockdowns and other sundry causes, we have some big plans to release them now, in rapid fashion! Our plan is to auction off one painting per week over the next several weeks with bidding prices starting out at one quarter the sticker price! It'll be like the seasonal flash sales from last year, only bigger and crazier!
So tune in to see if you can nab a steal! Send us an email now or leave a comment below to let us know if there's a particular painting of mine you've been eyeing -- maybe we'll work that one into the rotation for you!
We will likely be testing out different auction methods, starting with an auction-by-email:
We hope this will be fun for you and that it will help us keep moving forward in keeping the Fine Art/Beauty Advocacy dream alive, as well as help us to realize the dream of owning our a home in a crazy time!
And of course, the central dream of the artist is that his works will be hung and enjoyed, giving meaning and communicating life and beauty into a space. I'd much rather that my works be in your home, office, or other space than that they be idling in my studio. A painting is never complete until it has found its place in the world!
You can imagine my excitement when I received the request from a patron in Texas for a new Madonna for his private residence. As you know, portraiture is a love of mine. And whose portrait would I rather attempt than that of my heavenly Lady, the Mother of God! For a Catholic artist, this is an honor and a dream. I have depicted the Virgin Mary before, but never had such an opportunity to focus on a Madonna painting and produce to the best of my ability in her honor.
The intention was to execute this painting this spring. Coordinating was a bit of a challenge (much like all endeavors these days), with no ability to make advanced plans and everything uncertain. Fortunately, I was able to work with a local model and the other artist friend joining me in the studio is very close by as well — so when the moment arose that all parties were available, we were able to act quickly! The model’s time was very limited and I was under deadline on my latest children’s book illustrations, but we managed to squeeze in a good number of hours in the studio in one week’s time.
My patron had indicated a desire for something along the lines of the Italian baroque images below. The goal was also to capture a Mary with a very youthful look.
A makeshift canopy-type structure from cardboard served so that the shadows would be intense behind her while also allowing the natural light from my window to fall directly on her face, causing a strong compositional contrast and highlight. With this in place, I was able simply and immediately to achieve one of the main elements of these reference paintings: a deep background and very light foreground.
On the Saturday before the modeling week, we all gathered in the studio to set up and Deirdre came to help drape the model so I could set the style for our Marian pose. With the above paintings as my inspiration, I was looking for a color palette and style that was both rich and simple, while also working with the very fair skin tone of the model.
We landed on the combination of white and red with the traditional blue mantle. The white wimple is a fine, beautiful linen-wool blend fabric — the same blend (as we learned from the friend who loaned the fabric to us for this purpose) that would have been reserved for priests’ temple rituals in the ancient Jewish tradition.
After the week’s worth of work with the live model, the halo was the final touch still lacking. After considering a fine, tilted gold ring for the halo, I ultimately landed upon this glow to gently emphasize the holiness of the Virgin. A few subtle changes to the face served to idealize and distance the image from the model’s actual look.
Altogether, the process was rapid-fire due to the constraints of working in the midst of cultural crisis! But all went very smoothly. It was an absolute honor to do this work.
From the beginning of the project, my patron and I had discussed back and forth about the right frame style for this image. That conversation concluded, the choice was a vintage gold frame which arrived here just days ago and with which I’ll be finalizing the painting this coming week before it ships to its final destination.
So, without further ado, I offer you my Morning Star Madonna, an initial contribution to the massive and venerable tradition of Marian oil paintings. My profound thanks to the collector who made this endeavor possible by his patronage! I hope it will be a significant enrichment of his home.
Please stay tuned as I will be offering a very limited number of giclée prints of this image in the coming weeks, exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. It will be my great pleasure to be able to offer high-quality reproductions to a few purchasers so that we can further spread the work enabled by this commission.
Hello there, I'm John H. Folley. Thanks for visiting the Beauty Advocacy Blog, where it's my job to help you become a more discerning art appreciator.
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