February 29, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 60

February 29, 2016 (that extra day)

Day 60 (306 days to go)

Spring weeds

Postcard watercolor,monotype, 5X7 Matted

Another awesome month!

 I would like for this next month to be a little different from what I have done lately. Since the weather might improve, I will be going outdoors somewhat. I will definitely be dedicating creativity to the elements of spring and how this time of the year unfolds in Washington DC.

I would like to focus more on realistic visual interpretations for this next month, because being outdoors with other human beings inspires me. Besides, I think I would love to have 31 postcards from DC. This town is visually inspiring in the spring.

I also decided that at least once a week I will be doing a bigger format, and for those days I won’t be attempting to do research and write.

Also, by just running some numbers, I will be done with Art History in June. I really just wanted to review and share the stories of the greatest 100 masters and their respective art movements.

I feel that when I enter contemporary art I will want to explore more of the subject on a personal level. What does art mean to me, and where is my work going?

I hope you have enjoyed my site so far and don’t forget that today is an extra day. So indulge yourself because it is a gift we all get every four years. I figured that since it is a rare day, I should make it special.

Have a brilliant day and do something original!! 

February 28, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 59

February 28, 2016.

Day 59 (307 days to go)


Turkish Block print

Postcard watercolor, 5X7 Matted


Jacques Louis David (1748-1825) was the greatest Neoclassical French painter. He was hired by King Louis XVI as court painter to create historical paintings that would inspire patriotism. These were dangerous times in which political views were shifting and the Revolution was about to happen. David was imprisoned for a while and later worked for Napoleon.  After Napoleon’s downfall, David left Paris and exiled himself in Brussels, where he died.

The Death of Marat (1793) is David’s best-known painting. Marat was a hero of the Revolution and a close friend of David’s. The painting of Marat’s murder expresses the heart of Neoclassicism and the political turmoil Europe was going through.


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click here for Gallery

February 27, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 58

February 27, 2016

Day 58 (308 days to go)

Hand Palette 

Postcard watercolor, collage, 5X7 Matted

Part II

Berthe and Edma Moriset decided that their lessons with Chocarne were tedious. Their older sister Yves chose sewing over drawing. Their mother switched them to a painter named Joseph Guichard, who lived just down their street.  In 1857, after a few painting lessons with his new students, Guichard introduced Berthe and Edma to the Louvre Museum in Paris.  During the first year, they learned by looking at paintings and then later by copying them.  At that time, it was common knowledge that any aspiring painter had to go to the Louvre and copy the old Masters.

In the book Berthe Morisot, Anne Higonnet writes, “Berthe worked from Titian, Veronese and Rubens, indicating a decided preference for those models then considered primary colorists. On the days set aside for copying, the halls of the Louvre were thronged with painters young and old, both man and women. For if virtually all “original” professional painters were then men, many women made their living copying masterpieces, not as lessons but as products for sale. The Louvre was the most open art school of all, a place where students of many persuasions could watch and meet each other. All the copyists’ work was out on their easels, proclaiming their interests and their talent. For Edma and Bertha, trained in seclusion, the Louvre meant exposure not only to painting’s history but suddenly to the other art student’s of Paris.”

By 1860, Berthe Morisot had decided she was not satisfied with her teacher Guichard, and she wanted to paint outdoors. Berthe Morisot painted “plein air” (outside), before any of the future Impressionists.

Berthe Morisot was only nineteen when she and her sister were introduced to Camille Corot. He very much liked painting on the banks of the Oise River, near their house, and was the kind of teacher who gave them their own creative space. It might have been because they were young ladies, and he didn’t want to impose his own view too strongly on them. Corot was known by the Parisian avant-garde for challenging the art standards of the Académie des Beaux Arts.

The Morisot family was happy to have Corot, along other artists, writers and musicians, as part of their social soirees.  They held these every Tuesday, so that their daughters could advance in their careers and social lives.







February 26, 2016

Painting With The Girls 57

February 26, 2016

Day 57 (309 days to go)


Tio Irineu


The intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment gained momentum in Europe between the 17th and 18th centuries, instigating an upheaval of changes in art, philosophy and politics.

Crucial to Enlighment thought was the use of reason for humans to understand the laws of the universe and improve their own circumstances. The ultimate objective of humanizing civilization was to achieve knowledge, freedom, and happiness.

Notable painters in this movement were: David and Ingres.


February 25, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 56

February 25, 2016

Day 56 (310 days to go)

Road Runner

Postcard watercolor, collage, block printing, 5X7 Matted


King Phillip IV of Spain hired Diego de Velasquez(1599-1669) to be the court painter. Velasquez spent some time in Rome studying with the masters. There, he perfected his brushstroke method. Looking close at the canvas, his painting appeared impressionistic, but from afar it came into perfect focus. This was a new method at the time, and for Velasquez to accomplish this he worked with very long brushes so that he could position himself away from the canvas.

His most intriguing and well-known painting is The Maids of Honor, in which Velasquez is also seen in the painting in the process of painting the scene.

Las Meninas (The Maids of Honour), 1656 Museo del Prado.

February 24, 2016

Painting With The Girls 55

February 24, 2016.

Day 55 (311 days to go)

Joshua Tree Picnic

Postcard watercolor 5X7 Matted


In his short life, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) only created 34 paintings. He was a meticulous and slow painter who is believed to have used a camera obscura to aid his work. His paintings are known for being soft lit with muted colors.

E. H. Gombrich writes in The Story of Art, “It is the way in which Vermeer achieves complete and painstaking precision in the rendering of textures, colors and forms without the picture ever looking labored or harsh. Like a photographer who deliberately softens the strong contrast of the picture without blurring the forms, Vermeer mellowed the outlines and yet retained the effect of solidity and firmness.”

Towards the end of his life Vermeer experienced financial difficulties. He was only 43 when he died, and his house was filled with unsold paintings. 

February 23, 2016

Painting With The Girls 54

February 23, 2016.

Day 54 (312 days to go)



Postcard watercolor, collage 5X7 Matted


Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio (1571-1610), was probably born in Milan. He does not seem to have studied under any particular master, but used nature as a model, focusing at first on still lives and portraits.

His work could be described as a result of seeking truth and not the ideal classical beauty. He was not afraid of ugliness.  Paul Johnson writes in Art: The New History, “Caravaggio created himself. He was antinomian, despising all laws of life and art. But this fatal propensity to break all the rules, which turned his life first into anarchy, then tragedy, also made him an artist of astonishing originality and creative power. He destroyed the old order and imposed a new one.”

There are several versions about the violence in his life and the way he died.

One of the explanations for his anger might be having lost his Mother at age six and his father at age eighteen. Historians have debated about his posthumous reputation for homosexuality, but his extensive criminal records did not reveal charges of sodomy. He murdered a man in a tennis match and was condemned to death, but was later pardoned. He made many enemies, and was hunted down, resulting in his death at age 39.


(Antinomian: relating to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law.)

Click here for image

Click here for image

February 22, 2016

Painting With The Girls 53

February 22, 2016

Day 53 (313 days to go)

Birds Collage 2

Postcard watercolor, collage 5X7 Matted

The collage of "caged birds" came out of a encyclopedia from 1910. I have been cutting many interesting pieces out of the  16 volumes encyclopedia. I bought it at E-bay specially for that purpose.


In a plot to weaken the nobility King Louis XIV, build a Palace 11 miles away from Paris and forced 5000 of his most defiant noble families to live with him in Versailles, preventing them of brewing revolutions behind his back.

Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin-Mansart were the architects. The extravagant palace was designed to be a symbol of the King, who viewed himself as a representative of god on Earth, and named himself “Sun King”.

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click here for Gallery

February 21, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 52

February 21, 2016.

Day 52 (314 days to go)


Birds Collage 1


Rembrandt (1606-1669) was a prolific Dutch painter, who learned to manipulate light and dark for dramatic effect, most probably influenced by Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro technique. He was a student of Pieter Lastman and the Utrecht school of Holland.

Nancy Frazier writes in Art History, “Unanswered questions about Rembrandt are mountainously troublesome because his reputation is simultaneously so lofty and so controversial.”

Art historian Gary D. Schwartz writes in Rembrandt: His Life, His Paintings, “ no one ever asked Rembrandt to be the godfather of their child, or even witness a document for them. He was bitter vindictive, attacking the adversary with all means, fair and foul . . . underhanded and untrustworthy even to his friends…arrogant to the one who admired him.”

Rembrandt was an art collector himself, and in his later years he lost most of it including his house and his own paintings, to his debt collectors.

Rembrandt is well known for his many self-portraits. The Night Watchers, and Philosopher in Meditation are classic examples.

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February 20, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 51

February 20, 2016

Day 51, (315 days to go)


Postcard watercolor 5X7 Matted

Part I- Berthe Morisot.

Not much has been written in English about the life and work of French painter Berthe Morisot.

She was born in 1841 in Bourges into a wealthy and educated family. Her father was Tiburce Morisot, a government official, and her mother, Marie Cornelie, married him when she was sixteen. Berthe had two sisters and a brother. It was her sister Edma who became very close to her in their formative years.

When Berthe was sixteen, her mother Cornélie decided all her daughters should be able to draw. She took them to an unknown drawing teacher named Geoffrey Alphonse Chocarne, who gave the young ladies their first lessons. That was a very common activity for wealthy young ladies, and Berthe most likely was taught a second language and classical literature by her governess and her mother. Besides painting, Berthe took piano lessons and studied etiquette. At the time, being occupied with household chores in the morning and running errands in the afternoon was part of the female world. Upper middle class women occupied themselves with domestic frivolities. Since a young lady’s beautiful and elegant appearance was essential to that society.

In Berthe Morisot’s biography, author Anne Higonnet writes, “Each of the nineteenth century woman’s multiple daily occupations required a special outfit, functionally appropriate, of course, but more important signifying that duties were being fulfilled and rank maintained.”


February 19, 2016

Painting With The Girls 50

February 19, 2016.

Day 50 (316 days to go)



Turquoise and Violet

This is a watercolor collage study, with my very two favorite colors combined. Again, I like practicing composition with forms and colors.

Postcard watercolor,collage, 5X7 Matted

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a Flemish painter, sculptor, architect, engraver, businessman and diplomat. He also spoke seven languages. His father, Jan, became a Calvinist, requiring the whole family to move away from Antwerp when the Catholics occupied the city in 1568. His father was convicted of adultery with his employer, the Princess of Orange. After his father’s death Rubens and his mother returned to Antwerp, where he was an apprentice with three different painters.

In 1600 he moved to Italy and was hired by Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga of Mantua to copy the great Italian painters. While in Rome, he watched Annibale Carracci’s highly disciplined team painting the Farnase gallery, a model Rubens would use in his own studio back at Antwerp.

In 1603 the Duke sent him to Spain as a political ambassador.

Nancy Frazier writes, “He returned to Antwerp at his mother’s death in 1608 and became court painter to the Archduke Albert and his wife Isabella, with special permission to remain in Antwerp. Well mannered, with many languages and social graces, he would later receive more diplomatic assignments. His favored position enabled him to sidestep the local GUILD and freely establish his immense studio, exempt from registering his students. Thus although it is believed that he had a great many assistants, the number is uncertain.”

Rubens was happily married-twice after his first wife died; he remarried at age 53 to Helene Fourtment, who was 16.

Rubens painted both his wives and children frequently.

click here Gallery

February 18, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 49

February 18, 2016.

Day 49 (317 day to go).

Flowers and Rocks

Postcard watercolor, 5X7 Matted

My work today is a watercolor-gouache inspired by Émile Gilliéron’s work in archeological excavations in Tiryns. He gained a reputation for being widely recognized as the best archeological illustrator.

I used art-masking fluid to start with, to allow for the white paper in this painting. 


Baroque (c. 1475-1575)

The first 150 years of Renaissance are all about the “rebirth” of Greek and Roman cultures. The Mannerism movement allowed the individuality of each artist to influence their own work. The Baroque period featured exaggeration of motion, dramatic tension, excitement and detail in painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, dance, theater and music. In architecture, the period is exemplified by the palace of Versailles and by the work of Bernini in Italy. Major composers include Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel; Caravaggio and Rubens are important baroque artists.

Baroque overlaps with Mannerism and Rococo, making it impossible to set clear definitions and delimitations for this period.

Nancy Frazier, writes in Art History, “In a reaction to the affectation, artificiality, and apparent emotional detachment of Mannerism, art of the Baroque era reported both the more natural look of the world and a sense of personal engagement. There is, however, wide variety of Baroque, art from the stillness and restraint of Vermeer at one end of the spectrum to the intensity of Caravaggio and the action-packed drama of Rubens on the other.”



February 17, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 48

February 17, 2016.

Day 48, (318 days to go).



My watercolor was inspired by all the thoughts one can have in a few minutes and the line drawings by Matisse.

Postcard watercolor, 5X7 Matted

Doménikos Theotocopoulos (1541-1614), known as El Greco, was a Cretan worked in Rome and Venice. He was a pupil of Titian, and he studied the works of Michelangelo and Tintoretto. In 1577, at age thirty-six, he moved to Spain, where he lived the remaining thirty-seven years of his life.

In this period, El Greco began to elongate and stretch the human forms in his paintings. His colors became a bit acidic and metallic, and after his death, critics around the world ridiculed him for being extravagant and queer.

It is said that in 1899, his painting Holy Family With Magdalena was used to patch a window because the convent couldn’t afford to fix it. The painting was sold many times for a few pesetas until it made it’s way to the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Some of his other paintings have sold for more then £9 million.


February 16, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 47

February 16, 2016.

Day 47 (319 days to go).

Postcard watercolor, 5X7 Matted

Tintoretto (1518-1594) was an Italian painter who compared his own drawing to Michelangelo’s and his coloring skills to Titian. He was definitely an aggressive self-promoter, and while other painters would be presenting their sketches for a project, Tintoretto would have them all ready placed and finished for his presentation.

His sales skills and ambition were probably the reason why the Fraternity of San Rocco in Venice hired him to a very well paid commission that lasted for 22 years.

Nancy Frazier writes in Art History, “The overall somber tone of his paintings was quickly achieved by priming the canvas with flat dark colors, usually red or brown. He further increased his velocity by painting with a broad brush. Often he created the impression of deep space rising in the distance, as if to make the figures in the foreground hurtle out of the canvas into the viewer’s space.” This technique described as a series of rapid brushstrokes creating impressions, was called “prestezza”, and may have been entirely his invention. He also painted in a new way requiring that his paintings were supposed to be viewed from a few steps in the distance. 

Tintoretto is well known for his depiction of Saint George fighting a dragon. The lighting and the movement makes the viewer feel one has arrived just as the drama has reached its climax.

February 15, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 46

February 15, 2016.

Day 46, (320 days to go).

Dearth 3

Postcard watercolor, 5X7, Matted


Mannerism is a style that spikes tension and energy, replacing the calm of High Renaissance. Mannerism paintings are characterized by unpredictable and crowded compositions. Contortion and distortion are used to exaggerate gestures and anatomy of the figure. There is agitation, movement and drama in the lighting and colors of the painting.

Pontormo, Bronzino, Tintoretto, El Greco and Parmigianino are painters usually identified with this style.

February 14, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 45

February 14, 2016.

Day 45, (321 days to go).

Dearth 2

Postcard watercolor, 5X7 Matted


Holbein Hans, the Younger (1498-1543) was one of many German painters confronted with the dilemma of the changes caused by the Reformation. Should painting cease to exist?  Lutherans didn’t want religious objects or paintings in their churches, and Calvinists objected even to decorations. The only possible work income sources left for painters were book illustrations and portraits.

It was in this state of events that Holbein was invited to go to England and paint for Sir Thomas More’s family. Soon he was discovered by King Henry VIII and was given the title of Court Painter.

Paul Johnson describes Holbein’s work in Art: The New History; “Holbein never skimped a detail or omitted a painterly effect when he saw the opportunity. His works, demonstrate the sheer quality of his skills and the endless trouble he took to employ them generously in every part of a painting.”

Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors is a much-discussed portrait because of all the hidden elements he placed in this masterpiece.  What we do not see is what makes it very interesting.

The painting depicts two French diplomats who are at the top of their careers. They are in a very successful financial situation. Holbein adds many objects in this painting that represent what is happening in their lives.

One could say the objects on the top shelve represent the heavens, because the objects relate to astronomy, studying constellations and measuring time.

And the objects on the lower shelve symbolize terrestrial matters, a lute, a book of arithmetic, a globe, and a book of hymns. The man on the right has his arm on a book that has the number 29 on it, which is the age of this diplomat at the time. The other man has a number 29 designed on his dagger.

The tiles on the floor are a perfect copy of the tiles at the Westminster Abbey, which represent a diagram of the macrocosm, symbolizing things we don’t see, but are part of.

The most interesting part of this painting by far is the distorted representation of a skull placed on the floor by their feet. If one moves to the side of the painting where all the other objects become distorted, one is able to see a skull in its perfect form.  This is a reminder of death, although the painting celebrates all the nice things in life. Another symbolic object in this painting is the lute, which at the time painters used to learn how to foreshorten objects in a drawing. Because Holbein exaggerated the distortion of the lute he wanted the viewer to be reminded that sometimes what one sees is not the truth.

If one looks very closely, one can see that a string of the lute is broken. Art historians believe this symbolizes all the discord happening in Europe and Henry VIII leaving the church.

The painting is about what these two men had achieved historically in their investigations of their world. The two other elements that are half hidden in this painting are the crucifix and the skull, suggesting the limits of earthly life and man’s knowledge, ass well as the inevitability of death, followed by the promise of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

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Holbein   The Ambassadors

This is what the viewer would see stepping to the side of the painting.

February 13, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 44

February 13, 2016.

Day 44, (322 days to go).


Postcard watercolor, 5X7, Matted

This is Part VII, on Artemisia Gentileschi's life story. If you missed some of the other parts please go to January: days 9. 16, 23, 30 and February day 37.


With the exception of a few years that Artemisia spent in England, Naples became her home for the rest of her life. It was there that her daughter, Prudencia (also known as Palmira) got married sometime around 1637. Artemisia trained her as a painter, but no paintings of hers have survived.

During that time, she moved to England, under the request of King Charles I. Her father had been working there, and with his health declining, Artemisia felt obliged to go.  One could say that maybe there was an opportunity for Artemisia to finally spend some time with her father and reestablish their relationship before he died shortly after her arrival in 1639.

Mary D. Garrard says, “The painting that hangs today in the Kensington Palace, Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, may well be her major achievement.”   She again used her point of view as a female to demonstrate in this self-portrait two themes never explored by a male. At the time, an allegorical female symbolizing the art of painting had never been done. She managed to show herself with unique expertise, something a male couldn’t have done. Also, she probably used at least two mirrors in painting her self-portrait, so that she could show herself in the action of painting.

It is believed that the King himself, if for the only reason that she was a rare woman painter requested her portrait.

Artemisia’s stay in England was probably no longer then two years. She went back to Naples where she had commissions to fulfill for patrons such, as Don Antonio Ruffo of Sicily.

From this long period in Naples, Artemisia most likely was present for both the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1631 and the political insurrection of 1647, but none of these events are mentioned in her correspondence.

She lived in Naples for the rest of her life. Mary D. Garrard says, “as Artemisia grew older, her work became more graceful and “feminine,” while this was to some extent part of a general shift in taste and sensibility, it must also have resulted from the artist becoming more and more self-consciously a woman painter.”

Only 34 paintings and 28 letters remain from Artemisia’s entire life.

There are no records of her death, perhaps because she was present during the devastating Naples plague in 1656 that killed two-thirds of the city.


1.     Garrard, Mary D.   Artemisia Gentileschi, Princeton University Press, 1991.

2.     Christiansen, Keith and Judith W. Mann, eds. Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi. Exh, cat, Metropolitan Museum of Art. New Heaven and London, 2001.

3.     Bal, Mieke The Artemisia Files, the University of Chicago Press, 2005.

4.     Vreeland, Susan. The Passion Of Artemisia,  2002.



Artemisia,  Agnés Merlet.



A Woman Like That, Ellen Weissbrod.

February 12, 2016

Painting With The Girls 43

Foam Batik

Postcard watercolor, 5X7, Matted

Lucas Cranach (1472- 1573) began as a most promising painter in Germany. That changed with his embrace of the Protestant Reformation. He was a friend of Luther’s who worked closely with Cranach. One could say his work was a true response to the Reformation. His figures are gothic and stiff, and lack the expression of the Renaissance. Paul Johnson writes in Art A New History, “Cranach is an uneven painter, known chiefly for his emaciated high breast nudes, Eves and the like, which would have disgusted Michelangelo and made Titian laugh.”

February 11, 2016

Painting With The Girls 42

February 11, 2016.

Day 42, (324 days to go).

Rain Batik

Postcard watercolor, 5X7, Matted


Jan Van Eyk (c. 1395-1441) was a painter in the Burgundian court in Bruges, sometimes called the “Inventor Of Oil Paint” because he perfected the technique. He mixed his pigments with walnut oils and set his panels to dry, creating many transparent layers. In this way, the viewer had the impression of a three-dimensional painting. The transparencies of the several layers allowed light to enter the painting and bounce back in a beautiful effect. The earlier technique of using tempera required mixing eggs with pigments, thus obtaining an opaque result on the surface of the painting.

Van Eyk’s greatest triumph in technique and portraits is probably best represented by The Betrothal of the Arnolfini, (1434), because it masters the glowing effects of color, texture and reality. This portrait also carries hidden symbols, a trait of most paintings at that time. The wedding candle on the chandelier suggests feminine virtue and conjugal morality.

The apples in the windowsill and sideboard symbolize Original Sin.

The couple is barefooted indicating the room might have been made sacred by the promise of marriage.

The image of the dog symbolizes conjugal fidelity.   

Jan Van Eyk The Bethrothal of the Arnolfini 1434       National Gallery,  London

February 10, 2016

Painting With The Girls 41

February 10, 2016.

Day 41, (325 days to go)

Clouds Batik

Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516) was born in the Netherlands and is best known for his paintings aiming to terrify his viewers and enforce repentance with his alarming depictions of the horrors of life and death.

Paul Johnson describes Bosch’s work very well in his book Art A New History, “Medieval people of all classes liked to ‘read art’, in a contemporary setting with countless details they could recognize and relish. For the educated, there was another dimension of meaning produced by symbols, so that a painting could be solved as we solve a crossword puzzle. Bosch offered all these opportunities in full measure – his Garden of Earthly Delights contains over 400 distinct incidents and symbols- but his humanity and voracious zest for life added an extra, unexpected dimension of humor. His humans often young and beautiful are held up to ridicule as they find themselves poised between Hell and Heaven and subjected to extraordinary humiliations.”

Historians believe that Bosch traveled to Italy around 1505, and his very unique creative expressions found their way into the work of Italian as well as other Northern European painters.

Garden of Delights   Hierononymus Bosch                       The Prado Museum Madrid.