Archive for March, 2010

African Americans in Art ……… Mario Andres Robinson…

Mario Robinson is a great emerging artist who loves to paint the figure. He works mainly in charcoal, graphite, pastels and watercolors taking a couple of months to finish a piece.  You can visit his website at

Mario was born in the small town of Altus, Oklahoma. He moved to New York as a young teen and immediately excelled in art. Educated at the Pratt Institute he now works in New York and lives in New Jersey. He is drawn to see the beauty in everyday life. His goal is to challenge the way the African Americans were seen, rather than painting  a person entertaining or playing sports his goal capture the essence and solitude of each person.  He uses friends and family members as subjects rather than painting models.

Remember the best teacher is you! You in your studio EVERYDAY if only for one hour. I think we can make time for that. Most people watch 5 hours per day of television. Turn off the tube for half of that time, invest in yourself, and you will be amazed!

Keep drawing, painting, learning, and creating!



Some caricatures of the artists drawn by co workers at Fasen Arts Las Vegas, Nevada

This was a great time in my life, my first experience into using my artistic talents to make money as a caricature artist in Las Vegas. The company was stationed in the Excalibur and Venetian Casinos. Our job as artists were to draw the people that wanted to see funny pictures of themselves. This company I found was the best because you were given freedom to draw and grow as an artist, please take note of the many varied techniques of drawing me. The paintings were all done using graphite pencil number 4 hardness and then coloring with the airbrush. These are all different interpretations of my face, I can see myself in each of the pictures!  It takes about 2 weeks to get used to drawing in front of people but it so much fun, I really enjoyed it.

If you want to try caricaturing its best to live in a warm destination like Vegas, Orlando, or Los Angeles. If you are ever in Disneyland make sure and see the portrait artists at work.

I hope this encourages you to try some caricatures of celebrities, yourself, or some friends or family!



African Americans in Art…. Pastel Artist Sam Goodsell

Sam Goodsell had taken a break from art and started seriously painting his famous large scale pastel portraits back in 1994. He won a very prestigious award in 2002 from the Pastel Society of America.  He has a wonderful use of greys in his works and usually only works with one figure at a time with complimentary colors used for the greys. He really builds up the surface with his pastel. He thinks drawing the human figure is one of the toughest things to do on earth, but his passion is totally devoted to the study of the human figure.

The second painting on the top row won Sam Goodsell the award from the Pastel Society of America 2002, it is titled      Knowledge is Power.

Growing up in New York Sam was heavily inspired by a sister who went to Parsons School of Design and ended up working in the fashion industry. After going to an art school Sam decided to pursue his study of art at the Art Students League of New York, at the time highly realistic art wasn’t IN, but Sam knew he loved to paint the figure. Here he studied with big name artists who regularly appear in the national magazines such as Dan Gheno. Mr. Gheno has done several articles in American Artist Drawing Magazine regarding drawing the parts of the human body.

For my two cents you won’t do better than any video regarding drawing and the instructor Glenn Vilppu. This man has taught thousands of dedicated animation artists and if you are trying to learn what to exaggerate to get a better statement in your figures, Glenn is second to none as far as I am concerned. He takes the complicated shapes and breaks them down into simple forms for you to understand.

Along with Mr. Gheno Sam Goodsell also studied with Harvey Dinnerstein, this master artist led him to work mainly in pastels. Sam works exclusively on specially prepared museum board which he creates himself. Sam doesn’t like to use fixative in his works as he believes it kills the color. Sam Goodsell was born in the Bronx and still resides there. He works mainly with the models that pose at the Art Students League in New York City.

Sam really knows color well and doesn’t obsess about nailing a likeness but rather a feeling in his works. The single figures have a quiet, somber, serene feel to them that is uniquely  his own.

hope you found some inspiration to start your next piece!

Happy Painting!



African Americans in Art …. Ernest Chrichlow

Ernest Chrichlow was a prominent Harlem Renaissance figure and was born in 1914 and lived until 2005 leaving a huge body of work. He was the 2nd of nine children born to a family emigrating from Barbados.  He studied art at New York University and the Art Students League of New York. In 1942 he participated in the first show honoring black artists and exhibited alongside of Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Norman Lewis.

Along with 10 other black artists he was honored by the White House of Jimmy Carter for his contributions to the art world. Along with Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden he opened the Cinque gallery promoting the work of artists who come from a disadvantaged background.

Chrichlow also illustrated children’s books and his work is owned by many museums and collected by such actors as Morgan Freeman and even the great Lena Horne.

What inspires me about this artist is his use of color and lithography. His bold and dynamic color are pretty eye grabbing. Mr. Chrichlow was a fantastic draftsman and his many lithographs and sketches show his great use of lights and darks and also bold color. One has to admire the many different mediums Mr. Chrichlow conquered. Not just oils, but he also did seriagraphs, lithographs, and etchings. An artist’s artist we thank Mr. Chrichlow for his inspriation.


Learn, imagine, create, execture, RELAX!



African Americans in Art… Alma Thomas….

Alma Thomas was best known for her Abstract Expressionist Paintings. She came to the fine art world rather late in life, in her late 60s was her first solo show, she was the first of what ever she did. She was born in 1891 and grew up in Georgia. Mrs. Thomas had many obstacles as far as being a woman and being black were in her way, but that didn’t stop her from some pretty incredible firsts.

She was the first woman to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of Art. Mayor of Washington D.C. set aside September 9, 1972 Alma Thomas Day in Washington D.C. She was invited to the White House by President Jimmy Carter.

As you can tell by looking at her work, well maybe, she looked at the world very abstractly seeing most things in a mosaic like pattern emphasing fun and emotional colors. One of her sayings was COLOR is Life.  In Ms. Thomas hometown black were banned from the library, this didn’t stop her family from improving themselves by having travelling professors and lecturers visit the house, even Booker T. Washington.

Her Dad was worried about the race riots in 1906 in Atlanta so he moved the family to D.C.  Alma Thomas went to a technical High School were she fell in love with architecture and then art. Art was her love, but it didn’t seem that she could fulfill her dream of hanging some paintings on the wall. After getting her degree in art many wanted her to paint full time, but she loved teaching kids about art so she taught full time and painted part time.

In `1972 at the age of 80 she had what she would call her break thru year with her show at the Whitney which was the first show by an african american woman there. Despite suffering from arthritis her painted method often included holding the canvas in her lap and rotating it to the locations she needed to paint at the moment. Alma Thomas never ran out of ideas to paint, she thought of her self as being a young creative person stuck in this old body. She died in 1978 on the operating table.

As an admirer of art in general the most impressive thing about Almas Thomas for me was her use of color. Hope you learned something about this often forgetton American Painter.

Keep drawing, painting, and learning!



African Americans in Art…. Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas is a New York based artist who has become known for her modern paintings which contain rhinestones and acrylic paint. Ms. Thomas grew up in the 70s in New Jersey and her paintings might remind you of some 70s culture of Good Times. I love the use of patterns in the background and the clothes that her characters where.

A mixed media specialist she now is producing some art on LCD screens as well. Many of her ladies have afro styled hair, hoop earrings, and retro fabrics. One corner of her studio is a 1970s themed set up. Ms. Thomas says she was influenced by the strong black voluptious women she say growing up in Jet and Ebony magazine.

She ended up studying art at Yale and for awhile did some text paintings in the manner of her mentor at that time Mel Bochner, who was known for making text paintings on Velvet. Shortly after that she experimented using rhinestones in her work and then she fell in love with the effect. Some of the rhinestones are crystals which gives the patterns and floral elements in her work an even bolder look.

Ms. Thomas really inspires me to learn to paint better with acrylics and once more to paint what you love.
Her characters are wrestling, looking sexing, having sex, anything you can imagine!

Hope this inspires you to try something new in your work!



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