Archive for January 10, 2013

Artist of the moment…..Jules Olitski….


Jules Olitski was an American painter and sculptor that was born in Snovsk which was located in the old U.S.S.R. in the year 1922. His birth name was Jevel Demikovski and his father was a high ranking Communist Party member. His father was executed by government officials months before the birth of the artist. In 1923 Olitski took off for the United States with his grandmother and mother. The family chose to settle down in Brooklyn and his mother got a new husband in 1926.

As the artist was a teenager he showed an interest and a great skill for drawing.  His parents enrolled the artist in drawing classes and after graduating from high school the artist enrolled in Pratt Institute which is located in Brooklyn. Olitski also studied at the National Academy of Design and the Beaux Arts Institute which are both located in New York city.

Olitski was off to the Army for World War II in the early 1940s. After he got out Olitski got married. He continued to study art and moved to Paris. In Paris the artist found much to inspire him. He even made some paintings while he was blindfolded just to concentrate on the process of painting.

Due to the war Olitski never finished his degree. He went to New York Univeristy earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

First one person show in 1951 in Paris, France.

First one person show in New York is in 1958.

1950s bring Olitski and divorce and he remarries. At this time period he experimented with various surface textures.

Was part of teaching faculty at Bennington College located in Bennington, Vermont in the 1960s.

After his experiments with surface texture Olitski started to emphasize color in his works. By the mid 1960s he had evolved to using spray paint on metallic surfaces for his art. He was the first living American artist to have a one person show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. These works have very subtle color changes with no visable edges.

The 1970s he returns to emphasizing texture over color. New technologies brought him more vivid color choices to use with acrylic paints.

His latter works, lets say those made in the last decade of his life, remind me of dreams. You can remember the feeling, but not necessarily the shapes that appear in your dreams. In this regard I consider his landscapes similar to Robert Kipniss. Kipniss is a master printmaker who does a great job in setting mood in his art. Below is an example of Kipniss’ landscape style.


Technologies have brought many changes in the art world. For an artist that does a great job taking advantage of the Golden line of art supplies please check out Josep Cisquella. He uses a medium that is ground pumice stone. It has a texture similar to an old stone wall. He then paints a picture as if you are looking at a wall behind the main subject. Incredible texture and he wants people to TOUCH HIS CANVAS. Below is an example of Cisquella’s style of painting.


Try an abstract painting today to loosen up!

Jules Olitski passed away in 2007 from cancer at the age of eighty four years old.

Artist of the moment…..Clark Mills…..Abraham Lincoln….

I had to include Abraham Lincoln since he is a hot topic now due to Stephen Speilberg’s hit movie. Clark Mills was born in 1810 in Onandaga, New York. Clark Mills was best known for his plaster casts of people. These were very significant at the time. Sure the wealthy had paintings, but these paintings could be changed to meet the patrons needs and desires.  Perhaps grandmother wasn’t that gorgeous after all! With the life mask the viewer gets a picture of what the person looked like exactly. Perhaps a three dimensional POLAROID of the time period. Death masks are the same type of cast, only the person hasn’t any life left.

Mills ran away from home at the age of thirteen and he worked jobs in Syracuse, New York and New Orleans, Louisiana. He finally picked Charleston as his main residence.

Clark Mills is included in Smithsonian for his casts of President Lincoln. Here is a clip from the Smithsonian concentrating on life masks made by Clark Mills Leonard Volk.

Clark Mills won a great public commission celebrating President Andrew Jackson in the year 1848.  The statue was for Washington D.C. People were so enamored with the work that it led to Mills’ receiving three other public commissions with Andrew Jackson on a horse.

Price range information:  No price range information available.

Mills kept a studio in Charleston, South Carolina and Washington D.C.

The artist died in 1883 one day short of his 73rd birthday. He is buried in Glenwood Cemetary in Washington D.C.

The artist had three sons and  two sons that went on to work in their father’s foundry.