Thursday, October 31, 2013

Update on Katsuma's Art Work

"And after all the effort I put into my costume, I didn't get any candy."BBL

Ha ha. I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween and get treats instead of tricks.

photo from Artful Affirmations

I'm tempted to use this photo as the basis for a painting. It invites one to make up a story about who or what can squeeze into the chair in that vacant place, doesn't it? If you have a yen to write me about your "story" for this snapshot, let me read what your creativity inspired you to pen. BBL

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Moods Affected by Night Lights

Jessica Berman
Some colors humans are exposed to late at night could cause symptoms of clinical depression.  That is the conclusion of a study that builds on previous findings that individuals exposed to dim levels of light overnight, such as from a glowing television set, can develop signs of clinical depression.

Investigators, curious as to whether the color of light contributed to depressive symptoms in humans, designed an experiment that exposed hamsters to different colors. They chose hamsters because they are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night. 

One group of hamsters was kept in the dark during their nighttime period.  Another group of rodents was exposed to blue light and a third group slept in the presence of white light.  A fourth group of hamsters was exposed to glowing red light.

After four weeks, researchers noted how much sugary water the hamsters drank.  The more depressed rodents consumed the least amount of water.

Randy Nelson, chair of Ohio State University’s Department of Neuroscience and co-author of the study, said animals that slept in blue and white light appeared to be the most depressed.

“What we saw is these animals didn’t show any sleep disruptions at all but they did have mucked up circadian clock genes and they did show depressive phenotypes whereas if they were in the dim red light, they did not,” Nelson said.

Nelson explained that photosensitive cells in the retina, which don’t have much to do with vision, detect light and transmit signals to the master circadian clock in the brain that controls the natural sleep-wake cycle.

Nelson said there’s a lot of blue in white light, which explains why blue light and white light hamsters seemed more depressed than rodents exposed to red light or darkness.

Nelson had suggestions for so-called "night owls" or people who work the night shift.

“My recommendation is if you are just living a typical mostly active [life] during the day, mostly inactive at night, you want to limit exposure to TVs which are quite bluish in the light they give off and computer screens and things like that," stated Nelson. "You can get filtered glass, you can get filters on your computer screen and filters on your eReaders to put it more in the reddish light.”

An article on the effects of light color on mood is published in The Journal of Neuroscience

Night Lights and Depression

The Color of Your Night Light Affects Mood

Night light, Blue
Researchers found that hamsters that were exposed to blue light had the worst depressive symptoms.
 (Photo : Flickr/ @yakobusan Jakob Montrasio )
For young children still learning how to be independent, a night-light can come in handy. Not only
 are night-lights useful for children, they are also useful for lighting hallways for midnight trips to
 the bathroom or kitchen. Since night-lights are created with multiple designs and different colors,
 people have a lot to choose from. According to a new study, researchers found that the color 
of the night-light can play a huge factor in affecting people's moods.

"Our findings suggest that if we could use red light when appropriate for night-shift workers,
 it may not have some of the negative effects on their health that white light does," Nelson said.
 Furthermore, for young children, a red night-light might be the best option.The only group
 of hamsters that exhibited normal moods and behaviors were not exposed to light at all and 
moved around in the darkness. The researchers believe that these findings could potentially be
 applied to humans. For people who work late nights and night shifts, the color of the lights 
could affect their mood. For example, people who work the security desk at night and are 
exposed to blue light could be at a higher risk of developing depression.
The study was published in the journal, Neuroscience

More on this subject in the following post. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Need for Color

Loving the Light
Color Therapy

by Madisyn Taylor

Often the colors we like best are the colors we most need in our lives and provide us with subtle vibrational help.

The wondrous displays of color that define the world around us are manifestations of light and, as such, each possesses a unique frequency. The attraction we feel to certain colors is not a matter of pure chance—we experience the beneficial affects of color even while blindfolded. We are naturally drawn to those colors that lift our mood, expand consciousness, and restore health. Color therapy, also known as chromo-therapy, allows us to harness the power of individual color frequencies to heal the body, positively influence our emotions, and achieve a renewed sense of inner harmony through sympathetic resonance. Colors do not directly affect the composition of our physical, mental, or aura, but they non-invasively alter the vibrational characteristics of diverse elements of the self so that each resonates at its proper healthy frequency. 

It is easy to overlook the colors that saturate our personal and professional environments. Yet these, whether in the form of the paint on our walls or the clothing we wear, can influence our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings to an extraordinary degree. The colors we like best are often those that we need most in our lives, and there are many ways we can utilize them. Basking under a colored light bulb or gazing at an area of color can stimulate or calm us depending on the color we choose. For example, red stimulates the brain, circulatory systems, and first chakra, giving us an energy boost, while blue acts on the throat chakra, soothing the body and mind. And when we do not feel drawn to any one color, we can still benefit from the healing effects of white light, which is an amalgamation of all the colors of the visible spectrum. It is a cleansing color, one that can purify us on many levels.

Human beings evolved to delight in vivid sunsets and rainbows, to enjoy the sensations awakened by particularly eye-catching color, and to decorate our spaces and ourselves with bright colors. In essence, we evolved to love the light because of its harmonizing influence on every aspect of the self. When we pay attention to the potential affects of individual colors, we can modify our spaces, wardrobes, and habits to ensure that we introduce the colors that speak to us most deeply in our everyday lives.

Look for the colors you NEED today and let me know what you see by clicking  the comments section below.BBL

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Maurice Utrillo, Son of Painters

Maurice Utrillo (French: [mɔʁis ytʁijo]), born Maurice Valadon (26 December 1883 – 5 November 1955), was a French painter who specialized in cityscapes. Born in the Montmartre quarter of Paris, France, Utrillo is one of the few famous painters of Montmartre who were born there.


    Utrillo was the son of the artist Suzanne Valadon (born Marie-Clémentine Valadon), who was then an eighteen-year-old artist's model. She never revealed who was the father of her child; speculation exists that he was the offspring from a liaison with an equally young amateur painter named Boissy, or with the well established painter, Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, or even with Renoir (see below under Utrillo's Paternity). In 1891 a Spanish artist, Miguel Utrillo y Molins, signed a legal document acknowledging paternity, although the question remains as to whether he was in fact the child's father.
    Valadon, who became a model after a fall from a trapeze ended her chosen career as a circus acrobat,[2] found that posing for Berthe MorisotPierre-Auguste RenoirHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and others provided her with an opportunity to study their techniques; in some cases, she also became their mistress. She taught herself to paint, and when Toulouse-Lautrec introduced her to Edgar Degas, he became her mentor. Eventually she became a peer of the artists she had posed for.
    Meanwhile, Suzanne's mother the laundress was left to raise the young Maurice, who soon showed a troubling inclination toward truancy and alcoholism.When a mental illness took hold of the 21-year-old Utrillo in 1904, he was encouraged to paint by his mother. He soon showed real artistic talent. With no training beyond what his mother taught him, he drew and painted what he saw in Montmartre. After 1910 his work attracted critical attention, and by 1920 he was internationally acclaimed. In 1928, the French government awarded him the Cross of the Légion d'honneur. Throughout his life, however, he was interned in mental asylums repeatedly.
    Tomb of Utrillo, Cemetery Saint Vincent, Paris
    Today, tourists to the area will find many of his paintings on post cards, one of which is his very popular 1936 painting entitled,Montmartre Street Corner or Lapin Agile.
    In middle age Utrillo became fervently religious and in 1935, at the age of fifty-two, he married Lucie Valore and moved  just outside of Paris. By that time, he was too ill to work in the open air and painted landscapes viewed from windows, from post cards, and from memory.
    Although his life also was plagued by alcoholism, he lived into his seventies. Maurice Utrillo died on 5 November 1955, and was buried in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre.
    A provocative biographical novel Suzanne of Love and Art by Elaine Todd Koren details the complicated relationship between Valadon and her son, Maurice Utrillo.

    Concerning Utrillo's Paternity

    An apocryphal anecdote told by Diego Rivera concerning Utrillo's paternity is related in the unpublished memoirs of one of his American collectors, Ruth Bakwin:

    "After Maurice was born to Suzanne Valadon, she went to Renoir, for whom she had modeled nine months previously. Renoir looked at the baby and said, 'He can't be mine, the color is terrible!' Next she went to Degas, for whom she had also modeled. He said, 'He can't be mine, the form is terrible!' At a cafe,Suzanne saw an artist she knew named Miguel Utrillo, to whom she spilled her woes. The man told her to call the baby Utrillo: 'I would be glad to put my name to the work of either Renoir or Degas!'"

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Colors Matter

    STIR article - Styles & Techniques: Colors Matter header image
    Originally published in STIR®, a resource for color and creativity.


    Trish Buscemi uses color to help children with cognitive learning challenges and their families create calming, kid-friendly interiors.
    During the years that Trish Buscemi’s corporate career was flourishing, her creativity languished like an understudy waiting for the play’s star to call in sick.
    “I’ve used color my whole life,” says Buscemi, the owner of Colors Matter, a painting and color consultation company specializing in custom interiors for those with cognitive learning challenges such as ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, Autism and Down Syndrome. “Now with Colors Matter, we’re using color to help — it’s almost always a creative process.”
    Buscemi, mother to an adult child with ADD and Tourette’s, lives in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. When her sister moved there, too, the pair launched the residential and commercial painting business Two Sisters Painting, which became the springboard for Colors Matter.
    Raising a child with special needs has given Buscemi personal insight that enriches her status as a certified color consultant. Beyond understanding light’s impact on a space and the way pigments alter hue, she has first-hand knowledge of how room colors can affect behavior.
    “Colors matter. They affect us in every way, every day. They sway moods, provoke thought, stimulate conversation and appetite. They calm us, cheer us, rev us up and even depress us. Color is emotional, cultural, sensory and cognitive,” says Buscemi.

    Color beyond aesthetics

    “Parents of children with special needs really struggle with color choices,” says Buscemi. During conversations with these clients, she’s often asked to deliver “feelings” along with color recommendations and a finished product. Which colors inspire peace and calm? Which are invigorating and energizing and help stimulate learning? Buscemi believes color affects neuropathways in the brain, creating a biochemical response. Triggering the desired response in the particular individual is key. For example, Buscemi has found that blues, greens and muted brown tones tend to be great choices for both adults and children with ADD and ADHD.
    In the four years she’s been helping transform spaces for people with cognitive learning challenges, she’s come to realize that special-needs clients are her passion. “The whole family feels it when rooms aren’t working,” says Buscemi. “So when rooms are working, it’s so rewarding and transformational.”
    Long before colors are selected, Trish asks dozens of questions, ranging from how often spaces are used to when lights are turned on to whether a child is artistic, athletic, a gamer or maybe a musician. In a consultation with a boy with Asperger’s, Trish learned that red was a favorite color and one he wanted in his bedroom. But Trish knew that using it on the walls could cause undue agitation. Instead, she suggested a “soothing blue with a yellow stripe. Red was used just in accents.” Trish ensured lighting was well-placed and gentle, and the result was a space where the boy felt comfortable playing, reading and sleeping.
    In creating calming, kid-friendly interiors, Buscemi makes a point of talking with parents about the importance of active rooms where it’s okay to be loud or messy. “Rooms where real living can take place are essential,” says Buscemi.

    The color of change

    The team at Colors Matter has lent their expertise to projects for Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity All-Women Build, and Trish is proud to do pro bono work every year for families with kids with cognitive struggles. As research and information about cognitive disorders grows, so does the support community. Colors Matter is tickled pink to be part of it.
    After she’s changed the lives of so many through color, you might expect Trish to have a favorite color of her own. She doesn’t, although she has an affinity for Sherwin-Williams Rainwashed (SW 6211), a gray-green hue that’s “versatile and great in a bathroom or on an accent wall.”

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Color in Clothes and Decor Mirror Each Other

    The clothing and decorating worlds mirror each other, probably reflecting the yearly hues chosen by Panatone. One article I read this morning. " What colors go with/enliven gray?" suggests the jewel colors emerald, sapphire, garnet and amethyst and the food colors of plum, lemon yellow, watermelon and mustard as well as red, pink and black. These suggestions work for clothes or accent colors in gray rooms.

     Personally, I don't like gray much because it reminds me of dreary weather. Also, I think the gray tones will be old hat in just a few years in decor. Remember when brown tones were so popular? Maria Killam, the international decorator I learn from, says most color trends last ten years for home decor. That may be the main reason she advocates using all white in kitchens.

    Just a short note today because I have many more boxes to unpack. It is overcast here in Fredericksburg and I am hoping the sunshine appears soon. 

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Examples of Trompe l'oeil

    To illustrate a skillful artist's use of Trompe l'oeil, I thought you would enjoy the examples below: Don't miss the video of Marcello's card picture. I especially liked seeing what a variety of tools he employed to bring about this fantastic "fool the eye" drawing.

    Realistic Color Drawings of Everyday Objects by Marcello Barenghi

    Realistic Color Drawings of Everyday Objects by Marcello Barenghi  hyperrealism drawing
    Realistic Color Drawings of Everyday Objects by Marcello Barenghi  hyperrealism drawing
    Realistic Color Drawings of Everyday Objects by Marcello Barenghi  hyperrealism drawing
    Realistic Color Drawings of Everyday Objects by Marcello Barenghi  hyperrealism drawing
    Realistic Color Drawings of Everyday Objects by Marcello Barenghi  hyperrealism drawing
    Realistic Color Drawings of Everyday Objects by Marcello Barenghi  hyperrealism drawing
    Italian artist Marcello Barenghi draws incredibly realistic everyday objects that appear almost three dimensional with the help of colored pencils and occasional enhancements using markers or watercolor. Each work appears ever so slightly stylized which I think sets these apart from similar hyper-realistic drawings that are meant to ‘trick’ a viewer. If you want to see more, Barenghi runs a YouTube channel where he documents the process of almost every drawing. (via 2headedsnake)

    American Trompe l'oeil

    While Americans did not originate the concept of illusionistic still life painting, one has to concede that it was in nineteenth century America that such painting truly came into its own. The work of William Michael Harnett* at mid century would forever define trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) painting and establish a rich tradition. He then passed it down to John Frederick Peto*, Victor Dubreuil, Claude Hirst, Alexander Pope, and into twentieth and twenty-first century painting.

    What is it about trompe líoeil that continues to generate such interest? When Harnett opened his studio to enthusiastic patrons to view what he called his office boards, perhaps it was the artistic sleight of hand or optical trickery that won their minds if not their hearts. Critics even then raised questions about his art's apparent lack of any kind of moral statement in favor of mere imitation of reality. The fact that these works sustained significance through time points to Harnett as not merely a magician with a brush but a master of idea manipulation and formalist of the greatest order. Few artists understood the power of visual organization or possessed such a flair for the juxtaposition of visual fascinating objects and clippings. His choice of items chosen always possessed what he called "the rich effect that age and usage gives." Harnett's formula would of course be tempered by the hand of Peto in his application of a more poetic approach to the subject that seems to push the genre of trompe l'oeil toward a more metaphysical feel. Perhaps we find in the work of Peto a more direct line to contemporary still life painting.

     Claude Raguet Hirst, one of the earliest recognized women painters, and National Academicians, like her New York City neighbor William Harnett, painted bachelor still lifes. Pipes, tobacco, well-worn books and matches were the visual subject, but her remarkable ability with the watercolor medium gave the work a unique and quiet presence.

    To view contemporary trompe 'l'oeil painting as somehow being on some anachronistic tract is to miss the point of the current direction. One need only examine the work of the contemporary counterparts of Hirst, Peto and Harnett to understand that new trompe l'oeil,  carrying on the tradition of the nineteenth century American masters, views the genre through the filter of the modern era. Much indeed has happened since Harnet'ís After the Hunt series. The great artist has always responded honestly to his time.

     Factually, the landscape of modernism with its diverse aesthetic positions has made its impact. Because of Monet, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse and Duchamp the universe of the artist is a different place. Gary Erbe, as other contemporary painters, must and does deal with the innovation and aesthetic points of view of the modern establishment. Accepting certain ideas, altering others, while rejecting some outright, Erbe has managed to present trompe l'oeil on his own terms as a twenty-first century artist. His still lifes, often autobiographical, pay homage to the technical mastery of Harnett yet often incorporate concepts of surrealistic levitation, expressionistic surface, and a warm allegiance to aspects of American Scene painting of the 1930s and the Pop of the 1960s. Visually exciting, Erbeís paintings exploit our sense of history, re-awakening the formalistic concerns of their nineteenth century counterparts while offering up fresh insights both conceptually and perceptually.

    Far from being a superficial recollection of an earlier vision, the new trompe l'oeil painters remind us that significant art can indeed draw strength and inspiration from an earlier milestone. These contemporary still life painters recognize that great and enduring art is always reflective of the time in which it is created. 

    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    The Remarkable Model-Painter Suzanne Valadon

    Suzanne Valadon (23 September 1865 – 7 April 1938) was a French painter born Marie-Clémentine Valadon at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, Haute-Vienne, France. In 1894, Valadon became the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. She was also the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo.

    • Career
    The daughter of an unmarried laundress, Suzanne Valadon became a circus acrobat at the age of fifteen, but a year later, a fall from atrapeze ended that career. In the Montmartre quarter of Paris, she pursued her interest in art, first working as a model for artists, observing and learning their techniques, before becoming a noted painter herself. (She was talented because there were many models for the Impressionists and other artists, but no other I know of became a painter. Valadon is exceptional in this regard. BBL)
     She modelled for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who gave her painting lessons), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, and is known to have had affairs with the latter two. In the early 1890s she befriended Edgar Degas who, impressed with her bold line drawings and fine paintings, purchased her work and encouraged her efforts. She remained one of Degas' closest friends until his death.
    Valadon painted still lifesportraitsflowers, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colors. She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes, particularly because it was unusual in the nineteenth century for a woman artist to make female nudes their primary subject matter.
    Reclining Nude by Suzanne Valadon

     A perfectionist, she worked on some of her oil paintings for up to 13 years before showing them. She also worked in pastel. Her first exhibitions, held in the early 1890s, consisted mostly of portraits. She regularly showed work at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in ParisHer later works, such as Blue Room (1923), are brighter in color and show a new emphasis on decorative backgrounds and patterned materials.
    Today, some of her works may be seen at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Grenoble, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

    The most recognizable image of Valadon would be in Renoir's Dance at Bougival from 1883 

    Dance at Bougival by Renoir

    Portrait of Suzanne Valadon by Renoir

     In 1885, Renoir painted her portrait again as Girl Braiding Her Hair. Another of his portraits of her in 1885, Suzanne Valadon, is of her head and shoulders in profile (see above.)
     Valadon frequented the bars and taverns of Paris along with her fellow painters, and she was Toulouse-Lautrec's subject in his oil painting The Hangover.

    The Hangover by Toulouse-Lautrec
    Portrait of Suzanne Valadon by Toulouse-Lautrec

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Fooling the Eye

    Trompe l'oeil, a French term meaning to fool, or deceive, the eye, describes a painting that deceives the spectator into thinking that the objects in it are real, not merely represented. To successfully fool the eye of the viewer, trompe l’oeil artists choose objects, situations and compositional devices using as little depth as possible. In this style of painting, also sometimes referred to as illusionism, i.e. creating the illusion of reality, the flat surface stops the eye at the picture plane, while objects placed upon this surface seem to protrude into the viewer's space. Most trompe l'oeil paintings are still-lifes, dealing with objects small enough to be represented in their natural size.
    Within the general realm of still-life, a distinction may be made between the paintings that emphasize the products of nature and those that emphasize man-made objects. Not only may the latter be related to wealth and the acquisition of rare and costly objects, but there is also a difference for the artists who create them. When the subject is a few pieces of fruit, for example, an artist tests his ability not only to imitate nature, but also makes his own choices to rearrange, emphasize, or investigate the objects. The still-life artist who seeks to depict objects of metal, ceramic, or glass, for example, is directing himself more specifically to the spectator –a possible patron or perhaps even an entire class. It was then perhaps logical that painters of man-made objects pushed one step farther, into the realm of trompe l’oeil, where desirable, costly objects were projected, almost literally, into the spectator’s world.
    As a painting style, trompe l'oeil has a history extending back as far as 400 B.C. and was part of the rich culture of the Greek and Roman Empires, where horses are said to have neighed at a mural of horses they recognized. The only ancient trompe l'oeil murals that survive today are those unearthed at Pompeii in Italy.
    The famous art historian Vasari reports a story of a famous contest of antiquity held between two renowned painters to see who was the finest. The first painter produced a still life so convincing that birds flew down from the sky to peck at the painted grapes. The master then turned to his opponent in triumph and said, “Draw back the curtains and reveal your painting." The second painter knew then that he had won, because the ‘curtains’ were part of his painting. It is also reported that Rembrandt's students painted coins on the floor of his studio for the pleasure of watching him bend down to pick them up.
    Trompe l'oeil , in the form of mural painting, resurfaced during the Renaissance and Baroque eras in Europe, and was used to extend churches and palaces by ‘opening’ the ceiling or a wall. The muralists of those times - Andrea Mantegna, Paolo Uccello and Paolo Veronese, among the most notable - experimented with perspective and found trompe l'oeil architecture to be their ally as they strove to paint what architect Leone Alberti called ‘windows into space’.

    In this country, the famous Peale family of Philadelphia helped establish still-life painting as an acceptable pursuit for the serious artist. One man however, to an extraordinary degree, molded a change in subject matter in American still-life painting during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In the mid to late 1800s, William Harnett (1848-1892) revived trompe l'oeil still life easel painting, and today his paintings are highly valued by collectors and museums. Harnett, who was born in Ireland, moved with his family to Philadelphia where he began to practice the trade of engraver, which undoubtedly furthered his abilities at precise art. He later took up painting as his full-time career, but coming from an impoverished family, was unable to hire models, and so relied on objects around him for subject matter. His works often suggest the solitary person writing, reading, or perhaps playing a solo instrument. The tonalities are dark, not the light, joyous palette of the earlier mid-century. There seems to be a psychological significance to the paintings by Harnett, and to many of his followers.

    The trompe l’oeil school represents perhaps, the post- Civil War pessimism and antisocial tendencies of that time. Although Harnett’s paintings are dark, they are richly colored, and he didn’t rely on neutral tones as much as did his followers Jefferson David Chalfant (1856-1931), Richard La Barre Goodwin (1840-1910), or John Frederick Peto (1854-1907). His arrangements often suggest wealth, appealing most likely to the moneyed class that had arisen following the Civil War. 

    Harnett is especially known for having invented, for American art, the picture of paper money, shown flat. The earliest of these is ‘Five Dollar Note’ (1877). Trompe l'oeil painting of paper currency, fostered by the nineteenth-century American fascination with wealth, was, and remains, a characteristically American art form. Artists such as Nicholas Brooks (1840-1904) and later, Otis Kaye (1885-1974) were extremely capable practitioners of the fake money painting genre, a practice that baffled the Secret Service in the 1800s and resulted in passage of a bill by Congress in 1909 prohibiting all nonofficial copies of monetary tokens. These pictures, totally deceptive to the eye, inspired many other artists of the period, and also ultimately lead to Harnett’s arrest on charges of counterfeiting. (Artist abuse! BBL)

    Other artists noted for having created ‘deceptive’ paintings are Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825) and Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), who represented an envelope tacked to a wall. The motivation of these pictures was to fool the eye, as it was for Harnett’s famous ‘rack’ pictures, in which all the elements are flat, from the papers and tapes to the panels themselves. Their aesthetic rationale is not unlike that of many Cubist paintings of the early twentieth century, however different the form they may have taken.

    Perhaps the finest of all the followers of Harnett was Jefferson David Chalfant (1856-1931), whose work is most often associated with Wilmington Delaware. Few of his works are located today, but three of the known ones are violin pictures. They are less dramatic and simpler than Harnett’s, but were obviously influenced by his ‘The Old Violin’. Chalfant’s deceptive realism is perhaps even greater than Harnett’s though; in Chalfant’s newspapers and music sheets, all the print can actually be read.

    John Frederick Peto (1854-1907) is generally considered the second only to Harnett as the most important artist of the American trompe l’oeil school. Born in Philadelphia, Peto studied at the Pennsylvania Academy, but his greatest influence was Harnett, with whom he was friendly prior to Harnett’s departure to travel in Europe. Considerable confusion exists about Peto’s work, due to much forgery of his art as the work of Harnett. Although a follower of Harnett, Peto was at times a somewhat crude technician, and occasionally his foreshortening of, for example, pipe stems, does not work, or his matchsticks fail to jut out towards the viewer. Peto chose as his subjects objects that are usually worn and old, never sumptuous or elegant, and his still lifes have been said to be among the most pessimistic in American art. With titles emphasizing the qualities of decrepit old age, they are powerful reflections of post- Civil War pessimism. Later in his career, he became more concerned with light, which kept him from being totally trompe l’oeil . In these later works he did not pursue the precision of Harnett and Chalfant, and luminescent atmosphere blurs the edges of his forms and eliminates such details as script and print. Peto’s objects may not seem as ‘real’ as those of Harnett, but it may be argued that the ambience in which he saturates them seems to breathe and is itself more ‘alive’.

    Among the painters of the Harnett school, Nicholas Alden Brooks (1840-1904) may be said to have combined competence with a lack of spontaneity. Most interesting of his works are his playbill, poster, and above-mentioned money pictures. In his works, Brooks restrained his color sense and spatial interest to produce overlapping flat surfaces that startlingly precede the analytical Cubist canvases of the following generation.
    Richard La Barre Goodwin (1840-1910), of New York, is remembered mainly as a painter of hanging game and cabin-door still-lifes, and these pictures show the influence of Harnett’s work, ‘After the Hunt’, Elements used by Harnett figure repeatedly in Goodwin’s work, such as the use of a floating feather and a signature carved into a wooden door. By far Goodwin’s most famous painting is ‘Theodore Roosevelt’s Cabin Door’ (1905).
    George Cope (1855-1929) is also known primarily as a specialist in hanging still-lifes, with subject matter including swords and uniforms, fishing equipment, and the day’s hunt. Cope turned from landscape painting to trompe l’oeil around 1890, and in his work he had a tendency to emphasize wood paneling and its grain, and a central bunching of objects. His tabletop still lifes are intriguing for their unbelievably hard drawing, but they are also extremely photographic and show less of the dramatic skill with light that marks his hanging trompe l’oeil pictures.
    Also known for door pictures is Alexander Pope (1849-1924), a Boston representative of the illusionistic school. Unlike many of Harnett’s followers, he was very successful, and the Tsar of Russia even owned two of his works. Pope also created a considerable body of sculpted works. He was an ardent animal conservationist, and from his ability as an animal painter created another kind oftrompe l’oeil picture: animals, -like dogs or chickens-, in simulated wooden crates, with simulated chicken wire netting over them.
    Unlike the seriousness of Harnett or the melancholy of Peto, several artists have had an artistic approach to still life that was a humorous one. John Haberle (1853-1933) was perhaps the most talented of these, and he was part of the New Haven trompe l’oeil school. One of his earliest trompe l’oeil pictures is ‘Fresh Roasted’ (1887), depicting peanuts behind cracked glass. Others of his paintings contain small labels, which can be read, and amusingly are always in praise of the artist. Later in his life Haberle’s eyes began to trouble him, and trompe l’oeil became an impractical approach for him.

    Charles Meurer (1865-1955), who lived and worked outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, can be said to mark the end of the Harnett tradition among well-known American artists in the early part of the 20th century.
    A very labor intensive technique, trompe l'oeil generally fell out of favor after the industrial revolution and few artists - and even fewer muralists - execute this demanding style of art today in the way it was painted by Harnett. Others, such as William Joseph McCloskey (1859-1941), noted for his trompe l’oeil citrus subjects, have carried on the style in their own ways. Other superb practitioners of trompe l’oeil include Aaron Bohrod(1907- ) and contemporary artist Paul Sarkisian’s (1928 - ) whose trompe l'oeil painting, reminiscent of the still-lifes of Harnett, relies on careful personal observation.

    The Trompe l’oeil Society of Artists is a recently formed organization dedicated to keeping alive the tradition of trompe l'oeil in American art. Founded by two Arizona artists, this member-only group held its first exhibition in 2002.

    Photo-realism, not reflected in this category listing, is a descendant of the trompe l’oeil tradition and emerged strongly in the late 1960s into the 1970s. In painting, the results are nearly photographic and in fact the artists relied on the camera to gather visual information before painting a facsimile of reality. Among the most highly regarded American photo-realist painters are Richard Estes (1932-),Chuck Close (1940-), Audrey Flack (1931-), Charles Bell (1935-1995), and Ralph Goings (1928-).

    Ceramists Richard Shaw (1941- ) and Richard Newman (1948 - ) draw on historical precedents as they successfully duplicate, in clay, the optical appearance of familiar objects. Indeed, some observers may be unaware that they are looking at replications and not the actual objects. Sculptures by Americans Duane Hanson (1925-1996) and John DeAndrea (1941-) are painted casts made from models to which real body hair are attached, Hanson even adding real clothing and props to his works. In exalting mundane objects---tin cans, bricks, a castoff cardboard box, a baseball glove or objects seemingly rescued from trash heaps, -these 20th century artists maintain ties to traditional trompe l’oeil expressions and invite ongoing interpretations of American culture.

    Credit for much of the above information is given to William H. Gerdts (my Art History professor at UMD) and Russell Burke, authors of American Still-Life Painting .