Friday, September 25, 2009

Going Home and a fix

OIl on wood 12x16

Since I was a teen I admired the work Illustrator of Bernie Fuchs. Over the years I kind of took him for granted and went thru a period of judgmental attitude where I was very anti- photography put him off my radar. More recently people have mentioned that my work reminded them of him. Taking a second look I had to admit it seems that way, but it must have been unconscious. However, I do have a renewed admiration for his work. So when he passed recently I didn't take his work out and copy it, but using my own reference, I did this sort of tribute to him, thinking about him as I worked. Fuchs and Bob Peak were the last true titans of Illustration staying at the top of their game while the illustration business was dieing. During his later years he seemed to have found a home in the fine art world too.

BF: do a serch on him tons of great stuff on the internet.

I took this painting: Blimp over Burbank (posted a few months ago) to the framer for the up coming Newberry show and noticed a chip on it. I got it home fixed the chip and proceeded to work on it for another 2 hours doing enough adjusting to post it again. Guess it helped BOB is a finalist in the Ray mar competition.


Blogger Perry Brown said...

Hi William- I just finished my Bernie Fuchs memorial post when I noticed your amazing backlit painting! We were thinking the same thoughts today I guess...

1:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This one sears the eyeballs and has an intensity born of your emotional response to the passing of your artist colleague. A most fitting memorial.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Katherine Kean said...

I love the power of the light in this painting. I think Bernie Fuchs would feel honored.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Wonderful painting! I love Mr. Fuch's work, so sorry to hear he's left us. Your painting is an awesome tribute.

3:19 PM  
Blogger billspaintingmn said...

Honorably powerful.Emotionally
painted. Spiritualy titled. This
piece should go straight to the

4:56 PM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

Very nice work all around. I am not an illustrator, a friend of mine named Norman Maxwell who does music videos and cartoons is, and we wil have a show together soon a joining of opposites, yin and yang.

But I truly enjoy this work, and all your others. Will have to look this gentleman up, though artists from Cezanne to Kiefer are my influences, see you got a beautiful Degas below. I have been rebuilding from Cezanne on, with lots of Michelangelo and arts from Japan, Africa and pre columbian America too. Graphic arts are still far closer to their roots in Braque and Delaunay than contemporary absurdities, which are for amusement, not edification.

Keep speaking truth at culture monster, it will eventually get through their pavlovian trained thick skulls that academic art is imperial clothing. Times are changing, and going back to basics is essential, to learn the past, before one can get beyond it.

art collegia delenda est

5:12 PM  
Blogger Don Shank said...

I love these Bill!
I'm a big fan of your "retina burners".
...sounds like a good theme for a book.

Yesterday I was turning some people on to your work. You have some new fans at Pixar.

9:05 AM  
Blogger harry bell said...

Very nice painting. Unfortunately, none of your Bernie Fuchs links seem to work.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Ed Terpening said...

I had the same problem with the links. Did find on Google. Love the "Alley Dawn" painting. I happened to have painted the same spot for the Telluride Plein Air event.

11:10 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Perry nice little trib you did.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Celeste Bergin said...


10:15 PM  
Blogger Mariusz Kornatka said...

Great wrok!
Looking forward for the next update!

All the best,

4:23 AM  
Blogger William K. Moore said...

most trying to use brown, pink and yellow would come up with a muddy mess. you are the color tamer and make this triad sit up and roar.

9:35 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Mick--Kath, Tom, bill I'm not worthy! ;-)

2:33 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Donald you are my inspiration for venting at the tired old art world. I saw your letter in the times and decided it's time to speak out when we can, even if it's not smart to take on the dusty old art reviewers at the LA times. There 50 year promotion of the dominance of G and G (Gluers and Gathers) conceptual artists needs to be more balanced with painters with some skill and I'm going to flame about it at every turn. I may even start a blog on it.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Edward Burton said...

Outstanding, the lighting is fantastic!

10:48 PM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

Here is something CultureMonster isnt posting, they sometimes dont. Depends on the censor. i agree with your argument in Theory, but like I say, theory seldom functions in reality. Who would man the acadamies? Who would teach? Most great artists are self taught, pretty much all actually, most having done something else first, had a life, took other courses in college before finding that art calls them. And it is a calling, not a lfiestyle. As cezanne said, it is a priesthood.

Applied arts are fine, and learning a craft first is an excellent idea, and we need talented designers, decorators and illsutrator. But thats not creative art. my wife is an extraordinarily talented graphic desinger, UCLA degree after working in finance for years. But she knows she is not a creative artist, though sometimes she crosses over because her talent is so great. Working to start a magazine for young women so as not to be brainwashed by the media and advertisers into being skinny airheads.

It is kinda long, might post it on my blog, though they are full formed essays on arts role in life. not responses. I do love your work, and does fulfill the three essentials of creative art. Defining Humanity, Exploring Nature, and Searching for God. I see that in your work and those you post.

Art CAN and must be defined, the decadence we have lived through is because of the unwillingness and self interest of not defining it. Artists must fight back, art is called for again, it is needed, and has its role in humanity to fulfill. Lets get to work.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

But who would teach in these Academies? The ones there now are the very people teaching such pseudo intellectual drivel. Creative Art works FROM theory towards life. Creating a presence of a living creature in the room. These are sterile "concepts". The Academy loves this stuff because it can be packaged, programmed and taught to hordes of money bearing innocents. You know what they say, one is born every minute.

Theories are autopsies of dead things, works already created and then torn apart, dissected so lesser beings can understand them. They can only grasp one facet at a time, and so miss the true power of the living work, its relationships. Of line, color, structure, being as music of melody, harmony and rhythm. Art is resolving supposed contradictions, when it is truly only our limited comprehension that makes them appear as such. And these fools believe they can grasp and conceive anything. Silliness and vanity mostly. Great as comedy, if it were funny.

But that takes understanding and living life. Knowing its absurdities, not creating them as entertainment for the bored and decadent, those with too much time and money on their hands. We have huge numbers of Academies now, and less art than ever. Never has so much resources been poured into art with so little to show for it. Who can draw an expressive line? Color that is rich with harmonies and passion? Forms and structures that create a mythology of humanity, that move us, that reflect our world?

Academia was beaten down by the post impressionists and early Moderns. Duchamp, Dali, and Balthus gave the bitter Salon types a way to market their mediocrity, absurdist entertainment and decadent cleverness. They still believe their are "smart". When truly dumb as hell. Along with hacks like Mathieu, art has become absurdist entertainment, childish self expression, decorative abstractions, and games, illustrations of irrelevant academic ideas. This work also gave the pinnacle of decadence, voyeurism. A vital society and human being Does, not watch others Do, especially when sexual and lacking in passion. Its for those who cant participate in life, not vital, alive, and creative.

Duchamp gave them an inside joke, problem being, it is on them. And an irritant to the rest of humanity, the 99.99% who are not so much disgusted by Contemporary art, which is far from being Modern, as uninterested. Wheres the beef? All tofu. Nouveau cuisine, lacking in any nutritional value or taste.

We need to get back to fundamentals, to art from the beginnings from around the world, far from academia, isolated dens of spoiled children. Back to Cezanne and his children, Gauguin, Matisse, Braque, Klee. There were dozens of excellent artists art the turn of the century, even academics twisted it to their own uses, like Klimt with decorative art noveau and encrustations of a Moreau gave ways to enliven a surface.Instead of claiming they have nothing left to learn from Picasso, try learning 5,000 years of human history, from all parts of the world. The ignorance of contemporary art is only matched by its arrogance.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

Actually, it is long and I will post on my blog tomorrow, about Duchamp, voyeurism, illustrating silly ideas, absurdist entertainment, childish self expression, and the like.

Maybe Culture Monster will post it still, I am trying. Love to get CKs panties all in a bunch.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:17 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

I hope we can agree to disagree on the schooling bit. I'm for it and have found good teachers especially for the beginners to mid- level artist. I don't believe doctors or scientists should be self- taught either. Do I believe that there are people with so much talent they can teach the teachers? Certainly, it happens once and awhile. In the end going to school or not, philosophically we are all self-taught. It all about how much we listen and apply the knowledge. You hit the nail on the head when you said who will teach at the academies? We have lost the skills of the past due to the modern art world destroying academia and there will also always be a majority of mediocre teachers just teaching a fancy version of their personal rendering. The great artists often don't bother teaching, they would rather produce more art. Mediocrity is in all schools and professions, what thing or group isn't 90% crap? However, art does have rules and there are good teachers around to teach them if you look hard, I've had them and benefited.

10:46 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

And Donald,
It seems to me the key to getting your blog posts printed is to embraces the philosophy that less is more. I spend as much time condensing my statements as I do writing them in the first place so my writing doesn't feel to much like a lecture or article. You would benefit for tighter self- editing, it's a world of short articles and shorter replies. More will listen to concise pointed comments about the article at hand and it shows your own self- discipline to stay on target.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

I do go on, dont I? but not looking to so much convince the children, they wont change. But start a true discussion of what art is, and why it is important. this anything is art nonsense, in the new article on Bueys, was just an excuse for career over art. I do appreciate a good teacher, but we msut all develop our own visual langauges, one can have more than one. I got four or five. And will more than likely create more depending on the works need.

There are good teachers, but like Moreau told Matisse, dont listen to me, I am but a teacher. We can show them whats out there, give encouragement, critize weakness and reveal strengths. But msut allow the student to learn. as in jazz, the only place to learn is on the road. Miles learned from Bird, leaving Julliard, Wynton got stuck with the classical technique and hindered his emotional development. Fantastic tone, but limited creation of relationships.

I agree a couple of years of basics is great, and then a craft, an applied art degree. But no more. MFAs are the toilet paper of degrees, just a business to keep jobs and feed the beast that is the museo/gallery/academic complex. It needs money, and so get it for its own benefits, not art.

As Cezanne said, the Louvre is my school. A few basics, and then study 5,000 years of human history. It was all there at the beginning, man has not changed taht much,at all really. Our knowledge of nature has, but not human nature. God has evolved in our understanding, and must become a primary focus. Your art has it, that glow of more. Literary illustration is the enemy of creative visual art, which is more musical and poetic.

I will have my Judgment Chapel up in January, the Vatican is looking at it for the next Venice Biennale, this years had no painting and was the pinnacle of conceptual humanism, no nature, no god. Archbishop Ravasi liked it, now gotta get through a damn committe. The kiss of mediocratizing death. Thnough the spiritual certainly doesnt have to be so priamry, it is usually woven into the work.

I am much nicer in person, but we gotta stop with the nicities nd cut to the chase. We gotta start thinking deeper, learn more, the world and art is out there, not inside, we are but filters. Only god can create something from nothing, artists are not god. we giotta fill up our recepticle before we can make anything worthile. And its ben a long time since I have seen that happen.

And so, art collegia delenda est
Fine Art colleges must be destroyed, they are the Bastilles of art, and the teachers the pharisees. Only then, when artist go to the source, our past, will we move on.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Cafe Observer said...

I admire the work of Will Wray.

6:52 PM  
Blogger tonypetersart said...


Your painting looks good, you handle that dramatic light well.

I remember learning about Bernie Fuchs in my History of Illustration class at Art Center. I felt a similar dismissiveness toward his work at the time, not because of any anti-photo prejiduce, but because it seemed dated and out of style to me.

Funny how looking at his work now, I find it to be amazing.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Don Coker said...

Bill, "Going Home" and "a fix" are wonderful pieces and certainly exude the light effects of Bernie Fuchs. Mr. Fuchs's passing really left me sad. He was one of my greatest inspirations as a young newspaper illustrator back in the 70s. I clipped every magazine that contained a Fuchs and still have those files today. They are little treasures that still inspire me. He was an original that will be missed.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Marian Fortunati said...


Looking forward to seeing your work in person at the Newberry show.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Bill,
Way to go on this, great looking painting. That foreground is the best Bill.

10:13 AM  
Blogger marion said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


10:57 PM  

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