Torrance Art Museum:Hobson’s Choice recognition

The Temptations of St.Anthony of the Desert in an Italian Landscape (after Jakob Phillip Hackert, 1778)
2020
Oil on canvas
24 by 36 inches

Awoke this morning to a notification that my work (the painting shown) had been recognized by the Torrance Art Museum here in Southern California for their ongoing Hobson’s Choice. Hobson’s Choice is an online presentation of seven new artists per week, particularly encouraging and timely during this period of social isolation.

Thank you Torrance Art Museum for the support, personally and more broadly.

http://www.torranceartmuseum.com/hobsons-choice/2020/4/24/week-4-leonard-greco-the-temptations-of-stanthony-of-the-desert-in-an-italian-landscape-after-jakob-phillipe-hackert-1778

The Temptations of St.Anthony of the Desert in an Italian Landscape (after Jakob Phillip Hackert, 1778)
2020
Oil on canvas
24 by 36 inches

Available Work

 

 

Stuffed Paintings, available!

 

There comes a point that an artist just needs room, and storing works gets rather expensive, with that in mind I felt it time to actively try to offer my work to potential collectors. The link below will allow you to browse oil paintings, watercolor paintings, acrylic paintings, drawings, soft sculpted Stuffed Paintings-I will post more as I go through my files.

If you have any questions  or requests for works not shown please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at neobaroque@mac.com, I’d be happy to chat with you. 

LG

Link can be found on side bar under Available Work and here:

https://boondocksbabylon.com/available-work/

Paintings, available!
Details found in side bar link Available Work
Details found in sidebar Available Work link
Adopt me!

 

Mandrakes, Fairyfellers and the search for Re-Enchantment

I haven’t posted in a bit, but my hands have been busy and so has my imagination. I’ve been making, clarifying and meditating upon the theme of Re-enchantment. I’ve mentioned before that my childhood was far from halcyon, more precisely grim in the lower case. Yet in spite of the anxious tension I was quite frequently in a state of wondrous enchantment. I had the good fortune to have a beguiling  and magical woods behind our suburban home. A solitary boy, I spent hours in quiet delight, there was simply so much to explore : salamanders, bullfrogs, carnivorous pitcher plants, skunk cabbage, blankets of velveteen moss, fungi galore and most delightfully sweet and wise box turtles. Truly, who needed humans when such fairies and imps kept you company?

That enchantment has slipped a bit in my golden years, I stumble upon it now and then, in the garden, with my animal friends, but most especially in my studio (my studio is my sanctuary) but if I were honest, a great deal of my time is spent in pursuits far from enchanting. 

Hence this interest in re-enchantment, in my work, in the studio and in my life. I am actively searching for the extraordinary in the quotidian, mindful and appreciative of the minor miracles of the day-to-day, the unfurling of the hairy leafed begonia, the topaz gold of a hornet, the diamond trail of the garden slug.  My seven year old self was well aware of these delights, I’m in the process of being reacquainted .

Undated photo of yours truly, seven? nine?

In that spirit, a new body of work is emerging, I’ve coined it as Fairyfellers (inspired by the fantastic Victorian fairy painter Richard Dadd). Fairy-telling is my aim, visually expressing that wonder found in the gentler, enticing realm of toadstools, ferns and tadpoles.

The following are examples of some of my labors:

The Mandrake Titus, Defender Against Reality (he lost)
2020
Mixed fiber media
72 by 40 by 27 inches

Much of my time has been spent just sketching out re-enchantment, my studio journals are full of spontaneous bursts of wonder.

Fairyfellers, page from sketchbook

Concept sketch for The Mandrake Titus.

Initial pose for Titus, triumphant against Reality; I preferred him defeated. Truer.

This figure of the Mandrake Titus was inspired by my visit to the V&A, in particular the heraldic, near life-sized Dacre Beasts.

Two of the four Dacre Beasts (1507-25) at the V&A.

In particular the heraldic banners, I’m wild for banners in general, these beasties compelled me to design and stitch up my own.

Artist’s sketchbook

Detail: heraldic Mandrake shield.

Reverse view of the figure.

The Mandrake’s cape was inspired by a detail from my latest painting (previous post). Cross pollination of ideas , across mediums, is a common occurrence in my studio.

Further experiments in “stuffed paintings” resulted in this elfin trio of Fairyfellers: Rufus, Derrick and Seamus.

Studio shot of Rufus, Derrick and Seamus (and Robin Goodfellow).

Derrick and Rufus.

Rufus

Seamus

Derrick

I’ve also been busy working further upon paper-doll making (as fairyfeller an activity  as you can imagine).

Daisy Chain
2020
Mixed paper and fiber media
Approximate dimensions 96 by 51 inches

Concept sketch for Daisy Chain

Daisy Chain, detail

Daisy Chain, detail

Daisy Chain, detail

The last image of the daisy loin cloth betrays a bit of self censorship, increasingly I am re-evaluating how much nudity to portray. Not so much out of prudery, but I’ve heard myself described as a “penis artist”, and that isn’t my intention or interest. In this case I think the work is improved by the discretion, plus it is more playful; playfulness a key element of re-enchantment.

“Uncensored” detail

So far that is it in the Fairyfeller realm, more fairyfellers  are on the way. Right now however I have returned to painting , stitching is hard work, my fingers begin to ache and the fabric and needle pricks have caused some damage to my fingertips. So for now this fairyfeller is at the easel.

 

St. Anthony of the Desert Revisited…once again

That darn anchorite keeps following me around, this time not so much in the desert but in a lush, abundant landscape inspired by the German Romantic painter Jakob Phillip Hackert (1737-1807). 

The Temptations of St.Anthony of the Desert in an Italian Landscape (after Jakob Phillip Hackert, 1778)
2020
Oil on canvas
24 by 36 inches

It wasn’t really my intention to once again return to Anthony and his desert travails, at least not yet (currently more immersed in fairylands, bogles, goblins and pixiefolk). But in my studio, kicking about and frankly in the way, was a practice landscape from a few years back. I’ve long admired German Romanticism, particularly the dramatic treatment of nature, most especially trees. In the hands of a master like Hackert, trees are major players, singular beings rich in personality. I had hoped to better understand how these landscapes/tree-scapes were constructed so I set about copying one of my favorites, Hackert’s Italian Landscape, 1778.

My copy of Jakob Phillip Hackert’s “Italian Landscape”, 1778

It was a gratifying experience, in no way was I able to match Hackert’s luminous original, but I did learn valuable lessons in light, perspective and composition. 

But then I had a painting that I wasn’t very interested in, wasn’t original, wouldn’t/couldn’t show, not particularly “good” and yet frankly too sentimentally attached to to just chuck. 

So I decided to make it my own by reworking it in my own way. I’ve seen artists self consciously take thrift store paintings (rather annoyingly, seems a bit stunt-ish), works they mockingly called kitsch, and adapt them to their generally ironic purposes. This sort of practice is close to being a kitsch cliche in its own right but it started the wheels turning .

I’m not an ironic artist, nor did I think my painting kitsch, although granted a rather poor copy, but I was excited to reimagine Hackert’s poetic composition, eager to populate his pretty world with my imps and daemons. In many ways old master Jakob acted (unwittingly) as my collaborator. This latest painting the happy result.

Portrait of Jakob Phillip Hackert (1737-1807) by Augusto Nicodemo, 1797

I hope he would have been pleased.

 

As my composition is visually dense in the Boschian/Bruegelian sense, details follow:

Detail

Detail

Detail

Detail of St.Anthony himself plus just a smattering of the gadfly temptations, oh, and his faithful pig.

This is the Master’s take, as you can see it is quite lovely, my copy so paltry in comparison. The wisest path was re-spinning  my inferior version in my own voice.

Jakob Phillip Hackert
Italian Landscape
1778

The Temptations of St.Anthony of the Desert in an Italian Landscape (after Jakob Phillip Hackert, 1778)
2020
Oil on canvas
24 by 36 inches

In the end I am pleased, I made room in storage, profited from past labors and have a new painting I like quite a bit. 

 

RA 252nd Summer Exhibition

 

Royal Academy of Art
Summer 2019

In 1769 the Royal Academy first set about creating a space for showcasing new works of art, two hundred fifty two consecutive  years of discovering, exhibiting and promoting  contemporary art to the public. The Summer Exhibition is the longest open call opportunity for artists of all rank to present their vision to the Academy and to the world. 

That is quite an impressive feat.

Through the centuries this progressive mission became associated with an institution that might have seemed stodgy and which one rebelled against. I’m guessing all that has changed , I really do not know but for a boy growing up in New Jersey the tales of Varnishing Day, the glamour of opening day, the imagined pithy comments from Oscar Wilde, all created a siren’s call impossible to resist.

I’ve dreamt of submitting for years (decades) but hadn’t the nerve. I still lack the nerve but this year I submitted anyway. It wasn’t an overnight decision. At my solo show last year I met a British couple enthusiastic about my work, amidst their welcomed flattery they pulled out their phones and showed me glimpses of the Summer Exhibition 2018 fantastically curated by Grayson Perry, encouraging me to submit my work for they felt it would be right at home. It was exhilarating  this thought, feeling so out of place in Los Angeles, adrift in where to next turn, it seemed a dream;  this Royal Academy was FAR from stodgy, far from my conceived notions of what “academic” art was. This was a magical place of wild color, classical architecture, and wall after overcrowded wall of diverse and distinct art just begging for attention. I was floored. This was an oasis, far removed from the frequently tedious , muted, reserved, overly-curated, predictable  gallery exhibitions found here in surprisingly conservative , tight-laced and conventional Los Angeles.

When we visited London for the first time last summer the RA Summer Exhibition 2019 was a must-see. I had already toyed with the notion of submitting after having seen glimpses of  the Perry show but heading into solemnly magnificent Burlington House, situated in glamorous Piccadilly, in the very heart of London, then finding inside these impressive walls an abundance of art, art of all sorts, a staggering diversity of material, style and approach, all this sealed the deal.I was immediately convinced that I must at least try. 

The long anticipated open call was announced this week on Monday. I was prepared and at the gate: all work freshly documented; a revised, suitably Anglophilic artist statement self-consciously composed; measurements and prices converted to metric and pounds. I was ALMOST confident. Nervously I typed in all the necessary information, exhibition submissions are always harrowing for me, but because this was so personally important it  was especially so. But I soldiered on, all in order, all checked, double and triple checked, and then just when I attempted to pay the entry fee (entry fee is due before you can submit) I hit a wall, an unmovable glowing , unyielding wall on my laptop screen.

ERROR, error, error, unable to process. I tried again and again, rechecking triple checking every entry information, David checked, my publicist checked, we resubmitted, shut down, rebooted, cleared cookies and caches (whatever the heck they are), different browsers, computers, laptops, I-phones all to know avail. I contacted the RA support, they responded but  the suggestions made proved unfruitful. I despaired, over-reacted, overwrought and self-pitying I was convinced I of course wasn’t worthy to even submit to the RA. I was such a loser they wouldn’t even take my money. In my pathetic state, eager to have them like me I became a Friend of the Academy…something I wanted to do anyway, but felt , hey, they’ll see I’m not some obnoxious self absorbed American.  All absurd of course, it was some glitch, my rational brain knew this but I possessed such desire to just submit that I became quite abject in my disappointment and despair. It was resolved of course, my subsequent, pitiful emails were returned , a helpful assistant recognized the problem immediately and the Error message miraculously disappeared. With the error corrected (my fault of course) all was well, the submission window hadn’t suddenly closed in twenty four hours as I had ridiculously obsessed over, fees were paid, all was processed, entered, and the submit button nervously pressed.

The glitch? I had spelled out “California” instead of the required CA…damn California.

If I was irrationally anxious about the submission, I was irrationally proud of myself for actually having completed the task. The work that follows is what I, in the end , decided upon submitting. Perhaps not the wisest choices or most prudent, for they are large and unwieldy , and if the heavens allow and I am ,on the slimmest chance, shortlisted, the work will need to be seen up close and personal. This will be enormously expensive, but let me tend to that when and if it must be tended to. For now I will bask in the glow of an overly inflated sense of accomplishment.

I will receive first round results mid March …wish me luck. 

Goblin Market
2017
Oil on canvas
122 by 152 by 5 cm
48 by 60 by 2 inches

Goblin Market, detail

Goblin Market, detail

 

Robin Goodfellow
2018
Mixed media: acrylic painted canvas, recycled fabric, embroidery floss, pipe/plywood interior structure, Poly-fil
161 by 92 by 81 cm
63 by 36 by 32 inches

Robin Goodfellow, reverse

Robin Goodfellow, in situ

I will close with a happy memento from our visit last summer , my Herakles and that Farnese imposter.

Newly Documented Work

In anticipation of 2020 and various upcoming submissions I decided it was time to have some newer work better documented- the I-phone is a wondrous tool but it has its limitations in my hands. The following images are the result of a recent photo shoot.

Robin Goodfellow
2018
Mixed media:acrylic painted canvas, recycled fiber, embroidery floss, black-pipe internal structure, plywood, poly-fil
63 by 36 by 32 inches

I had this piece, one I like quite a bit, professionally photographed during my Fairyland solo show , but the in-situ placement offers visual distractions that a time-pressed curator most likely hasn’t the time for.

Robin Goodfellow
2018
Mixed media, recycled fiber
63 by 36 by 31 inches

Other works:

The Anchorite’s Crucifix
2019
Mixed media: acrylic painted canvas, recycled fabric, beads, bells, embroidery floss, black pipe interior structure, poly-fil, vintage furniture, metal work and fabric.
60 by 32 by 10 inches, Crucifix only; total installation varies upon situation.

The Anchorite’s Crucifix
detail shot

Oedipus & the Sphinx
2019
Oil on panel
12 by 8 inches

The Conversion of St.Paul on the Road to Damascus
2019
Oil on canvas
48 by 36 inches

The following was shot twice, but honestly I cannot tell the difference, Version I:

The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert
2018
Oil on panel
18 by 36 inches

Version II:

The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert
2018
Oil on panel
18 by 36 inches

and that is it…

Robin Goodfellow
2018
Mixed media:acrylic painted canvas, recycled fiber, embroidery floss, black-pipe internal structure, plywood, poly-fil
63 by 36 by 32 inches

Fairyland ABC …for sale!

Fairyland ABC
(cover)

https://www.blurb.com/b/9751155-fairyland-abc

I recently self published my Fairyland ABC/Alphabetic Primer of Fairyland through Blurb, at first I was  intimidated by the process, but in fact it was pretty straight forward, almost fun once my desktop was properly organized. 

The link above allows for a preview of the book and  direct purchase and shipping- just in time for the holidays! A perfect stocking stuffer ( that sounds a bit unchaste).

What started out as an extension of my daily drawing practice, my focusing upon the alphabet as inspiration ,quickly suggested itself to book format.This paperback edition is nearly true to size to that actual notebook (the private notations and wonky compositions attest to that day-to-day reality).

The following images are some of my personal favorites:

G is for Greenman
(& Gryphon & Ganymede)

J is for Jester

P is for Pierrot
(& Pollarded Trees)

Perhaps my favorite

W is for Witchcraft

Perhaps you will consider adding it your library.

I hope so.

Finis

Samhain Revisited

 

 

Samhain
2019
Colored pencil on toned paper
18 by 24 inches

I last posted what I had then thought to be a finished drawing, one I was pleased with in many ways but still  had a persistent nagging sense of dissatisfaction concerning its resolution. But given other studio obligations I decided to put is aside and move forward.

However, a dear friend and accomplished artist in her own right would have none of that. In a private message she let me know in no uncertain terms what specifically was lacking, the email contained a red-inked copy of the offending drawing .

Suggestive red ink

I confess I was taken aback by this unsolicited critique, but given my respect for her, for her academic training and for her own admirable work, I put aside my embarrassment and instead picked up the pencil once again. I now believe the drawing to be complete…unless I receive another private message (smiley face).

Samhain
2019
Colored pencil on toned paper
18 by 24 inches