Who Needs Soap Opera When You Have History

In an effort to come up with creative words to add to the painting I did today, I came across a dispute between James McNeill Whistler and John Ruskin.  If you are unfamiliar with these gentlemen, Whistler was an American artist whose most familiar painting is a portrait of his mother called “Arrangement in Grey and Black, the Artist’s Mother”   better known as “Whistler’s Mother.”  http://jssgallery.org/other_artists/Whistler/Whistler%27s_Mother.htm 

John  Ruskin was an art critic, artist and poet who influenced and supported the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of artists who created a reform movement in the Victorian era.   He later became part of the Arts and Crafts Movement advocating a return to a craftsman base society.

The basis of the argument was Ruskin’s criticism of  Whistler’s “Nocturn in Black and Gold.”   Ruskin said  “I…never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.”  That clearly didn’t sit well with Whistler who sued Ruskin for  slander.  Whistler won the lawsuit but was only awarded a farthing and the suit left him broke.  Wonder what  Ruskin would say about Jackson Pollock.

Here is a juicy tidbit about Mr. Ruskin (rated pg-13).  His marriage to Effie Gray was annulled on grounds of  “incurable impotency.”  He disputed the charge saying he was willing to “prove his virility at the court’s request.”  I am guessing the judge didn’t allow the demostration because Effie was granted an annullment and later married John Everett Millais, one of the Pre-Raphaelites.

You are probably wondering what all this has to do with this blog post.  It has to do with imitation.  I was trying to find something clever to say about imitation other than “sincerest of flattery” and came across all this which was far more interesting .

Imitation is what this painting is.  I came across an artist’s work (  http://www.frankgonzales.net/ )yesterday and so loved it, I attempted to imitate it.  The work is my own, the style is an attempt at his.  There are bits of my painting I am pleased with, my swirls are painted freehand, I am rather proud of them, and it was great fun and very messy pouring paint on the canvas.   Then I took sandpaper to the canvas letting the raw sienna peek thru the blue. I am being brave giving you a link to his work and then putting my painting up for view.  There really is no comparision.  I am just trying to expand my universe.


12″x12″  acrylic on canvas

Webster’s defines coxcomb as “a conceited, foolish dandy.”  Yep, grounds for libel.




One Response to “Who Needs Soap Opera When You Have History”

  1. Becky McBrayer Farmer Says:

    The birds and swirls seem to fit so well…motion??? What a talent you have! I enjoyed the history and vocabulary as well…coxcomb! lol

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