Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book Announcement

I have just completed a book that comprehensively chronicles my twenty-five years or so as a professional fine artist.  The Art of Stephen Warde Anderson, Neoclassical Naif consists of a brief personal memoir, a professional history, and a chronological gallery of several hundred images of paintings.  I have been working on the book for about nine months, lately spending more than half my time on it.  I have tried to make the text interesting and concise.  I have attempted to give an overview of my career, a summary of my techniques, and the sources of my inspiration.  I avoided talking about every show I ever had or commenting on individual paintings.  I have perhaps included more personal information than anyone will want to know, and probably more images than anyone will want to look at.
I regret the photos are not all of a quality I might desire.  The recent, digital images are pretty good.  Some older prints and slides were professionally scanned, but there are a lot that were poorly photographed.  In the end rather than leaving out imperfect images, I thought it was better to show as much work as possible.  It was a huge project, finding and organizing the images, editing them to increase brightness and sharpness and cut down on saturation, then converting them to 300dpi and scaling them.  (If they don't look right, it won't be through lack of effort on my part.) There are over a hundred pages of illustrations.  I haven't counted the images but with an average of five or so on a page, there must be about five hundred, maybe more.  Of course, I did leave some out: I've done fifteen hundred pictures.
The book The Art of Stephen Warde Anderson, Neoclassical Naif comes in several editions.
Deluxe Edition 11 x 8.5 paperback, 158 pages, illustrated -- $37.56
Illustrated eBook Edition same as above in eBook form -- $3.99
Text Only Edition 8.26 x 5.83 paperback, 120 pages, no illustrations -- $9.68
Text Only eBook Edition same as above in eBook form -- $1.99

Also for sale is another book which features images of recent paintings available for sale or consignment:
Acrylic Paintings by Stephen Warde Anderson 11 x 8.5, 24 pages -- $13.14

These are all print-on-demand books available from lulu.com.  The price of POD books are of necessity high, as there is no cost whatsoever to the author.  I have discounted the books for the rest of the year just in case someone wants to buy them.  The Deluxe Edition is actually at a maximum discount; I only get 66 cents per book sold -- just letting you know so I'm not accused of being a profiteer!  I should mention that the Text Only eBook is formatted for the computer, that is, wide instead of tall, really easy to read once it's sized properly.  I may get around to reformatting the Deluxe Edition, but I'm not up right now to the many days of work that will require.  I will, probably after the first of the year, get an ISBN for the Deluxe Edition and officially publish it, making it available for sale at retail outlets.  As doing this raises the price astronomically, I thought I would make it available for awhile at lulu for a minimal cost.

There is a sense of satisfaction at completing this monumental project, well, relief at least and an eagerness to move on to something else.  I have no unrealistic expectations of sales and would not have even if the book were less pricey.  I do have a hope that someday I may have sufficient funds to purchase my own books! 

You can check out the books, get more info, and see previews at www.lulu.com/spotlight/stephander


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Seraphim Ultralight

Seraphim Ultralight (Poster) 24 x 18, Acrylic, Oct., 2012

Seraphim Ultralight (Small Billboard) 12 x 24, Acrylic, Oct., 2012

Seraphim Ultralight (Large Billboard)  20 x 30, Acrylic, Oct., 2012

About ten years ago I was working with pulp art themes and hit upon the idea of creating faux advertising posters.  Recently, I decided to reexamine the concept and revisit the genre after seeing a wonderful exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum of advertising posters created in France, circa 1890's.  I thought I would invent a product and then devise a poster for it.  The first experiment is the top painting for a fictitious ultralight aircraft, the Seraphim made by the Hollister Aircraft Company.  (Since seraphim is actually plural, perhaps it should be seraph, but seraphim sounded better.  The name Hollister was chosen because I am descended a couple times from the Hollister family that settled in early New England -- distinguished folks, more than one a militia leader)  Not quite satisfied with the result, I concluded that it was better to work in a wide rather than a tall format and to create a billboard rather than a poster.  Art posters are no longer an existent art form, but the billboard is still with us and though usually not terribly artistic, it could be.  Billboards are generally 1 x 2 in format so I created a work in the largest size possible in standard frame sizes, 12 x 24.  Unfortunately, I really found it too small to work with and that extreme width just doesn't work with a painting even if it's great for an outdoor billboard.  Thus, after executing two Seraphim Ultralight paintings, I had to satisfy myself and do a third, this time in the more congenial 20 x 30 size.  This is something I have rarely done before, multiple attempts at a painting, but I felt I had to see the idea through.  The advertising billboard a somewhat difficult genre, not in execution, but in composition.  Even if the picture idea is effective, the placement of the elements, especially the writing needs to be really well thought out to compelling state a message as well as to create an attractive and interesting picture  It's also a challenge to do a decent job with the lettering.  (I choose a font, print up the text, position it, trace it, then paint it with a stub brush or needle.)  I have many further ideas for advertising billboard paintings and hope to get to them at a later date, although currently I am  pursuing another genre. 

More of my work can be seen at www.stephenwardeanderson.com

You are invited to like me on Facebook

Friday, October 12, 2012

Princess of the Taj Mahal

Mumtaz Mahal 24" x 20" Acrylic on Museum Board on Panel, 2012

     No woman was more honored in death than Mumtaz Mahal, the Indian princess who inspired the building of one of the world's architectural wonders and its most famous mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.  The familiar structure remains an iconic image of India -- ironic since the building is primarily Persian in design.  The Taj Mahal is located in northern India, in Agra in the province of Uttar Pradesh and was built between 1632 and 1653, a cultural golden age.  Its builder was Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor of the Mughal Empire, who, like his predecessors, was a Muslim and a descendant of Genghis Khan.  His most beloved third wife and consort was Arjumand Banu Begum, born in 1593 into a noble Persian family.  (She was renamed Mumtaz Mahal, meaning "chosen one of the palace.)  His devotion to her, obviously a very outstanding woman, became legendary.  After the death of Mumtaz in 1631, during the birth of their 14th child, Shah Jahan fell into inconsolable grief.  Eventually he decided to honor his late wife by commissioning a magnificent mausoleum and funerary gardens.  The epic building project, participated in by designers, artists, and artisans from various countries,  became the sublime Taj Mahal.  Unfortunately, over the centuries the structure fell into disrepair and was, sadly, defaced by gem-stealing British occupiers. It was an Englishman, though, Viceroy The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, who initiated a restoration that was completed in 1908. (I can't forbear mentioning that the Marquess's 15th Century ancestors Richard Curzon and Alice Willoughby are also ancestors of mine)

There are many representations of Mumtaz Mahal, although none seem to have been taken from life.  I have drawn upon them to create my own take on this wonderful lady.

If you like my work, feel free to friend me on Facebook

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe II  -- 20 x 24, 2012
Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe I  -- 24 x 18, 2007
POEtic Inspiration -- 18 x 24, 2009

I've always liked the works of Edgar Allan Poe and just a few years ago I read, or rather had my MacBook read to me, about 95% of his complete works from a file downloaded from gutenberg.org.  Of course his distinctive looks, if not the mystique of his persona, makes him an admirable subject for portraiture and I am surprised it took me until 2007 before deciding to make an attempt at painting him.  The results were quite encouraging (the photo does it little justice) and the piece was sold.  A couple years later when I was thinking up subject matter to fit into a group show at Tory Folliard Gallery entitled "When Animals Talk" I decided I would portray Poe again, this time communing with a raven as he was about to pen his most famous poem.  I was disappointed that many of the viewers of the exhibition didn't seem to know whom the picture was supposed to represent (that boggles the mind!) but I eventually sold the piece myself to a friend who did.  Lately, in my desperate, perhaps futile quest to paint something that someone someday will want to buy, I fell back on familiar and popular subject matter and decided to assay another Poe portrait.  This time I made the painting wide instead of tall as is usual with portraits, and this allowed me to include more of a background.  Passing over the man in black with a cape look, I painted him in a chestnut overcoat that he wore for some of the daguerrotypes taken of him.  I included a cane, which he did carry, and a book to show him a gentleman of culture, even if the slightly frayed cuff reveal the reality of shabby gentility.  The background are naturally suggested by the subject matter of his stories with the obligatory raven and black cat.  

If you wish to see more of my work go to www.stephenwardeanderson.com

If you like my work you may friend me on Facebook

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Valerie the Velonaut

Valerie the Velonaut -- 16 x 20 inches, Acrylic on Museum Board on Panel, 2012

In this painting I depict the adventurous Valerie who is pedaling across the country in her velomobile.  A velomobile is an enclosed recumbent tricycle.  These are popular in the Netherlands, where most of them are made.  Most velomobiles in this country are imported, although some European models are starting to be manufactured here.  This model is the Strada made by Blue Velo in Canada.  Valerie's velo sports a custom paint job and covers over the spoke tires (two in front, one in back like a tadpole trike).  Velomobiles are about a yard wide and from seven to nine feet long, weighing as much as 75 pounds.  Despite the weight, they are faster and much more efficient than even racing bikes, due to an aerodynamic shape that cuts down on drag.  If I had the money and the time to go places, I'd have one of these!

To see more of my artwork go to my website at www.stephenwardeanderson.com

If you like my work, you may friend me on Facebook

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Safari Girl

Sabina, Safari Girl - Acrylic on Museum Board on Panel, 16 x 20 inches, 2012

Continuing with the idea of the generic portrait, I recently completed the above picture of a character from my imagination, Sabina, the Safari Girl.  This is set somewhere on the savannah of East Africa.  The wildlife pictured are a vervet monkey, a cheetah, some impalas, a zebra, a long-crested eagle, a turquoise-spotted swordtail butterfly, and a rock python (big and scary, but they don't eat many people.)  She has with her a new Sony Cybershot HX200V.   Photography being her main purpose of her safari and not hunting, is evidenced by the fact that the gun she carries is without the telescopic site that would be attached for serious shooting.  The rifle, given to her by her late grandfather who acquired it in the 1950's in South America, is a classic 7mm Spanish Mauser, derived from bolt-action Gewehr 98 developed by German weapon designer and industrialist Paul Mauser in the 1890's.  (It's still supposed to be a great gun.)  Sabina needs it for those nasty snakes and things one encounters on safari.

To see more of my work go to my website at www.stephenwardeanderson.com
You may also friend me on Facebook

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Generic Portraits

The Aviatrix,  24 x 20, Acrylic, 2008
Girl Reporter, 24 x 18. Acrylic, 2008
Kings Musketeer, 20 x 16, Acrylic,  2010
Miss Rockford of 2020, 36 x 24, Acrylic, 2005

The generic portrait is halfway between the individual portrait and the picture of the unidentified person; it is a depiction of someone who represents or personifies a class, a type, a specific variety of humanity.  It can be of a person exemplifying a certain period, place or ethnicity.  It can epitomize a person pursuing a particularly activity or profession.  I have, over the years, painted several types of generic portraits, but except for fashion plates and period costume illustrations, I have never compiled a series or built up a collection.  (The idea of doing so has some merit.)  With the generic portrait the artist is spared the necessity of capturing an individual likeness, which can doom the artwork to failure if it is incompletely or unconvincingly accomplished.  But, without a model to reference and with a total reliance upon the imagination, there can be other problems.  For instance, the face has to look good and at the same time represent what it's supposed to -- not always so simple to achieve.  One can, of course, choose a model without the obligation to follow it religiously, and I have done this several times.  There have been times as well when I have set out to paint a celebrity portrait and having fallen short of a modicum of verisimilitude,  turned it into a generic portrait -- who's to know? 

To see more of my work go to my website www.stephenwardeanderson.com

If you like my work you are invited to friend me on Facebook

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Allegories in Sepia

The Seven Temptations, 19 x 41, Tempera on shade cloth on Particle Board, 1989.

Apollo and the Muses, 33 x 45, Tempera on Shade Cloth on Hardboard, 1989.

I had begun experimenting with monochromatic paintings in the mid 1980's.  I originally strove to replicate sepia-tone effect of old-fashioned photos, but soon found burnt sienna to be a better color. Not too dark or light, it can be effectively tinted and shaded and in its lighter tints closely matches flesh color.  After having done a fairly large number "sepia" paintings, I endeavored to create some allegorical taleaux/group portraits.  In 1989 I executed the two ambitious works shown here, one drawn from Christian iconography, the Seven Temptations, and the other from classical mythology, Apollo with the nine Muses.  I believe both these works were exhibited at my first show at Phyllis Kind Gallery in Chicago in 1990.  They were eventually purchased by the noted artist Roger Brown and after his death became part of the Roger Brown Study Collection of the Art Institute.

To see more of my work check out my website at www.stephenwardeanderson.com

If you like my work please friend me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stephenwarde.anderson

    Thursday, March 15, 2012


    Nefertiti 31 x 23 inches, 1986

    One of the few paintings I have saved for myself, this early portrait of Nefertiti has been hanging behind my bedroom/studio door for more than twenty years.  I painted it almost two years before I had my first art show in 1988, and it was the results from this effort that spurred to work full time as an artist with the idea of being a  selling professional.  After finishing it, I deluded myself into thinking I kinda, sorta had something here.  Perhaps I was wrong: this piece was eventually offered for sale, but there were no takers.  Only years later, after I decided not to sell it, was there any interest in it.
    The painting was executed with my early technique.  I mixed tempera paints in coke bottle caps and when they dried I reliquified the paint to a thick consistency with saliva and applied it with flexible plastic styluses made from whipped cream containers and from sewing needles.  The flesh was done with a pointelist technique, little dots of various shades and tints painstakingly applied with a needle.  The painting surface, in this case, consisted of strips of curtain stiffening glued to illustration board and then foamboard.  It provided the perfect texture for the technique.  I employed this technique for several years, but I'm not sure I achieved  as much success with any of my subsequent efforts.  I went on to produce many paintings of Egyptian queens and princesses over a period of years.  This particular piece, although it's not a patch on the famous painted bust in the Berlin Museum, nevertheless continues to hold a certain mystique for me.  

    For more of my work see my website www.stephenwardeanderson.com  

    If you like my work you may friend me on Facebook   

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    Vocaloid Portraits

    Miku Hatsune, 16 x 22 inches, acrylic on museum board on foam board, 2010

    Prima, 16 x 12 inches, acrylic on museum board on foam board, 2010

    A decade ago Yamaha developed a synthesized voice that could be used for musical recording.  The individualized computer programs were called vocaloids®.  The first ones were primitive and mechanical sounding, but later vocaloids sounded pretty good, especially singing in Japanese.  (The language seems more suitable than English for this and, frankly, most J-pop singers sound like vocaloids anyway.)  To successfully market them, images and identities were developed for each vocaloid.   The superstar of Japanese vocaloids remains Miku Hatsune (or is Hatsune Miku more correct?).  From her initial recording of a Finnish polka and a smashing version of 70's folk song Misaki Meguri (one of my all-time favorite songs), she has gone on to become a virtual diva, even recently giving a concert in Chicago.  You Tube features many Miku videos with some very delightful songs.  She is portrayed variously in the chiba form, a squat, simple drawing, as an air-brushed anime image, and in a 3-D version.  She wears a variation of a school-girl's costumes and has very long turquoise hair.  In painting her, I drew upon the conventional images, but imagined that she is a real person.  As a companion, I also did a picture of the operatic diva Prima.  Althouhg it isn't something I currently have time for, I would love to purchase the software for Miku and see if I can program her to sing some of the songs I have written over the years.  

    You may see more of my work at www.stephenwardeanderson.com

    If you like my work please friend me on Facebook

    Saturday, February 11, 2012


    Lorencia 12 x 9  2010
    Zorella 12 x 9  2010
    Kardonia 12 x 9  2010
    Livania 10 x 8  2010
    Josepha 10 x 8  2010
    Parmela 10 x 8  2010

    The portrait genre extends from the realistic depiction of an actual person to that of a fictional person to that of a generic portrait representing a particular kind of person or an individual representing specific qualities to any variety of stylized human likenesses.  My idea with this series of pictures was to create paintings resembling statue busts -- idols.  I wanted them to possess an archetypal quality, a static dignity, not an image of a woman, but an image of an image of a goddess-like woman.  By presenting them in symmetric full-face, keeping the eyes closed (it worked better for me than the empty eye approach of classical sculptors), and coloring the skin in cool colors that are never be natural I achieved the effect that I wanted.  These are all small paintings, 10 x 8 to 12 x 9.  I executed a couple larger pictures along the same line, but somehow they seemed less successful.

    You may see more of my work on my website at  www.stephenwardeanderson.com
    If you like my work you may friend me on Facebook

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Emancipation Tableau

    Emancipation Tableau, Acrylic, 24 x 30, 2012

    I recently completed this tableau illustrating the Jan. 1, 1863 signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with a collective portrait of those most involved and responsible for the abolition of slavery in this country.  It is not intended as a literal depiction; the figures painted are not all shown as they would have been in 1863 (John Brown, for instance, had been hanged years before) and the relative heights are not necessarily accurate. 

    In the center, seated, ready to sign is Abraham Lincoln.  To his left is his Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin, an abolitionist from Maine who also served in the House, the Senate, as a governor, and ambassador, and to his right is Representative Thaddeus Stevens, chairman of the Way and Means Committee, so powerful he was called the Dictator of the House.  Stevens is often seen, unjustly, in an unfavorable light owing to his vindictive quest to impeach President Andrew Johnson, but history upholds his views and his vision.  He was not only an ardent supporter of equality and education for freed slaves, he strongly believed that diversity, ethnic and cultural, serves to enrich society -- not a common opinion at the time.  Standing, from left to right, is John Brown, a figure of tremendous power and intense conviction, even though he was just a simple farmer.  Despite his radical militarism, of which few approved, he was revered as a martyr.  Next to him was his initial supporter in Kansas, Amos Adams Lawrence, a philanthropist who contributed to the colonization of Liberia and sent rifles to help the northern settlers in Kansas who were being threatened there by Southerners who were mostly paid thugs.  Lawrence, Kansas, was named for him; he later put up money for the college there and for Lawrence College in Appleton, WI, a city named after his father-in-law.  His father Amos and uncle Abbott, who founded Lawrence, MA,  were Boston Brahmins, among the wealthiest men in the country, and the family established the tradition and the standard of American philanthropy.  William Lloyd Garrison was publisher of The Liberator and the most influential and well-known abolitionist.  Robert Purvis was a collaborator and philanthropist.  He was originally from Charleston, his father being English, his maternal grandparents, Jewish and black Moorish.  He was educated as a gentleman, attended Amherst College, and inherited considerable wealth that he choose to use to benefit the cause of emancipation and equal rights.  Frederick Douglass, run-away slave with a black mother and a white father, an accomplished  orator and writer, was one of the great Americans of the 19th Century and was the symbol of emancipation and of the Negro race.    General Ulysses S. Grant, not only a great military leader but a quiet, modest man of great humanity, was most responsible for winning the Civil War.  Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, a dashing figure from a wealthy family, commanded a colored regiment from Massachusetts that proved the worth of the African-American soldier.  He would die heroically with his men and be remembered as a hero.  Harriet Tubman, like Douglass, a former slave from Maryland, was active in the Underground Railroad and had an extraordinary and valiant career working for abolition and other causes.   John Greenleaf Whittier, a Quaker, campaigned tirelessly against slavery and used his poetry to aid the cause.  Harriet Beecher Stowe, sister of celebrated preacher Henry Ward Beecher, was a novelist whose first book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, written in 1851 when she was 39, had a profound impact on people's attitude toward slavery.

    What the painting commemorates has personal significance for me because in my mother's family were many abolitionists and I am, in fact, related to several of the figures depicted.   My mother's great-grandfather, Elijah Whittier Blaisdell was a publisher in Vermont who printed abolitionist tracts and pamphlets.  His son, Elijah Whittier Blaisdell, Jr. came to Rockford, IL in 1853, was a founder of the Republican Party, and published a newspaper, the Rockford Republican, which supported the cause of abolition.  He met Abraham Lincoln at a meeting of newspaper publishers and was so impressed with him that he became the first to support Lincoln for President -- in 1856.  My great-grandfather served in the Illinois State legislature in 1859 and had the opportunity to vote for Lincoln for Senator.   Lincoln was, in fact, a distant relation: Blaisdell's fourth great-grandmother, Mary Gilman was the sister of Blanche Gilman who married Edward Lincoln, Abe's immigrant ancestor.  His wife, my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Woodbridge Lawrence, had a brother, Charles B. Lawrence who became an abolitionist after going south for his health and working as a schoolmaster in Mississippi.  As a lawyer in Illinois (later Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court)  he was a personal as well as professional friend of Lincoln. --- John Brown is a descendant of Rev. John Woodbridge ( a grandson of Governor Thomas Dudley of the Massachusett's Bay Colony) and his wife Abigail Leete ( a daughter of Connecticut governor William Leete), as I am, and is a fifth cousin.  My great-grandmother Elizabeth Lawrence was not a close relation of Amos Adams Lawrence, but they both were descended from John Lawrence, a carpenter/builder who emigrated to Watertown, MA from Suffolk, England in the early 1630's.  However, from other connections A.A. Lawrence is my mother's fourth cousin.  I am also related to Garrison, and Grant is a sixth cousin.  Hannibal Hamlin, whose fourth great-grandfather was Miles Standish, had Plymouth Colony ancestry, which I don't, but through the Sherman family we have a common ancestor in 16th century England.   Colonel Shaw, also descended from Governor Thomas Dudley as well as from the eminent non-conformist minister Rev. John Lothrop, is a fifth cousin of mine as is Harriet Beecher Stowe. I am not related to John Greenleaf Whittier, but the Whittiers and the Blaisdells, my mother's family, were well-acquainted with each other, both living in Amesbury and Haverhill, MA.  My great, great, great grandfather's step-father was, in fact, Nathaniel Whittier, a second cousin of John Greenleaf Whittier's father.

    If you wish to see more of my work go to my website as www.stephenwardeanderson.com

    If you like my artwork you may friend me on Facebook

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Civil War Generals

    Portrait of General George Armstrong Custer, 24 x 18, 2009

    Portrait of General Ulysses S. Grant, 20 x 16, 2010

    My interest in history has drawn me to do a considerable number of historical portraits, although mostly I've concentrated on women.  I've only scratched the surface with masculine portraits, but here are two I completed in last few years.  I painted Custer as he was post-Civil War, but well before the Little Big Horn by which time he had cut his famous long blondish hair.  I wanted a bit of a raw-boned look that characterized frontiersmen and soldiers who had to endure hardships, inclement weather, and bad food.  This image was featured as a full-page illustration in the February, 2011 issue of Civil War Times magazine.  The general Grant portrait is a little more traditional, less folk arty.  I have a fondness for the man: he is the quintessential Midwestern American.  I live on Grant Avenue, my grandfather's uncle, a sergeant in the famous Galena regiment, soldiered with him, my politician great-grandfather campaigned for him when he ran for President, and he's a distant relative. 

    You can see more of my work on my website www.stephenwardeanderson.com

    If you like my work you can friend me on Facebook

    Sunday, January 22, 2012


    Brownies in the Kitchen, Acrylic, 18 x 24 inches, 2009

    Brownies in the Backyard, 22 x 28 inches, Acrylic, 2009

    Brownies -- not the edible or scouting varieties -- are household spirits that do work around the place when no one is looking, often for offerings of food.  They are a part of Scottish folklore, but there are similar creatures native to Scandinavia, Germany, and probably other places.  I thought that a group of them might ideally featured in a whimsical fantasy tableau.  My first picture placed them in a modern kitchen baking things and so forth.  Some are male, some female, dressed similarly, but not identically.  Pleased with the result, I did another, with the brownies doing tasks outdoors. 

    Skeptical, but not entirely dismissive of their existence,  I regretfully haven't seen any evidence of brownies or their secretive labors, probably because all the offerings of food get eaten by squirrels.  I do wish they would do the shoveling when the plow pushes snow up on the driveway at two in the morning.  Of course, it might be the brownies, if not some other variety of fairy, that like to pinch my scissors.  I am still looking for a pair of small sewing scissors that vanished many years ago.  However, another pair of scissors, large sewing shears, were returned.  The shears, always in the sewing box, inexplicably disappeared a few years ago.  For weeks I searched high and low for them, couldn't find them, no one had seen them.  I lamented their absence when I was cutting out some material for a pair of pants I was making and had to use a small pair of scissors.  When I replaced the pin cushion to the sewing box, my hand hit something.  There were the shears!  They hadn't been there before, nor had  they been there the other fifty times I looked.  Quite a mystery, not the least part of it being why fairies, supposedly diminutive, would want such a large pair of scissors! 

    I was delighted when the kitchen brownies were purchased by a noted chef and restauranteur.
    The backyard brownies are currently residing with Washington area dealer Grey Carter.

    If you wish to see more of my work go to my website at www.stephenwardeanderson.com

    And if you like my welcome I invite you to friend my on Facebook

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Self-Portrait from an Earlier Life

    Self-Portrait From an Earlier Life, Acrylic, 24 x 30 inches, 2011

    For a long time I scoffed at the idea of reincarnation, until several years ago I began having flashes of memory from what I surmise to be former lives.  The recollections are like those you might have of when you are three or four years old, vague and fragmented and without context, but, at the same time, distinct.  In the earliest life that I can remember anything of, I lived in France somewhere, probably in the late 14th Century.  My father was a poor farmer with many children.  Since I less hardy than intelligent, he decided I would be of more use as a tailor's apprentice than as a farmhand.  I thus left home to live with a master tailor, who was kindly and taught me his trade.  I worked hard and made a success of the profession chosen for me.  My impression is that I made raiment for the nobility and acquired some acquaintance with life at court.  (I believe that my desire to design and sew my own clothes, which I still to some extent, do, is attributable to this former life.)  --- In executing a novel twist on the self-portrait, I decided to paint myself as I might have been in that past life.  To make the picture more interesting I made it a double portrait, myself as a 14th Century tailor showing some cloth to a client.  As the client I chose Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, who, with her husband, the Prince of Wales, Edward of Woodstock, the "Black Prince," held court at Bordeaux.  It is a fancy, but a possibility that I served her.  I chose to paint her not only because she was one of the most fondly remembered women of the period, but because I am descended from her several times, she being one of my most favorite ancestresses.  My lines of descent from her can be seen here

    For more of my work see my website at www.stephenwardeanderson.com

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    Monday, January 9, 2012


    African Penguins Make a Trek, Acrylic, 11 x 14 inches, 2007

    Penguin Painter, Acrylic, 11 x 14 inches, 2007

    Penguins, in addition to being endearing and cute, are the most human-like of birds, and, therefore, candidates for anthropomorphic depiction.   Desirous of painting them, but thinking I couldn't make a realistic composition interesting enough, I hit upon the idea of doing a series of whimsical pictures with various types of penguins doing human things.  The result was African Penguins Make a Trek, in which a family of African, or Jackass penguins seek new habitat on the coast of South Africa, where, for various reasons, they are endangered.  In a second picture, Penguin Painter, a King penguin, the largest, save for the Emperor penguin, takes time off from fishing and diving off the coast of Antarctica to try his hand at painting.  In the pictures I add a few accoutrements and articles of apparel to make the penguins more human and I make the assumption that they can use their wings like arms and hands.   This is another idea I'd like to get back to, as there are plenty more ideas for penguin pictures.  

    For more of my work see my website at www.stephenwardeanderson.com

    I you like my work you may friend me on Facebook

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Foxy Rose

    Foxy Rose and the White Slavery Ring, 20 x 16, Acrylic, 2004

    Foxy Rose and the Steam Yacht Adventure, 20 x 16, Acrylic, 2004

    A few years ago I began a series of paintings inspired by the covers of pulp fiction magazines that were popular in the early 20th Century.  (The artwork in these magazines has only recently been appreciated.)  I started by creating a character and a  premise of a story, then composing a painting to illustrate it, incorporating the titles in picture.  One of the characters I called Foxy Rose, the Edwardian Crime Fighter.  The leading character was a spunky young English lady, the Honorable Rosemary Fox, the daughter of a Viscount.  When her beloved brother is killed by a criminal gang, she decides to devote herself rooting out organized crime in 1900 London.  There were two paintings in the projected series, Foxy Rose and the White Slavery Ring and Foxy Rose and the Steam Yacht Mystery.  I had other ideas, such as Foxy Rose and the Strangler of LimehouseFoxy Rose and the Cornish Smugglers, Foxy Rose and the Music Hall Murders, but I never quite got to them.  It occurred to me several times to actually write the stories suggested by the picture titles.  The idea attracts me more and more, even though I am already engaged in writing two books.  Perhaps someday I'll get around to it.  I would publish them as novelettes with the paintings for book covers.  (You can do this sort of self publishing almost without cost at lulu.com.)

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