Man with a Cat
This is my favorite painting by my favorite artist, Cecilia Beaux. It is hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. (Although the last time that Lynne and I visited, it was on loan to another museum.)
I love the realism, yet not too realistic style of her paintings. She often uses bold swaths of color that break up the values and add texture. I love this man's ear and his nose. There is a streak of hot orange which attracts the eye.
When I observe her paintings, I have the impression that each stroke was an act of pure genius, applied with great vigor and spontaneity. This was perhaps the case for many of her brush strokes. Though as I read about her life, I discovered that she labored over each inch of her paintings with great intensity, often redoing an area several times. This gave me hope. Maybe much of a great master's work is simply that, work--intense strivings, desire and trial and error effort.