"Evening on the Marsh"

  Oil on linen canvas, 18 x 24 inches, $2800.00 Now available from the artist's studio. Call (504) 914-     4152 email at art at joandagradi.com, for more information.


"Southwest Memories", oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches
Last winter and through spring, I spent most of my painting time working on a series of oil landscapes, 24 x 30 inches or larger. I've painted hundreds of small landscapes, but painting in a larger format requires a slightly different set of skills. Occasionally, I have been able to paint a large landscape directly, plein air. From painting for so many years, I have a back log of ideas and inspirations that I'd like to explore in either oil or watercolor. The painting on the right is from a memory of a landscape near Apache Junction in Arizona.


David Levine, 1926-2009

I'm sorry to report that David Levine, master watercolorist and political caricaturist without peer, passed away on December 29, 2009. Check out David Levine Art for more info. Memorials are posted online at D.Levine Dot Commie . Remarkably ego-less, with a penetrating gaze that seemed to look through you, Dave Levine was not only a profoundly inspiring artist with an extraordinary wit, but will also be remembered as a generous and empathetic human being.


Random Art Thoughts 1

"Cranberry Glass and Blue Cup", oil, 10 x 8 inches

As a practicing, professional artist, I often think about what actions encourage productivity versus what actions tamp down and limit creativity. There is no end to self-help improvement advice offered to artists, replete with templates for writing an artist statement, connecting with collectors, blogging, designing a web page, entering shows, publishing Giclee prints and even step by step sales instructions on how to respond at a show when someone says "I love your work". It's easy to get lost in the details.

When I first began this journey, I frequently visited the National Gallery of Art, not far from the Capitol, in Washington, D.C. There I saw a small Chardin still life of a few rabbits, a simple composition so quietly powerful that I still feel the sensation in my gut remembering that first encounter. The painting drew me in, captivating my sight. Nothing else existed in that moment. I again had a similar sensation while copying the Juan de Pareja, by Velasquez, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Truly, I felt that the painting was alive; I could have sworn that I saw Juan take a breath. Three years ago, while in a doctor's waiting room, again I was able to completely dive into a painting, this time a reproduction of a Winslow Homer watercolor. For a brief moment, I was able to transcend all the worries and problems attendant with caring for an ill, elderly loved one, and completely see a world through Homer's eyes.

No doubt, creating fine art remains a great mystery. Somehow, art happens. Is there something in the artist's intention that dictates the final product? Does entering a show help one to create great art? Does winning an award help one to create great art? Looking into the writings of some great ones like Degas or Vuillard might offer insight. New post, next year....


Portrait Sketch of Judge M

oil on canvas, 16 x 12 inches

This is one of many sketches made for the portrait of Judge M that I'm working on. The final portrait will be 3/4 figure at 29 x 40 inches.