This will be about my views on what it takes to put a three dimensional world onto a two dimensional surface. With a lot of digressing.
Don't forget to leave a comment, or a question if you have one, below the post. Thanks.


Aug 31, 2009


GULL Acrylic Mural by Margery Caggiano

The last post was of our main bath mural; all four walls were painted even though few photos have survived. This mural was done first, and was in our half-bath. It too survives as far as I know. The only mural I've done over the years that deteriorated to a point where it had to be painted over, was done on a plaster wall, rather than primed sheetrock as these two bathrooms were. This photo was from a slide, unfortunately done on a sunny day.

Christopher Street Magazine Photography by Robert Giard

This bath, like my last post, was also used as a background for my friends photographs. The background used on the photo on the left was a 4x6 ft (oil) painting I had done of a sky and clouds. It was in my studio, so Bob (Giard) placed me in my wicker chair in front of it, and took the photo. And named it "Woman Sunning".

These photos were used in an article about him, and his photography, in Christopher Street Magazine.

Aug 27, 2009


WEST (sink) WALL
I painted murals on the walls of our main bathroom , in acrylics of course. This was back when we didn't have personal computers, much less digital cameras. I've only these two photos that have survived, that I can find at any rate. The actual tile stopped at four feet, the ledge is painted. A photographer friend, Bob Giard, and fellow teacher at Southampton College, used the bathroom as a background for posing his subjects. When they weren't posing for him, they wore towels, which was a relief for my husband and I, since we didn't know them. Or even if we did.
Especially if we did.
A few of the photos were published in a book, "New American Nudes", and I scanned them from my copy. I'm including only one of his portraits, because the second is, as they say, full frontal nudity, and the model is recognizable. I don't have his permission to post the photo, or the publisher's for that matter.


When I inquired about the murals several years ago, I was pleased to learn from the new owner that they were in perfect condition. Surprised and pleased, because it is, after all, a bathroom. And in a humid part of the country, Watermill, Long Island.
I painted Bob a few years later in a suit of armour, which can be seen on my website. http://www.margerycaggiano.com/

Aug 24, 2009


Still Life-Paul Cezanne
I've been watching DVDs about artists via Netflix. When you do a search for "artists"- one name on the list is Con. I like that.
This week I watched "Three Colour Cezanne". I kid you not. A BBC production. It goes without saying, because there's a U in Colour.
So we have Mafioso artists? Three Colour Cezanne, , Vinnie The Ear?
Joe Bananas and Eggs Benedict were amateurs and don't count.
Being Italian is no longer a criteria.
I mean Marlon Brando as The Godfather? Come on now.
Why is it that the DVDs about artists come equipped with heavenly music (No wonder people whisper in galleries) that's supposed to be background music, and isn't? It usually drowns out the dialogue, which is at times heavily accented. Without the benefit of closed captioning.
(If I had that option and a mute button, I'd go to the movies more.)

THE BATHERS Paul Cezanne
Back to that particular Cezanne DVD. Flawed, but interesting, since I recognize his importance in Cubism; but he's never been one of my favorites, (except for the wonderful apples and such), therefore my knowledge of his personal life is limited. A little intriguing gossip, an implied connection, between his nude bathers, his boyhood swimming with Emile Zola, his lifetime hatred of being touched, all on the DVD.
It comforts me to know that the Art Gods are human. Boy, aren't they.

Aug 21, 2009


YORKIE 6"x6" Oil on Canvas (c)Margery Caggiano

Like they say, it's a small world. I haven't been to Greenwich village in years, or been in the outdoor show in decades, and it's come up again via Woodstock, (last weeks post), and now a new gallery that will be having a running exhibition of 6"x6" paintings. The location is the lower east side, and more specifically, the East Village in NYC. I'm going to give it a try, the little guy above will be sent in a few weeks. Chris Beck, thank you, sent me a link, and I did some investigating. I like to know what I'm getting involved in, and with who. They seem to be extremely well organized, which is a big plus, but it's your call.

Aug 19, 2009


This is from the book, "The Van Gogh File, the Myth and The Man", by Ken Wilkie.

I found it to be a fascinating account of the authors investigation into the life of Van Gogh; where he lived and painted, his family, his physical and emotional health and the doctors that treated him and Theo. (I used this book as a source in my first post, "Isolation")
There are no formal photographs of Van Gogh as a mature man, in spite of the fact that photography as we know it had been developing, so to speak, since the 1840's.
This photo was found, luckily by an artist who must have jumped on it, in an antique dealers shop in Massachusetts, bought for $1, and taken for forensic image comparisons. It eventually was evaluated at the H.C.Lee Institute of Forensic Science, University of New Haven, and the conclusion was "in all probability, this is a rare photo of Vincent Van Gogh as an adult". The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam doesn't agree, but museums don't like their apple carts upset.(my opinion) Van Gogh painted between thirty and forty self-portraits. I've taken some and reversed them for easier comparison to the photo. The last image is a painting of Van Gogh done by an Australian compatriot, John Russell.

Vincent Van Gogh by John Russell

Aug 15, 2009


In late May of 1969 I was set up in my usual spot, the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street, in Greenwich Village; doing the semi-annual Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit. If memory serves me, someone made the rounds handing out fliers about an upcoming "music and art fair" somewhere upstate. We were a good source for a lot of the outdoor shows since we were (more or less) juried in. But I might also have gotten the flier in the mail, being on the mailing list, which is more likely, because even June might have been too early. Whichever it was, I sure wish I'd kept the flier....
I thought about it (Woodstock) for about five minutes. Nah.
I had to look it all up on the internet this week, and it jogged my memory, which is pretty good ordinarily, considering how much ground I have to cover. I understand that if any art, or artists for that matter, survived Woodstock, the art would be very valuable.
Anyhow, while surfing for information, I learned a few things about the Washington Square show that I wasn't aware of. It began in 1931 during the depression when some of the Village artists put their work out on the sidewalks to pay the rent. Among them were Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, and Alice Neel. Oh My.
I don't remember when I dropped out, but The Village show continues.
PS: In case you missed my latest News In The Department of Self-Promotion, and if not me, who else? I made the finals for this years ArtKudos. I'm pleased mostly because I'm in some great company, go see

Aug 14, 2009


A mongoose is a member of the family of small cat-like carnivores. Mongooses are widely distributed in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and southern Europe. There are more than thirty species, ranging from one to four feet in length. Mongooses mostly feed on insects, crabs, earthworms, lizards, snakes, chickens, and rodents. However, they will also eat eggs and carrion. Some species, such as the Indian mongoose, are popularly used to fight and kill venomous snakes, even king cobras. They are able to do this because of their agility and cunning, but typically avoid the cobra and have no particular affinity for consuming their meat.
Some species of mongoose can be easily domesticated, are fairly intelligent, and can be taught simple tricks, so they are often kept as pets to protect the home from vermin. However, they can be more destructive than desired; when imported into the West Indies for the purpose of killing rats and snakes, they destroyed most of the small, ground-based fauna.
For this reason, it is illegal to import most species of mongooses into the United States, Australia and other countries.
Mongooses were introduced to Hawaii in 1883, and have had a significant impact on native species. Mongooses are sometimes referred to as "the most dangerous animals on the planet" for this reason. Wikipedia
In India they're listed as a protected animal under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Go figure
I recently ordered half a dozen mongoose brushes, Isabey series, which I've used before and liked. At the time the handle said Isabey-France. This time, no France, but "Memory". They didn't look right or handle well, and the black tips pretty much came off in the wash. Only one art supplier refers to them as "Mongoose-like", others as Mongoose. So beware.
I don't like to think that an animal has to be killed for my paintbrushes. Or my hamburger, for that matter.
The best bristle brushes as everyone knows, are hog bristle. Or as one source delicately put it, male pig. If porkers were butchered only for paintbrushes, they would probably be on our Wildlife Protection Act.
And what of the badger blender? The sable? Better a brush than a coat?

Aug 10, 2009


ACCABONAC HARBOR Oil 20x24 (c)Margery Caggiano
This is a painting I did many years ago of Accabonac Harbor in The Springs, East Hampton. Not to put myself on the same page, so to speak, as Jackson Pollock, but to illustrate the connection I feel, and the lure of the place, at least as it used to be.

It was 53 years ago today that Jackson Pollocks' car didn't make the curve on Springs-Fireplace Rd, in Easthampton.
When we moved to a cottage in the area 15 years later, the tree he slammed into was still there, and had a huge scar- like an X that marks the spot. At the time he lived there Springs was a blue collar and fisherman's' village, and a lot of the locals were drinking buddies of his. The cottage that he and Lee Krasner lived in on the edge of Accabonac Harbor, is now the Pollock-Krasner Museum.
I've been watching some DVDs about artists via Netflix, which got me interested again. Although very few are done from an artists point of view. There are several about him, but some are really dumb. I highly recommend the BBC documentary named "Jackson Pollock, Love and Death on Long Island". Though a little too much time is spent interviewing his paramour, Ruth Kligman (in some Victorian, pseudo-arty and hopefully age hiding getup); she who survived the accident and wrote a book of course. Lee Krasner, a top notch painter in her own right, who gave up her painting to promote and nurture Pollock when she married him, was in Paris when he died. You can tell whose side I'm on.
Also interviewed in the documentary was Ed Harris, a little clueless, who played Pollock in the movie. Supposedly he has taken up painting as a sideline. As long as he doesn't give up his day job.
I tried to find an example of an early figurative painting of Pollocks', with no luck so far. He studied with Thomas Hart Benton, which seems a stretch, but the influence was obvious. I had read somewhere that Pollock wanted to get back to figurative painting. I'm sure he wanted to paint, not make paintings, and was trapped in a method that was making everyone rich. Life magazine put him on the map in 1948, but also referred to him as "Jack The Dripper".
He was beginning to be a bit of a joke (my dog can do that etc); and contributing to his notoriety were gleeful stories such as a drunken Pollock peeing in a collectors' fireplace.
(Try that, ladies, and see where it gets you)
His "action" paintings were done between the mid-forties and the early fifties. (He didn't paint during the year before his death.) Instead of posting an example of those paintings , I found two that I think bracket them in time.

Stenographic 1942 Jackson Pollock

Easter Totem 1953 Jackson Pollock

There is a website where you can do your own "Pollock", and Googles' image search is crammed with the results. Try it. http://www.jacksonpollock.org/


TILEMAN Acrylic on Linen 40x26
To continue the previous post, where I painted over a landscape.
This is one of those rare times when I can see it painted before I start. As a result it seems to go easier than most. Plus I'm always more comfortable painting people that I don't know, and more than likely may never see the painting. Our new house was finally being finished, and I was able to walk through and see the progress on a regular basis. As I was talking to the man who was setting the tile, I was also taking in the clothes and the colors. Luckily I had my camera, asked for a quick "stand by the window", and hoped for the best. It was a year or so before I got around to starting the painting. I probably gessoed over the landscape before I started him, but it might have been interesting if I hadn't. I didn't consider that for more than a few minutes. It would have been too much to deal with, trying to draw a figure on a vertical, very colorful landscape.The background was originally red-bless those acrylics-and as I repainted I left some of the red showing through. .

Aug 8, 2009


THE EGRET Acrylic on Linen 26x40

I found this on my computer a few days ago. I had completely forgotten about it, and with good reason. This was painted about two years ago. It was giving me a lot of problems that I couldn't seem to resolve. So instead of putting it away and working on something else, I sanded it down, turned it vertically, and painted "TileMan" over it. The size was just what I need for him.
I'll put him on my blog next post.
I think that, at the time, I was missing that part of Long Island very much, and was wallowing. Besides, I wanted to get back to figure painting.
It's not the first time I've cannibalized a painting for the stretchers, and probably won't be the last.

Aug 4, 2009




......but go and paint out -of-doors on the spot itself! Then all kinds of things happen. From the four paintings which you will receive, I had to wipe off at least a hundred and more flies; not counting the dust and sand; not counting that when one carries them for some hours across the heath and through the hedges, some thorns will scratch them; not counting that when one arrives on the heath after some hours' walk in the weather, one is tired and exhausted from the heat; not counting that the figures do not stand still like professional models, and the effects one wants to catch change with the passing day."

From "Dear Theo"- the letters of Vincent Van Gogh to his brother.


Aug 3, 2009


THE SCREAM Edvard Munch
Just about everyone is familiar with this image, it's been used and abused. Never as much as the Mona Lisa, but still, done to death.
The critics and explainers have given it all kinds of deep meanings, but sometimes a painting is just a painting and a red sky at night may be no more than a sailor's delight.
Sometimes, but not always.
Munch painted this in 1893, painted it twice in fact, plus a pastel and a lithograph.
Krakatoa (more properly, Krakatau) erupted in August of 1883, when Munch was twenty years old. Some say that one has nothing to do with the other, but he is not the only artist that may have been affected by the dramatic colors in the sky that lingered for years.
"In the weeks following the eruption, fine fragments of tephra and dust that were propelled kilometers into the stratosphere began to make a ring around the equator. They would remain suspended there for years causing remarkable solar effects and atmospheric hazing as they bent the incoming light. Also the enormous volumes of sulfur dioxide gas molecules that were ejected into the atmosphere combined with water to make sulfuric acid. These acidic aerosols sufficiently blocked enough sunlight to drop the Earth's temperature by several degrees for a few years. Their presence in the atmosphere also created spectacular effects over 70% of the Earth's surface. Effects such as halos around the sun and moon, and amazing sunsets and sunrises were seen. For years these particles would remain suspended in the atmosphere being the final reminder of the massive and fatal blast that occurred in Sundra Straits. Simon Winchester, "Krakatoa"

JMW TURNER The Fighting Temeraire

Turner painted this in 1838-1839, which would have been much earlier than the Krakatoa event. But there was the eruption of Tambora, also in Indonesia, in 1815. And, between 1822 and 1838, there were eruptions of Vesuvius, Stromboli, and Etna.

Turner, like a lot of artists of his day, visited and painted in Venice.