Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Maxfield Parrish: Inspiring Illustrator



It was such a pleasure to grow up when book and magazine illustrations were so beautifully detailed. One of the best and best known of all the illustrators was Maxfield Parrish (1870-1996) We young un's  and many adults looked forward to his works. He created a world as we'd like to believe is possible. 

It's interesting to note that he was a very popular artist working in illustration detail in a time when the Impressionist evolution was running parallel. Yet, his painting titled "Daybreak," is considered the most successful art print of the 20th Century and is still in print. (An interesting fact about this piece is that Parrish's prints have outsold Warhol's "Campbell Soup Cans" and even Da Vinci's "Last Supper!") 



As an illustrator, Parrish designed for the business world, too. Some of his notable clients were: Colgate, Edison and General Electric. His income from all of these successful illustrations gave him the opportunity and reputation to move away from illustration and onto painting, which he continued to do in his 90s. 

His inspiration reaches into today's art in such as: Elton John's album,  "Caribou," Enya's "The Memory of Trees," and  Moody Blues' "Present."

Below are samples of Parrish's beautiful outdoor scenes. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Fidelia Bridges: Once Famous Pre-Raphaelite Painter




In this hectic holiday time, it's good to feel a peaceful calm by looking at the small beauties of nature - especially when the eye can fall on what is (unfortunately) referred to as "negative space." It gives the eyes and the mind a sense of well being. Such an artist, who recreated that environment in her paintings was Fidelia Bridges (1834-1923).



Once again, we rediscover a woman artist who was renown in her time and who made a living at her art, but whose name has almost disappeared in our time. 


 If it wasn't for her art, her life would be a mirror of life for women as written by Jane Austen. She and her 3 siblings were orphaned by the loss of both parents. Her oldest sibling, Eliza, supported the other three by working as a school teacher - one of the few professions considered respectable for women.




Fidelia was sickly and spent time in her room drawing. When she was well enough to find work, she was a nanny to a wealthy family. Meanwhile, she pursued her growing interest in oil paintings. 


Through her employer, she met a renown painter of pre-Raphaelite nature art. His style not only influenced Bridges, but he sold some of her paintings to his patrons.It was the recognition from this patron of her art that led to support from her employer into creating a studio in the top floor of their house.They even provided the funds to send her to Italy for further training. 



By age 34, her reputation as a specialist nature painter led to membership in the American Watercolor Society - the first woman to be invited to join. Her circle of patrons included Mark Twain.

In later years, she lived in a hillside cottage overlooking meadows and a stream. There, she continued to paint, but rarely exhibit, enjoying her quiet rural setting and using the scenery for inspiration. (She was named in the book titled: "Notable American Women: 1607-1950")