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“Who are your artistic influences?”

The Ancient Greeks of course started the ball rolling. They’re pretty much responsible for Western culture.

Then you know what came next. The Romans conquered them and borrowed their culture.

Rome fell. We had the Middle Ages.

Whereas a lot of history happened in the Middle Ages, art took several steps backwards. Their paintings looked, well, funny. No perspective. People almost as tall as the castles they’re defending.

The Italian Renaissance (and also giving credit where it’s due – the Flemish) brought it all back and then some.

So my first chronological influences were Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Hieronymus Bosch. In high school, the Garden of Earthly Delights was my favorite painting. I was stoked to see this painting in real life in 2015. It’s currently in the Prado in Madrid.

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights
The Garden of Earthly Delights

I of course also studied the Italian Renaissance masters. But to be fair, I studied them because I had to. They’re not my favorites. Just like me and Baroque music. It’s great. I’ve hit those books hard. But my heart is elsewhere.

I’m a Romantic

For me, Romanticism is where it’s at.

Romanticism defined simply – humans became too logical, too stoic. And forgot how to be human. So, let’s bring back awe, wonder, mysticism, love, and passion – the things that make us human.

More specifically, I absolutely loved the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Especially John William Waterhouse.

When I worked in the mall after high school, we had a poster shop. I was already heavily into fantasy imagery. And I saw Waterhouse paintings. I immediately knew, that’s where it’s at.

Yes, if you know this part of art history, you’ll know Waterhouse became a Pre-Raphaelite after the original band already broke up.

Doesn’t matter. I’m not too hung up on labels. I will say though that the Pre-Raphaelites are a subset of Romanticism. A lot of art historians would agree with me.

Waterhouse - La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Waterhouse – La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1893)

If I had to pick a second of the Pre-Raphaelites, it would be Edward Robert Hughes. Although he too came by after the original band broke up and he was already drifting into the next style I like…

Beauty for beauty’s sake

I’m also a huge fan of beauty for beauty’s sake. I don’t need to make a political statement.

And you know what? Maybe that is my political statement. Beauty for beauty’s sake.

This world has so much cynicism, so much pessimism, and we’re really trying to push the lie nowadays that obesity is beautiful. Yeah, makes no sense, but that’s what the Post Modernists (my enemies) are pushing nowadays.

Hughes falls someone into that, although he also did the fantasy worlds that I absolutely love. John William Godward, a Classicist, overlaps into that as well.

If I had to pick a favorite of the beauty for beauty’s sake artists though, I’d take Bouguereau.

I wrote an article awhile back on The Birth of Venus. You’ve seen Botticelli’s version a million times. You may or may not have seen Cabanel’s, which I think is spectacular. My favorite though is Bouguereau’s.

Bouguereau painted for the sake of beauty. No deep meaning. Just straight up beauty. And beautiful his worlds were.

And I also have to give a nod to Luis Ricardo Falero who not only painted beauty for the sake of beauty, but also threw in fantasy.

Speaking of fantasy

As previously mentioned, Waterhouse, Hughes, Folero, all painted fantasy themes. For pure fantasy though, if you’re a fantasy nut, there’s no way you haven’t seen the work of Arthur Rackham. He did the fantasy illustrations for a lot of fairy tale compilations. He even did Alice (of Wonderland fame).

That’s where we start to venture into the 20th century. If you’ve been over at my house, you’ll see Frank Frazetta posters up. Yeah, I know. Those are supposed to be for high school kids. Well, I ain’t taking them down.

Frazetta is hands down my favorite 20th century artist. When I get around to doing male heroes to go along with my hot chicks, I’ll borrow from Frazetta. A lot.

I was heavily into fantasy in high school. I know that was a long time ago for me, but it played such a role in my life that it imprinted the later years. I’m one of those weird kids who actually liked high school (but absolutely loved junior high!), and have so many fond memories that I have anchored in my mind.

So everything from the imagery to the music is anchored in my brain. It makes it easy for me to paint because of this. I simply take old ideas and make them my own. Or come up with some original ones (which are often subconsciously based off of something in the past).

It was actually junior high when I first started getting into fantasy. But in high school, I did a lot of physical labor and could actually afford to feed my fantasy habits.


Which leads to pinups. Olivia de Bernardinis is my favorite living artist. Frazetta was until he died recently. Now, Olivia is all we have left of artists I absolutely love.

She’s amazing. Super talented. My newest model, Sophia, looks like an Olivia model. I told her that the first time I met her and she was flattered.

If you don’t know who she is, definitely look her up.

For straight pinups though, Gil Elvgren. My favorite pinup artist. Nobody did the S Curve quite like Elvgren. In fact, I’ve had Allie, Roxy, Sophia, and Jin all model at least one pose from that Elvgren book my wife bought me from Barnes and Noble years ago.

The 40s, 50s, and 60s had a lot of wonderful pinup art. You saw pinup art on our World War II planes. Now with the world turning politically correct, we won’t see those on military planes any more.

Which is a shame. These brave men often die for our country and can’t put a pinup girl on a plane? Absurd.

In the 50s and 60s, Elvgren and others had good careers painting for ads. Yet another thing killed by political correctness. These ads would be considered offensive today.

Other 20th century art I like

I’ve mentioned before how much I hate Post Modernism. I don’t like Modernism either, but Post Modernism is pure crap.

Luckily, there still was good art created during the Modern era. I love Art Nouveau. Alphonse Mucha especially. Some day, I’ll own a Mucha. One of my life goals.

And, I have to specifically name Gustav Klimt. He does wonders with golds and yellows.

All my paintings of Allie have her wearing a double gold bracelet on her left arm. All my paintings of Roxy have her wearing a gold necklace.

That’s a direct homage to Klimt.

So there you have it. Yeah, I have a long history of artistic influences and a pretty good variation of styles.

If I had to declare a style, I’d say fantasy pinup. I do pinup art because Allie and Roxy are two of my besties in real life. Allie pushed me into taking my art seriously and Roxy followed suit.

Fantasy because I love fantasy everything. I used to play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons v1 back in the early 80s. I love Heavy Metal music from the 80s as well, especially the ones who dealt with fantasy themes before Metal split Glam vs Thrash in the mid-80s.

For video games, my favorite games of all time were Legend of Zelda, Heroes 3, Myth II, Kohan, and Majesty. Yeah, they all go back a ways because I haven’t played video games in a long time. But I still have great memories playing those games.

For books, I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. They’re a long series of books featuring Harry Dresden, a wizard in Chicago who starts off sloppy and broke and evolves to be one of the most powerful creatures in the realm.

As I’ve enjoyed The Witcher, I’m really hoping another TV show series, comes out for the Dresden Files. They had one in 2007 and 2008 but it got cancelled after one season. I heard it wasn’t bad. It just didn’t take off.

I love the way Butcher writes. His main character, Harry Dresden, is very relatable. He screws up a lot at first and half the time, he has no idea what he’s doing. He ends up winging a lot of his life. Which I often feel like I do the same.

That’s the other thing – you can be influenced by pop culture. And that’s not a bad thing.

I don’t think artists have to be snooty. If you look at all my influences, they’re a combination of both high art and pop art anyways.

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Spanish Painter Luis Ricardo Folero

Luis Ricardo Falero Moon Nymph

It’s important to know what you like, for it will be those people you’ll be stealing from. Most folks would rather say “inspired by” but I prefer honesty. When I like something, I steal.

I steal so much from so many different sources though that you cannot even tell I stole from anyone. That’s how you properly steal.

Musically, I’ve stolen from everyone from Tchaikovsky and Beethoven to Judas Priest and Dimmu Borgir to Loreena McKennitt and Blackmore’s Night to Queen and Prince. For painting, you can simply look at my artists category. I’ve stolen from all of them. Plus add the 20th century American Pinup artists and the Art Nouveau artists in there too.

I’m stealing from Luis Ricardo Falero

I love Falero’s work. I’m going to have to do some digging for a proper biography on the man. Wikipedia barely has a page. Other websites have less. I can’t even find a biography on Amazon. I could probably do hours of research and barely get a paragraph or two more.

So, I’ll give you the quick rundown. Luis Ricardo Falero was a Spanish painter who was born in Granada, Spain in 1851. They don’t even have his birthday.

His parents wanted him to pursue his original career in the Navy. He didn’t. He went to Paris and studied art, chemistry, and engineering, and of course settled on art. Falero loved astronomy and his love for it showed up in some of his works.

He got Maud Harvey pregnant when she was 17. She was originally his housemaid, then model. She sued him for paternity payments and won, but he died that year in 1896 at the age of 45.

No details of his death other than the hospital he died at. That’s all I got. Funny – I’ll actually ask you. If you know more about the man, please enlighten me. I can’t find shit about him other than this.

Falero’s style

Now of course I can talk about his style and why I like him. He was into mythology, nude women, and fantasy. Exactly my favorite three subjects. Thus, I loved his work already.

Falero painted with oils on canvas.

Vision de Faust (or Witches Going to their Sabbath) 1878
Vision de Faust (or Witches Going to their Sabbath) 1878

I love how his women have a realism to them. Like they can almost come out of the painting. He paints with such depth that you almost have to check your face to see if you’re wearing 3-D glasses.

Anyways, enjoy Luis Ricardo Falero’s work. And let me know if you like it or not. I’m interested in your thoughts, even if they differ from mine.

The Balance of the Zodiac
The Balance of the Zodiac
Luis Ricardo Falero Witches Sabbath
The Nymph from Luis Ricardo Falero
The Nymph from Luis Ricardo Falero
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Arthur Rackham – English Artist

Arthur Rackham Little Miss Muffet

If you’re a Westerner, you’ve seen Arthur Rackham’s work. You may not recognize his name. However, you’ve seen his work in fairy tales when you were little.

You’ve more than likely seen the featured image of Little Miss Muffet and the spider. Yes, that is Arthur Rackham.

Little Miss Muffet 
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Arthur Rackham quick bio

He was born in 1867 on September 19th in Lewisham, England. Rackham got famous during the Golden Age of English book illustration, which were 1890 until WWI.

He did everything from Brothers Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson to Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Rackham actually made pretty good money in his lifetime, both for his works for private collections and also for his work for children’s illustration. Of course, he’s best known for the latter.

Arthur Rackham The Valiant Little Tailor
Arthur Rackham The Valiant Little Tailor

I knew the above piece as Seven in One Blow. Maybe the English call it The Valiant Little Tailor. As a child, that was one of my favorite stories as the kid had a certain smugness to him. I loved that, and an adult, I preach confidence.

So much better to err on the side of confidence than doubt. The little tailor had a swagger to him that got him to conquer the giants, save his kingdom, and marry a princess, despite coming from such a humble beginning.

Anyways, Rackham died of cancer at the age of 71 at his home in Surrey. Long after his death, his works still sell quite well. You’ll also see his works on greeting cards.

I was heavily into fairy tales as a kid so I remember his work quite fondly.

Why he’s so important

Personal opinion – childhood culture is highly important. I was adamant about reading to my son as a child. I read to him Treasure Island and all seven of the Narnia books. Although Rackham didn’t illustrate any of those books, I’m sure my son has seen a lot of Rackham’s works in the fairy tales I’ve read to him.

Fairy tales form the basis of childhood culture. I remember every single one I read, and when I stumbled across Arthur Rackham’s name in Wikipedia by complete chance, it immediately brought back a lot of memories.

I’m a huge proponent of culture and the arts. We should know this stuff as it enhances our brains and creativity big time!

Arthur Rackham Alice in Wonderland
Arthur Rackham Alice in Wonderland

Rackham didn’t do the first few editions but did do the 1907 edition of Alice in Wonderland. He also illustrated a story Wagner made into an opera.

Arthur Rackham's Rhinemaidens
Arthur Rackham’s Rhinemaidens

And that’s what I’m getting at. As childhood culture is highly important, expand it and you get the fantastical stories that Wagner drew from. And Wagner is my fourth favorite composer (after Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Brahms).

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Edward Robert Hughes – Pre-Raphaelite Associate Artist

More than likely, you’ve seen some of the works of Edward Robert Hughes. Perhaps on greeting cards. My wife has a t-shirt with Midsummer Eve, painted in 1908.

Edward Robert Hughes Midsummer Eve
Edward Robert Hughes Midsummer Eve

Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914) is the nephew of Pre-Raphaelite painter Arthur Hughes. His uncle was his first mentor until he got into the Royal Academy.

At the Royal Academy, he met Pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones and the two of them developed a friendship.

Hughes also was a studio assistant of William Hollman Hunt, and assisted with two of Hunt’s paintings.

Edward Robert Hughes as an artist

Hughes developed his own style. Although classified as a Pre-Raphaelite associate, some considered him either Aestheticism or Symbolism. I don’t get hung up on labels. I simply enjoy his work because of the way he painted women. Also, I love the fantasy worlds that he creates.

Edward Robert Hughes - Dream Idyll (A Valkyrie)
Edward Robert Hughes – Dream Idyll (A Valkyrie)

Personal life

His first love was the daughter of the famous novelist and poet George MacDonald. They got engaged. Unfortunately, she died before they could get married.

Years later, he married Emily Eliza Davies. The couple never had any children.

Although a fantastic artist, Hughes primarily made his money doing portraits for the upper classes.


Like yours truly, Hughes specialized in watercolors. Historians classify him as a Pre-Raphaelite associate as he came after the initial seven.

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John William Godward – The Last Great Classicism Artist

John William Godward was a Neo-Classicist English artist. Born on August 9, 1861 in England, he was the oldest of five children.

He was successful enough in the late 19th century to exhibit at the Royal Academy. But towards the end of his life, Neo-Classicism fell out of favor as it got replaced by Modernism.

John William Godward - A Pompeian Bath (1890)
John William Godward – A Pompeian Bath (1890)

John William Godward’s women

I like his artwork for his Classical women – Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. His paintings were flawless. His women looked three dimensional and very lifelike, and I love everything from his water to his marble in the background.

In 1912, he moved to Italy with one of his models and his family disowned him, and even cut his image from family pictures, like what the Blacks (in Harry Potter) did to Sirius Black.

For the record, Godward was not a Pre-Raphaelite. He was often mistaken for one.

His art style fell out of favor when Modernism took hold. He killed himself at the age of 61 and wrote on his suicide note the following – “the world is not big enough for myself and a Picasso.”

Athenais (1908)
Athenais (1908)

My thoughts on John William Godward

I love his artwork because of the way he does women. You already know how much I love women and the female form.

He’s probably the most realistic painter of women without the art piece looking too much like a photograph. I’m not into too much Realism. But that’s just me. Personal taste.

I do see why he fell out of favor. His artwork is aesthetically gorgeous, but meaningless. Academically, it’s brilliant. But does it move you?

I’m actually somewhat a fan of Picasso. I went to the Picasso Museum when my wife and I went to Barcelona a few years back. That said, I’m not too crazy about Modern Art because it is all meaning and no aesthetics. They went the opposite extreme.

I happen to love beauty and aesthetics. Most Modern Art and especially Post-Modernism is pretty fucking ugly.

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The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus. Why is this such an important painting? First, let’s look at who Venus is. Venus is the Ancient Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty. After all, what’s more important to an artist than love and beauty?

The Ancient Greeks and the Romans pretty much gave us Western culture. To this day, even though they’ve been gone for thousands of years, we have everything from political concepts to our concepts of beauty from them.

So as far as I’m concerned, the Birth of Venus is one of the most significant paintings ever painted. But which one? Which is the most significant Birth of Venus painting?

Alexandre Cabanel

You’ve seen Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It’s all over prints, posters, and even was parodied on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Don’t get me wrong. I love that piece too. But I really love Alexandre Cabanel’s Birth of Venus. The latter is an example of what I loved about 19th Century art.

Alexandre Cabanel's Birth of Venus
Alexandre Cabanel’s Birth of Venus

Painted in 1863, this painting is currently in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. When we hit Paris, I need to see this one in real life. Napoleon III bought it upon completion. I’m not going to get into the historical politics of the 19th century leaders, but I got to give them at least some credit – they had better taste than today’s leaders. (By far, but that’s not saying much).

You may love impressionism. I’m fine with that. I respect it as an art form. I’m just not a fan with it.

Cabanel hated it. He was at war with impressionism like I’m at war against Post-Modernism.

Anyways, yes, Cabanel hated the impressionists and since he was a Professor at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he did everything he could to keep them out. Which of course backfired miserably. But that’s another story for another day.

I appreciated Cabanel’s work immensely, especially this one. A long-haired red-headed Goddess who comes to life atop of waves. Nude with a body perfection. Of course she’s a Goddess. I’m blessed to have two models this beautiful that I work with.

I’m all about beauty. I’ve seen sunrises over the California coast, sunsets in Hawaii and the Caribbean, too many waterfalls to count. I love nature. I’m in awe of nature. But I still have to say that NOTHING compares to a beautiful nude woman. To even think a beautiful nude woman is obscene is an obscenity in itself. There is nothing obscene about beauty. Nothing. People who want to censor beauty are sick and twisted bastards and in my eyes, deserve to spend their last days floating on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Cabanel captured beauty. He captured it in such an intense way that his painting is magical. If you want to see real life magic, this is it, just like hearing real life magic is hearing a good rendition of something like Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony.

Other Birth of Venus paintings

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus

This infamous one was done in 1486 by Sandro Botticelli and commissioned by the Medici family. Another rant for another time – this is what’s wrong with today’s new rich. Back then, rich people had class and they had character.

Today’s? They do not appreciate art like they used to. They do not sponsor artists and composers like they used to.

This is the most significant of all the Birth of Venus paintings. It’s not my favorite. But it’s the most historically significant.

Sandro Botticelli - The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli – The Birth of Venus

Anyways, I love Botticelli’s work. (Note the S Curve).

It’s great on its own, but my favorite Birth of Venus paintings were painted in the 19th Century. Cabanel’s is my favorite. That’s the one above Botticelli’s.

My second favorite is Bouguereau’s, which was created in 1879 and like Cabanel’s, it is at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris today. A friendly reminder to anyone who happens to visit Paris soon.

Bouguereau’s Birth of Venus

Bouguereau's Birth of Venus
Bouguereau’s Birth of Venus

Bouguereau gets it. He understood female beauty and female sexuality. He captured it perfectly in this one. I love everything about this painting, from the nymphs and the centaurs to the magical waters themselves. Plus, what these three paintings have in common is they all have gorgeous red-headed models. I’m not at all complaining.

There are others. But I just listed my three favorites.

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Artists I like – John William Waterhouse

In high school, I listened to Heavy Metal music and also played Dungeons and Dragons. Back in those days, I hung out at the mall with friends and girlfriends. The mall had this one poster shop and I immediately fell in love with a specific painting.

I’d been doing physical labor on the side so I always had cash on me. I’m surprised nowadays that kids don’t go door to door asking to mow people’s lawns or pester people about possible work they could do for them. Like cleaning the gutters. Or even raking their leaves. I don’t know about you, but I loved having money as a kid.

Anyways, right on the spot, I bought that poster. I took it home and hung it up next to all my Heavy Metal posters. I thought it fit in well thematically.

John William Waterhouse - La Belle Dame Sans Merci
La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1893)

Cultured kid

No. I didn’t know who John William Waterhouse or the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were. However even as a kid, I liked Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Beethoven. (As an adult that changed to Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Brahms).

So years later, I started studying Western art and Western lit. I knew what I liked. I knew what I didn’t like.

Modernism – you can have it. Looks more like something some pretentious jerk would do and think he’s better than anyone else because they didn’t “get it.”

Now the Pre-Raphaelites, I liked. A lot.

I also liked American pinup artists. More on them another day.

About John William Waterhouse

John William Waterhouse was late to the party. The Pre-Raphaelites had already broken up. But as a more Academic artist, he later fell in love with the Pre-Raphaelites’ works and adopted that style.

I’ll skip over his older style. It’s excellent. But I think his later style has way more emotion.

Waterhouse was born in Rome in 1849 but moved to England as a small child. His parents were already painters, so he grew up in an artistic household. He grew up sketching paintings in London’s great museums. In 1871, he entered the Royal Academy of Art.

I’m not going to do a formal biography. You can get that from anywhere. Rather, I’m going to focus on his works from his Pre-Raphaelite period.

What is the Pre-Raphaelite style?

The name “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” came from the great artist Raphael. Note the “pre” as they emphasized before Raphael. They hated Mannerism with a passion.

Their four doctrines were the following:

  • to have genuine ideas to express;
  • to study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;
  • to sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art,
  • to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote; and most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.

Now to them, Classicism wasn’t bad. It was just a different movement, based on the Classical world. The Pre-Raphaelites still picked up some of the characters and themes from Classicism. Which makes the differentiation confusing to the average art lover.

But let’s go there because I think it’s a perfect opportunity to see the difference between the Pre-Raphaelites and your day-to-day academic painter. Let’s say a Pre-Raphaelite and an academic painter both have to paint Aphrodite. The academic painter would paint Aphrodite in a stereotypical posed style with a posed background. The Pre-Raphaelite would make it look natural, or real, like you were right there seeing it happen. That painting would feel more alive.

Waterhouse’s style vs the other Pre-Raphaelites

Where Waterhouse differentiates from the others is in his Medievalism. That’s actually the Waterhouse I’ve come to know and love.

For the record, not all the Pre-Raphaelites went that route. Of the group, I favor the Medievalists. Personal taste.

Several of the Pre-Raphaelites did go the Medieval route. Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones started that branch. Waterhouse followed in their footsteps a generation later. I happen to love all three of their styles.

Medieval and fantasy characters

This is the John William Waterhouse that made me a fan. The Pre-Raphaelites often had Christian themes. Like I mentioned, some had Medieval themes. And some took a fantasy direction. They didn’t have concrete rules for themes, other than respecting nature, having a solid idea to portray, and being pretty fucking good as an artist. You couldn’t slap the label on if you were a hack.

Waterhouse is my favorite for the direction he took. I love his themes.

I first heard about the Lady of Shalott from Loreena McKennitt, of whom I’m a huge fan. When I saw the painting, I only saw a beautiful redhead as I was a kid. I didn’t know the meaning of it.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote the poem based on one of the Arthurian characters. Several of the Pre-Raphaelites were fans of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Another thing I want to mention. Waterhouse is not only not one of the originals Pre-Raphaelites. He’s an entirely new generation adopting that style. He got into the style in the 1880s, long after the originals unofficially dissolved.

Also note that I argue Pre-Raphaelites were a subset of Romanticism. Some art historians agree with me and some don’t. Art historians are always arguing over semantics.

Since they loved nature, revered beauty and awe, and glorified Medievalism, they definitely fit within Romanticism. Those are some of the biggest tenets of Romanticism.

Anyways, let’s look at some of his fantasy characters. If you played any fantasy RPG, you’ll immediately recognize these creatures.

John William Waterhouse - A Naiad
A Naiad (1893)
Waterhouse - The Siren
The Siren (1900)
Waterhouse - A Mermaid
A Mermaid – 1901

If today, you know the difference between a Naiad, a Siren, and a Mermaid, chances are, you’re a fantasy gamer. Or you watch a lot of anime.


Ophelia is a Shakespearean character and also a recurring character amongst the Pre-Raphaelites. Lizzie Siddal modeled for John Everett Millais back in 1852. Waterhouse painted this character three times.

Ophelia is a tragic heroine who you know is going to die when reading Hamlet. She’s fierce, independent, and quite intelligent, but there’s a sadness to her as we see her fate coming.

Or maybe we don’t. Maybe I’ve read too much into her. Regardless, those of us who love Shakespeare find her one of the more fascinating characters.

Obviously, so did the Pre-Raphaelites. Like I just said, Millais painted her back in 1852 using a lady I’m obsessed with, Lizzie Siddal, as his model. Dante Gabriel Rossetti used Ophelia as a subject for his art as well. A generation later, so did Waterhouse.

I liked all three of Waterhouse’s Ophelia paintings, but prefer his second for her beauty and the third for her emotion. The third, she looks like she’s about to lose it. Let me know which one you prefer.

Waterhouse's Ophelia 1889
Ophelia (1889)
Waterhouse's Ophelia 1894
Ophelia (1894)
Waterhouse's Ophelia 1910
Ophelia (1910)

Time frame

John William Waterhouse was born in 1849, when the Pre-Raphaelites barely started. So keep in mind, he adopted the style a generation after. He was far from one of the originals.

In fact, Waterhouse didn’t even paint in this style until the 1880s. So he was a Pre-Raphaelite from the 1880s until his death in 1917.

The Lady of Shalott

Do you know the story of the Lady of Shalott? It’s one of Loreena McKennitt’s most epic songs from her album The Visit, one of my favorites of hers.

The Lady of Shalott’s an Arthurian character, created by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1832. Some of the Pre-Raphaelites were big fans of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poetry.

Anyways, she’s a young noble woman imprisoned in a tower, another tragic character. She also dies tragically.

She’s told that if she gazes at Sir Lancelot, she’d be cursed. Some claim it’s a metaphor for suicide. Some say she’s defiant.

The poem explicitly states that she knows not what the curse may be. So I’m not sure where people get the suicide claim from.

Towards the end of the poem, she takes off in a boat towards Lancelot after seeing how beautiful he is. She of course dies on the route, but not before Lancelot and others see just how beautiful she herself is.

Waterhouse obviously saw her as a great tragic character to paint as he painted her three times.

The Lady of Shalott
The Lady of Shalott (1888)
The Lady of Shallot Looking at Lancelot
The Lady of Shalott Looking at Lancelot (1894)
“I Am Half-Sick of Shadows” Said the Lady of Shallot (1915)

Hylas and the Nymphs and 2018 British Censorship

In January 2018, the Manchester Art Gallery removed this gorgeous painting because it was offensive. Think about this for a second. You know how the Victorians were supposed to be sexually oppressed? Yet, what is normal to them is now offensive by today’s standards? Talk about sexually oppressed!

I initially wrote up a long rant about this. However, it was so laden with profanities that I decided to remove it. I value freedom and beauty above all else and have an absolute hatred of those who would attempt to ban either. We’ll just keep it at that.

Hylas and the Nymphs
Hylas and the Nymphs (1896)
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Artists I like – Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein

Awhile back, I talked about how I recorded two songs with David Lichtenstein. It’s funny. I’ve always thought it must be tough being the child of someone famous. You’re always living in their shadows.

People will often compare you to them. For instance, I’d hate to be Walter Payton’s or Barry Sander’s sons. I of course wish them the best and hope they’re happy. But could you imagine what it would be like if your father was arguably the best player at his position of his generation? People will compare you, whether you’d like them to or not.

David though went an entirely different route. He got into music instead. He’s got a fat studio in Oakland, and if you’re recording any music and can afford that studio, you may want to look him up. Super nice guy!

I knew Roy Lichtenstein from Houston

I don’t remember the gallery name. But the very first time I saw his work, I admired it. No, not loved it. Admired it. Two completely different feelings.

I admired his work because it’s so grand. The cover image is of Roy Lichtenstein back in 1967. Credit to Eric Koch for Nationaal Archief for the photograph.

Anyways, it’s grand. It’s big. And it works.

Some folks hated it as pop art. I get it.

But, it works. Photos don’t give it justice. You have to see it in person.

I’ve seen a lot of art over the years. I’ve also bought a lot of art over the years. I forget almost everything I’ve seen. I’ve even forgot about pieces I’ve purchased. If I remember your work, that’s a huge compliment. I’ll always remember Lichtenstein’s work.

The big bucks

It’s funny. I’m always hearing from kids that their parents try to discourage them from taking art seriously. I think that’s the most stupid thing you can do to your kid.

So you’re worried about money? Well, hate to break it to you. Unless you’re a nurse or a doctor, there’s no job security. Even highly coveted jobs now may become obsolete in a decade or two. You might as well do something you love.

But then, to rub it in their faces, I talk about how I recorded two songs with David Lichtenstein. And I tell them how much their paintings are worth.

Masterpiece recently sold for $165 million. That makes six paintings over $40 million. That’s a lot of money.

Not that I’m even trying to make that much. Yeah, I hope after I’m dead, my paintings go for insane amounts. I’m just throwing that out there. I’ve seen the featured painting in real life. So yes, in this Artists I like series, I definitely want to throw Roy Lichtenstein’s name in the ring.

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Artists I like – Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya - The Third of May

Francisco Goya isn’t my favorite artist of all-time. I’m writing about him first in my Artists I like series because he’s the very first non-American artist I studied in real life.

My wife and I have a hard rule. Every year, we have to leave the country to a country we haven’t been to before. Our bucket list includes travel and that means we must get to all 50 states and as many countries as possible before we die.

We hit Spain in 2015. We spent nine days there – six in Madrid and three in Barcelona. That’s it. We definitely need to go back. Two cities in nine days wasn’t enough at all.

While in Madrid, we hit every single major art gallery the city offered. Of course, the Prado’s the most important one. And the most important artist in the Prado?

Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya lived a very long time. Goya lived long enough to actually see his paintings in the Prado. How cool would that be to actually accomplish that while still alive?

It’s like that Queen song on A Night at the Opera. “On Friday’s I go painting the Louvre.” Despite hearing that song over a hundred times, I still laugh at that line. You don’t just paint in the Louvre. Just like, you just don’t paint in the Prado. You have to be on an immortal level of artistic success.

Now, I’m not going to go into his life. There’s a Wikipedia article for that. He lived from 1746 to 1828 if you’re wondering.


Goya was a Romantic. I consider myself a Romantic as well. You might see my work and say “wait, that’s not Romanticism!” Well, you got me. I’m working backwards. First, I want to master the American pinup style before getting into true Romanticism.

Goya though was the real deal. He influenced so many people after him. I admire his work so much that I even watched that Goya’s Ghosts movie. No, it wasn’t as bad as the critics made it out to be. Apparently, the critics hate it.

Anyways, yes Goya was a Romantic. His The Third of May painting is one of the most powerful paintings ever painted. Period. It is often the example that an Art History professor uses when going over Romanticism.

I’ve seen it in real life, and pictures don’t do it justice! It’s so much more powerful in person.

Four paintings

I’m not going to go over his entire career. It was long, and Goya went through several huge evolutions. However, I do want to cover four paintings that mean a lot to me.

When studying an artist, I strongly suggest focusing on two to five paintings and really knowing them. It’s way easier than trying to grasp their entire body of work. If you can do the latter, more power to you. But, there’s so much really good art out there that I simply don’t have time to learn everything.

The same goes for music, but that’s another story for another day. So I’m going to select four paintings that mean something to me, other than The Third of May, which everyone’s already seen.

La Maja Desnuda

In English, the Nude Maja. This one’s too shocking for its time so it had to be kept in private. It’s currently in the Prado. But it used to be kept privately by Goya’s friend Manuel de Godoy, who more than likely commissioned it of Godoy’s mistress. Godoy was Prime Minister of Spain.

Anyways, I love how sexual it is. It’s not just some generic nude, which I find more often than not boring. I like my nudes to have something more to them.

This one is beckoning. You almost wonder if Goya hit it as well as Godoy.

Now, not only is it a great painting, this painting got both Godoy and Goya in trouble with the Spanish Inquisition. Sure, we laugh when watching Monty Python today about the Spanish Inquisition, but back then, it was no laughing matter.  The Inquisition made Godoy reveal the artist, who then had to explain why he painted the painting.

Goya got off on a technicality.  He explained that he was only following tradition and assured the Inquisition that he was not intentionally creating depravity.

Francisco Goya - La Maja Desnuda

Saturn Devouring His Son

I was a strange kid. I could tell you every single recent NFL score and every single major career stat off the top of my head. As a kid, I won my father’s football office pool a bunch of times. Against full grown adults.

I also knew all about the Greek Gods and Goddesses. I knew all the major ones and their histories.

This painting freaked me out as a kid. I always imagined that Saturn swallowed them whole. I never imagined Saturn (I knew him as Cronus) eating them like this.

Now in real life, this is even more disturbing. Part of Goya’s Black Period.

Francisco Goya - Saturn Devouring His Son

The Family of Charles IV

King Charles IV commissioned a lot of work from Goya. He and his family loved Goya, obviously.

Goya was neat for his day. Rather than painting the ugly members as beautiful, he painted them exactly as he saw them. For some, that was a big no no.

That’s why I only paint beautiful women. I can’t make someone ugly beautiful. Cursed by Goya? Who knows.

You have to see this in real life. It’s magnificent! It takes up an entire room.

Francisco Goya - The Family of Charles IV

The Disasters of War

This isn’t one painting. Rather, it’s 82 prints done between 1810 and 1820. They’re some of the most brutal pieces of art ever devised, resembling something off a Cannibal Corpse album cover rather than something you’ll find at a museum.

I’m not going to post any of them. I’d much rather you do the research yourself, and also study the history of them. It’s of utmost importance that humans learn from history so they don’t repeat it.

Yeah, you’ve heard that saying a million times. But, does anyone ever practice it?

Goya wasn’t the first artist to have political motivations in his works. But, he’s definitely one of the best. These pieces were so powerful that he had to publish them posthumously for his own safety.