Deep Thought Thursday: Ghosts

B Lancton, Hill Country Ghost.
B Lancton, Hill Country Ghost. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 inches. ©The Artist

If you could study with one artist from the past (deceased), who would it be and why?

What would you hope to learn?

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42 thoughts on “Deep Thought Thursday: Ghosts”

  1. I’d love to work with Michelangelo. He seems the most accessible of the old masters and I love sculpting, although I don’t get to do too much of it.

  2. Alyson, the first artist that comes to mind is William Trost Richards – a Hudson River School painter of sea and landscapes in both oil and watercolor. I’ve often copied his works in order to “get into his mind”

    Secondly and thirdly: Hugh Bolton Jones and his colleague Olive Parker Black.

  3. Barnet Newman. I’d be happy to just assist and watch the process. 🙂 His work conceptually changed my painting entirely so I’d really want to observe his process – what he’s thinking, how, drawing and sketching, ways he attempted to address ideas, ways his simplified, what he deemed a failure vs success. Much of it actually would probably be the more verbal/written part that I’d like to experience rather than his visual end product. The theory and conceptualisation.

  4. Jamie Ribisi-Braley

    Richard Diebenkorn. I would love to watch him mix colors and compose his paintings. He was able to do so many bodies of work in different media and still have a cohesive vision.

  5. I’d love to work with Richard Diebenkorn. I see the world so literally, and I’d love to learn to see the abstract all around me. I know that under every good painting is an abstract painting. Richard D knew that.

  6. Jean Taylor Towry

    I would love to be student of John Singer Sargent, also N.C. Wyeth, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morizot, and Richard Schmidt. In dreams…

  7. Georgia O”Keefe…………..
    My work is nothing like hers, but I admire her spirit and the fact that she was a rebel of the rules, much like I am!. (both in life and in art).
    I have a video of her life and her art which I watch when I need to be inspired.

  8. He hasn’t been gone for long, but I would love to study with Andrew Wyeth, and even his father, N.C. I have always loved Andrew’s ability to capture people and contain such a story in his paintings. I must admit that alot of my watercolor work is modeled after his style. And he studied with his father and after reading his biography I could see that was such a grea experience for his early years of learning. I can also see the same thing in Jamie’s work too. What a great artistic family.

  9. I would have loved to paint with Frida Kahlo. Not only was her work intimate and imaginative, but she immersed herself in the vibrancy of her native Mexico, surrounded by color, plants and exotic animals, native crafts, and not to mention a group of friends that were historically significant creatives and intellectuals! And though troubled, she and her husband were such brilliant and interesting people…

  10. What great answers, IMO. I thought @ A. Wyeth, and very much @ Rothko. But, since I don’t paint, I decided on Edgar Degas for his pastels.

    To mirror “nemo’s” comment, I envisioned van Gogh teaching me, but then his personality (and body odor) gave me pause.

  11. I would love to have studied with Joseph Beuys. It would have changed me in every way. Or Paul Klee & Robt. Rauchenberg. At MA MoCA this weekend, I saw Anselm Kieffer’s new work and found out he studied with Beuys. Masterful, protean work & ideas!

  12. Elisha Dasenbrock

    John Singer Sargent. His watercolors and oils are fantastic. I would also love to study w/ Courbet or Artemisia Gentileshi.

  13. Very hard to decide, but from the recent past, I’d say, Lenore Tawney and from a bit farther back, Kathe Kollwitz…but I must admit, when I go farther back or think of some of the big name greats, I kind of agree with the famous nemo at the top of the comments list–I think they’d just be mean or indifferent–DaVinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer, Picasso…

  14. Rembrandt, especially in the later years. He is an excellent example of getting better with age. To me, his portraits glow with an inner light and a compassion for human imperfection. It would be amazing just to see him apply some paint to the canvas. I would like to know how he pressed in and continued to paint through his own personal tragedies.

  15. Just yesterday I returned from a road trip. Went to the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford, PA to tour N.C. Wyeth’s studio. Plus they have a great N.C. Wyeth show up right now at the museum of his big oil paintings illustrating Treasure Island. This was a man who knew how to borrow from the tradition of academic realist painting without getting bogged down in it. Would love to learn his thinking about how he edited, selected, etc. And ask him about his shapes,

    I was in Philadelphia the day before that to visit the Pennsylvania Academy and saw just a beautiful Charles Burchfield oil landscape. Would love to talk with him about how he managed to keep that sense of grounded forms in his fantasy-infused watercolors.

    And I also visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art and saw once again one of my favorite Hudson River School paintings- an oil by Sanford Gifford of a storm sweeping over a mountain range. Would love to talk with him about color.

    I did my last two blog posts on some of the issues that came to mind while looking at these artists-

  16. I would have LOVED to study with both Robert Rauschenberg and Frida Kahlo. Just being able to stand back and watch them passionately create would have been amazing.

  17. Roger L Huffenberger

    Robert Henri born 1865 1929 The book is called The Art Spirit. Henri was an inspired teacher with an extraordinary gift for verbal communication,with the personality and prophectic fire that transformed pupils into idolators. Quote from the book. I’ve read the book several times and enjoy it every time

  18. If I have to choose just one, it would have to be Zoe Mozert. I am so in love with her pastels! Wish I could learn about her techniques and how she creates those smooth skin tones. She’s my hero when it comes to pastels. In addition to Zoe Mozert, I would have liked to study with William Bourguereau, John Singer Sargent, Norman Rockwell…and, out of topic, I know, but for artists who are still active, I’d LOVE to watch Michael Deas work!

  19. My grandfather, a sports photographer…I have heard, cigar planted firmly in corner of mouth, loved by many, attended all the best sporting events, had a knack for capturing that crucial moment in time when a puck landed in a goal or a horse crossed a finish line…Because connecting with one’s past is a path to the future…

  20. I would choose Camille Pissarro who taught Cezanne. From what I have read he was a patient & understanding teacher. Of all the Impressionists he was in my opinion the one painter who would reach to other artists and help show them the way. He was a solid painter and I would enjoy watching him out there in the field painting. There are other artists from the past that I could learn from but their temperament precludes anything but a short visit.

  21. Hey Rob – Ansel Adams was most certainly an artist! 🙂 Photographers are artists too.

    Glad to see a few people mention Diebenkorn too. Love him, but hardly anyone here has heard of him. 🙁

  22. Hrmmn, not sure really there are too many to count. I supose either DiVinci because of the work he did with both machines and human figures. I have issues with being able to draw human faces still, and that I feel would be much improved. Maybe Burne Hogarth (Dynamic figure book series) or George B. Bridgman (another figure and anatomy author) in order to better my anatomy skills. I would also like to study under O’Keef to improve my color work.

  23. All very good!

    Rob: I had the same reaction as Tina. Ansel Adams is an artist!

    Tina: The Brits haven’t heard of Diebenkorn. Quel horreur! His was one of the best retrospectives I’ve ever attended. Are they less familiar with West Coast artists? Interesting.

  24. I would love to have worked with Ken Danby.He passed away in 2007.He had great vision and a very discerning eye for color and detail.He has been a great inspiration to me over the years.

  25. I feel that I have studied with Matisse. Books of paintings, Spurling’s bios, the MOMA retrospective I haunted in the early 90s … he gave me permission to do and be so much. Could the man himself give me more? I’d learn to speak French and hang out in Nice, and find out.

  26. Mondrian… I would love to see his decision-making process and to see how he came to the compositions he did. I know there are other layers in his paintings that show different compositions, which he painted over. I’d love to watch his process and be able to see how the painting became “better” as he made those changes!

  27. Lately I’ve been really interested in artists in the Modern Jewelry movement of the middle of the last century. I esp like Calder (he could help me have more fun with my work!) and Art Smith. I’m also interested to see how medieval metalworkers worked, but then I’d probably need to be a man ;^)

  28. Michael Pendergrass

    If I could travel in time it would be William Bouguereau, Thomas Eikens, David Siquieros, Norman Rockwell, Robert Henri, Lois Mailou Jones, Andrew Loomis, Henry O Tanner , Charles White, sculptors Rodin and Edmonia Lewis. These artists have influenced my work tremendously. I would love to be the lone witness and just watch them at work and pick their brains. What a wonderful dream.

  29. I would absolutely love to have been able to work with Andy Warhol. I think he was a brilliant graphics-style artist and marketer. The massive amounts of really cool people he met and worked with would have shut down my nervous system. Having the chance to design an album cover for Velvet Underground, working with celebs to create massive, colorful portraits, and being able to market myself the way he did, pre-web would be sooooo cool.
    This question has given me a lot to aspire to. As always, thanks Alyson.

  30. It would have been incredible to study with Rubens. Can you imagine watching him paint the almost palpable flesh on the figures of the Medici Cycle? Or the ornate jewels and lace on his sitter’s 17th Century attire? I would love to have heard his thoughts on technique and composition. Furthermore, he was not only an exceptionally skilled painter, but also a savvy businessman who lived a balance, prosperous and happy life. Artists of all genres can appreciate his achievements.

  31. I would love to have studied with Caspar David Friedrich, Andrew Wyeth Richard Schmidt and Raymond Ching – they’re all my heroes! They always inspire me to do better.

  32. Georgia O’keefe and Frida Kahlo come to mind, but I choose a contemporary of them, Emily Carr. I would have loved to accompany her and her dog on all the canoe trips that they took up and down the Canadian inlets visiting remote Indian villages to record the totems before the musuems, collectors or nature took them away. Emily and I would learn from each other as we created our paintings or travel art journals on the spot.

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