The Light Within

The Angels and Art of Corbin Hollis Choate

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Autumn Afternoon . . .

Autumn has arrived. It is a time of change, a time for reflection, and the most beautiful of all the seasons.

For me, it marks the passing of another year of my life. People come and go and children grow and change is all around.
Have you ever come across an old family photograph that takes you back and floods your mind with memories so real you could touch them?
Maybe a picture of a beloved relative's house where you can see into the open window on a sunny day? Somehow you know that if you could just see around the corner they would be there. . .you could talk to them and share just one more day with them. I found a picture like that. It was a picture of my mom and me standing in front of my aunt and uncle's house on some past Autumn afternoon. Behind us is an open window
where the sunlight streams in to the living room and an open doorway. Part of me knows that there, in that time, is my uncle. . .living, talking and knowing that I am just outside. My aunt took the picture. I used to stay with them nearly every weekend. They are responsible for who I am, and I know that their being there for me saved my life from going in wrong directions. The values of their generation, the greatest generation, were passed on to me.

This poem was written in memory of them. I make it a point to re-read it on those golden Autumn afternoons that seem to never end.

Autumn Afternoon

When you sit and watch the shadows grow long across the room
at the end of a golden Autumn afternoon,
you face the souls who have passed through your life . . .
and come to terms with their absence . . .

The season's light is ever changing and reminds you
that all things must pass,
leaving their mark in ways unknown,
until they are gone . . .

As Autumn's memories fall softly one by one,
in colors too beautiful for words. . . felt only by the heart . . .
they take their place of rest in the shadows of your life.

As the seasons pass, you see never ending reflections of their time . . .
a ray of light, a color that burns intense with love and hope . . .
a promise to return anew in time, when the shadows grow long
at the end of an Autumn afternoon.
- The Light Within . . .

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New Print Coming Soon . . .

I want to let you know about a new print which will be available to you very shortly. The painting has already been to the publisher, where they've digitized it. They will be producing the final prints within a week or two. This edition will be limited to 20 and the print itself will be a giclee' canvas print, with a size of roughly 15" x 20". Each print will be $150, and is suitable for framing. To see a larger version of the print simply click on the picture above.

If you would like to purchase one before they become available online please e-mail me and I will be glad to contact you.

The proof came back from the publisher on Thursday, and I have to say they did a superb job matching the colors. My first thought upon seeing the proof was "My God, this is incredibly crystal clear". The lines and colors are extremely sharp and crisp and clean and the entire image has a luminous quality about it. Apparently the light within translated to the print. This doesn't suprise me at all because these images (the paintings) were originally made to be published a some point. That time has arrived.

Finally, please remember that a substantial portion of the money from my work will be used to assist families of children cancer patients.

More very soon,

- The Light Within . . .

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Influences - J.C. Leyendecker

Joseph Christian Leyendecker, J.C. to his friends. J.C. Leyendecker was THE most successful, accomplished, famous artist of his day. He was beyond famous actually. When Norman Rockwell was a boy, he used to go to the train station in New Rochelle just to watch J.C. arrive from New York City, get off the train with his entourage and step into a waiting chauffeured limousin. Leyendecker was a celebrity on the level of the Beatles before they existed and his work defined American life by capturing the essence, the innocence which existed in the country in the years between 1900 and World War II. His work appeared as illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Magazine, The American Weekly, Success Magazine and others, as well as magazine ads for companies such as Kelloggs, Kuppenheimer’s Clothiers and Arrow Collars (the character he created for Arrow Collars was based on one of the male models he frequently used. The Arrow Collar man became so famous and popular with the ladies that the company actually received fan mail wanting to know who he was, what was his name, where did he live . . . and he was even more famous than Rudolph Valentino) The covers of these magazines provided the perfect medium for reproducing his work in all its splendor. At the peak of his career he was the most famous Post artist they had ever had. He turned the Post covers into mini-posters, incorporating all of the elements of the cover into each piece.

Artistically speaking, Leyendecker was an incredible genius whose work is instantly recognizeable even today. He was the king of America’s “Golden Age” of illustration and through his work he virtually invented the look of the modern magazine cover as a purely attention grabbing device. Leyendecker’s work contains elements of both Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and it is dynamic, graceful, elegant and sophisticated. His unique style of painting captured the attention of the public as nothing before had, and only a handful since have.

J.C.’s work was about the endless pursuit of perfection. He developed his own system of creating an image based on the working methods of the great masters. He began with a series of thumbnail sketches, and from there he would work up a series of larger rough paintings. These were used to determine how to best proceed with the actual finished painting. When he applied his colors, he would let areas of blank, raw canvas show through. These were often areas which would be included as part of a highlight or the white background. J.C. was very secretive about how he worked and very little was known about how he achieved such luminous finished surfaces until his brother, Frank, shared the paint recipe with Norman Rockwell after swearing him to absolute secrecy. The colors were composed of Turpentine, stand oil and linseed oil, mixed fresh each morning in specific proportion. The colors were very thin, “slippery” if you will. When these colors were applied to the canvas they showed no sign whatsoever of having been applied by a brush. This resulted in a finished painting composed of precisely arranged areas of light and color. Every stroke was applied perfectly . . .once. J.C.’s brush control and mastery of his talents are legendary still today.

Leyendecker’s finished canvases were masterpieces of technique, color and magic. He influenced America at a time when we were just beginning to discover who we were as a nation. His work has influenced me to my very core and I am extremely grateful. I enjoy looking at his work over and over.

J.C. Leyendecker lived a quiet personal life that included a circle of very few friends. I wish I had been there. For all of his fame a fortune, for all of the love and admiration he received from his adoring public, he died alone in his home by the sea, in New Rochelle, New York. I feel him with me every day.

- The Light Within . . .