Author Archives: Charlie Douglas

Franz Kline: A Stroke of Genius



And now for something completely different. Something to challenge your eyes a bit. This is an “abstract expressionist” painting by Franz Kline. It was painted in 1956, so though this may look “out there” to you… it’s been around for a long while, and folks in 1956 thought it was pretty cool. I do too. Here’s why…Continue Reading

Henri Rousseau: A Jungle Dreamer




Here’s a remarkable piece (“The Dream, ” 1910) by an artist who was ridiculed for his lack of training and traditional skill. Henri Rousseau was a toll/tax collector for over 20 years in Paris in the late 1800s. He was a hard working family man who did not take up painting until he was in his forties. He had no traditional training per se, but had an unwavering faith in his own art. Fortunately, many artists of the day, including Picasso, liked his work (maybe*) and helped bring him some success.

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Modern Art?




What’s this?

It looks like some sort of modern art sculpture. Maybe something from the early 20th century? It’s a very abstracted figure of a woman, very stylish in the way it’s done. They certainly didn’t make stuff like this in the old days, did they?

Well, in fact, they did! This is a Cycladic figurine from a mere 4500 years ago. Continue Reading

John Singer Sargent



John Singer Sargent was an amazingly skilled artist. He had remarkable technical ability. He could capture light and reflection brilliantly and quickly. He was known as one of the finest portrait painters of his time, but also painted a good number of landscapes and other works.

There are so many amazing Sargent pieces to choose from! Let’s start with this one…

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Before you say “I don’t care for that OLD stuff”…



Consider this… there’s some really neat stuff happening in these oldies. I’m not a religious guy, or advocating any particular faith, but Christianity produced a boatload of amazing art over the years, and this piece is one of them. It’s an altarpiece made in 1333 for the cathedral in Siena, Italy, by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi (gotta love that name!). It stands about 8 feet high and is plastered with gold leaf. It’s subject matter is the Christian Annuciation, when an angel from heaven came to tell Mary she was about to be in a family way. Let’s take a close look…

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A Walk in The Garden with Paul Klee



Here’s a sunny piece by one of my favorite artists: Paul Klee. I enjoy most genres of painting… from hyper-realistic to completely abstract. If the abstract is something new to you, think about the play between the representation of something real (in this case a Mediterranean landscape), the the pure colors and shapes. You can take it either way and enjoy the mix.

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Welcome to Better With Art!



And so here we go with the inaugural post on Better With Art. This beautiful portrait is by Johannes Vermeer, painted around 1665. Rather than jump into some heady analysis (which I’m not really capable of anyway), I think I’ll introduce a BWA regular brief format with this post. So…

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The Better With Art “Rules”


• Rule #1

Good news… There are no rules! No rules to enjoying art and looking at things. One of the reasons I started Better With Art is to share my enjoyment of art with others and to hopefully strip away some of the notions that people carry about art. Notions like:   “It’s pretentious… I don’t know anything about it… It’s weird… I wouldn’t know where to start.” Better With Art seeks to change those and any others you might have.

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