These Two Artists Inspired Me the Most

As a young artist I looked for established professionals whose work I really loved and admired, and two clear favorites emerged. With both of them I was drawn to many elements of their work including their choice of subjects, their use of color and their compositions. Both are absolutely famous for what they accomplished!

My first main influence in my mid-teens was Eric Sloane, a renowned American landscape painter, illustrator and author (38 books) on the cultural history and folklore of America. I was especially drawn to his clouds and barns, and I still own a tattered "Age of Barns" which I refer to periodically for inspiration.

Recently we were able to visit the Eric Sloane Museum in Kent, CT which finally reopened after being worked on for several years in a VERY slow state project. It's filled with a massive old tool collection from colonial days, a full-size replica of his studio and a small collection of about 20 of his original artworks. If you are in the area and a fan, I'd highly suggest a visit.

Here's a couple of my Sloane inspired works from 46 years ago!

This is a barn I did for my wife's mom when we first started dating and when she passed away, we got it back where it now hangs in our front hall.

And this is the only remaining painting on a small piece of slate I have from back then (I probably painted and sold almost 30 of this size and style on slate at summer art shows). It's about 6" x 10" and this too is in our front hall.

And now, for something COMPLETELY different! 

My other favorite painter of all time is Frank Frazetta!

Frank was an American fantasy artist, noted for comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters and LP record album covers. He is often referred to as the "Godfather of Fantasy Art, and he's one of the most renowned illustrators of the 20th century. I stumbled on this book and was immediately a HUGE fan. Frank's subjects, imagination, use of color and his attention to detail while leaving lots to your imagination was unparalleled. Page after page had one more captivation masterpiece after another!

I was so impressed that I did what I thought was an EXACT copy (for myself) of "Escape on Venus" which was the cover painting for one of Edgar Rice Burroughs books. I had no frame of reference as to the size of the original, so I painted it 24" wide x 36" high and had it in my room and offices for years! It no longer fit into our decor or even our small retirement home, so I brought it down to my local gallery and it sold almost immediately to a huge Frazetta fan. To date it is my biggest sale ever!

There's a funny part to this story! A couple of years ago we were looking for something to do on a rainy day when we were in Pennsylvania and Laurie found that there is a Frazetta Museum in Stroudsburg! So, we went for a ride and found it. It's a special place housed in Frank's original home and run by his son, Frank Jr and his wife Lori who gave us a private tour! There are over 40 originals there along with hundreds of other illustrations. And....the original of Escape on Venus was there.'s only about 14" x 19" in size.  (I NEVER imagined it was that small, but it certainly met my expectations in person!)

We've been back there a couple of times and if you are in the area, stop by!