George Bodine paints still lifes, landscapes, and figures, and refuses to be labeled a “style” or school. His work is unique and comes from a deep examination of what moves him as an artist. He strives to produce art that transcends time.
He uses materials of the finest quality and prefers oil paints, some of which are custom prepared. Additionally, he paints on linen or prepared panel, using techniques from the sixteenth century, including the use of hot rabbit skin glue and white lead priming. The result of this painstaking labor is art that will last centuries.
He seldom accepts commissions, preferring to concentrate on subjects that appeal to him personally and professionally. He will often work on a series of paintings, only to stop suddenly, sometimes never to return to the subject again. With bold, confident brushstrokes and thoughtful dedication, he captures most subjects in one session of painting with little correction.
I have never had an Art lesson, nor attended an Art workshop, never studied with anyone, and in fact, I have purposely avoided close contact with other living artists. I do not get any Art magazines. By choice, my studio is by itself in an old funeral home next to a very ancient, impressive Catholic Cathedral that still has gargoyles frozen in grimace across its roof.
I have entered one show, when I was first learning to paint, about 7 years ago, and although I won the Grumbacher Medal in it, I found I didn’t like “doing” shows. As far as recent interest in my work, the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand just purchased five of my pieces this year, and I have also been invited to an Artist in Residence program in one of Africa’s largest game reserves in Zimbabwe… the first artist they have ever invited.
As far as education, I have a degree in Marketing, which I have never used again in my life. I have been an oil field worker, a police officer, an underground miner, a cab driver in Denver, a Navy fighter pilot and TOPGUN instructor, and currently fly internationally as an airline pilot (I’m not making this up). But it is Art that I love.
I have taught myself to paint, ONLY after I finally found out what moved me in Art. I have studied untold hours, basically giving myself a course in painting that I don’t believe you can purchase today. I have studied pigments, how to make them, their archival properties, their history. I have worked with numerous supports from Belgium linen to board, and used probably every medium imaginable, from gold leaf to acetone washes with pencil lead shavings. I love oils.
If an old Master from the 1600s entered my studio while I was producing my canvases or panels today, he would feel right at home, and he would recognize the smells. I use the same techniques of those times… two coats of hot rabbitskin glue sanded in between, with two coats of white priming lead to give my work a very unique surface texture similar to what you see from old paintings before mass production of canvases occurred in the 19th century. Alkyd resin is often in my paint and glazing, and occasionally I’ll play with the controversial, boiled lead medium Maroger. I have probably visited over 200 Art Museums in the last 8 years, along with retrospective shows of some of the Masters I admire. I am the type of “nut” you see in museums who will often spend 30 minutes in front of one painting. I admire Sorolla, Zorn, Van Gogh, Chase, and ESPECIALLY Sargent. These have been my instructors… they still are.
None of anything I’ve written above means a thing. No amount of technique, no amount of special mediums, or unique supports, or pigments, or medals in shows, or countless years in school, or endless discussions with other Artists can produce a masterful painting. This is just my opinion, and I’ve found everyone has an opinion on what makes Art.