Truth and Beauty. Beauty and Truth. The truth is that beauty inspires me.
I’m sure that is the case for most artists. Some find their inspiration in sunsets, landscapes, seascapes, and flowers. I find mine in the graceful lines of the female form – to me, “the ultimate beauty.” There is nothing I would instead paint, and my art is a reflection of that beauty. That is my truth.
Solitaire – acrylic on canvas by A.D. Cook 2004 © | private commission
I was asked recently about why I paint and why I paint what I paint. I’m sure most artists get those same inquiries. It’s probably my most asked question as an artist. Why do any of us do what we do? Is it different for artists? I can only speak for myself, but my answer is passion. I believe I was born to paint. I was driven to create art at a very early age. I was that kid who always drew, colored, or made things, designed the sets for school plays, and painted the sports banners and the works. I was always drawing. And in drawing, I learned to see. And in seeing, I feel a need to reveal or capture what I see. I’ve done that my entire life, whether painting Hollywood murals, my motorcycle series, or my abstract artworks. Then, one day several years back, while in the studio, I started thinking… “to retire as an artist would mean to paint beautiful nudes.” That’s when figurative art became my primary creative focus. I couldn’t wait until I retired to paint what I wanted to paint anyway. I knew I could enjoy creating sensual figurative paintings. What’s not to enjoy, right? Years later, I still find the female figure to be my art’s most gratifying, challenging, and beautiful subject matter. My paintings can be best characterized by the term “Art Nudes” – timeless in their way and making powerful statements while recording contemporary beauty for eternity.
My mission is to capture timeless female beauty through powerful art. The timeless beauty of the female form inspires my art. Throughout the ages, it has been a source of wonderment and intrigue for artists of all media, sharing in this truth of creating timeless beauty. Raphael, Rubens, Michelangelo, and many other masters of the past have been inspired by this eternal theme. Art Nudes have been an iconic inspiration for artists for dozens of centuries – basically forever. Art Nudes are simply art that takes the naked human form as its dominant subject. The term is used for painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media.*
Backdraft – acrylic on canvas by A.D. Cook 2004 ©
I think there’s a lot to be said in the Andre Gide quote, “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does, the better.” A reoccurring theme in my paintings is female beauty. I’m inspired by the self-confidence and strength of naturally beautiful women. I honestly believe that beauty does come from within. When I create, I want my art to make a statement of “what beauty is today” – for me. Beauty is fleeting.
Art is eternal. Like artists before me, I am inspired by great natural classical beauty. Powerful art nudes have been the focus of my art and creative energies for many years. But, unlike artists before me, I approach my art in a way to capture beauty and power in a unique and 21st-century style. My pursuit of beauty is expressed through sensual large-scale original art on specially prepared canvas and hand-grinded metal, created to honor the female spirit’s grace, beauty, and complexity. My heirloom artworks are classic, contemporary, and passionate, intending to preserve beauty for eternity.
Encore – acrylic on canvas by A.D. Cook 2011 ©
Muse: Jess Robinson
Each artwork is based on capturing forms of reality. There may be abstraction within style and detail, but I am a figurative painter. First and foremost, my art is created by me, for me. I’m a “concept-to-completion” artist who likes to work with various techniques to create dynamic and lasting art… for me. I don’t abide by a set of “artist rules” or limit myself to only one style. I don’t create for the masses. I paint for myself, and I paint what I like. I’m the one who’ll stand at the easel for dozens (or hundreds) of hours creating a single painting. I photograph my models/muses; grind my metal; prep my canvas; and do everything short of welding and clear-coating metal, but even then, I’m involved at every stage. I love the process of creating – making something from nothing. I can thank my father for putting lots of tools and pencils in my hands early.
Brooklyn on metal by A.D. Cook 2010 ©
After a lifetime of creating art, I still genuinely enjoy the process of painting – starting with a bare canvas or metal to create something new. I take great pleasure in the whole creative process, from working with my muses to putting the finishing touches on a new painting. Inspired by the classics, I create timeless heirloom paintings in contemporary media, respectfully paying homage to their time-honored lineage. Canvas and metal ~ are modern and timeless. My signature metal art process creates a seemingly holographic image that uniquely captures beauty. Much of my art dynamically changes appearance from natural light throughout the day to display lighting differently. Only the original paintings create these illusions so dramatically. Even with today’s technology, they cannot be reproduced to look close to the original. That’s a special thing, and I like that.
I like “epic” too. Epic movies. Epic concerts. Epic art. I always have. A lifelong friend observed that my art is “anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” In the past, I created dozens of hand-painted large-scale murals for Hollywood Video stores – most measuring 10 feet tall by 10, 15, or even 20 feet wide. Long before that, I was creating large murals in corporate offices and residences. I think big. So I love painting my figures larger-than-life, and often double-life size on canvas, measuring 4, 5, and 6 feet in either dimension. They are powerful and exude energy through their unique treatments throughout the creative process – sometimes, color-shifting pigments and pearl tones that shift with light are integrated into the painting. Every artwork is fantastic – every painting is a unique and memorable experience.
Beaujolais on metal by A.D. Cook 2011 ©
Muse: Jessi June
They are capturing the experience of creation. When I paint, I document my creative process with video and photography, and we journal the art with online provenance. I provide a certificate of authenticity with the artwork. In the case of commissioned art, when the painting is complete, we typically coordinate an extraordinary unveiling event where the collector can share their rare, one-of-a-kind masterpiece with family, friends, and guests. And for their enjoyment, we play the entire process video during the event. The models also are invited to attend.
Nexus on metal by A.D. Cook 2011 ©
I’m grateful if my art makes an emotional connection with you. I get pleasure from others who enjoy my art and share its energy. You can only get that from original art. And many things can be done to create original artworks that cannot be duplicated. So, I focus my creative energies on creating rather than re-creating. My art is unique, and the experience is different with each viewing. Color-shifting paints, special grinds within the metal, and many other powerful treatments ensure the uniqueness of each painting.
“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda;
it is a form of truth.”
~ John F. Kennedy
William Blake once wrote, “Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed.” I have to agree. True art has to be honest. While the models are nude, the artist bares his soul in the creative process. Looking beyond the figure, you realize it is often representative of the message. The spiritual “Backdraft” reflects confidence, patience, humility, and receptivity; “Encore” speaks to the zest for life; “Brooklyn” is an angelic expression, “Beaujolais” expresses grace and the appreciation for the higher things in life; “Nexus” – strength and the power of creation. Each has her own story to last for eternity.
Cheers to beauty!
A.D. Cook ~ artist
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Watch my videos of 21st-century art in the making.
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Art Nude/ Figurative Art References:
*Wikipedia – Art Nude: wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_nude
Wikipedia – Figurative Art: wikipedia.org/wiki/Figurative_art
Wikipedia – Michelangelo: wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo
Wikipedia – Raphael: wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphael
Wikipedia – Rubens: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Paul_Rubens
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