Nicholas Baxter

Blog posts tagged “Anointing”

Aluminum Limited Edition Prints

A few months ago I had an opportunity to produce limited edition prints of some recent paintings from my Apostasy series on a unique material: DiBond brushed aluminum.


Anointing, Hand of God, and Transfiguration (2012-13)

This was an experiment to create a striking, ultramodern aesthetic that compliments the surgical subject matter and my photorealist painting style, and I believe the results were spectacular. The finished prints have the sheen of sterile metal when the light catches them, which picks up the highlight areas of the subject matter and makes them gleam.

Because printing on metal is much pricier than paper, and preparing the digital files is a little trickier, I started out with a very small edition size of only 2 copies each (for a total of 6), at a higher price than previous prints I’ve made, but they all sold out within a month or so (thanks, people!).


Another great part of this project was having the opportunity to visit the printing house during production, seeing the high-tech process unfold over the course of a few hours. The giant printer, remotely controlled by an experienced operator, reminded me of the sets in classic sci-fi movies like Alien and the robotics of my all-time favorite, Terminator…which presented a fun synchronicity with the theme and symbolism of the paintings.


Happy New Year’s to anyone who actually reads this blog, and may your 2014 be happy, healthy and filled with success! …and remember, every minute of every day is the start of a new year, so make every moment of your life be filled with hope and purpose, not just on this brief “holiday.”

9th International 2012-2013 ARC Salon Catalog

I’m very honored to be featured for the second straight year in the Art Renewal Center’s annual juried catalog! This year’s book features my painting “Anointing” on page 61, selected for the figurative category.


Regarding the annual Salon, the ARC website states: “With an approximate 2000 entries this year by over 850 artists, the competition was steeper then ever. Even with an additional category, and expanding our finalist cut up to the top 600 entries, the finalists only include the top 30% of works submitted.”

One of the best and largest surveys of contemporary realism art executed in the traditional mediums, this year’s salon catalog is now available for sale here.


Anointing, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches, 2012

Dissecting Art, Intersecting Anatomy

I’m a bit late with this post, but I’m still thrilled to be included in this currently running group show co-curated by Vanessa Ruiz of Street Anatomy Blog, who featured my work last year on her entertaining site that celebrates all manner of anatomically-themed art.  Here’s the official show flier and press release for the current exhibit in Chicago:



New Exhibit Will Take the Pulse of Cutting-Edge Anatomical Artwork While Honoring an Innovator

“Dissecting Art, Intersecting Anatomy: Merging Contemporary Art with the the Works of Pauline Lariviere”

On view March 9 to 16, 2013, at S3 Gallery in Chicago

CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2013 — A new gallery exhibit will pay tribute to Pauline M. Lariviere, a mid-20th century artist and groundbreaking medical illustrator with Chicago connections.

“Dissecting Art, Intersecting Anatomy: Merging Contemporary Art with the Works of Pauline Lariviere” will be on display at S3 Gallery, 1907 N. Mendell St, Suite 4-H, Chicago, from Saturday, March 9 to Saturday, March 16, 2013. Public hours include the exhibit opening and reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on March 9 and also noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 10. Other hours are by appointment. Admission is free.

In addition to original art by Lariviere (1906-1988), a French-Canadian artist influenced by Picasso, the exhibit will showcase approximately 50 recent cutting-edge works in an anatomical vein by more than 20 rising and established artists and illustrators from across the U.S. and overseas working in diverse media.

All of the pieces on exhibit are for sale, including those by Lariviere.

Exhibit curators are Chicago artist and industrial designer Phillip Schalekamp, owner of S3 Gallery, and Vanessa Ruiz, Chicago-based art director and medical illustrator and founder of Street Anatomy, which maintains a visual blog and produces gallery shows.

The show will include 10 of Lariviere’s original oil paintings, which were reproduced as anatomical charts for medical classrooms and offices. Also on view will be 20 photographic glass plates of Lariviere’s illustrations used in the print production process.

“Her unique use of abstraction was new to the realm of anatomical art,” Schalekamp says. “She used it to convey dense medical information through visual symbols that are easy to grasp. Her departure from realism was controversial, but it was highly successful. Her style is still used in medical illustrations today.”

The contemporary artists in “Dissecting Art, Intersecting Anatomy” work in media ranging from oil, pencil, watercolor, acrylic, and photography to sculpture, furniture, video, human hair, and chocolate. Their work has appeared in solo and group shows and in publications.

Schalekamp says some of the pieces were created expressly for the show. Others are existing pieces that extend Lariviere’s pioneering work in applying modern art techniques and perspectives to science illustrations.

The following U.S.-based artists will be represented in the show:

  • Alexandra Baker, Ashville, N.C.; pencil and Adobe Photoshop
  • Nicholas Baxter, Austin, Tex.; oil on panel
  • Sung Jang, Schaumburg, Ill.; hair on canvas
  • Whitney Johnson, Chicago; collage
  • Vesna Jovanovic, Chicago; watercolor, ink, graphite
  • Michael Koehler, Chicago; sculpture/mixed media
  • Robyn Maitland, Chicago; acrylic on canvas/glass
  • Geno Malusek, Indianapolis, Ind.; photography
  • Nathan Mason, Chicago; photography/collage
  • Emily Portugal, Chicago; video
  • Dan Price, Chicago; sculpture
  • Danny Quirk, Springfield, Mass.; watercolor
  • Billy Reynolds, Los Angeles, Calif.; oil on linen
  • Brandy Rinehart, Chicago; sculpture/mixed media
  • Phillip Schalekamp, Chicago; oil/mixed media
  • Stephen Shanabrook, Cleveland, Ohio; chocolate
  • Andrew Svek, Chicago; furniture/walnut

International artists will include:

  • Emily Evans, London, UK; pencil
  • Alvaro Hidalgo, Viña del Mar, Chile; mixed media
  • Patcho Quinto, Quezon City, Philippines; pencil and Adobe Illustrator
  • Giselle Vitali, Barcelona, Spain; pen, ink, watercolor, colored pencil

Lariviere studied art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal and London’s Slade School of Art and studied medical illustration at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., under famed illustrator Max Bodel.

Pauline_Lariviere_TopographyLariviere’s work appears in editions of Grey’s Anatomy and in numerous medical and nursing textbooks. A 1942 profile of Lariviere in the Montreal Standard said, “Streamlining kidneys and glamorizing intestines, while emphasizing their detail like a scientist, Miss Lariviere has obtained international fame.”

As a freelance medical illustrator, Lariviere painted anatomical charts for Chicago’s Denoyer-Geppert Company (now headquartered in Skokie, Ill.), producer of anatomical models and other medical education materials.

Some of her original works for Denoyer-Geppert were exhibited on Chicago’s Navy Pier in June 1948 during an American Medical Association conference there. Chicago Tribune writer Eleanor Jewett observed, “Three beautifully presented anatomical charts by Pauline M. Lariviere . . . are of the greatest consequence. . . . The charts are painted in oil and are truly remarkable.”

The Baltimore Sun profiled Lariviere in June 1950, noting that she “is pioneering a new type of medical art.” The newspaper said she creates charts “which not only are edifying and accurate, but are aesthetically pleasurable.”

Schalekamp of S3 Gallery says he discovered Lariviere’s work while browsing in a Chicago science surplus store, where he came across a set of glass printing plates. He bought the plates and later acquired a set of Lariviere’s original oil paintings from Denoyer-Geppert, where they had been in storage for decades. Intrigued, Schalekamp began researching Lariviere’s life and work and delved deeper into the field of medical illustrations and models.


Three paintings of mine featured in the exhibit:

"Sacrificial", oil on panel, 12 x 12in, 2012

Sacrificial, oil on panel, 12 x 12in, 2012

Light of the World

Light of the World, oil on panel, 12 x 24in, 2012


Anointing, oil on panel, 24 x 24in, 2012

Realism Techniques 5

Just as a tiny version of a future full-size drawing is referred to as a thumbnail sketch, the term study is often used to refer to a smaller, quick, “warm-up” or practice version of a future painting.

If memories of sitting in your school library reading textbooks in preparation for a final exam come to mind with the use of the term, you’ve got the right idea. Artists’ preliminary studies are exactly that: a chance to recap the ideas and memorize the information before embarking on the final challenge, in order to ensure success. It’s a professional artist’s studio practice dating back hundreds of years, becoming a necessity for many artists as they began to undertake works of monumental complexity and extreme precision.

The practice of completing preliminary studies wasn’t something I undertook until I started painting larger dimensions a few years ago.  I had always found that the time and work involved in painting at extremely small sizes didn’t warrant a practice run beforehand, as the potential mistakes to be made at that scale would themselves be smaller in scale–and able to be corrected in a reasonable amount of time. Essentially it seemed like I’d be completing the same work twice.

"Anointing" (Study), oil on canvas board, 12 x 12in, 2011

But as I took the plunge into attempting larger scale paintings, I suddenly realized the larger scale problems that could occur, costing days or weeks of time, money in expensive materials, and frustrated energy backtracking and correcting.  It was time to take up the age old tradition of completing a practice run to head off any potential problems before they occurred. At first it seemed like a hassle–an extra step preventing me from diving right into the joy of spreading those first layers of fresh paint on a new surface. But now that I’ve gotten into the habit, I really savor the opportunity to “prime the pump,” get familiar with the subject matter, acquaint myself with its nuances and palette, work quickly, intuitively and loosely…and most of all, make mistakes as I work out any ideas I may have.

I’ve found that the painting process following these studies goes much more smoothly, resulting in works accomplished in less time with less hair-pulling moments of indecision or bewilderment. As I’ve written before, the degree of meticulous patience and strategizing that goes into the thin layer buildup of my paintings is crucial for their success. Thus, anything that allows for more opportunities to plan and prepare, such as completing one or more preliminary studies, in turn allows for more complexity and refinement of the final illusion, which is the ultimate goal.

The studies you see here were completed in around 5 hours or less, and are actually way more refined than a preliminary version needs to be.  They can potentially be completed in minutes, and can be incredibly sloppy. As long as you figure out what you need to do in the final version of the painting, the study has served its purpose.

(Untitled Study for an upcoming painting) oil on canvas board, 12 x 12in, 2012