I just finished this painting, Yellow Back Cross, and its a deep foray into chairoscuro--the shifting of light to dark with little intermediate value, a painting style invented by Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). Caravaggio is probably my favorite painter and he was a pivotal hinge in history. No paintings that came after him looked like those that came before. Unfortunately, he was also eccentric to the point of madness. So we have that too in common. I've never stabbed anyone, as he had. But the thought has crossed my mind, usually when standing in line at the post office.
I spent years painting reproductions of great painters and painted several copies of Caravaggio's work. My version of his Doubting Thomas hangs in my studio now. I never feel more purposeful as an artist as when I feel connected to those who came before me.
My copy of Caravaggio's Incredulity of Saint Thomas
He died at 39. He completed about 100 surviving large scale paintings in his very short lifetime and many are great masterpieces. I hope to live twice as long and understand painting even half as well.