FUJI TWICE by Bob Kessel

If you don’t climb mount Fuji once in your life, you are a fool.
If you climb it twice, you are a fool.

Old Japanese Proverb

Bob Kessel’s new art series “FUJI TWICE” features pictures of Mount Fuji, Japan. These pictures are available as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


by Bob Kessel


Bob Kessel’s art series “NEWPORT NAUTICALS” features pictures from the Museum of Yachting art show in Newport, Rhode Island. These pictures are available as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.


CUTOUT by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


MARINA by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


SUN by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


SKY by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


TWILIGHT by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


CROSSING by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


3 WHITE SAILS by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


NECK AND NECK by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


STORM by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


MOOR by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


BREAK by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


COASTLINE by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


SUNBEAM by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


FENCE by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


SHORE by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


X-SCAPE by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


CRASH by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


YIN YANG by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series


PIER by Bob Kessel from Newport Nauticals art series

HOKUSAI by Bob Kessel

Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎,  1760–1849 was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景, c. 1831) which includes the iconic and internationally recognized print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s. Hokusai created the “Thirty-Six Views” both as a response to a domestic travel boom and as part of a personal obsession with Mount Fuji. It was this series, specifically The Great Wave print and Fuji in Clear Weather, that secured Hokusai’s fame both within Japan and overseas. As historian Richard Lane concludes, “Indeed, if there is one work that made Hokusai’s name, both in Japan and abroad, it must be this monumental print-series…” While Hokusai’s work prior to this series is certainly important, it was not until this series that he gained broad recognition and left a lasting impact on the art world. It was also The Great Wave print that initially received, and continues to receive, acclaim and popularity in the Western world.


By 1800, Hokusai was further developing his use of ukiyo-e for purposes other than portraiture. He had also adopted the name he would most widely be known by, Katsushika Hokusai, the former name referring to the part of Edo where he was born and the latter meaning, ‘north studio’. That year, he published two collections of landscapes, Famous Sights of the Eastern Capital and Eight Views of Edo. He also began to attract students of his own, eventually teaching 50 pupils over the course of his life.

He became increasingly famous over the next decade, both due to his artwork and his talent for self-promotion. During a Tokyo festival in 1804, he created a portrait of the Buddhist priest Daruma said to be 600 feet (180 m) long using a broom and buckets full of ink. Another story places him in the court of the Shogun Iyenari, invited there to compete with another artist who practiced more traditional brush stroke painting. Hokusai’s painting, created in front of the Shogun, consisted of painting a blue curve on paper, then chasing a chicken across it whose feet had been dipped in red paint. He described the painting to the Shogun as a landscape showing the Tatsuta River with red maple leaves floating in it, winning the competition.

In 1820, Hokusai changed his name yet again, this time to “Iitsu,” a change which marked the start of a period in which he secured fame as an artist throughout Japan (though, given Japan’s isolation from the outside world during his lifetime, his fame overseas came after his death). It was during the 1820s that Hokusai reached the peak of his career. His most famous work, 36 Views of Mount Fuji, including the famous Great Wave off Kanagawa, dated from this period. It proved so popular that Hokusai later added ten more prints to the series. Among the other popular series of prints he published during this time are A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces and Unusual Views of Celebrated Bridges in the Provinces. He also began producing a number of detailed individual images of flowers and birds, including the extraordinarily detailed Poppies and Flock of Chickens.

The next period, beginning in 1834, saw Hokusai working under the name “Gakyō Rōjin Manji” (The Old Man Mad About Art). It was at this time that Hokusai produced One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji, another significant landscape series.

In the postscript to this work, Hokusai writes:

“From around the age of six,
I had the habit of sketching from life.
I became an artist,
and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation,
but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention.
At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts,
insects and fish, and of the way plants grow.
If I go on trying,
I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six,
so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature.
At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them,
while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the
stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive.
May Heaven, that grants long life,
give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.”

In 1839, disaster struck as a fire destroyed Hokusai’s studio and much of his work. By this time, his career was beginning to wane as younger artists such as Andō Hiroshige became increasingly popular. But Hokusai never stopped painting, and completed Ducks in a Stream at the age of 87.

Constantly seeking to produce better work, he apparently exclaimed on his deathbed,

“If only Heaven will give me just another ten years…
Just another five more years,
then I could become a real painter.”

He died on May 10, 1849, and was buried at the Seikyō-ji in Tokyo (Taito Ward).

A short four years after Hokusai’s death, an American fleet led by Matthew C. Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay and forced Japan to open its arms to the west. Hokusai’s career spanned the last age of Japanese history before its interaction with the west would change the course of the nation.


HOKUSAI self-portrait

UKIYO-E by Bob Kessel


FUJI FOG by Bob Kessel

Bob Kessel’s art series “100 VIEWS” is based on Japanese UKIYO-E woodblock prints. These pictures are available as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.

Ukiyo-e (浮世絵), “pictures of the floating world”, is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints (or woodcuts) and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history, the theatre, and pleasure quarters. It is the main artistic genre of woodblock printing in Japan.

Usually the word ukiyo is literally translated as “floating world” in English, referring to a conception of an evanescent world, impermanent, fleeting beauty and a realm of entertainments (kabuki, courtesans, geisha) divorced from the responsibilities of the mundane, everyday world; “pictures of the floating world”, i.e. ukiyo-e, are considered a genre unto themselves.

The art form rose to great popularity in the metropolitan culture of Edo (Tokyo) during the second half of the 17th century, originating with the single-color works of Hishikawa Moronobu in the 1670s. At first, only India ink was used, then some prints were manually colored with a brush, but in the 18th century Suzuki Harunobu developed the technique of polychrome printing to produce nishiki-e.

Ukiyo-e were affordable because they could be mass-produced. They were mainly meant for townsmen, who were generally not wealthy enough to afford an original painting. The original subject of ukiyo-e was city life, in particular activities and scenes from the entertainment district. Beautiful courtesans, bulky sumo wrestlers and popular actors would be portrayed while engaged in appealing activities. Later on landscapes also became popular. Political subjects, and individuals above the lowest strata of society (courtesans, wrestlers and actors) were not sanctioned in these prints and very rarely appeared. Sex was not a sanctioned subject either, but continually appeared in ukiyo-e prints. Artists and publishers were sometimes punished for creating these sexually explicit shunga.



There are many movies about artists out there, Bob Kessel recommends these. Some are obscure but all are worth watching. Many of the artists in these movies are included in the Artists on Art series by Bob Kessel. Portraits of famous artists drawn in the style of the artist depicted. Each picture has a quote by that artist. Many will be surprised by the not so well known quotes.

The Horse’s Mouth
(1958) Director: Ronald Neame
Alec Guinness is Gulley Jimson. He is broke, difficult, conniving, uncouth, and a welcher – but an artist. The visions in his head may not really satisfy him when realized, but the quest continues, for the perfect wall. The Beeders leave for six weeks of vacation and return to find a 7000 pound committment and the wall of their living room a national treasure, even though living with a wall mural of feet is not their cup of tea. Then – in a bombed out church scheduled for demolition – THE wall that can become his vision.

La Belle Noiseuse
by Jacques Rivette 1991 run time 236 minutes
French film. the uncut 4 hour version is a must see.
Where most films don’t show the artwork the artist makes, this movie has the camera linger on the artwork as it is created. Although not about a recognizable famous artist, it captures the alchemy of an artist and his model better than any other movie.

Adventures of Picasso
(original title: Picassos äventyr) is a 1978 Swedish film comedy directed by Tage Danielsson, starring Gösta Ekman, as the famous painter. A Monty Pythonesque crazy, laugh out loud slapstick comedy.

Wolf at the Door
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow Director: Henning Carlsen
Donald Sutherland plays an excellent Gaugin. He takes you through his life from deserting his family in Denmark through his time in Paris with all the other artists of his day to his travels in Tahiti. Always kept your attention. Highly recommend movie for it’s content and for the history value.

Edvard Munch
(1976) Starring: Geir Westby, Gro Fraas Director: Peter Watkins
Famously described by Ingmar Bergman as a “work of genius”, Peter Watkins’ multi-faceted masterpiece is more than just a bio-pic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter. Focusing initially on Munch’s formative years in late 19th Century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art.
The young artist (Geir Westby) has an affair with “Mrs Heiberg” (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and his work is viciously attacked by the critics and public alike. He is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe.

Lust For Life
1956 Dir Vincente Minnelli
I like this mostly for the over the top comic performances.
Kirk Douglas gives an Oscar-nominated performance in Vincente Minelli’s adaptation of Irving Stone’s torrid life of Vincent van Gogh. It perpetuates the romantic myth of the tortured artist (some of the best are very well-adjusted, you know!) but is an enjoyable, if not entirely accurate, portrait of a great artist.

Van Gogh
(1992) Starring: Jacques Dutronc, Alexandra London Director: Maurice Pialat
Jacques Dutronc is simply extraordinary as Vincent, his acting filled with subtlety. He doesn’t stoop to histrionics or scenery-chewing…he doesn’t need to. Every gesture, every facial expression, every look in his eyes says something about the character. No wonder he won a Cesar for the role. This is neither the Vincent of “Lust for Life” (Kirk Douglas’ tormented soul searching for love and understanding) nor the Vincent of “Vincent and Theo” (Tim Roth’s mad-as-a-hatter egoist). This Vincent has a quiet cup of coffee before he goes to work in the morning and escapes Dr. Gachet’s house to enjoy a solitary lunch in the wheatfields (the latter is one of my favorite moments of the film–simple but lyrical). There’s no sign of the “mad artist” of the van Gogh mythology. The suicide comes as much a surprise in the film as it must have in real life. We don’t see it coming.

Moulin Rouge
(1952) Starring: José Ferrer, Zsa Zsa Gabor Director: John Huston
Nominated for seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and winner of two, this visually stunning biography of master artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is a “painting come to life” (Time)! “Flawlessly directed” (The Hollywood Reporter) by John Huston (The African Queen), from a script by Anthony Veiller and Huston, Moulin Rouge is simply “irresistible” (Newsweek)! As a dwarf, Toulouse-Lautrec (Jose Ferrer) believes he’s too ugly to ever fall in love. So he loses himself in painting and cognac. A fixture at Paris’ infamous turn-of-the-century Moulin Rouge nightclub, Lautrec meets a girl from the street who then breaks his heart. Luckily, newfound artistic success, copious amounts of drink and friendship with a new woman keep him alive. Will he be able to mend his broken heart in time to recognize the true love now staring him inthe face?





Bob Kessel has created an art series titled “American Icons” featuring a portrait of Charles Bukowski. Appropriately, Buk is shown drinking a bottle of beer. This picture is available as a limited edition art print. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.


from: Love is A Mad Dog From Hell
by Charles Bukowski

I don’t know how many bottles of beer
I have consumed while waiting for things
to get better
I dont know how much wine and whisky
and beer
mostly beer
I have consumed after
splits with women-
waiting for the phone to ring
waiting for the sound of footsteps,
and the phone to ring
waiting for the sounds of footsteps,
and the phone never rings
until much later
and the footsteps never arrive
until much later
when my stomach is coming up
out of my mouth
they arrive as fresh as spring flowers:
“what the hell have you done to yourself?
it will be 3 days before you can fuck me!”

the female is durable
she lives seven and one half years longer
than the male, and she drinks very little beer
because she knows its bad for the figure.

while we are going mad
they are out
dancing and laughing
with horney cowboys.

well, there’s beer
sacks and sacks of empty beer bottles
and when you pick one up
the bottle fall through the wet bottom
of the paper sack
spilling gray wet ash
and stale beer,
or the sacks fall over at 4 a.m.
in the morning
making the only sound in your life.

rivers and seas of beer
the radio singing love songs
as the phone remains silent
and the walls stand
straight up and down
and beer is all there is.