Tuesday, December 30, 2008
So, I put off working on painting in the afternoon to clean house. I wish I had thought to take before and after pix, but the image above gives you a rough idea of the situation ;)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Did you know that the pelican has a profound meaning in Christian symbolism? It may seem counter-intuitive to use such an ungainly bird for anything of the sort, the pelican has often been used by Christians as a symbol of charity (love thy neighbor) because the bird will feed its own blood to its offspring if necessary. Now that's devotion to giving of thyself.
In this time when there is financial upheaval, starvation, and terrorism stalking the land, we could all take a lesson from the giving nature of the pelican and the keen observation of the natural world that led to its adoption as a symbol for the value of giving.
I hope we can all celebrate the act of giving no matter what form it takes or what religion you practice this holiday season.
(The above picture is a detail of Bosch's Adoration of the Magi.)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Are you the type that doesn't mind wasting reams of paper in the off chance that one day it might pay off, or are you the type that insists that every piece you set your hand to must become a finished piece of art?
I would say it's a question between type A and type B personalities, but it doesn't necessarily seem to work out the way IRL.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
It may have escaped your notice, but painting died a few decades ago.
'Why,' you ask. Well the reason is simple. Everything that can be done in painting has already been done. There's nothing new that can ever come out of painting. Again.
So how do we overcome this barrier as painters? Why, just take a page from still President G.W. Bush: redefine the word 'new.'
In this postmodern age we have now acquired the wisdom to know that words mean whatever we want them to mean, so I am calling on all painters forthwith to start a campaign to redefine the word 'new' to mean 'fish.'
A new tide will swell upon the art world leaving behind a mass of scaly, slimy, sexy new artwork that you just can't ignore (especially your nose). Easels will be abandoned as artists rejoin Mother Nature to create a new fusion of human vision and natural order.
The birds, snakes, and furry woodland creatures will join our cause. All those who oppose the new order will be pecked, and all paintings adhering to the out-dated world of traditional painting will be chewed to ribbons.
This is a rallying cry to all painters not yet ready to give up: 'We want a new NEW!'
Come, join me, my compatriots, as I storm the Empire State Building's observation deck this New Year's Eve with a kettle full of fish and an unseemly amount of vodka. There will be a good time to be had for all and a new definition of New shall be inaugurated!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I like doing portraits every now and then and here's one of two cute little girls that I've been working on recently. I think it's just about done now.
As you can see, the faces are detailed, but the style becomes progressively sketchier as you leave the main area of focus. There are some strong angles present which lend energy and a shadow was added LR to activate the negative space.
Please join me again next week when I do believe there will be another installment of 'How To Fail As an Artist'!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
You can see more about it here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16955665.
This is not an idealizing portrait, but a humanistic view of the man who just might change the face of our country.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Yes, that's right. This year an army of Sarah Palins will crawl out of the nearest graveyard on Oct. 31st. Stock up on supplies now, because you won't be able to go ten feet without bumping into a shambling, stiletto-heeled horror.
And who is responsible for this nightmare? Why none other than a secret cabal of Republican hedgewizards (the same ones responsible for hedgefunds) led by the VP you love to hate, Dick Cheney. They have timed their magic so that this rising army of Palins won't be noticed among the normal Halloween crowd, but they won't leave when the party's over.
The menacing plague of Palins will sweep across the country, smothering all opposition with wads of American flags. Eventually, the entire world will be taken over, and roving bands of Palins will patrol the streets passing out millions of pairs of rimless glasses and miniature bibles.
In order to keep the Palin-creatures supplied with books, all the world's trees will be cut down for paper and the world's beaches will be eroded to get enough sand for all the designer glasses. This will speed up global warming and soon the world as we know it will be gone.
And that my friends, is how the world is going to be destroyed. Happy Halloween ;)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
A long time ago in China there was a great painter named Ku. He fell in love with a lovely young woman with dark hair as straight and fine as silk. Although Ku let her know the earnestness of his affection, the young woman would not listen.
As the months passed, the young woman began to fall ill and waste away. Many priests and physicians tried to cure the poor girl, but she continued to fade.
It was not until the girl began to put her affairs in order so that she could pass peacefully that she answered Ku's feelings. Thereafter Ku removed the thorn he had placed in a portrait he had made of the young beauty, and the girl made a miraculous recovery.
(The ink and color painting above is by Matsui Fuyuko.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
You'll never get anywhere as an artist unless you become a household name.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
In this particular piece, Stacy has made a digital photo collage that highlights her strong connection to spirits. There are two ghostly figures at either end of the tunnel as well as an orb. The tunnel has gad strong symbolic overtones since ancient times, going right back to cave dwellings. Often tunnels such as this are symbolic of the journey of life or parts of it such as the beginning (birth) or end (death.)
Currently, Stacy is finding new focus in her work after the death of her father who suffered from Alzheimer's. I am looking forward to seeing how her work changes and grows, and I wish her the best of luck.
Be sure to check out more of her photography on Etsy : http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5588418
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
This mixed media collage by Jeannine Peregrine of jperegrine on Etsy captures the lassitude that comes with days spent out in the pervading warmth. The combination of warm blues and oranges couples with the scattered layout of elements to create a sense of floating. Just like on a very warm day when the heat seems to make us want to float, this compositions allows us to drift gently. The pastel textures prompt the memory of drawing with chalk on sun-baked sidewalks.
My only criticism for the piece is that the clipped paper word, 'secret,' is somewhat disruptive as placed. It would be better if it were not firmly centered in the sunflower which isolates it within and by contrast disrupts the overall tone of the piece.
Overall, this is a wonderful mixed media piece that gives us a warm remembrance of summer as we look forward to Fall.
Jeannine Peregrine is a Californian artist living near Suffolk, Virginia. Please visit her on Etsy to see more mixed-media magic: http://www.jperegrine.etsy.com
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It takes a lot to shock people nowadays, so you can't expect anyone to notice you if you don't have a really outstandingly wild do. It used to be that shaving your head or just failing to cut your hair would be enough to put you on the fringes of society right where an artist *should* be.
Here's a few classic examples:
As you can see from Warhol and Trump, wild hair is clearly a key to making it to the very top in any field.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
First, as even the most gullible of babes knows, money makes the world go 'round. So only make art for money. Why waste you time beating your breast, scouring your soul, and plumbing the depths in search of greater truth? No one will pay to see something like that.
What you need is something that will bring in the dough. And you should never work on anything that won't bring it in.
One of the best ways to bring the money in is to create an uproar. Try going to your town or city's main square and painting the town's most beloved monument red. This always provokes a response. Not to long ago a pair of artists (wink, wink) put up some flashing signs with a cartoon character flashing the finger at passersby. They could not have had better luck when it was mistaken for a terrorist bomb. This is just the type of creative thinking you need to make your bank account full.
If you are of a more delicate disposition, might I suggest dogs. Puppies are even better, but dogs will do. Everyone has a soft spot for Fido. At the very least people love their own pets no matter how much they complain of the neighbors'. So start painting pet portraits. It's not nearly as likely to land you in jail and people just love them.
So remember, there are lots of ways you can put your art to work for you. Don't concern yourself with that new-age psychobabble about 'finding yourself.' Get out there and find some money!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Tea with Mice (above) is a light-hearted image of surprising depth. The two figures of Usova and her husband partake in the ritual of teatime at the table of Life. It is a time for companionship where bonds are strengthened and grievances aired. The green teapot is a symbol of their union, a gift between lovers, and the house hat the husband wears reiterates the symbolism of union. The mice symbolize life's little problems, invited here to join the ritual. It is a remarkable thing to invite problems to the table instead of rejecting them.
Usova's art is truly charming, and I invite you all to look through some more of it at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5376404
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
How many plans have been crushed by a careless remark? This new monotype print documents the tragic moment when the secret plan of the mysterious horned beetles fell to pieces.
The ants were surely laughing up their sleeves.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
This piece, Civilization I (Without Medication), was done in hospital and the pure white background recalls the clinical purity of the examination room. A strange city grows on the surface like a mold or, more likely, a colony of bacteria. In the foreground a diseased buffalo hangs uncertainly. The colony continues its growth without malice, and the bison does not seem to connect it's suffering with it.
Although they were drawn without reference, the buffalo is remarkably reminiscent of prehistoric bison such as the Two Bison fromthe cave at Le Tuc d'Audoubert, France. Like bulls, bison can be seen as symbolic of strength and courage, prowess on the field. Margaretten's bison, however, hangs suspended. Removed from its power base and subjected to forces beyond it's control. The heaviness of his hooves emphasize the absence of earth.
Despite the signs of decay, it has a certain solidity of perseverance. One has the impression that this bison will not be swallowed by the forces at work.
Margaretten is currently working on a series of paintings about microbes and a mixed media installation designed to immerse viewers with sound, image and colored lighting. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions including the Tufts University Art Gallery, the Boston Conservatory, Resonance FM, broadcasting from London, England, and the Fort Point Artist Community Gallery. December 2005 she exhibited the sculpture Recollecting Zeena at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston which allowed listeners to intimately hear testimonials regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The above article title contains a link to Nicole's website, so take a look and enjoy.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
How do you get closer to art? Share your ideas and comments!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Cecile Klay, known on Etsy as DreamCreateRepeat, is not your average psychic.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
During this time is when I started to play around with beads. I was not new to making jewelry - but I had not done it in years - so it took a while for me to get the hang of it again. For some reason - I wanted to experiment with Polymer clay just to see what it was like. Well - I became addicted to it and discovered how to transfer images onto clay completely by accident. It is not a new art form but my technique is quite different than anything else out there which I am very proud of - since I have been successful in selling my tutorial.
I have been looking for a full time teaching job for 3 years now - it is very competitive here to find a job. So, I substitute teach and also teach an adult Ed GED class 2 days a week. This gives me the flexibility to run my business and come up with new ideas - which I am always trying to do.
I love experimenting and my newest addition is my glass tile pendants which are just as fun to make :) I don't sell much of my finished jewelry on Etsy since it is so competitive, but I do sell at local craft fairs.
I try to do about 6 craft shows a year and sell everything from my handmade pendants to ceiling fan pulls and my beaded jewelry. I enjoy running my business and hope to continue working on it even if I do get a full time teaching job.
I had started my Etsy Artists Pendant line a long time ago and bring it back now and then with new artists - since there are so many wonderful artists on Etsy.
You never know what you mind find in my shop :)
Monday, July 7, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Moonstr does a lot of watercolors and makes a lot of different things, but today we're looking at one of her art dolls, Ha Ray Lil Bunny. Newer art forms like installations and art dolls let artists outside of the mainstream (i.e. not straight white men) express themselves in ways untainted untainted by dogma and history.
To help you get to know Moonstr better, here's some of what she had to say:
"how i got started in art...being left alone alot as a kidand having tons of dot matrix paperto draw on cause of my dad's computer.my sewing is chaotic i tend to jumpand not know what im doing.
"what part of my personality it reflects.the part of me that wants to fly a kiteand drink on the beach and have a bond fire.sewing makes me that happy.taking pictures of my dolls outside is fun.hmm for abit i was saying that the dollsare my inner demons poping out of my imagination."
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Buchalter prides herself on living with one foot in the 19th century, and her work reflects a refined Art Deco sensibility. While maintaining that sensibility, Cara's work feature's a more modern design structure which is overall purer than the more densely designed patterns and illustrations of the Art Nouveau/Deco movements. This refreshes the style and makes it altogether more accessible for those of use who are sadly trapped in this post-industrial era.
The work featured above, Devastation, was based on a photo by legendary photographer Irving Penn of his wife. While exploring Mrs. Penn's almost unearthly beauty and painting through the lens of her own creativity, Buchalter is also exploring the relationship between artist/viewer/subject. Not only her own relationship, but also Penn's relationship, to the subject come into question. The lovely woman depicted is thus transformed into a muse for the generations and a mysterious beauty for the viewer to absorb.
Well, I hope you enjoyed our time together today. Tune in next week for a feature of indie artist, Moonstr.
Monday, June 9, 2008
It cannot have escaped anyone's attention that the summer Olympics will start soon, and this image is printed on newsprint featuring a story relating to protests against China in the runup to the games. A pair of ghostly hands clasp uncertainly and a red star leaves evidence of it's passage. What will China choose to become?
Monday, June 2, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Today we will be looking at a piece called Broken Brown Bottles by Shera Simon (aka belltower on Etsy.)
Simon is the daughter of an artist and a pastor. As an African-American woman who grew up in the south and now lives in Philadelphia, cultural differences between states, regions, and continents have been a major influence on her art.
Broken Brown Bottles is a mixed media collage using paper, broken bottles and other found materials to express the ambivalent emotions that many African Americans are faced with when thinking of Africa. The continent of Africa is reconstructed from maps of American States, symbolically reforming the U.S. into something like that fabled, ancestral home that many children of immigrants long for, in whatever form. The bits of broken brown beer bottles invoke the wound of separation and sometime resentment that has come to exist between American blacks and native Africans. These wounds are often inexplicable, irreversible, and inexpressible.
Using the form of a map in itself highlights the artificial connections and boundaries that humans spend their lives creating and generations maintaining. Simon has managed to capture and express so much human nature without presenting a single human figure. I look forward to seeing more of this artist :)
Tune in next week to learn more about another indie artist!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Ferntebrae (above) shows the overlapping worlds of Man and Nature in an almost dreamlike moment of unexpected convergence. Time slows down to a gentle ripple and slow realization dawns. How alike we are. How connected.
Yet the differences too remain and are acknowledged, not rejected.
This dreamlike atmosphere is achieved through Teske's skill and technique. Teske's method involves removing the protective layer from a polaroid photo and printing it onto a new surface. This brings out a sort of mistiness and allows some migration of the colors for interesting effects. This can be seen in all of Teske's polaroid prints. Each is unique and seems to transform the world in some subtle, fundamental way.
Thanks for reading and stop back in next week for another artist feature.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Hi, and welcome back for another Tuesday double feature! This week we'll take a look at work from indie artists you can find on Etsy: Carol Bruno and the dynamic duo, Michael Ayers and Lani Mathis.
Carol Bruno is a New Jersey artist whose work came into focus after the loss of her only brother. Her watercolor depiction of hydrangeas has an undeniable fragility, and the delicate colors transport one to one of those rain washed days in late spring or early summer. This is a perfect piece for contemplative viewing.
The collaborative ink creations of Ayers and Mathis, lifelong creative people, bring a different sort of energy to the table. Their many inkblot collabs, such as Seamore (above) have a wonderful sense of play that will surely brighten your day.
Both Bruno and the Ayers-Mathis team created these pieces with surrealist techniques. Bruno used a crumpling method of composition reminiscent of frotage. Ayers and Mathis created their ink blot with a method similar to the 'exquisite corpse' method in which each participant takes turns adding elements to the composition. In both cases we see how fortuitous these 'accidental' methods can be.
Next week we'll look at another indie artist, Tiffany Teske.
To find out more about Ayers & Mathis, follow the link to their blog, Green Space goods, on the right. See more of Carol Bruno's work by following the link to her shop above.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
First of all, before Guernica was a painting, it was a town - a town in Spain where a terrible atrocity took place. During the Spanish Civil War, Spanish nationalists, lead by the famous Gen. Franco, arranged to allow German Nazis the chance to test their new bombs - on Spanish civilians. As many as 1500 people were killed and many more injured, and all of this many months before the official start of WWII.
Within weeks of this event, Picasso was already working on the huge 11'x23' canvas in black and white paint only....for war drained life and color from the world. The style was neither cubist nor surreal, but Picasso's personal style with cartoon-ish, primitive, stylized figures. The scene seem to take place in something like a cellar, a place where people are fleeing from the horrors of war, horrors seen in every twisted human figure in the painting. To me, one of the most telling bit of symbolism is the electric in the upper center left. The electric eye is a symbol of progress yet it's light is impotent and the scene must be lit by an old fashioned flame just to the right.
Even today the strong symbolism of Guernica is something feared by those who would engage in war. In 2003, a copy of Guernica hanging in the United Nations was covered up and hidden so that Gen. Colin Powell and John Negroponte could speak about why war with Iraq was necessary without any pesky reminders of the cost.
Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about Picasso's Guernica, and please let me know if you have any more questions about the piece. Next week will be another Double Feature.
Monday, April 14, 2008
In "Ladybug with Flower" Perry, a Texas artist, takes us back to childhood, one populated with nursery rhyme characters and figures from the American subconscious.
Perry says of his work, "There's a part of me inside that never grew up. This part of me has and will always be fascinated by the colorful characters of nursery rhymes, children's stories and movies. I guess this is because there are no boundaries in the world of folklore, and I would like to be a part of that in what way I can. In this piece, how cool would it be if little bugs and critters could carry on such lives as this. In the world of folk art, it is possible. This little guy is stemmed with artistic influence from Tim Burton and other artists from children's stories. The part of my personality that this piece reflects is the joyful, curious child inside. When creating this piece it put a smile on my face, and I hope that it can do the same for my audience.
These two artists take us back to childhood themes, not with nostalgia, but with curiosity and an explorer's ethic. Please take a look at their work on Etsy and join me again next week when I take a look at Picasso's Guernica.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Above the Odds combines eastern and western imagery to create a mysterious, otherworldly atmosphere. The towering figure of Degas' little ballerina statue imposes itself on a Middle-eastern town. The young girl is on verge of womanhood, in a state of flux just as the Middle East struggles with it's own growing pains.
The juxtaposition of an immensely tall European girl-child into a Middle-eastern setting is enhanced by the further juxtaposition of orange and blue in the landscape. Though it is hardly unnatural to see an orange sky or a blue building, the saturation of the colors completes the atmosphere of uncertainty and vague foreboding. Yet the figure of the unselfconscious ballerina allows one to feel some sense of stability even here.
The image gently but firmly reminds us of the issue of women's rights, an often under-represented topic in the Middle East. Marion's long background in social work allows her to bring this issue to the fore with sensitivity and dignity. As the title Above the Odds implies, Marion has faith in human nature to rise above culturally imposed limitations.
Marion has much more work available to view in her Etsy shop (link provided above) and I encourage everyone to take a look.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Back in the realm of art....we'll skip over Constantine and move right along to an interesting mosaic from Emperor Justinian. Justinian faced a great many problems in his rule and very nearly lost his crown. He was, in fact, saved only by his co-regent, Theodora, who refused to give in to riots and danger and successfully rode out their problems.
In order to put up a strong front, Justinian utilized church imagery to reinforce his political position. As this mosaic shows, Justinian styled himself a representative of God. His purple robes and halo show his majesty and position as pontif-in-chief; his prominent position in the composition let's everyone know who is in charge.
After Justinian, one of the next big leaders in the West to use art to advance his political agenda was Charlemagne. Charlamagne is responsible for the creation of the lower-case alphabet and advancing education in the Dark Ages. He also fought the Iconoclasts who wanted to remove certain types of imagery from the theological sphere because Charlemagne recognised the power of art to help educate the masses.
The next major breakthrough came with Martin Luther and the use of movable type printing. This actually became something of an explosion as pamphlets with political cartoons began to circulate in force. Once the damn had been broken, the flow of information only increased to deluge proportions.
Next week...a bit of Revolutionary France's political art.