I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many postive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleaure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Do You See What I See?

A visit to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL is a real treat for anyone who loves art.  I had a second visit recently (concurrent with a Picasso exhibit...swoon) and enjoyed it as much the second time around.  This time my husband accompanied me and it was fun to compare notes after we each took a whirl around the beautiful halls.

Do you believe this is by Dali?  It was a piece he completed after four years of art school where he mastered classical painting.  This was done right before he threw the final exam at a teacher and declared the entire faculty incapable of teaching him....whereupon they denied him a certificate of graduation.  Didn't make his Pops too happy but this painting has stayed with me ever since I saw it many years ago.  It seems a long way apart from the dripping clock that is what most folks think of at the mention of his name.

When I talked about "reading" paintings last week I knew that Dali would challenge me with my own words.  He was the master at painting a scene within a scene within a scene which hid a political or philosophical message.  We spent our day at the exhibit deciphering his work and marveling at the variety of his styles and techniques.  But here is a fun one to share with you.  A really gigantic piece:

This was painted in 1976

From this great distance I am pretty certain that you see a portrait of Abe Lincoln, no?

As I moved in a little closer it begins to look pixelated (only that word was not invented "back then").
Actually it is a series of large squares divided up on the canvas, each in a slightly different color.

Here I stand in front of the painting. Now Lincoln is much harder to see and if the color came through a bit better you could clearly see the back of a nude looking out a window onto the ocean while down by the left two separate blocks hold smaller images of both Lincoln and the nude (his wife Gala).

Appropriately the painting is titled: "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at 20 Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln."  Clever name.  and if that was not enough he added that it was in homage to Mark Rothko (and his use of "color fields").  I cannot even imagine how he went about designing and executing this piece, never mind what made him tie the two things (3?) together.

Seeing his art is only half the fun, most folks remember Dali as quite a character (even appearing in tv commercials and movie bits in the US) and the museum is happy to share some of these personality stories via the guided tour head sets as well as the docents.  So enjoyable!

I could tell you about "The Average Bureaucrat," a painting of a man  (who resembles his father) with an empty head, save but a few seashells, and has no ears.  Relevant?  He painted it in 1930.  So many of his thoughts still so timely and universal to our understanding today.

And remember those dripping, draping clocks that have become the icon of this suited painter?  Well, I learned that they are now referred to (in art parlance) as "soft clocks" and they were devised when he stayed home from a movie one evening and and contemplated the idea of time, why it feels faster or slower, how it is relative and inconsequential both.  Hmmmmm, now you know!

Well worth a trip to visit...in my opinion!

Art Fully Yours,

Friday, December 12, 2014

Read this Art!

untitled, acrylic
24 x 12, canvas wrap

So what is going on here?  Read this painting for me; take a minute and tell me the story of this piece.

OK.  Time is up.  Did you see a story here?  What did you decide had happened in the piece?

(a few versions)
*  my husband: "Obviously the father owl at the top decided it was time to boot the child out of the nest, time for him to fly on his own."
* my son (an expectant father) "OMG, the poor child is obviously running away from the father who scolded him; he is flying to his Mom for comfort and love."
* me (the painter and soon-to-be-grandmother) "The father saw the son slipping from his protective reach and tried, unsuccessfully, to rescue him while the momma owl knows the kid can fly."

Besides announcing that I have a grand-bun-in-the-oven, I share this piece as a great way to illustrate the fact that art does hold a story...but not always the same story for everyone.

I chuckle when I read the erudite lessons on what some famous painter meant to say when he (she) painted a particular piece.  Oh my, were you there, did you discuss it with him (her)?  I much prefer to believe that the story within a piece is truly legit because it can/does mean something different for each viewer.  There in lies the timelessness of art.  What you see in it is true, because you read it based on your fears, life experiences, knowledge of the period and so on.  If there was only one story in a painting wouldn't it soon lose its relevance for the ages?

So my little owl painting surprised me with such a variety of interpretations...because I only saw it from my experience.  But it was fun to hear other meanings...all based on who was doing the reading.

So go forth, enjoy reading paintings and don't worry a whit as to whether or not you got it correct; I assure you, you did!

Whimsically Yours,

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sending Love to Spencer

I was afraid that my post festival report would center around the fact that I was battling a horrible cold and that the opening day weather was either off-shore gusts of wind or rain.  But you know, just when you almost wish you could be anywhere else but where you are, sometimes something happens to change your entire perspective.  And thus begins my story.  First a quick peek at the show:

My hardworking husband, Bob, and a fellow painter, Kathy, helped me with the tent set up late on Friday afternoon...if we did this more than once a year we might shave some time off the ordeal!  Kathy had a good eye for hanging and you note to the far left the beginning of what was my (required) show demo throughout the weekend.

The weather was really nasty on Friday but folks still came out, those that did were really interested in the art and spent a lot of time carefully looking and asking questions.  This photo is a street scene from the following day when the skies cleared and many more folks took advantage of the improved weather.

As I mentioned, I was feeling less than stellar and, despite many friends pitching in to help, I really just wanted to be home in bed.  Eventually I abandoned my demo work and put my chair in the street where I could watch folks in my booth and be available.  It was fun to observe what drew in different people and what got the most pauses.  And I did get some interesting questions.  When I was certain my watch was broken (time moved so slowly) I spotted a fellow about 15 years old walking towards my tent with purpose.  He had his Mom (I think) and a younger fellow with him.  I watched as he directed them to the heron painting, "Everglades Sentinel," and began talking to them.  (Next year I need hidden mics.) Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ribbon and carefully affixed it to the frame.  They took a final glance and turned to leave.  I caught his eye and his smile and motioned to him.  "Hey," I said, "I have no idea what that ribbon says but I do know that you, kind sir, just made my weekend."  He grinned and they left.

I have no idea who Spencer is or what made this fellow do this...I almost don't want to know because I have so enjoyed replaying the story and savoring the sweetness of it all.  But it did make my weekend, it suddenly was worth every bit of energy invested!

Spencer's Award has inspired me...and I hope you, to be more generous with my "awards" (i.e. my compliments) at shows such as this.  Heck, I have even thought about having some ribbons of my own made up....just for random acts of kindness.  It could not only go to my favorite painting but be bestowed upon the best waiter of the week, the kindest checkout clerk, the happiest fast food server....

Thank you Spencer and whatever motivated you to grace me!  Sending love back to you, I remain

Appreciatively yours,

Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Paint BIG in 1/8th Less Time

(If you are in eastern central Florida come see me Saturday and Sunday at ArtWorks in the Eau Gallie Arts District on Highland Avenue.  Booth #114 I will have all new work to share with you.)

Now, to save time on a large piece the big secret is....COLLABORATE!!
Yep, several years ago the Pieces began a study of selected "old masters," researching their lives, studying their techniques and copying selected pieces.

When we decided to do a show based on these works we knew we had to include Gustav Klimt .  Klimt was known for his fantasy paintings of figures using deco design and gold embellishment. We fell in love with his piece "The Kiss" and knew that many other folks loved it as well.

Time was short but 8 minds had a plan: if we each painted a section of the larger piece we could get it all done in 1/8th the time!  Right? Right! And thus the game was on.  Herding cats might have been easier.

Naturally we had to abandon personal styles and closely replicate the Klimt-technique, naturally we had to all finish on deadline and naturally someone (thank you Denette with her eye for fine detail) had to "marry" the edges once they were assembled and glued down.

But here is the result:

Isn't it beautiful? A gorgeous 30" x 24" oil painting exquisitely framed!  The piece sold at auction for $1000 ( to benefit a local charity working with women) and was dearly loved by its owner.

Alas, times change and the owner is downsizing/moving/divesting and needs to sell the piece to a new appreciator.  She says she is willing to part with it for just $300.00. Time to scoop up a bargain.  Contact Ralph at Ralph's Art Supplies, 321- 255-3331, if you are interested or wish to see the piece.  It is truly one of a kind.
Six of the Pieces of 8 gather around the Klimt painting they helped create:
Denette Schweikert, Mary Warnick, Carmen Beecher, Carol Schiff, Donna Vines and Cindy Michaud.

Friday, November 14, 2014

ArtWorks of Eau Gallie

When a young committee years ago decided to christian their street showing of art "ArtWorks" they knew they had encapsulated many meanings into their name.  But this week I am experiencing one meaning I hadn't thought of, namely "Art Works the artist..." oh my, this is the only street show I do and I now know why!  The stamina, physical and mental, it takes is enormous, and that is after the art is painted.

But first an invite to join us: November 22 and 23 on Highland Avenue in the heart of EGAD (the Eau Gallie Arts District).  From 10 until 5 both Saturday and Sunday, with a preview party on Friday, over 100 artists of all types will be sharing their work for pleasure and for sale.  It is always fun for the visitor because participants are required to be demonstrating their craft throughout the show...yikes, another expense of energy for the Art to Work.  Click on the dates here to read more.

So I have been doing a lot of this above: framing.  Sometimes I have the perfect frame in my home inventory and I can make it come together.  This show however has entailed numerous trips back and forth to the framers so he and I can get it all done in time.  And, no, I don't want to sell this piece for any less money without the frame (just one of the crazy questions people often ask).

The next several nights will be spent in choosing what to (very carefully) pack to carry and hang in the tent and in making the tags that need to legibly state title, size, media and price.  Then guessing what the weather will be so proper clothes, food etc is on hand for a long night and two days of being very pleasant to folks strolling the streets.  Will somebody please remind me why I do this?

So you fully understand the challenge let me also add that the painter showed up (we were in a three month queue) yesterday to begin painting every room in our house!  And with no time to start second guessing the bold color choices I had made many moons ago he transformed our kitchen into the loveliest of colors:turquoise!  WOW.  Go big or go home I always say.  Lest you think me totally crazy I fell in love, and was inspired by, the painting of the rooster on the right above.  Painted by the wonderful Frits van Eeden, I purchased Sir Rooster quite a while back when Frits was closing his gallery to return to Holland.  It just called to me and I never got around to hanging it up until we decided the house needed some new paint.

So get ready.  See the little hint of orange/coral in the upper right side of the piece?  That, my friend is the bold new color of the dining room which will also sport a turquoise glass chandelier.  And yes, you see yellow test patches in the living room?  No white walls in this place.  Cant wait to really dig in and clear out the domino of clutter caused by shifting one room into another during this process.  And yes, we hired a painter....I am known for kicking over buckets, dragging wet drop cloths over furniture and sticking screw drivers into outlets....we actually save money by hiring a pro!

So come see me at the festival...color can inspire exciting changes.

Color Fully Yours,

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Having Too Much Fun!

A huge hug to those of you who asked if my blog was MIA this Friday...thanks for noticing!  Truth is I was having way too much fun to even remember what time it was let alone know the day of the week.
I got a surprise last-minute invite to fill in for a travel buddy that was missing her companion for a cruise.  Did I want to come and see the Maya Ruins of Tulum, Mexico?  I was packed in a NY minute.

As a past student of Diana H. Gessler, I took the opportunity to keep a visual journal of our voyage. Check out the link for a far better example of how to do a travel journal, but Fay and I had a ball working on ours during down time while at sea.

Here is another sample: a Key West dive called B.O's where we had delightful fish sandwiches and a page about the Hemingway House which I had never visited before.  I was so glad to have my little paints and journal with me...it made it fun to share the trip with others, and the notes brought back a lot of laughs we shared.  Thanks Diana for your patience in teaching this (I took the class twice!!)

Also on the fun list was an afternoon creating "office art."  My darling in-town daughter-in-law was promoted to her own office and decided it needed some sprucing up.  She loved an abstract piece she saw of wild colors and I convinced her that with a little paint and time she could produce an original.  When she appealed for help I jumped at the chance.  She brought over the colors and canvas and we got to work.

Thank goodness they were not your typical office hues of brown and gold with a touch of navy blue: blah!  We were painting to match a smart rug she had purchased and a pencil holder she loved.  Did I also mention her requirement was cheery and lively??  Oops, I may have gone overboard...

Here's a sneak peek at the unfinished pieces...The one on the right will be titled "Joy" and the left one (still a ways to go) will be titled "Serenity."  And yes, they will hang in the same room...That way she can look up and balance her day by choosing whether she needs a dose of joy or a moment of serenity.  The power of art!!  And the fun of collaboration....she definitely had her hands in the yellow piece....it is so full of texture and movement that it may take days to dry fully.  I may even have turquoise in my hair today.  Worth it however, I loved the time with her.

So despite a couple of looming deadlines (art festival and holiday sale: more soon) I don't hesitate to smell the roses along the way...there are so many ways to enjoy art and art creation that rarely a day goes by that I cant find a way to further my interest and hone my abilities.

Wishing you a passion,