Monday, March 23, 2015

Artist of the Week: Leonardo da Vinci Italian Artist 1452-1519

Two of Leonardo da Vinci's works, the "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper", are the most famous, most reproduced and most parodied portrait and religious painting of all time, respectively, their fame approached only by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on everything from the Euro to text books to t-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of Leonardo da Vinci's paintings survive, the small number due to his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, comprise a contribution to later generations of artists only rivaled by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

A remarkable fact in the life of Leonardo da Vinci was his impeachment in 1476. At this time it was a common practice of handing out anonymous accusations in a wooden box in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Leonardo da Vinci was charged, together with three other men, of homosexual conduct. All defendants however were acquitted because of lack of evidence. That Leonardo da Vinci was homosexual now is generally accepted though.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Artist of the Week: Grant Wood

Grant Wood was an exceptional artist from a very young age. When Grant Wood was 14, he won third prize in a national contest for a crayon drawing of oak leaves and said that winning that prize was his inspiration to become an artist. His formal art education included two summers with Ernest Batchelder at the School of Design and Handicraft in Minneapolis and three years of occasional night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Grant Wood painted simple scenes of the land and people he knew best. Wood was an active painter from an extremely young age until his death, and although he is best known for his paintings, he worked in a large number of media, including lithography, ink, charcoal, ceramics, metal, wood and found objects. Grant Wood is most closely associated with the American movement of Regionalism that was primarily situated in the Midwest, and advanced figurative painting of rural American themes in an aggressive rejection of European abstraction He helped create an important, all-American style of art. Grant Wood’s paintings show the love he had for the people and customs of the Midwestern United States. Grant Wood particularly loved the farmland of Iowa.

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Big Sunflower" 2012 Acrylic on Canvas 7 X 4 Feet Triptych

"Big Sunflower" 2012 Acrylic on Canvas 7 X 4 Feet Triptych

"Big Sunflower" is an original, signed acrylic painting on a gallery-wrapped canvas by Citrus County Florida Artist Michael Arnold. "Big Sunflower" is a large painting done on three separate canvases. It is is an original, signed acrylic painting on 3 gallery-wrapped canvases by Citrus County Florida Artist Michael Arnold.Big Sunflower is a bright triptych painting in a style resembling Fernando Botero's. The over the top colors and sizes make a strong statement wherever you display it "Big Sunflower" is on three quality gallery wrapped canvases.

All sides are painted with no staples showing. The Michael Arnold original acrylic painting on canvas is ready to be hung and can be displayed with or without a frame. Each painting by award winning Citrus County Florida artist Michael Arnold is an original one of a kind signed piece of art and comes with a certificate of authenticity. The unique shaped acrylic painting is delivered on a stretched canvas. "Big Sunflower" acrylic canvas painting makes a bold statement on any wall where it is displayed.

 Purchase Big Sunflower Original Signed Acrylic Painting at Amazon

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Withlachoochee Heron" 2015 Acrylic on Canvas 36 x 18 inches

"Withlacoochee Heron"” is an original, signed acrylic painting on a gallery-wrapped canvas by Citrus County Florida artist Michael Arnold.

Withlacoochee Heron was painted in  the style of the impressionists with loose lines that allow the eye to fill in the blurred areas. This painting was not done in plein aire like the impressionists but I did visit
the spot and take multiple photographs.  

The Withlacoochee River originates in central Florida's Green Swamp, east of Polk City. It flows west, then north, and then turns northwest and finally west again before it empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Yankeetown. The river is 86 miles  long and has a drainage basin of 1,170 square miles. "Withlacoochee" probably stems from a Muskhogean dialect. It is compounded of Creek we (water) thlako (big), and chee (little), or little big water. This word combination signifies little river in the Creek language, and as we-lako or wethlako may also refer to a lake, it may signify a river of lakes, or lake river.

The area seen in the painting is near Dunnellon and was viewed while I was walking  on the Rails to Trails.
This original acrylic painting is on a quality gallery wrapped canvas. All sides are painted with no staples showing. The acrylic painting is ready to be hung and can be displayed with or without a frame.

Each Michael Arnold acrylic painting is an original one of a kind signed piece of art and comes with a certificate of authenticity. The painting is delivered on a stretched canvas.

The "Withlacoochee Heron"" acrylic impressionist landscape painting by award winning Citrus County Florida artist Michael Arnold makes a bold statement on any wall where it is displayed.

Purchase "Withlacoochee Heron on Amazon for $250

Monday, February 16, 2015

"Roses" 2015 Acrylic on canvas 36 x 18 inches

This is my newest painting. "Roses" is an original, signed acrylic painting on a gallery-wrapped canvas by Citrus County Florida artist Michael Arnold. "Roses combines realism with a modern abstract feel.  I have done several other rose paintings and this one combines the realism of "Two Roses" with the abstract  feel of "The Rose"

I enjoyed working on the painting and the work went pretty quickly with only a few changes from the original work. This is my fourth rose painting. Here's a view of my other attempts at roses:

 These are two roses from my wife’s rose bushes I sketched one morning. I then combined them into a single painting. "Two Roses" utilizes amazing detail and vivid color bring this original painting to life. 

 "Blue Rose" is an original, signed mixed media painting on canvas by Citrus County Florida artist Michael Arnold. "This painting uses texture and unusual colors to evoke emotion from the viewer. I applied strips of cloth to the canvas before painting to give the painting it's unique textured form. The impressionistic style and blue color palette add to the unique style of the artwork."

"The Rose” is an original, signed acrylic painting on a gallery-wrapped canvas by Citrus County Florida Artist Michael Arnold.

"I created this painting in my art class. One of the students had a rose and I wanted to capture the inner natural beauty of the flower. My interpretation of the flower gives it an abstract and surreal tone, but to me this is exactly how the rose looked, with it's beautiful petals!  I have shown this painting in the frame because I felt like the black frame added to the art piece".

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Polar Bear" 2015 Acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 inches

"Polar bear is one of my most recent works of art. The painting was inspired by my wife's love of bears.  Polar bears are specially adapted to the polar marine environment in which they live. Adaptations include: white coloration for camouflage; water repellent guard hairs, dense underfur, and black skin for absorbing warmth; small “suction cups” on the soles of their feet for traction on slippery ice; teeth specialized for a carnivorous rather than omnivorous diet; and the ability to store large amounts of fat when food is available and then use it later when food is unavailable. Polar bears’ primary food source are ringed seals but they also hunt bearded seals, walrus, and beluga whales, and will scavenge on beached carrion such as whale, walrus and seal carcasses found along the coast.

Polar Bear is on a quality gallery wrapped canvas. All sides are painted with no staples showing. The painting is ready to be hung and can be displayed with or without a frame. It can be purchased through Amazon by clicking this link.

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Klimt's Twinz" 2014 Original Artwork

Klimt's Twinz"” is an original, signed acrylic painting on a gallery-wrapped canvas by Citrus County Florida artist Michael Arnold.

Klimts Twinz was pained in a modern art style in celebration of the great Gustav Klimt.

This original acrylic painting is on a quality gallery wrapped canvas. All sides are painted with no staples showing. The acrylic painting is ready to be hung and can be displayed with or without a frame. 

It's been a while since I uploaded any new paintings , but i finally got six of them up on my website and now its time to share them on Facebook. This painting was a family favorite and we had a bit of a bidding war on where it was going to end up, but it is up in Gainesville right now. 

I named the painting Klimt's Twinz as a homage to Gustav Klimt. Gustav Klimt was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Art Nouveau movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects, many of which are on display in the Vienna Secession gallery. Gustav Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism--nowhere is this more apparent than in his numerous drawings in pencil. Gustav Klimt was a controversial figure in his time. His work was constantly criticized for being too sensual and erotic, and his symbolism too deviant. Today, they stand out as the more important paintings ever to come out of Vienna. His artwork below shows how he loved to mix the female body with lots of gold inlay.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Artist of the Week: Camille Pissarro

 Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist painter. His importance resides not only in his visual contributions to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but also in his patriarchal standing among his colleagues, particularly Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. Born July 10, 1830 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. to Abraham Gabriel Pissarro, and Rachel Manzano-Pomié, who was from the Dominican Republic. Camille Pissarro lived in St. Thomas until age 12, when he was sent to Paris to study. As a boy, Camille Pissarro earned acclaim for his budding talent as an artist. Pissarro returned to St. Thomas where he drew in his free time.

In 1852, Camille Pissarro traveled to Venezuela with the Danish artist Fritz Melbye, but was obligated to return to St. Thomas in 1847 to help his father run his general store. In 1855, Camille Pissarro had convinced his parents to allow him to pursue his dream of becoming a painter settling in France. He arrived in time to see the great World's Fair which included a large art section. Following the advice of Corot, whose landscapes he had admired at the fair, Pissarro was soon painting and sketching in small towns and villages near Paris, along the Seine, Oise and Marne rivers. Camille Pissarro studied at the Académie Suisse and formed friendships with Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, and other future members of the Impressionist group. By the late 1860s, his powerful realist landscapes, like "View from Louveciennes" (shown) were praised by the prominent critic Emile Zola. This landscape is one of the finest extant examples of Pissarro's earlier work. It was probably painted in the spring of 1870. The previous year Pissarro had moved from Pontoise to Louveciennes, a village a few miles west of Paris, where fellow Impressionists Renoir, Monet and Sisley were then active. Louveciennes overlooks the Seine and is close to the Forest and Park of Marly-le-Roi.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Artist of the Week: Paul Cézanne French Painter 1839-1906

Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. The French painter Paul Cézanne, who exhibited little in his lifetime and pursued his interests increasingly in artistic isolation, is regarded today as one of the great forerunners of modern painting, both for the way that he evolved of putting down on canvas exactly what his eye saw in nature and for the qualities of pictorial form that he achieved through a unique treatment of space, mass, and color. Cézanne was a contemporary of the Impressionists, but he went beyond their interests in the individual brushstroke and the fall of light onto objects, to create, in his words, "something more solid and durable, like the art of the museums.''

Paul Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence, France, on January 19, 1839. His father, Philippe Auguste, was the cofounder of a successful banking firm, which afforded Cézanne financial security that was unavailable to most of his fellow artists. In 1852 Paul Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon, where he met and became friends with Émile Zola. This friendship was important for both men and with youthful spirit they dreamed of successful careers in the Paris art world, Cézanne as a painter and Zola as a writer. Consequently, Cézanne began to study painting and drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts in Aix in 1856. His father was against the pursuit of an artistic career, and in 1858 he persuaded Cézanne to enter law school at the University of Aix. Although Paul Cézanne continued his law studies for several years, at the same time he was enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts in Aix, where he remained until 1861. In 1861 Paul Cézanne finally convinced his father to allow him to go to Paris, France.

"The House of Pere Lacroix in Auvers" french impressionism painting by French artist Paul CezanneIn Paris Paul Cézanne frequented the Louvre, where he met fellow artists such as Camille Pissarro and, later on, Claude Monet, Sisley, Bazille and Pierre Renoir. In September of the same year Paul Cézanne was refused admission to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and went back to Aix, to the great relief of his father, who offered him a position in his bank. But in November 1862 Paul Cézanne went back to Paris and took up painting again. Cezanne became acquainted with the revolutionary work of Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet. Paul Cézanne also admired the fiery romanticism of Eugène Delacroix's paintings. But he was never entirely comfortable with Parisian life and periodically returned to Aix, where he could work in relative isolation. He retreated there, for instance, during the Franco-Prussian War.

Paul Cézanne's paintings from the 1860s are peculiar, bearing little overt resemblance to the artist's mature and more important style. The subject matter is brooding and melancholy and includes fantasies, dreams, religious images, and a general preoccupation with the macabre. His technique in these early paintings is similarly romantic, often impassioned. In the "Man in a Blue Cap" pigments have been applied with a palette knife and the surface is everywhere dense with impasto. The same qualities characterize the weird "Washing of a Corpse" (1867-1869), which seems to picture the events in a morgue and to be a pietà as well.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Van Gogh Painting?

After two years of scrutiny, art experts have finally agreed that "Sunset at Montmajour" is indeed a Vincent Van Gogh original painting. The painting is believed to have been painted in 1888, shortly before van Gogh's death. and depicts a wooded area near Arles in the south of France. A large canvas measuring about 3 feet by 2½ feet, the painting was done during the same time period as many of Van Gogh's most famous paintings including his "Sunflowers" "The Yellow House" and ‘The Bedroom,"

The Van Gogh Museum is ecstatic over being able to unveil the painting. "A discovery of this magnitude has never before occurred in the history of the Van Gogh Museum," said Axel Rüger, the museum director, in a statement. "It is already a rarity that a new painting can be added to Van Gogh's oeuvre."  The museum said that there are two letters from the artist from the summer of 1888 that directly refer to the painting, which he considered to be a failed effort.

The artwork originally belonged  to Vincent Van Gogh's brother Theo, and was later sold in 1901. At one point, the piece belonged to a Norwegian collector who stored it in an attic after being told the work wasn't an authentic Van Gogh. The painting currently belongs to private collectors who wish to remain anonymous, according to reports.

According to letter Van Gogh wrote to his brother, on July 5 1888, he was not pleased with the results of the painting.

Yesterday, at sunset, I was on a stony heath where very small, twisted oaks grow, in the background a ruin on the hill, and wheat fields in the valley. It was romantic, it couldn’t be more so, à la [Adolphe Joseph Thomas] Monticelli, the sun was pouring its very yellow rays over the bushes and the ground, absolutely a shower of gold. And all the lines were beautiful, the whole scene had a charming nobility. You wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see knights and ladies suddenly appear, returning from hunting with hawks, or to hear the voice of an old Provençal troubadour. The fields seemed purple, the distances blue. And I brought back a study of it too, but it was well below what I’d wished to do.”

Van Gogh (1853-1890) crafted some of the world's best known and most loved paintings, including "Sunflowers," "Irises" and "Starry Night," and a number of self-portraits.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Central Florida Art Festivals

Fall is almost here in Central Florida, and with it comes all the wonderful art festivals. Make sure to take some time between football games to go to some of the areas best art shows.
Here is a rundown of some of my favorites:

October 12 & 13 head to Winter park for the 40th Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival is the only juried art show to feature Florida artists exclusively.  Held annually on the second weekend in October, this community-oriented sidewalk show presents quality visual art, live entertainment, children's activities and more.  The festival is held in beautiful Central Park located along historic Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park.

October 19 & 20 enjoy seafood and art at the 48th annual seafood festival in Cedar Key!
This major event features well over 200 arts and crafts exhibits, and great local seafood in City Park. There will be live musical entertainment at several places around town during the days and nights, and a parade on Saturday morning.There is also an open house at the lighthouse on Seahorse Key, the big island 3 miles to the west of Cedar Key. Explore the lighthouse, look at the exhibits and wander this beautiful island. Shuttle boats are available at City Marina.

October 26 & 27 head to Ocala, for the 47th Annual Ocala Arts Festival!
Experience art at its best. There will be over 200 fine artists from all parts of the country displaying their art.. This is the place to get started on your holiday shopping, purchase for your own collection, or browse and appreciate the art.

November 2 & 3 head to Invernesss for the Festival of the Arts!
Located around the Courthouse Square in Inverness, the annual event features over 100 artists displaying a wide variety of unique creations, including fine arts and hobbies and crafts. It is the longest running juried art show in Citrus County and is produced each year as a means to promote the Arts. Also in Inverness is the Annual Cooter Festival. You may have heard of the event when it was spoofed by The Daily Show. The last full weekend of October brings Sunny Cooter out of his turtle shell for three days of non-stop fun.

November 9 & 10 head to Homosassa for the Annual Art & Seafood Festival!
Located in the historic district of Old Homosassa, the art show is judged and non-judged with exhibitors from all over the country. The food court is a well-known attraction of the festival. Vendors from the community provide their seafood and other specialties. Whether it's fried catfish, gator tail or conch fritters, you will find it all and more in the food court.

November 16 & 17 travel to Gator Country to Gainesville's  Downtown Festival & Art Show!
Celebrating its 32nd  annual return, the show  transforms downtown Gainesville into a venue for award-winning artists and draws a crowd of more than 100,000. For two days, visitors can leisurely stroll through historic downtown and marvel at works from more than 250 of the nation’s most talented artists, who display their original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, captivating sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. With such a diverse array of unique art displayed for sale and competition, the Downtown Festival & Art Show is a great way to purchase one-of-a-kind art for you or a friend.

Art Syles: The Bauhaus School of Art

Wassily Kandinsky abstract art painting from the bauhaus school of artGermany has a great artistic tradition. The original forms of expression of Franz Marc, Emil Nolde and Max Ernst, Ludwig Kirchner and the urban images of Max Beckmann, George Grosz and Otto Dix left their mark on the first 30 years of the last century and formed the basis of the high esteem in which German Expressionism is held around the world.

The Bauhaus School was an academy of art and design founded in Weimar, Germany in 1919 by Walter Gropius. Bauhaus is a German expression that literally means "house for building." The Bauhaus school was founded to rebuild the country after a devastating war and also form a new social order.

As a social program, the Bauhaus’s ideals were that the artist must recognize his social responsibility to the community and likewise, the community must accept and support the artist. In the artistic theory, the Bauhaus school strived to produce a new approach to architecture that incorporated artistic design, craftsmanship, and modern machine technology. Their aim was the use the principles of Classical architecture in its pure form without ornamentation. Therefore, Bauhaus architects rejected details such as cornices, eaves, and other decorative elements. The Bauhaus was founded by combining the Weimar Art Academy and the Weimar Arts and Crafts School, thus students were trained as both artist and craftsman.

The Bauhaus holds a place of its own in the culture and visual art history of 20th century. This outstanding school affirmed innovative training methods and also created a place of production and a focus of international debate. It brought together a number of the most outstanding contemporary architects and artists. The Bauhaus stood almost alone in attempt to achieve reconciliation between the aesthetics of design and the more commercial demands of industrial mass production. read more at:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Art Styles & Impressions

Claude Monet Impressionism painting "Impression Sunrise"Artists work in a variety of colors, styles and media. Painters may use acrylics, oil paints, or watercolors, and may paint on a canvas, paper, or use mixed media supplies. When we think of the the great painters we often look at the French Impressionists. Painters like Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Gauguin all helped make art what it is today. As impressionists, they used color extensively, and the majority of impressionism focused on outdoor scenes. The term Impressionism derives from Caude Monet's painting "Impression: Sunrise" (shown here). A title was needed in a hurry for the catalogue of the exhibition in 1874. Monet suggested simply Impression, and the catalog editor, Renoir's brother Edouard, added an explanatory Sunrise.

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities. Impressionism often accentuates the effects of the passage of time. Using ordinary subject matter, Impressionism adds the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception, while focusing on unusual visual angles.

Another  style of art commonly seen is pop art. Artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein changed the way we think of  and classify art. Andy Warhol was called the "Prince of pop Art", and in 1968 he famously coined the phrase  "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." From 1962 on Andy Warhol started making silkscreen prints of famous personalities like Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. The quintessence of Andy Warhol art was to remove the difference between fine arts and the commercial arts used for magazine illustrations, comic books, record albums or advertising campaigns. Andy Warhol once expressed his philosophy in one poignant sentence: "When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums".

Roy Lichtensteins  first painting to feature his hard edge and speech bubble style "Look Mickey" Mickey Mouse painting 1961Roy Lichtenstein became famous for his benday dots and the comic book appearance of his artwork. Adding word bubbles to his artwork was his finishing touch. Roy Lichtenstein's first work to feature the large-scale use of hard-edged figures and Benday Dots was” Look Mickey”(featured here) in 1961. This artwork design came from a challenge from one of his sons, who pointed to a Mickey Mouse comic book and said; "I bet you can't paint as good as that, eh, Dad?" That year Roy Lichtenstein began hiding images of comic strip figures (such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Bugs Bunny) in his paintings.

Lichtenstein explains his artwork this way:"Abstract Expressionists put things down on the canvas and responded to what they had done, to the color positions and sizes. My style looks completely different, but the nature of putting down lines pretty much is the same; mine just don't come out looking calligraphic, like Pollock's or Kline's."

Artist of the Week Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian painter, whose exploration of the possibilities of abstraction make him one of the most important innovators in modern art. Both as an artist and as a theorist Wassily Kandinsky played a pivotal role in the development of abstract art. Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866, and spent his early childhood in Odessa. His parents played the piano and the zither and Kandinsky himself learned the piano and cello at an early age. The influence of music in his paintings cannot be overstated, down to the names of his paintings: "Improvisations", "Impressions", and "Compositions". Wassily Kandinsky once said "Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul".

The concept that color and musical harmony are linked has a long history, intriguing scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Wassily Kandinsky used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre (the sound's character), hue with pitch, and saturation with the volume of sound. Wassily Kandinsky even claimed that when he saw color he heard music. In 1886, he enrolled at the University of Moscow, chose to study law and economics, and after passing his examinations, lectured at the Moscow Faculty of Law. Wassily Kandinsky enjoyed success not only as a teacher but also wrote extensively on spirituality, a subject that remained of great interest and ultimately exerted substantial influence in his work. His early paintings were executed in a naturalistic style, but in 1909, after a trip to Paris during which he was highly impressed by the works of the Fauves and Post-Impressionists, his paintings became more highly colored and loosely organized.

Wassily Kandinski abstract painting by the Russian artist "Yellow Red and Blue Composition"In 1895 Wassily Kandinsky attended a French Impressionist exhibition where he saw Monet's "Haystacks at Giverny". Wassily Kandinsky stated, "It was from the catalog I learned this was a haystack. I was upset I had not recognized it. I also thought the painter had no right to paint in such an imprecise fashion. Dimly I was aware too that the object did not appear in the picture..." Soon thereafter, at the age of thirty, Kandinsky left Moscow and went to Munich to study life-drawing, sketching and anatomy, regarded then as basic for an artistic education.

Ironically, Kandinsky's work moved in a direction that was of much greater abstraction than that which was pioneered by the Impressionists. It was not long before his talent surpassed the constraints of art school and he began exploring his own ideas of painting - "I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could.." In 1901 in Munich together with Rolf Niczky, Waldemar Hecker, Gustav Freytag and Wilhelm Hüggen, Wassily Kandinsky founded "Phalanx", an association for avant-garde artists. During the next four years the association organized twelve exhibitions of its members. It was in the "Phalanx School" that Kandinsky met Gabriele Münter, an art student, who was to become his pupil, intimate companion, and critic until 1914.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alaska Artists

Many great artists are native to the state of Alaska. Alaska's most beloved and renowned resident artist and historical painter, Sydney Mortimer Laurence is best known for his trademark paintings of Mount McKinley. He, perhaps more than any other artist, helped create an image of Alaska as 'the last frontier'. Sydney Laurence was becoming renowned for his work throughout France and England, but he was unsatisfied. In 1904, at the age of 38, Laurence left his wife and two young sons in England and moved to Alaska, lured by adventure as well as stories of gold. Laurence was the first professionally trained artist to make Alaska his home During the artist's first eight years in Alaska, he painted very little. Rather, he moved around Alaska, prospecting and doing odd jobs as well as professional photography.

Living the hard life of the pioneer prospector, Sydney Laurence painted little in his first years in the territory, but between 1911 and 1914 he began to focus once again on his art. He moved from Valdez to the budding town of Anchorage in 1915.

In 1915, when Anchorage was brand new, Laurence established his studio in the lobby of the Anchorage Hotel and took an upstairs apartment. Doing business as The Sydney Laurence Co., he engaged in commercial photography as well as painting. He is responsible for recording many of the earliest images of Anchorage, from its days as a tent city, to the public auction of city lots, to the first snowfall on the new city's main street.

One of Alaska's most beloved artists, Jules Dahlager is often associated with fellow painters Sydney Laurence, Eustace Ziegler, and Ted Lambert as part of the "Alaska Four." Particularly known for his small paintings of Southeast Alaska, these little works have become known as Jules' jewels. Jules Dahlager was born in Brookings, Dakota Territory in 1884. He was a contemporary of Eustace P. Ziegler and Sydney Lawrence but never gained the fame of these two artists. Jules Dahlager was personally encouraged, however, by both men to continue his painting. Jules Dahlager's  paintings are treasured by many. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Florida Artists

The state of Florida is home to some of the greatest artists. People like Earl Cunningham, The Florida Highwaymen, Robert Rauschenberg & James Rosenquist all call Florida home.

Earl Cunningham is a talented American Folk artist.  Earl Cunningham was a self taught artist and used bold vivid colors mixed with a flat perspective. Cunningham often added incongruous details, "such as flamingos in Maine and Viking ships in Florida," to his work. Cunningham painted the American landscape of the Atlantic coast and its intracoastal ecosystem with dock workers, fishermen, farmers, wildlife and even American Indian tribes. As he traveled up and down the coast he painted his reflections of the surroundings. His own experiences informed his works, which celebrate the beauty of nature and often depict dramatic storms or sunsets. Painted in the American folk art style, his canvases are filled with images of birds, trees, boats and the sea, and are a unique reflection of American history, from Native American life to more modern times. His glorious, vivid colors have given him the reputation of being an American Primitive Fauve.

Earl Cunningham settled in St. Augustine in 1949, where he opened a curio shop called the Over Fork Gallery. He displayed his paintings there, although this artwork was not for sale. Earl Cunningham continued to paint in relative obscurity. In his spare time, he painted genre scenes, primarily landscapes of the places he saw during his lifetime: Maine, New York, Nova Scotia, Michigan, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. 

The Florida Highwaymen were a group of African American artists who fought against racial bias by creating a large quantity of artwork using supplies such as upson board and framed the works using white crown molding. On the weekends the artists would travel and sell their paintings to hotels, businesses, and individuals who appreciated the artwork for around $25 a piece. Their artwork was primal and raw depicting idyllic views of the Florida landscape, before rampant development would reconfigure the state's topography forever. The Highwaymen are credited for encouraging the beginning of the “Indian River School” and “Backus” art movements and have many followers but these 26 individuals are the only true “Highwaymen”: Curtis Arnett ,Hezekiah Baker,  Al Black, Ellis Buckner, George Buckner, Robert Butler, Mary Ann Carroll, Johnny Daniels, Willie Daniels, Rodney Demps, James Gibson, Alfred Hair, Issac Knight, Robert L. Lewis, John Maynor, Roy McLendon, Alfonso Moran, Harold Newton, Lemuel Newton, Sam Newton, Livingston Roberts, Willie Reagan, Cornell Smith, Charles Walker, Sylvester M. Wells, and Charles Wheele.

Robert Rauschenberg was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. Rauschenberg is perhaps most famous for his "Combines" of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations. While the Combines are both painting and sculpture, Rauschenberg also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance art. Rauschenberg found his signature mode of painting by embracing materials traditionally outside of the artist’s reach. He would cover a canvas with house paint, or ink the wheel of a car and run it over paper to create a drawing, while demonstrating rigor and concern for formal painting.

Considered one of the preeminent artists of the Pop Art Movement, James Rosenquist redefined art during the second half of the twentieth century. As Pop-Art booms in the 1960s, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann are the main protagonists. In addition to painting, James Rosenquist has produced a vast array of prints, drawings and collages. One of his prints, Time Dust (1992), is thought to be the largest print in the world, measuring approximately 7 x 35 feet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dali on display in Paris

Salvador Dali surrealist painting "The Persistance of memory" has melting clocks in various arrangementsSalvador Dalis art including his most famous surrealist piece "The Persistence of memory" showcasing melting clocks is currently on display in a large exhibit in Paris starting November 21st. The four-month show brings together more than 200 paintings, sculptures, along with drawings, writings and television clips from the 1920s to the 1980s. The Pompidou Centre modern art museum last did an exhibit of Dali's work in 1979 and it turned out to the biggest triumph in the museum’s history, attracting 840,000 visitors.

Salvador Dali was an eccentric Spanish painter that understood how the media worked and used it to its full potential. Dali was a prolific artist, creating more than 1500 paintings during his life time and many works in other mediums, including prints, drawings, sculpture, book illustration, and theater set designs. During his lifetime the public got a picture of a bizarre paranoid. His personality caused a lot of controversy. The most famous work of Salvador Dali is "The Persistence Of Memory"(shown here), which introduced the surrealistic image of the soft, melting pocket watch, The general interpretation of the work is that the soft watches debunk the assumption that time is rigid or deterministic, and this sense is supported by other images in the work, such as the wide expanding landscape and the ants and fly devouring the other watches.

 Besides creating a number of great paintings, Dali caused the attention of the media by playing the role of a surrealist clown. Salvador Dali made a lot of money and was contemptuously nicknamed Avida Dollars (greedy for dollars) by Andre Breton. Dali became the darling of the American High Society. Celebrities like Jack Warner or Helena Rubinstein gave him commissions for portraits. Salvador Dali's art works became a popular trademark and besides painting he pursued other activities, including jewelry and clothing designs for Coco Chanel, and film making with Alfred Hitchcock.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pets & Artwork

Artists can be creatively influenced by anything that sparks their interest. For some artists, that includes animals and pets. Artists like John James Audubon made a living drawing and painting nothing but wildlife. He painted, cataloged, and described the birds of North America in a form far superior to what had gone before. In his outsize personality and achievements, he seemed to represent the new American nation of the United States. American artist and ornithologist.

While Georgia O’Keeffe is best known for her over sized flower renditions, she also did some magnificent paintings on animals bones, often the skulls of cattle. Just as with the flowers, Georgia O'Keeffe painted the bones magnified and captured the stillness and remoteness of them, while at the same time expressing a sense of beauty that lies within the desert.

Henri Rousseau jungle painting "Tiger Surprised" Tiger in a Tropical Storm"Henri Rousseau was best known for his bold pictures of the jungle, teeming with flora and fauna. His "Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)" (shown here)was exhibited in 1891, and Rousseau received his first serious review, when the young artist Félix Vallotton wrote: "His tiger surprising its prey ought not to be missed; it's the alpha and omega of painting."

One of the more famous works in low brow art is the dogs playing poker. Cassius Marcellus Coolidge is  well known for creating paintings of dogs playing poker. He actually created a whole series of oil paintings in the 1920s depicting dogs engaging in many different human activities.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Buying Art

The artwork in your home says a lot about you. It tells whether you prefer modern or classic, colors or monochrome and what design aesthetic appeals to you. That's why it's important to choose the right artwork for your home. Choosing artwork for your home can be an exciting adventure and a source of enjoyment for years to come.  Read on for ideas on how to find that perfect artwork that will compliment your home decor. The first step in choosing original art for your home is to decide what you actually want. The choices can be broadly divided into the following three main categories:

• hanging art – this can include oil paintings, abstract art or any other piece of art that can be hung on your wall.
• photography – the styles of photography can vary immensely, but the main decision is whether it is color or black and white.
• sculpture – a piece of sculpture can be made from a variety of materials, from clay to bronze.

There’s no room in your home that should be left without some form of artwork in it, and the kitchen is no exception. Many people spend a lot of time in their kitchens; it’s one of the most used rooms in the home. It should be decorated with artwork that you would love to look at over a great meal. Once you have ascertained which of the forms of original art you want to buy, you also need to research the artist’s work. You may have a firm favorite who creates pieces of modern art that you adore, or want a piece of art that is in the style of one of the old masters of the renaissance. The internet is a great place to start if you are still undecided. Below are some keys to success in figuring out what kind of artwork you like, how it will fit in with the rest of your interior design plans, and how to exhibit the artwork to the best effect in your home.

Look at as much artwork as possible before you make your selection.
In addition to museums and for-profit galleries, check out local outdoor exhibitions, co-op and non-profit galleries, and art in public spaces such as banks, restaurants and libraries. The internet is another great way to find a large variety of fine art available worldwide. One advantage of using the internet is that you can search for the specific kind of art you are interested in, whether it's photography, impressionism, bronze sculpture, or abstract painting. Choosing artwork for your home is a big step and you want get a good idea of what direction you want to take with the artwork.

Purchase art online
Purchasing paintings over the Internet lets you avoid the snooty salesperson telling you what you should like and allows you to look at things leisurely with no sales pressure. Know that you can spend anywhere from $20 (for a poster) to $2,000 (for a painting) for art purchased over the Internet. Many specialized Web sites allow consumers to do searches within a specific price range. Always view art on the Internet with the highest-resolution monitor you can. Also be sure to view art on the Internet in its largest possible size. When using the internet to choose artwork for your home you are able to take all the time you want to search for the perfect artwork.

Look at whatever information the artist provides about him or herself, and the painting.

Often times artists will put a pamphlet or a note card with their paintings, telling the story of its creation, and any events that inspired it. Sometimes you will find moving stories that help you understand the painting better. To establish a good art collection, you should know as much as you can about the history of the painting, and about the artist who made it. Research the biography of an artist. Chances are if you like one of his or her pieces, you'll like another. Choosing several pieces of artwork for your home from the same artist will give your home a cohesive feel as guests travel from room to room

Select artwork by size to fit a particular space.
Art that is too large will overwhelm and art that is too small will be lost and look out of proportion. The bolder the art, the more room it needs to breathe. Measure the space you want to hang the art and leave enough "white space" so that the painting will not feel crowded. Remember when choosing artwork for your home, you want the artwork and your home decor to work together.

Choose one that harmonizes with the color of your room.
When selecting a painting to match color, select one or two of the boldest colors in your room and look for art that has those colors in it. You're not looking for an exact match here. Picking up one or two of the same colors will send a message that the painting belongs in this environment. Choose artwork that compliments the colors in your home, but don't try to match the colors or the artwork you choose for your home won't stand out enough to be noticed.

Opt for paintings that matches the style of the paintings is your room.
If your house is filled with antiques, for example, you'll want to use antique-style frames on the paintings you hang there. If you have contemporary furniture in large rooms with high ceilings, you'll want to hang large contemporary paintings. Try to choose artwork for your home that matches or compliments your style, but don't be afraid to think outside the box, an eclectic style can mix several different styles together if done properly.

Amend your room if the painting doesn't suit it.
As an artist, I'd certainly prefer that everyone buy the art they love and then find a place to put it. If you feel strongly about a particular work of art, this is certainly the way to go. But you may find that when you get the art home and place it on a wall or pedestal, it doesn't work with its surroundings. By not "working," I mean the art looks out of place in the room. Placing art in the wrong surroundings takes away from its beauty and impact. What should you do if you bring a painting home and it clashes with its environment? First, hang the painting in various places in your home, trying it out on different walls. It may look great in a place you hadn't planned on hanging it. If you can't find a place where the art looks its best, you may need to make some changes in the room, such as moving furniture or taking down patterned wallpaper and repainting in a neutral color. The changes will be worth making in order to enjoy the art you love. When choosing artwork for your home you may want to first choose the artwork then make a place for it in your home.

Hang correctly.
As a rule, paintings should be hung so that the center of the painting is at eye level. Sculpture may sit on the floor, a table, or pedestal. Rules should be considered guidelines only, however, so feel free to experiment. One collector hung an acrylic painting on her bedroom ceiling so she could better view it while lying down. Choosing the right artwork for your home is only part of the process, hanging and displaying the artwork properly is essential.

Art as the Center Attraction.
Make the painting the center of attraction of your room of your house by playing down the other design elements such as window coverings, carpeting, wall coverings, and even furniture. A room crowded with other colors, textures, and objects will take the spotlight away from the art. When you choose artwork for your home, think of the statement you are wanting to make with the art, then give the artwork the place on the wall where that statement can be best heard.

Experiment to learn what pleases you and what doesn't.
Selecting and displaying art is an art in itself. You'll be well-rewarded for the time you invest by finding more satisfaction both in the art and in your home. Choosing artwork for your home is a continuing process. Don't stop once you get a piece of artwork you like, instead continue to expand your art collection and try each piece of artwork in different areas of your home.

Make sure there is enough light on the art to show it off.

Consider track lighting or picture lights if the art requires more light. Choosing the perfect artwork for your home doesn't do any good if no one can see and appreciate the artwork.

You shouldn’t rush the process of buying art.
Instead you should establish what exactly you want, then keep your eyes peeled for anything that fits those needs. If you go to enough art festivals, galleries, and shows, you’ll eventually be able to find a nice painting that complements your home. But be careful – once you discover the joys of shopping for art, it can be difficult to quit. Choosing artwork for your home is an ongoing process. Keep your eyes open and when you see something you like, don't be afraid to make the purchase.

Artist of the Week: Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper, the best-known American realist of the inter-war period, once said: 'The man's the work. Something doesn't come out of nothing.' This offers a clue to interpreting the work of an artist who was not only intensely private, but who made solitude and introspection important themes in his painting. While most popularly known for his oil paintings, Edward Hopper was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching. In both his urban and rural scenes, his spare and finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life.

Edward Hopper was born in upper Nyack, New York, a yacht-building center north of New York City, the only son of a comfortably well-off, middle-class family. His parents, mostly of Dutch ancestry, were Garret Henry Hopper, a dry-goods merchant, and his wife Elizabeth Griffiths Smith. Hopper was a good student in grade school and showed talent in drawing at age five. Edward Hopper readily absorbed his father’s intellectual tendencies and love of French and Russian culture and demonstrated his mother’s artistic lineage. In 1895, Edward Hopper created his first signed oil painting, Rowboat in Rocky Cove, which demonstrated his early interest in nautical subjects. In his early self-portraits, Hopper tended to represent himself as skinny, ungraceful, and homely. Though a tall and quiet teenager, his prankish sense of humor found outlet in his art, sometimes in depictions of immigrants or of women dominating men in comic situations. By 1899 Edward Hopper had already decided to become an artist, but his parents persuaded him to begin by studying commercial illustration because this seemed to offer a more secure future. Edward Hopper first attended the New York School of Illustrating, then in 1900 transferred to the New York School of Art. It was here that Hopper studied with legendary teachers William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller.

Edward Hopper painting "Hopper 6 Soir Bleu" 1914 artworkEdward Hopper would describe Robert Henri as 'the most influential teacher I had', adding 'men didn't get much from Chase; there were mostly women in the class.' Early on, Hopper modeled his style after Chase and French masters Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas. Sketching from live models proved a challenge and a shock for the conservatively raised Hopper. Edward Hopper was a slow developer in art, remaining at the School of Art for seven years, eventually became a part time teacher there. Like the majority of the young American artists of the time, Edward Hopper longed to study in France. With his parents' help he finally left for Paris in October 1906. This was an exciting moment in the history of the Modern movement, but Hopper was to claim that its effect on him was minimal.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Artist of the Week: Alberto Giacometti Swiss Artist 1901-1966

Alberto Giacometti, "City Square", bronze sculpture, 1948 Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draftsman, and printmaker. Giacometti was a popular artist and sculptor renowned for his complete dedication to his work. Alberto Giacometti is best known for is sculptures of the human form, stretched out with elongated limbs.

Alberto Giacometti was born in the little village of Borgonovo in the Swiss canton of Grisons on October 10, 1901. He spent his first school years in the neighboring village of Stampa. Alberto's father, Giovanni Giacometti, was a neo-impressionist painter, and under his instructions Alberto learned to paint and make models.

His father introduced him to working in the atelier, his godfather (the painter Cuno Amiet) taught him the latest styles and techniques, and the other members of his family assisted with his artistic development by sitting for him as models. In 1916, during high school, Alberto Giacometti displayed total mastery of impressionist language in a portrait of his mother modeled with plastilina. Shortly before graduating from secondary school, Alberto Giacometti dropped out of school in 1919 to fully dedicate himself to art.

Following a trip to Venice and Rome in 1920, during which Giacometti developed a passion for the work of Tintoretto and Giotto, Alberto Giacometti resolved to recover the innocent gaze of man's origins through primitive art and anthropology. In 1922 Alberto Giacometti moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, an associate of Auguste Rodin. It was there that Alberto Giacomettiexperimented with cubism and surrealism. Among Alberto Giacometti's associates were Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso and Balthus. It was at this point Alberto Giacometti started writing and drawing for his magazine "Le surréalisme au Service de la Révolution" and he began to establish himself as a leading sculptor of the Surrealist movement.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Artist of the Week: Richard Estes

Richard Estes is an American painter best known for his photorealistic paintings which generally consist of reflective, clean, and inanimate city and geometric landscapes. Estes is regarded as one of the founders of the international photo-realist movement of the late 1960's, with painters such as Ralph Goings, Chuck Close, and Duane Hanson. Their work exhibits a high finish, fine details and an almost photographic fidelity to reality.

Richard Estes belongs to a rich history of artists who have depicted New York City, and has a detailed knowledge of the city's diverse architecture, infrastructure and habitants. Although not a native New Yorker, New York has been his home and a recurring motif in his work for over 30 years. Habitually depicting urban landscapes, Estes begins with photography to collect and record information. Richard Estes then works free-hand to paint in a fluid and open-ended process his remarkably intricate and realistic scenes. While unquestionably reconstructing reality, Estes' paintings and prints expand the sensory range of the viewer allowing a greater focus and providing more information than the naked eye. His prints are no exception in creating this extrasensory experience. They are built up in layers of color and capture a palette and vitality similar to the detailed clarity of his paintings. Richard Estes remains a prominent figure in the contemporary art world, and has secured a place in art history as one of the most captivating American realists to date.

Richard Estes was born in 1932 in Kewanee, Illinois. He moved to Chicago at an early age and studied fine arts from 1952 to 1956, with a concentration on figure drawing and traditional academic painting, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Richard Estes frequently studied the works of realist painters such as Degas, Hopper and Eakins, who are strongly represented in the Art Institute's collection.

Richard Estes moved to New York City in 1956, after he had completed his course of studies, and worked for the next ten years as a graphic artist for various magazine publishers and advertising agencies in New York and Spain. During this period Richard Estes painted in his spare time, and by 1966 he had saved enough money so that he could devote himself full-time to painting. Most of Estes' paintings from the early 60's are of New Yorkers engaged in everyday activities.  Read More

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

No Love Lost Between Artist & Dealer

Love sculpture by pop artist Robert Indiana
Renowned pop artist Robert Indiana is being sued by a Monaco-based art dealer for renouncing the authenticity of sculptures once valued as high as $1 million. Best known for his 1964 block letter creation featuring an L-O arranged on top of a V-E, Indiana's works are part of the permanent collection of major museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art. The LOVE design was featured on an 8-cent U.S. postage stamp issued on Valentine's Day in 1973.

Conceived in a time when the United States was consumed by the Vietnam War, LOVE became a symbol for Peace. This famous sculpture is one of the most celebrated works within the pop art movement as well the art world as a whole.

The iconography first appeared in a series of poems originally written in 1958, in which Indiana stacked LO and VE on top of one another. The first LOVE sculpture was carved out of a solid block of aluminum, highly unpolished, that the pop artist had made for a show at the Stable Gallery in 1966. The idea for the sculptural piece originated from a visit to a Christian Science church in Indianapolis, where Robert was taken by an adorned banner that read "GOD is LOVE." He then created a painting for an exhibition held in what was formerly a Christian Science church. It depicted the reverse of the previous banner, stating "LOVE is GOD."

Shortly after, Indiana was commissioned to design a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art, for which he made three small paintings of the word love in red, blue and green. These cards were printed in 1965 and since have been the most popular card MoMA has ever published. Since then LOVE has become a cultural icon and has been used extensively throughout the art world and media, with and without the artist's approval.

According to the lawsuit filed in superior court in Rockland, Maine, art buyer Joao Tovar paid $481,625 for 10 sculptures of the word PREM, a Sanskrit term meaning "love," from John Gilbert, a one-time business partner of renowned pop artist Robert Indiana. He states that he bought the artwork in good faith believing that Indiana had officially licensed their production.

Indiana, who lives on an island off the Maine coast, renounced the sculptures in a 2009 letter to New York dealer Simon Salama-Caro, saying they had been conceived by Gilbert in India and made without his permission. The move led auction house Christie's to remove them from an upcoming sale. Indiana's denial of his approval "rendered the sculptures worth little more than the materials from which they were made," says the suit, which was filed April 30, 2012.

Tovar says that he relied upon a 2008 certificate of authenticity provided by Gilbert that includes Indiana's signature and the words "To Tovar" at the bottom of the page near Gilbert's signature. Court filings show that Indiana acknowledged that the signature on the document was his but that it was meant as a souvenir for Tovar, rather than acknowledgement that the work was his.

Monday, May 7, 2012

An Art Weekend In St Augustine

We just got back for an art week-end in St. Augustine Florida. The city has a monthly art walk, where numerous galleries are open and serve hors d'oeuvres and wine. The city even offers a free trolley ride. We had a wonderful time and got to see both local and some more famous artwork, including the Florida Highwaymen.

One of my favorite artists was Sandra Pierce. Her bold flower designs on a black canvas were simply stunning! If you get a chance to go to the art walk, it is held on the first Friday of the month. We stayed at the Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast located in the historic district and had a wonderful stay. One nice bonus to our art week-end was that I sold a print of my Rock Through the Ages painting while in St. Augustine.

Artist of the Week: Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Art Nouveau movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects, many of which are on display in the Vienna Secession gallery. Gustav Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism--nowhere is this more apparent than in his numerous drawings in pencil. Gustav Klimt was a controversial figure in his time. His work was constantly criticized for being too sensual and erotic, and his symbolism too deviant. Today, they stand out as the more important paintings ever to come out of Vienna.

Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, and was the second of seven children. All three sons displayed artistic talent early on. His father, Ernst Klimt, formerly from Bohemia, was a gold engraver. Ernst married Anna Klimt, whose unrealized ambition was to be a musical performer. Klimt lived in poverty for most of his childhood, as work was scarce and the economy difficult for immigrants. In 1876, Gustav Klimt was awarded a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, where he studied until 1883, and received training as an architectural painter. Klimt revered the foremost history painter of the time, Hans Makart. Gustav Klimt readily accepted the principles of a conservative training; his early work may be classified as academic. In 1877 his brother Ernst, who, like his father, would become an engraver, also enrolled in the school. The two brothers and their friend Franz Matsch began working together; by 1880 they had received numerous commissions as a team they called the "Company of Artists", and helped their teacher in painting murals in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Gustav Klimt controversial painting "Hope I" of a naked pregnant womanGustav Klimt's style grew increasingly experimental and his murals for Vienna University, commissioned by the State in 1894, were roundly attacked by critics for their fantastical imagery and their bold, decorative style. Gustav Klimt became interested in Symbolism and Art Nouveau and he and fifteen other artists, dedicated to challenging the conservative Academy of Fine Arts. resigned from the Viennese Artist's Association and founded the Vienna Secession in 1897. Gustav Klimt was elected president and the group secured its own exhibition space and published an illustrated magazine. Influenced by European avant-garde movements represented in the annual Secession exhibitions, Gustav Klimt's mature style combined richly decorative surface patterning with complex symbolism and allegory, often with overtly erotic content. Gustav Klimt was commissioned to paint three allegorical panels representing Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna in 1894. Read More---->

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Literary Artists

Although we focus on the visual arts, we want to send a shout out to all the great literary artists. Like painters, authors paint us a story. They weave a tale that evokes emotions ranging from love to terror. All of us have a favorite author and its easy to get stuck on one genre or writer, ignoring all the rest. With summer right around the corner its time to discover some of the great authors in Literature.

With the invention of Kindles, and IPads, we can easily read on the go without having to invest in costly books or go to the library. Here are a few of my favorite authors to help you get inspired.
  • Dean Koontz- One of the most popular writers of chillers and horror thrillers of the 1980s and '90s, Dean Koontz has been a regular denizen of the bestseller lists. The secret of his success lay in his ability to create likable, easy to identify with, and believable characters and place them in macabre or mind-bending futuristic situations. 
  • William Faulkner-  William Faulkner, one of the 20th century's most gifted novelists, wrote for the movies in part because he could not make enough money from his novels and short stories to support his growing number of dependents. The author of such acclaimed novels as "The Sound and the Fury" and "Absalom, Absalom!", Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1949 and he received two Pulitzer Prizes, for "A Fable" in '1955 and "The Reivers", which was published shortly before he died in 1962.
  • John Steinbeck- American novelist, story writer, playwright, and essayist. John Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. He is best remembered for his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, widely considered to be a 20th-century classic. The impact of the book has been compared to that of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Steinbeck's epic about the migration of the Joad family, driven from its bit of land in Oklahoma to California, provoked a wide debate about the hard lot of migrant laborers, and helped to put an agricultural reform into effect. 
  • Edgar Allan Poe- The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

Plein Air Painting

It's springtime and what better time to discover plein air painting. A French tern plein air literally translates into 'open air', and is defined as painting or drawing done outside, in the open air. The equivalent term in Italian would be alfresco. As seen in the painting Philodendrons, plein air painting can bring new life to your artwork.

Although painting outdoors has always been around, it became particularly important during Impression when lighting became a key resource in artwork. Because painters began to paint outside on a regular basis, they needed an easy way to travel with their canvas and tools and so born out of necessity was the French Box Easel. It is uncertain who developed it first, but these highly portable easels, with telescopic legs and built-in paint box and palette, made treks into the forest and up the hillsides less onerous. Still made today, they remain a popular choice even for home use since they fold up to the size of a brief case and thus are easy to store.

Practiced by such great artists as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, plein air painting may inspire you to create a true masterpiece!

Artist of the Week: Georgia O'Keeffe

Among the great American artists of the 20th-century, Georgia O’Keeffe stands as one of the most compelling. For nearly a century, O’Keeffe’s representations of the beauty of the American landscape were a brave counterpoint to the chaotic images embraced by the art world. Her cityscapes and still life's filled the canvas with wild energy that gained her a following among the critics as well as the public. Though she has had many imitators, no one since has been able to paint with such intimacy and stark precision. With exceptionally keen powers of observation and great finesse with a paintbrush, Georgia O'Keeffe recorded subtle nuances of color, shape, and light that enlivened her paintings and attracted a wide audience.

Georgia O'Keeffe's primary subjects were landscapes, flowers, and bones, explored in series over several years and even decades. The images were drawn from her life experience and related either generally or specifically to places where she lived. Remarkably, she remained independent from shifting art trends and stayed true to her own vision, which was based on finding the essential, abstract forms in nature. Born in 1887 near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Georgia O'Keeffe received art training at the Art Institute of Chicago school (1905), the Art Students League of New York (1907–8), the University of Virginia (1912), and Columbia University's Teachers College, New York (1914–16). Georgia O'Keeffe became an art teacher and taught in various elementary schools, high schools, and colleges in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina from 1911 to 1918. During one such position, Georgia O'Keeffe produced a remarkable series of charcoal drawings that led her art, and her career, in a new direction.

Georgia O'keeffe erotic painting "Blue Flower"Georgia O'Keeffe was married to the pioneer photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) in 1924. Alfred Stieglitz was 54 when Georgia arrived in New York, 23 years her senior. Educated in Berlin, he had studied engineering and photography before returning to the States at the turn of the century and opening the 291 gallery. He pioneered the art of photography, and single-handedly introduced America to the works of Picasso, Matisse, and Cezanne at the gallery, along with publishing his well respected "Camera Works" magazine. It was at Stieglitz's famed New York art gallery "291" that her charcoal drawings were first exhibited in 1916. The union lasted 22 years, until Stieglitz's death.

During the long winter months in New York Georgia O'Keeffe began to paint her very large flowers, some of her most popular work today. Georgia O'Keeffe completed her first enormous flower painting in 1924.The giant flower paintings were first exhibited in 1925. A Calla Lily painting would sell for $25,000 in 1928 and draw media attention to "O'Keeffe" like never before. Georgia's financial success would finally prove to her that an artist could make a living with a paintbrush. "I know now that most people are so closely concerned with themselves that they are not aware of their own individuality, I can see myself, and it has helped me to say what I want to paint" ,stated Georgia O'Keeffe referring to the 300 photos taken of her by her husband.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Artist of the Week- Thomas Kincade RIP

Thomas Kinkade is renowned as “The Painter of Light”. By infusing light into his paintings for a dramatic effect of pictorial lighting, Thomas Kinkade creates incredibly romantic and tranquil scenes that seem to glow from within. This incredible ability combined with Thomas Kinkade’s choice of wholesome themes has made Thomas Kinkade America’s most collected living artist. Thomas Kinkade grew up in Northern California in the small town of Placerville, along the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Though the family did not have wealth, Kinkade often says they were "rich in the greatest form of wealth; a nurturing and affirming love." It was during these lean years, that Thomas Kinkade embraced the Christian faith that later would shape his approach to life and Thomas Kinkade’s art. The beauty and need of simplicity and life-affirming values entwined themselves deep in Thomas Kinkade and since then can be found running through all of his works.

Thomas Kinkade's first "collector" was his mother, who would frame his childhood drawings and use them to decorate the family home. In Placerville, he was a boy with crayons, a kid who could draw. He was also the local newspaper delivery boy, an avid swimmer and loyal friend. As a child he constantly read biographies of artists, including those of painters and illustrators like Norman Rockwell, Maxwell Parrish and Howard Pyle. At age 11, he had his first "apprenticeship." Charles Bell, a local painter, instructed him in basic techniques.

One of Thomas Kinkades early paintings "Dawson"In high school, Thomas Kinkade came face to face with twentieth-century modernism in the person of Glenn Wessels, a former professor in the art department at the University of California. Wessels encouraged Kinkade both to tie his art more directly to emotion (rather than observation alone) and to experiment with highly personal forms of expression. He also influenced Kinkade's decision to attend the University of California at Berkley. Kinkade studied art at the University of California at Berkeley, where his roommate was the now-renowned artist James Gurney. Gurney, famous for his Dinotopia creations, has collaborated with Thomas Kinkade, and the two remain close friends. Kinkade spent a summer on a sketching tour with Gurney producing the best-selling instructional book, "The Artist's Guide to Sketching". Kinkade and Gurney set off on an artistic adventure, traveling coast-to-coast by rail, stopping in small towns and sketching, soaking up the color and learning about their subjects wherever they happened to be.  Read More

Thursday, April 12, 2012

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Vincent van Gogh

One of the most mesmerising, brilliant and intriguing artist – both professionally and personally – to ever walk this earth was Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, born Vincent Willem van Goghwas. The post-Impressionist painter is known for his emotional honest oil paintings, fused with bold and bright colour and coarse beauty. Despite his widespread fame and impact, several aspects of Van Gogh’s professional and personal life are not well known to the public. They are as follows:

Posthumous fame obscenely outweighs his contemporary standing Most artists find their artwork appreciates in value after the die, which is of course one of the supreme ironies of art. If you live long enough, however, the world might just catch up to your genius, as did Picasso, Matisse and Monet, for example. Unfortunately, Van Gogh, like Alfred Sisley, belongs to the former camp: in his life he only sold one painting, The Red Vineyard (1888), for 400 Swiss Francs, or the equivalent of about USD $1,600 today.

Now consider how much Van Gogh’s oil paintings are worth today (all prices adjusted for inflation): his 1890 oil painting Portrait Of Dr. Gachet is the fourth most expensive painting ever, sold for $144.1 million. The second most expensive Van Gogh painting is Portrait of Joseph Roulin (1889), sold for $107 million. Next is Irises (1889), which was sold for $105.1 million, followed by Self-Portrait Without Beard (1889) for $98.5 million, A Wheatfield With Cypresses (1889) for $89.2 million, Vase With Fifteen Sunflowers (1888) for $79.9 million and Peasant Woman Against A Background Of Wheat (1890) for $66.8 million. Add up the seven oil paintings and the total is more than $670 million, an amount that Van Gogh could have only dreamt of. In fact, the artist was so financially destitute that most of his support came from his brother Theo.

Special brotherly bond If there was a prize for Best Supporting Brother in Artistic Drama, the Oscar would have to go to Theo Van Gogh. Vincent’s younger brother made it possible for his brother to paint, and for Van Gogh’s paintings to have the impact they have on the world today. He supported Vincent throughout his whole life, not just financially but emotionally and intellectually – important factors, considering Vincent’s near-constant depression. Theo died just six months after Vincent’s passing, apparently overcome with the loss compounding other physical ailments. As in life, the pair are together in death. They are buried next to each other in Auvers-sur-Oise. Was he accidentally shot?

Pulitzer Prize winning biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith argue in Van Gogh: the Life, that the artist was accidentally shot by either a boy or two boys known to have a gun in the area. Their counter-evidence, CSI style! Firstly, Van Gogh had no experience with guns. Secondly, revolvers were tremendously rare in rural France. Thirdly, his stomach wound is very unusual for someone whom shoots themselves in a suicide attempt. Also, the traditional story is that Van Gogh shot himself in a wheat field after a session of painting – however, no painting easel was ever found, and the revolver was not found either. Finally, the authors contend that there was no motivation, perhaps the most important factor in any suicide: Van Gogh had just sold his one and only painting, he received praise from Monet and Parisian critics, and he didn’t leave a suicide note to his beloved brother Theo, who was on his way to visit him. As the authors said: “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Tracy Raian is passionate about everything paintings and arts. Whenever she's not out having fun she writes about oil paintings. For more information on the most popular oil painting reproductions on the market, please visit

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Artist of the Week: Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt was an artist of surprises, mostly small, but often subtle and profound. Cassatt is known as a "painter of mothers and children." Mary Cassatt often created images of the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children. Mary Cassatt is considered the first American Impressionist artist, she was born in Pittsburgh and lived in France. Mary Stevenson Cassatt was born on May 22, 1844 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, into a well-to-do family. The Cassatt family was of French Huguenot origin; they escaped persecutions and came to New York in 1662. Cassatt grew up in an environment that viewed travel as integral to education; she spent five years in Europe and visited many of the capitals, including London, Paris, and Berlin. Mary Cassatt had her first lessons in drawing and music while abroad and learned German and French. Mary Cassatt's first exposure to French artists Ingres, Delacroix, Corot, and Courbet was likely at the Paris World's Fair of 1855. Also exhibited at the exhibition were Degas and Pissarro, both of whom would be future colleagues and mentors.

"lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly" impressionistic painting by Mary CassattMary Cassatt chose career over marriage, and left the United States in 1865 to travel and study in Europe. The fact that Mary Cassatt had chosen to seek a vocation at all would have been startling to any well-to-do parents of a daughter in the early 1860s. Her decision to become a professional artist must have seemed beyond the pale, given that serious painting was largely the domain of men in the 19th century. Often traveling alone, Mary Cassatt studied in Paris, Rome, Parma and Seville, before returning and settling permanently in the French capital in 1874. Aided by her elder sister, Lydia, who joined Mary in Europe, she took an apartment and studio. Lydia was not only her older sister, but also Mary Cassatt's closest friend and often times her model. There are eleven known works with Lydia, including "Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly." The painting, painted in Cassatt's early Impressionist manner, was posed at Marly-le-Roi, some forty miles west of Paris, where the artist's family spent the summer of 1880. The painting was included in the exhibition held by the French Impressionists in Paris in 1881. The most important influence on Cassatt in the years before 1875 was exercised by Edouard Manet. Although he did not accept students, Mary Cassatt saw his works and they were much discussed both by painters and art critics. The paintings she produced in this period, of women flirting, tossing flowers, sharing refreshment with a bullfighter, reveal a young artist eager to combine the skill of the Old Masters with the adventuresome subject matter of the moderns. It was while walking past a Paris gallery window in 1874 that Mary Cassatt first saw a bold pastel of ballet dancers by Edgar Degas. That same year, Degas saw Cassatt's entry in the French Academy Salon.  read more