Fall in Portland

Oct 31, 2010

[photos taken with an iphone]

Show and Tell: Art in my home

Oct 29, 2010

Arthound has a series called Art@Home that I enjoy following.  I love seeing what kind of art people have in their homes and how they display it.  Some of my favorite collections are those are more eclectic and look like they were thrown together in a minute's time.  I might attempt to do something like this in my bedroom, but, realistically, I'll end up overthinking it and spending a good chunk of time rearranging the whole thing.

Since I love looking at other people's art collections, I thought it was only fair to share some of the pieces I've collected over the years. 

The newest addition to my home is this mola (Kuna folk art that is handstitched and embroidered).  I have been wanting a mola for my walls for some time now and, a few days ago, saw this framed piece at a vintage shop for $25!  I absolutely love the design, and it goes perfectly with my red dining room table.

These limited edition prints were created by artist Maria Watt.  I first mentioned her work here.  Having studied printmaking in college, I gravitate towards art that is transferred from one surface to another.  And, like Watt, I am a huge fan of textile arts, which is why I instantly fell in love with these two works. 

I have two large etchings in my living room by Scottish artist David Law (1831- 1901), who is known for his beautiful landscape works.  I bought them several years ago from a frame/gallery shop in Eugene that was closing.  The works are dated 1886 and appear to be in the original frames.  There is some foxing (brown spots) on the prints, so I'm planning on having the works restored one day.

This 1978 etching by Michele Taylor was another piece that I purchased from the Eugene art shop.  It's titled Woodland Garden, and it reminds me of the lush Willamette Valley.  Every time I look at this piece, it makes me want to get back into printmaking.  And that's what I love about the art in my home- it moves and inspires me.

What art piece do you have in your home that moves you?

Recent artist finds

Oct 26, 2010

When I come across an artist whose work I connect with, I keep the page open on my browser for a couple of weeks.  So I guess it's a good sign when my browser is cluttered with open tabs, like it is now.  Here's a look at some of the art I have "kept tabs on" the last few weeks. 

Colleen Flaherty

Dee Clements

Rebecca Volynsky

My Week

Oct 23, 2010

it's chestnut season!
one of my favorite treats- boiled chestnuts
each chestnut is like a little nutty baked potato

painted the bedroom walls kelly green

it's always a treat to see my art in other people's homes
this piece was blogged here

my latest work:: jellyfish 
i used epsom salt with watercolor for a textured effect
the print is now available in my etsy shop

Ana Ventura's illustrations on cloth

Oct 21, 2010

Lately, I've been thinking about working more on fabric.  Then I saw these illustrated pages today by Portuguese artist Ana Ventura.  The illustrations are printed on cloth and part of a special edition children's book published by Topipittori.  I just love the decorative edges and thread binding, a perfect complement to Ventura's charming drawings.  The paper edition will be released in February 2011, but, oh, to be a recipient of one of these lovely cloth printed treasures! 

Artist Interview: Esti of Pintameldia

Oct 18, 2010

Spanish artist Esti Hernández de Miguel is the talented illustrator behind Pintameldia.  I came across her captivating "ghost" images earlier this year and became an instant fan (that's Esti with "good morning" on her lips).  I was reconnected with Etsi's art recently when she won Habit of Art's big birthday giveaway.  I was so smitten by her latest work, I just had to ask for an interview.  

How would you describe your work?

I’m not sure. It’s definitely feminine, calm and intuitive. I just do what I can. My work is best defined by my own boundaries and my will to learn, to evolve and to discover new paths and techniques.

What inspires you to create?

Everything, really. Especially dreams, music and music lyrics. Sometimes I get images from a conversation, ideas from my kids’ words or colors from a subway poster. Photography is a great source for me, too. If I am having a rough moment drawing, I might read a book or a comic and let the images flow in my mind.

What artist tool or material do you love using at this moment?

Eraser. Well, it might not be what I love using the most, but I have definitely learned to restart from the beginning if I don’t like where a piece is taking me. Apart from that, I love my black ink pens, my piles of stones and papers, and some textiles. I keep telling myself that I should go more digital, but I am pretty faithful to pencils and pens.

Esti collecting stones at a nearby beach.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My family, of course. Also, I am happy to live where I live, surrounded by people that I care about and that care for me. I am happy to have the chance to live doing what I most love. Considering I am a self-taught artist, I am proud of all the things I have learned from scratch. And I am proud of looking back over my shoulder only to see the way I’ve walked up to now.  Of course, I’d be most proud of communicating something through my art.

A couple of Esti's latest projects- a 2011 calendar and character illustrations for a children's book.

What are the greatest challenges of being an artist today?

First of all, making a living. Secondly, managing the time. And lastly, changing the general idea that art is a hobby for young people. Art shouldn’t be thought of as a selfish or lazy option but a work. It improves people’s lives, whether it’s music, literature, filmmaking, plastic art … Many people think that it comes to you naturally and it’s effortless, when it’s quite the opposite. Even if you enjoy making art, it takes time, effort, energy and resources, just like any other job. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but around here people think of art only if it’s something big to see in a museum. “Small art" goes completely unnoticed, even if it’s in the everyday. Thanks to the internet, any artist can reach the audience interested in “small art."

If you could change one thing about your art space, what would it be?

For one thing, I would like to have a studio where I could store my piles of stuff. It’s hard to keep things tidy at home when you have two kids trying to imitate you and use your art materials. My art space is right now very limited.

Amazing hand drawn rocks by Esti.

Apart from art, what else do you love to do?

For twenty years I have been involved in the music industry one way or the other, although I am not a musician. But I love music and I love playing records when I’m home. I also love the beach, walking on the sand and watching the waves. And I am lucky to live very close to the seafront. I like taking pictures, writing, traveling, reading, comics and red licorice. Above all, I like having some tender mom moments.

To see more of Esti's beautiful work, check out her website here and her new Etsy shop here.  Thanks Esti for such a lovely interview! 

My Week

Oct 17, 2010

the youngest wants to be the white queen for halloween
  i reused a flower girl dress and added shiny fabrics and trim/  just need to finish the sleeves and the gold crown
the other patiently waits for her costume- athena the greek goddess

a couple more photo shoots this week, one of an expectant mother
these baby shoes are adorable

many works in progress::
met with a woodworking acquaintance to help me frame some pieces,
can't wait to see the final products
also started on a mini art book for my Etsy shop

If walls could talk

Oct 15, 2010

An old school picture form and handwritten letters dating back to 1927. 

In the French film Amélie, the discovery of a little toy hidden in the wall of an old apartment leads to life-changing events for a young woman and those around her.  I have yet to find a beloved toy in the walls of my home, but I have experienced the delight of discovering other personal items, including handwritten letters, old magazines, and even a vintage camera.

Opening up a wall in an old home is like an archeology dig.  After a few major remodels, I have found that it's not uncommon to find little treasures or lost items tucked away in the walls.  It's not a question anymore of if there's something behind a wall, but what?

Letters and publications seem to be a common find in walls.  Here are a couple of old Life Magazines we found in decommissioned ducts of our 1948 home in Eugene, Oregon.  Inside one of the magazines, there is a feature on Russian-born American artist Max Weber (1881 - 1961). 

The article was written by Winthrop Sargeant (what a great name).  Here's an excerpt from the introductory paragraph.

To the average person the somber landscapes, primitive portraits and slablike nudes that Max Weber paints look deceptively heavy, coarse and unskilled.  But to fellow artists, Weber's work places him as the greatest artist in America and one of the few really great ones in the world. . . Weber's brooding canvases have been shown and bought by virtually every important museum in the country.  They have won the most important prizes the art world has to offer.  Collectors buy them avidly at prices that sometimes reach early five figures.   

Our greatest find to date is a Kodak Folding Brownie camera (manufactured sometime between 1916 - 1926) in its original case.  We were replacing a kitchen cabinet, and there it was behind the cabinet wall!

One day I would love to run some film through it.  The camera is upside-down in the picture, but the cable is what you use to snap the picture.  The viewfinder is the squarish component next to the cable.

We have also had some bizarre finds in our home.  In our first bathroom remodel, my husband and I found an enormous lot of used razor blades in the wall behind our sink. We learned that it was commonplace for men to dispose of their razor blades in little slits found on the inside of older medicine cabinets.  A fun little fact but not a fun little find.  And, in a kitchen remodel a few years ago, an electrician was reaching inside of a wall to retrieve a wire when he found a small tin vial with white powdery substance.  (This was not a keeper.)

What are some treasures you have discovered in your home?

Josef Frank's unfailing wallpaper designs

Oct 13, 2010

[image sources: Apartment Therapy, Just Scandinavian]

Some things just don't go out of style, like the beautiful and bold wallpaper patterns by architect/artist Josef Frank (1885 - 1967).  The design on the bottom right is one of my favorites.  I just love all the details and the dark background.  It would look gorgeous on a dining room wall, don't you think?

Two new prints, "Sprig" and "Lake's Edge"

Oct 10, 2010

I rarely work from a sketch when starting a new piece.  Most of the time,  my work is a stream of consciousness.  I first lay down a wash for the background and start building up the details from there.  

The colors that I choose for the background tend to dictate the direction of my work.  In my new mixed media work, Sprig, the blues, violets, and grays reminded me of the Oregon landscape after a period of rain.  

I also had a small pile on my art desk of cut-up drawings from the pocketbook gallery.  I wanted to incorporate some of these pieces in my new work.  I'm not a pack rat by any means, but sometimes it is hard for me to throw away even the smallest of pieces left over from a drawing.  Some of the scraps I see as little morsels of creative thought and execution.  So I keep them in a little bowl to reuse in new compositions. 

Lake's Edge is another work I completed this week.  It's much more graphic and bolder in color than Sprig.  Both prints can now be found in my Etsy shop.

Memories of France captured in paintings

Oct 8, 2010

Water Lilies, Claude Monet, 1914.

I miss France.  We spent a few weeks of our summer in '98 traveling all over the country. I still have so many vivid memories from the trip.  Yesterday, I was looking through my pictures of France when I had a revelation of sorts.  Could it be that France is such a memorable place because of famous works of art that I had been exposed to? Strolling through Giverny, for example, it wasn't hard for me to see where Monet got his inspiration.  The pond and Japanese bridge were just like how he had painted them.  (The photos on the right are the pictures I took on my trip.) 

Café Terrace At Night, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888.

Vincent Van Gogh's paintings came alive in Arles.  When we were passing a vast sunflower field outside of town, we had to pull over and take some pictures up close.  I soon found myself standing amid these enormous flowers, and it was as if time stood still.  I could imagine Van Gogh, with his easel and palette, painting such a glorious scene. 

Above is Van Gogh's famous painting, Café Terrace At Night.  We were there only during the day, but you can see that even the tree still looks the same 110 years later!

Lake at Annecy, Paul Cezanne, 1890 - 1892.

My favorite city on our trip was Annecy, in the French Alps region.  The mountain air is crisp, and the lake is so clear. In many ways, it reminds me of Oregon (minus the gigantic castles on the water!).

When I think of mountainous landscapes in France, I think of Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne. I love the serene setting that Cezanne captured in his painting Lake at Annecy.  Perfect!

The Jetty at Cassis, Opus 198, Paul Signac, 1889.

The most memorable moment of our trip was in Cassis, a small town on the Mediterranean.  My husband and I had the most amazing dining experience at a family-run Greek restaurant at the point of the pier.  The food was outrageously good, the hospitality was unforgettable, and the view was breathless.  

I rediscovered Paul Signac's painting of The Jetty at Cassis just yesterday.  (I find it startlingly similar to the photo I took on the beach!)  Signac's pointillist style is so fitting for such a beautiful coastal scene.

The Pont Neuf, Paris, Pierre-Auguste Renior, 1872.

Walking through the streets of Paris was an amazing experience.  I took this photo of the city atop of Notre Dame.  It seems like the cityscape hasn't changed much since Renior's 1872 rendering- minus one major attraction.  The Eiffel Tower wasn't built until 1889.

The beautiful surroundings and rich cultural history of France has been an inspiration to artists for many centuries.  One day, I'll be back- maybe even for an extended stay.  Until then, I'll continue to relive my wonderful time in France through photographs and paintings.

Comparing art: Gérard Dubois and René Magritte

Oct 6, 2010

Works by René Magritte (left) and Gérard Dubois (right)

The illustrative works of Montréal-based artist Gérard Dubois are featured in major publications, such as The New Yorker, Time Magazine, Le Monde, and Rolling Stone.  While browsing DuBois' collection of works on his website, I was reminded of the works of Surrealist artist- René Magritte (whose works are shown here on the left).

It's hard to believe that there is a 70-year span between the two artists (Magritte dying the year before DuBois was born). These particular works of art share so many similar qualities regarding composition, imagery, and color choice.  The objects depicted in their works seem to come from the same time period, yet there is a timelessness about their art.  Maybe this explains the common use of Magritte's art in media even today.

My Week

Oct 3, 2010

our neighbor gave us a bag of pears from her yard
so I made pie

took pictures of a high school senior at her family's vineyard

finished the pocketbook gallery (31 pages) just in time to give it away
it's headed to Spain! 

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