Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
~ Calvin Coolidge
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
~ Calvin Coolidge
The most widely acclaimed African American artist of this century, and one of only several whose works are included in standard survey books on American art, Jacob Armstead Lawrence has enjoyed a successful career for more than fifty years.Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1917. The son of Southern migrants, he moved with his mother and sister to Harlem in 1930 at age 13.Lawrence’s paintings portray the lives and struggles of African Americans, and have found wide audiences due to their abstract, colorful style and universality of subject matter.He create paintings drawn from the African American experience as well as historical and contemporary themes, such as war, religion, and civil rights.
The goal of Tresor Mukonkole’s artistic vision is to illustrate certain complexities, including his artistic point of view, of the world.Mukonkole comes from the Congo, an unstable country on all fronts, underground rich in minerals, yet full of numerous conflicts between different political and economic factors.From the soil of the Congo, his homeland, his work as an artist is about the analysis of the presence of man on earth, and his impact on everything, especially the environment and the future of nature.Mukonkole says he produces a narrative from his paintings with butterflies in order to express himself on the beauty and the fragility embodied by nature and the earth.His artistic work aims to illustrate his perspective as an artist on the threats to our environment by presenting a glimmer of positivity to replace the darkness.Despite the complexities of his world and his artistic calling, his butterfly paintings are bright and full of life and hope.
More of Tresor Mukonkole‘s beautiful work can be found at http://mukonkole.com/lipekapeka/.
Colin Fraser is a contemporary Scottish painter known for his detailed still life, landscapes, and interiors.
Born in 1957 in Glasgow, United Kingdom, he studied art at Brighton Polytechnic before moving to Sweden in 1981.Fraser’s use of egg-tempera gives his work a light-filled, translucent quality unequaled in other mediums.It is notoriously hard to control and seldom used by contemporary artists.“It’s a medium fraught with technical difficulties, but therein lies its charm. Brushstrokes dry instantly and are never really fully opaque, so just about every mark the painter makes shows,” Fraser has explained.“You can’t force your will on it, it forces you to accept the marks you make and live in the ‘moment’, with each brushstroke that is applied to the panel.”
More of Colin Fraser‘s work can be found at galleries around the Internet.
Sharon Weiser, who grew up in Wisconsin, began painting as a child and went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts and K-12 teaching certificate from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.
After living for twenty years in Phoenix, Arizona, Weiser returned to the Midwest where she currently teaches painting and drawing at her studio.Clearly, the time Weiser spent in Arizona left its mark artistically as she continues to create her joyfully close-up cactus compositions.Painting in either oils or acrylics, Weiser works primarily from her own photos – cropping, replacing, re-positioning or enlarging forms to expertly compose her dynamic light-filled canvases.It is bold colors, a remarkable attention to detail and a singular sense of design that makes her paintings stand apart.Her artwork also continues to evolve as her curiosity compels her to keep experimenting with different color palettes, subjects and ideas.Her choice of southern colors reflects the beauty of her surroundings, adding depth and almost a fluorescence to desert life.More of Sharon Weiser‘s beautiful paintings can be found at http://www.sharonweiser.com/.
José Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) González-Pérez, better known as Juan Gris (1887-1927) built upon the foundations of early Cubism and steered the movement in new directions.
Cubism is an early 20th-century style and movement in art, especially painting, in which perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned and use was made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and, later, collage.
More of Juan Gris‘s wonderful cubism art can be found at http://www.juangris.org/.
I love it that inspiration can hit from any direction at any time.
The other night I watched the excellent 2000 movie Shadow of a Vampire with John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe, about the making of Nosferatu in 1922 (with a twist). At the beginning of the movie there was a collage of drawings, haunting in nature, perhaps from Nosferatu’s castle or medieval tapestries or whatever.
But these images are wonderfully unique. They would make great stories, great watercolors, great backgrounds for other worlds, other ideas. I see some unique inspiration coming from these. Just because they showed up in a horror movie doesn’t mean they have to stay there. I see abstract sketches coming from these; I see a story about an alien or elf magically appearing right in his horse’s path; I see a cross stitch in muted colors and poem about finding the light.
It’s easy to get inspired by walking through the woods, or watching a sunset. But what about an old movie script? Can you paint a picture based on someone else’s idea? Write a story based on someone else’s story line?
I say — why not?
Start with a Monet and end up with a modern lithograph. Start with an old Twilight Zone episode and ended up with a short story. Make a quilt based on designs from Picasso or Juan Gris. Make a needlepoint based off a Medieval tapestry. Design an outfit that reflects the architecture of the Eiffel Tower. Use a photograph of a city skyline to make a paper cutting.
We are not stealing someone else’s ideas — we are taking their idea, a creation, and putting our own mark on it. Our own version of it. A pen and ink drawing can come from a passage in your favorite book; a sculpture can be inspired by a child’s painting on a school wall.
One of the creative paths I want to re-explore once I retire is painting. I enjoyed it so much so long ago…who knows what ideas will come to mind once I put brush to canvas? I can see me trying out these designs I saw on a vampire movie one night. I can try colorful drips and drops and splatters like the ones I watched Ed Harris, aka Jackson Pollock, made in the movie of the painter’s name.
I have so many things I want to try it makes my head spin.
That’s what I want you to feel. Take a design, a photo, a paragraph from a book and turn it into something of your own. It doesn’t matter if it turns out like you thought — that’s why we experiment. To see what spin we can put on someone else’s reality.
Have you taken other artist’s creations and turned them into your own? Have you ever watched a movie or a TV show and thought “that’s really unique — I can do something with that….”? Share with us. Give us ideas!
And anyway — it’s not really “borrowing.” You don’t need to give it back.
Maybe I should have said — TRANSFORMING.
Isn’t that much more fun?
Zdzislaw Beksinski (1929-2005) was a was a renowned Polish painter, photographer, and fantasy artist.
His work reflected his preference for the obscure.His paintings concocted up odd images in the mind, and were a true step into absurdity in the field of dystopian surrealism.Beksinski was a very innovative artist, especially for one working in a Communist country. In the 1970s he entered what he himself called his “fantastic period”, which lasted up to the late 1980s. This is his best known period, during which he created very disturbing images, showing a surrealistic, post-apocalyptic environment with very detailed scenes of death, decay, landscapes filled with skeletons, deformed figures, deserts, all very detailed, painted with his trademark precision, particularly when it came to rough, bumpy surfaces. Beksinski’s later years were ones filled with tragedy. His wife, Zofia, died in 1998, and a year later, on Christmas Eve 1999, his son Tomasz (a popular radio presenter, music journalist and movie translator) committed suicide. Beksiński’s life reached a most brutal and melancholy end in 2005, when he was stabbed to death at his Warsaw apartment by a 19-year-old acquaintance from Wołomin, reportedly because he refused to lend the teenager money.Perhaps his art had always reflected the darkness that one day would reflect the end of his life.More of Zdzislaw Beksinski‘s haunting work can be found at https://www.shopbeksinski.com/
Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was an Indian painter and artist, considered as one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art.
Ravi Varma is one of the few painters who managed to accomplish a beautiful union of Indian tradition with the techniques of European academic art.
His paintings can be classified into three categories – portraits, portrait-based compositions and theatrical compositions based on myths and legends. It is the third category of paintings for which Raja Ravi Varma is most renowned.
His paintings are full of color and life, sprung from a world most of us are not familiar with.
There is something surrealistic about Valerio D’Ospina’s dramatic artwork.
More of Valerio D’Ospina‘s work can be found at https://www.valeriodospina.com/.
I was reading posts I follow, and came across Carsten Wieland’s watercolor paintings. I have highlighted his work here on Humoring the Goddess and on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog before, so you are kind of familiar with his work.
But I have to repost this here this afternoon. If you have three minutes, watch the video of him painting the ship. He makes the creative process look so easy, so simple.
That is what real artists do.
I am speechless. For I know that’s not true.
Pegi Smith paints in acrylics on canvas from her home studio in the mountains near Ashland, Oregon.
Smith’s art immerses the viewer into her very compelling dream world.
From these dreams, Smith paints abstracts using rich colors to evoke and uplift the viewer.
Smith is a self-taught artist, therefore she uses her paints in an innovative manner exclusive to herself.
Her use of color, which changes with each collection, makes her work perfect for nearly any interior decor scheme.
She aims to summarize her own life perspectives in her paintings and hopes that her work will cause the viewer to immerse and then emerge with the intent of the design.
More of Pegi Smith’s innovative artwork can be found at http://www.pegsmith.com
Anne Vallayer-Coster has been called the second-greatest French still-life painter of the 18th century after Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.
Her father’s elevated status and aristocratic patronage may have helped the young Vallayer-Coster overcome some of the restraints that hindered many women artists.
She achieved fame and recognition very early in her career, being admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1770, at the age of twenty-six.
In 1780 she was named Painter to Queen Marie Antoinette. She continued painting a broad range of subjects and themes including animals, trompe-l’oeil bas reliefs, miniatures, and full-sized portraits, which mirrored the opulence of French aristocracy before the Revolution.
In addition to still life, she painted portraits and genre paintings, but because of the restrictions placed on women at the time her success at figure painting was limited.
Vallayer-Coster’s life was determinedly private, dignified and hard-working. She survived the bloodshed of the French Revolution, but the fall of the French monarchy, who were her primary patrons, caused her reputation to decline.
Anne Vallayer-Coster‘s marvelous paintings can be found at museums and galleries and on the Internet.
Amy Casey is fascinated by cityscapes.
Her cityscapes hum and sing with ribbons of roads and highways energetically wrapped around growing heaps of buildings.
Her artwork showcases her curiosity of how much time and work it takes for a society to function and grow in spite of all the problems of natural and man made disasters.
Casey has exhibited her work regionally and nationally with solo shows in Cleveland, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Provincetown and Los Angeles.
More of Amy Casey‘s creative cityscapes can be found at https://www.amycaseypainting.com/
Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is widely acknowledged as one of the most important realist painters of twentieth-century America.
His vision of reality reflected his own temperament in the empty landscapes and city neighborhoods and single figures he chose to paint.
Hopper’s work demonstrates that realism is not merely a literal or photographic copying of what we see, but up to the artist’s interpretation.
His intense yet intimate interpretations of American life, shown in darkness or bright light, are minimal dramas threaded with maximum power.Hopper had a remarkable ability to invest the most ordinary scene — whether at a roadside gas pump, a nondescript diner or a bleak hotel room — with intense mystery, creating narratives that no viewer can ever quite unravel.
He was able to tap into the loneliness of the human condition through his art, something we all can identify with.
More of Edward Hopper‘s amazing work can be found at https://www.edwardhopper.net/.
Happy Saturday Eve! A discussion, a wondering, a confusion for a Saturday evening (with pictures!)
Yesterday I went to a wonderful art festival on the Milwaukee lakefront: The Lakefront Festival of the Arts. Part of the ticket price was entry to the Milwaukee Art Museum:
So hubby and I spend a good deal of time walking through the museum. They had art from every era. There was this 1800-something bounty hanging my husband enjoyed:
A Dale Chihuly:
We wandered through the contemporary section, and I found myself having a little harder time understanding what I was looking at.
There was this neat hanging rock display:
And a modernish painting I kind of got a vibe from:But then I came across two paintings that I just didn’t get. They both had their own wall, so there were no distractions. And my favorite question mark:
And I wonder — why are these last two considered art?
I know I know…beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that. The artist is making some sort of a statement. Or non-statement. I did not retain the artists’ names, but I am sure they are impressive in their own right. After all, they have a spot on a wall in one of the most popular art museums around.
So this Saturday evening, I was wondering if you could help me out. Maybe you are an artist that paints similar paintings. Maybe your friend or relative is an artist that really “gets” modern, contemporary art.
Maybe I am just out of my league. But I know I ask what thousands of others often ask. Why is this considered art? I love paintings. Not just the Masters, but I am enjoying the modern approach as well. But what talent is there is painting a canvas all one color? What am I missing?
It’s not that I don’t appreciate an avant garde approach to art. But walking through the art festival, I saw plenty of other works that would have made much more sense up on a museum wall.
If you have an answer I’d sure like to hear it.
Ahhh….something else I need to learn….
In addition to his work with the Group of Seven, his long career included serving as a war artist during World War I (1917–19) and teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts.
Jackson made a significant contribution to the development of art in Canada, and was successful in bringing together the artists of Montreal and Toronto.
His art nouveau style highlighted the Canadian countryside, showing visions of a land many had thought barren and boring.
His easy style, featuring rolling rhythms and rich, full color, exerted a strong influence on Canadian landscape painting.
A.Y. Jackson‘s artwork can be found in galleries all across the Internet.
Gerald Nailor (1917–1952), Navajo artist, was born in 1917 in Pinedale, New Mexico.From the time of his marriage to a Picuris Indian woman until his death in 1952, he lived in Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico.
His formal art study was obtained in two years at the U. S. Indian School in Santa Fe; a year of study under the Swedish muralist Olaf Nordemark.While the greater part of his work stemmed from his vivid imagination and knowledge of Navajo myth, his interest in design and color of wildlife is also a notable source of picture material.He was an extraordinary artist whose cross the boundaries of nationalities.He perfected the facile, decorative manner for which he was early noted.
Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) never reconciled himself to the label of “Impressionist,” preferring to call himself a “Realist” or “Independent.”
Nevertheless, he was one of the organizers of the first impressionist exhibition in 1874, and remained influential in the group, but his own work was deliberate and controlled, painted in the studio from sketches, notes, and memory.
Like the Impressionists, Degas sought to capture fleeting moments in the flow of modern life, yet he showed little interest in painting plein-air landscapes, favoring scenes in theaters and cafés illuminated by artificial light, which he used to clarify the contours of his figures, adhering to his academic training.
He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers.
His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.
Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, Degas’ involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists.
Degas summed it us thus: “A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”
More of Edgar Degas‘ magnificent art can be found around the Internet.
Vesna Krasnec is a self-taught artist living in Vienna.
The viewer finds a world in which man, as a seeker, has found his destination in the Garden of Eden. In this garden we rediscover our lost innocence.Through her distinctive talent for drawing and her strong compositions, Krasnec is able to convey her image idea with conviction and in a forceful way to the people. She keeps away from today’s common attitudes to want to be modern in the art scene, knowing that all contemporary and current are short lived.
She believes that it is only important that her work retains the authenticity which is the characteristic of an art that originated in the middle of the person.More of Vesna Krasnec‘s work can be found at http://vesna-krasnec.com.
Born in Athens in 1935, Alekos Fassianos is a Greek painter with a flair for mythology.Fassianos studied violin at the Athens Conservatory, and painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts from 1956 to 1960 where he was taught from Yannis Moralis.He then went to Paris on a French State scholarship (1962–1964), and in 1966 he lived and worked solely in Paris. From 1974 he on he divided his time between Paris and Athens. Fassianos couples these two countries into his work, combining ancient myth with modern situations.
The figures are often posed in a salute or signalling to the viewer either a forthcoming or an already-won victory.They recall a folk-memory of a mythological past and add an heroic edge to the mundane truth of daily situations.Fassianos’s work empowers both viewer and subject as demi-gods. His art is fun, creative, and reflective of his heritage.More of Alekos Fassianos‘ beautiful work can be found at Fassianos and other places on the Internet.
Alexa Meade didn’t plan to be an artist.
One of her professors asked her to create a sculpture that felt like a landscape but was not a sculpture of a landscape. She had no idea what that meant, and he told her it was up to her to figure out.
Meade decided to see what it would look like if she put black shadows on the human body.
And then she started painting not only shadows but also a full mapping of light in grayscale, highlights, darks, everything coming together in a mask of paint on her human palettes.
Meade could make people and things look like two-dimensional paintings of themselves
After she discovered this, she left politics behind and made her job teaching herself how to paint, through the process of inventing this new style of painting.
More of Alexa Meade‘s paintings can be found at https://alexameade.com/
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
The artists of the past were not exempt from painting images that scare the beejeezes out of you.
Let me share some famous nightmares with you.
Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (September 18, 1844 – January 13, 1934) was a drugstore owner, painter, bank owner, and inventor.
But Coolidge (who at times signed his work Kash” or Kash Koolidge) became well known as the creator of the dogs-playing-poker genre of painting, a subject which grew out of the 19th-century tradition of visual humor.
From the mid-1900s to the mid-1910s, Coolidge created a series of sixteen oil paintings for them, all of which featured anthropomorphic dogs, including nine paintings of Dogs Playing Poker,] a motif that Coolidge is credited with inventing.
His work was purchased by cigar companies, who made copies of his paintings as promotional giveaways, and by the printing firm of Brown & Bigelow who made his work widely known by using it in advertising posters, calendars, and prints.
Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840) was a landscape painter of the nineteenth-century German Romantic movement, of which he is now considered the most important painter.
A painter and draughtman, Friedrich is best known for his later allegorical landscapes, which feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees, and Gothic ruins.
His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey the spiritual experiences of life.
Friedrich came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with an over-materialistic society led to a new appreciation for spiritualism.
Today he is seen as an icon of the German Romantic movement, and a painter of international importance.
More of Caspar David Friedrich‘s wonderful paintings can be found at https://www.caspardavidfriedrich.org/
Frida Kahlode Rivera, born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954), was a Mexican artist who painted many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico.
Inspired by the country’s popular culture, she employed a naive folk art style to explore questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society.
Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy.
She was left disabled by polio as a child, and at the age of eighteen was seriously injured in a traffic accident which caused her pain and medical problems for the rest of her life.
Kahlo’s always fragile health began to increasingly decline during the 1940s. She had her first solo exhibition in Mexico in 1953, shortly before her death in 1954 at the age of 47.
The powerful and captivating works of the artist Robert Finale flow naturally from a deep-rooted passion and God given talent for capturing the intrinsic beauty in humankind and nature.
The artist is no stranger to struggles and adversity. At the tender age of two, he along with his family left the country of Cuba for a life of freedom ad opportunity in the United States.
Each painting is a journey of unspoken words and hidden whispers of freedom, nurturing the hopes and dreams that exist within all of us. These feelings are resurfaced and unveiled through beautiful city images in romantic surroundings placing the viewer in the dream world of unconscious thoughts.
As Robert places the final brush strokes on the canvas, he is conscious of the fact that the art is a universal language. Therefore, one canvas represents the window to millions of different emotions that have existed and exist through all of us, giving the viewer a powerful, tool to look within his own world, for the understanding of life’s journey.
More of Robert Finale‘s wonderful paintings can be found at http://robertfinalepaintings.com/.
Remedios Varo (1908-1963) was born in Spain. Remedios always struggled to combine the mythic with the scientific, the sacred with the profane.
Remedios decided to evade the civil war that was going on in Spain and moved instead to Paris where the art movements were in vogue.
In Europe she was influenced by the surrealist movement and metaphysics studies. She was motivated by ancient studies and literature, but also by physics, mathematics, engineering, biology and psychoanalysis.
After some years, she decided to move to Mexico with a friend she met in Europe. In Mexico, her real journey as an artist started.
Her characters are mystical and solitary; most of the times involved in scientifical activities. They often have almond-shaped eyes, and androgynous features.
Diverse characters emerge in her painting with unusual attitudes: contemplative, passive, highly symbolic; reflection of the instability which can be overcome or changed.
All of them are part of a unique world which involves developed concepts of magic and imagination.
More of Remedios Varo‘s fantastic works can be found at http://www.remediosvaro.org/ and http://www.angelfire.com/hiphop/diablo4u/remedios.html
Chrissy Angliker is a Brooklyn-based Swiss/American artist who was born in Zurich and raised in Greifensee and Winterthur, Working from controlled subject matter, she quickly loses herself in the chaotic magic of the process.
Her first painting did not go as planned. “I thought I would begin with a self portrait,” she explains. “I began to paint the eyebrows, and the paint began to drip unexpectedly. It was beyond my control, and I had a very strong emotional reaction.”
The beauty of her method of drips is a connection to the chaos she finds in her art.
More of Chrissy Angliker‘s art can be found at https://www.chrissy.ch/.,
Thomas Arvid captures our wonder with his over sized still life compositions of wine and the rituals surrounding it.
Arvid astounds viewers with the intricate details of his images and with his mastery of light, depth, and reflection.
Arvid is passionate about art and wine: a collector of both, he strives to capture the pleasure of a life well-lived on each canvas.
Arvid’s approach to wine and painting is surprising, given his background as a Detroit native raised to parlay his inherent artistic talent into a secure job in the industrial complex.
According to Arvid, “Wine is a great subject because people are familiar with it; they really connect to it. My paintings are really the landscapes between people sharing wine – it’s amazing that my collectors find personal fulfillment in my work, especially when I’m just doing what I love.”
More of Thomas Arvid’s amazing paintings can be found at http://www.thomasarvid.com/
Kevin Zuckerman was born in St. Louis and grew up in Japan, Thailand, and Greece.
Kevin is a multi faceted artist, having mastered many mediums, from oil painting (his primary medium) to sculpture in bronze, pastel and watercolor.
He has also worked in many styles along his journey as an artist, from classical to total abstraction to the place he has now arrived.
Utilizing and integrating all the various techniques and ideas he has collected and invented along the way, Kevin brings something fresh and unique to the art world.
More of Kevin Zuckerman’s colorful and creative art can be found at http://www.kevinzuckerman.com.
Violets are Green
Writing and Painting
Is More Than A Dream!
This is a made-up celebration, of course — but is it?
We all are jealous of other’s creativity. In a sweet, supportive way, of course. As shown on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, I am always in awe of what magic comes from creative hands, minds, and souls.
I follow a number of poets, artists, sculptors, and everyday wise men and wise women, and am always in love with their offerings. So I am going to celebrate my friendly creative friends with my own #AppreciateYourCreativeFriends week! Check them out, follow follow follow (if it tickles your fancy), and have a great time doing it!
My Monday recommendation is Carsten Wieland, an amazing watercolor painter who lives in Essen, Germany. His site is full — and I mean full — of fantastic watercolor paintings. Houses, landscapes, weather — every post he shares is yet another glimpse into a very accurate eye and a very open palate.
Check out Carsten Wieland out at Brushpark/Watercolors. https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com/.
You check in, you may never want to check out!
Inspired by nature, recognized body painter Johannes Stoetter turns living models into animals, fruits, flowers, or blends them with the surroundings.
These impressively detailed paintings take up to five months of thorough planning and up to eight hours of work to complete.
The winner of the World Bodypainting Championship in 2012 says that the key to success is to love what you’re doing.
Stoetter says, “I think I observe the world, nature, colors and shapes with very clear eyes and an open heart. And painting is my big passion.”
Looking at his compositions, you can see just how passionate he is.
You can find more of Johannes Stoetter’s work at johannesstoetterart.com .
It’s also inspirational, spiritual, cosmic, and thrilling.
My problem lately is that I’ve gotten in the driver’s seat of my fourth novel, and although I’ve worked out the story line and am loving writing about my space traveler, I miss writing a short story now and then. I have been perusing various contests and publication opportunities, and I find areas I’d love to try. This one wants a creature story. This one wants supernatural fiction. This one wants pirates and ghosts.
What fun! What adventure! But what do I write about?
I think I hang out in novel land because the writing is long and real and I can keep the same idea throughout the pages. Short stories require separate thought, separate ideas. Unique ideas. And eventually my love of writing starts slipping on the confusing bed of ideas and plots and endings.
Do you hide in one genre over another? Do you have a desire to paint something totally different yet stay within your safe and more experienced area? Or draw something totally out of your comfort zone?
I have a folder of stories, some finished, some barely started. Few would fit into the guidelines I so fawningly follow. Most of my good pieces are written more on a whim of the moment — an impression on the drive home, an interlude between two or more people at the bus stop. My short stories are based on a bolt of lightning that directly hits me. It’s a lot harder if I’m out searching for that bolt.
I often encourage my blog readers to break through your self-imposed sanctions and to go for it. Reach for the sky — or dig deep into the cavern.
I still believe in that.
But I sometimes think it’s getting harder and harder to dig into that fertile creative ground and come up with something new. Something that will fit within someone else’s parameters.
How do you juggle all your cravings? Do you stick with what works or do you find time to experiment and go off in left field now and then? I’d love to know that there are other seasoned and non-seasoned writers who are as confused and excited as me.
Let’s see now…as the website says…think adventures and hauntings at sea, shipwrecks and buried treasure, treacherous waters, sea spirits, ghostly galleons, giant squid, kraken and sailors gone mad.
I can do that…can’t I?
Mehndi (also called Mehandi) is the traditional art of painting the hands, feet or body with a paste made from the powdered, dried leaves of the henna plant.
It is an ancient form of body art that has been practiced in the Middle East, India and parts of Africa for thousands of years.
The stains are usually cherry-red to brown color, but this can vary with time left on and a range of other factors.
Mehndi is special for many cultures, not just because it is an important part their culture, but also because of how beautiful the mehandi design looks when women are adorned with it.
In western countries, mehndi has gained a great deal of popularity in the temporary tattoo industry.
This art form is an intricately beautiful way to decorate the human body, a talent that is extraordinary and delicate and precise in its execution.
It is an amazing and intricate art form.
But Da Vinci was so much more than a painter.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, having been a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.
He spent a great deal of time immersing himself in nature, testing scientific laws, dissecting bodies (human and animal) and thinking and writing about his observations.
This was at the same time as King Henry VII — swords and maces, leeching, pestilence, and non-existent technology.
That is why, when you are an artist, your mantle is wide and long and all-encompassing.
You are a multi-colored rainbow of curiosity and creativity.
Just like Leonardo.
More of Leonardo Da Vinci’s works can be found at http://www.leonardoda-vinci.org/.
Robert Venosa (January 21, 1936 – August 9, 2011) studied the Misch Technique (also known as the Master’s Technique) discovered by the seventeenth-century Flemishmasters Hubert and Jan Van Eyck, which utilizes the system of painting in tempera and oil glazes.
This technique is perfect for painting the crystalline worlds that Venosa envisions.
For Robert, it was more than a career — it was a spiritual path of self inquiry and direct experience of transcendent realities.
He has been called a visionary, his paintings slicing through the ethereal and bringing it closer to home.
His neighbor and friend Salvador Dali once said, “Bravo Venosa! Dali is pleased to see spiritual madness painted with such a fine technique.”
Collin van der Sluijs is a renowned painter and illustrator from Maastricht, The Netherlands.
After graduation from the art academy at St. Joost in 2004, Collin moved to the south of the Netherlands where he now lives and works on exhibitions and projects.
Working without sketches or notes, the artist dives into each artwork with spray paint, acrylics, and ink as ideas take hold and images slowly emerge.
Collin’s art also includes fascinating wall murals.
Talented and unique artist Marina Printseva was born in 1949 in the city of Pskov, Russia.
She is a member of the Union of Artists of Russia, and a member of the International design and textiles Association.
Her technique is a brilliant mixture of embroidery, painting and application.
Marina created a special world filled with poetic images and metaphors influenced by Old World St. Petersburg
Her work is populated by visions and shadows from the past.
You can tell by the delicate work and mixed media that her visions are intricate and true.
There are times when an artist’s view of reality is frightening.
Anton Semenov is a 28-year-old digital painter and graphic designer born and raised in Bratsk, Russia.
He is a digital painter, graphic designer, and, according to some, bringer of nightmares.
His unique surrealistic style and phenomenal attention to detail and preciseness has crafted his technique into truly his own dark vision of the world around us.
As in all nightmares, there is something fascinating about the way his mind wraps around the darkness and breathes life into it, bringing them into the daylight.
His works feature unique interpretations of the subconscious world.
We might not always feel comfortable with his interpretations, but we are thankful he is able to create that which we fear to share.
More of Anton Semenov’s work can be found at http://www.awwwards.com/anton-semenov-disturbing-and-frightening-illustrations.html and http://gloom82.livejournal.com/.
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was the leading figure of the so-called Vienna Secession, an art movement that rebelled against the established art concepts and introduced a new style similar to Art Nouveau.
To bring more abstract and purer forms to the designs of buildings and furniture, glass and metalwork, the group gave birth to another form of modernism in the visual arts and they named their own new movement: Secession.
Klimt was seen as an artist who was far ahead of his time.
Much of the work that was produced during the Austrian born artist’s career, however, was seen as controversial.
Although symbolism was used in many of his art forms, it was not at all subtle, and it went far beyond what the imagination during the time frame accepted.
Klimt’s primary subject was the female body, and his works bordered on eroticism.
Although his work was not widely accepted during his time, some of the pieces that Gustav Klimt did create during his career are today seen as some of the most important and influential pieces to come out of Austria.
We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Karina Llergo works to find fresh ways to evoke energy through human motion by turning human figures into fluid art.
Dance, air and water are big influences her work.
According to Karina, “From dancers I take the beautiful mobility of their bodies, from air, its provoking rhythmic motion and from water, its captivating deconstructed reflections.”
“I know a piece is completed when I close my eyes and feel its rhythm of dance, water and air singing in harmony.”
As a lifelong dancer, competitive swimmer and avid skydiver, she found herself drawn to depicting on canvas the palpable energy of the human body in motion.
Of Mexican, Armenian and Spanish descent, Karina’s diverse background influences her life in every way, as does her insatiable passion for the creative arts.
More of Karina Llergo‘s gorgeous artwork can be found at her website http://karinallergosalto.com/
You can also find Karina on Facebook www.facebook.com/KarinaLlergoSalto and
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. ~~ Pablo Picasso
Leonid Afremov (born July 12, 1955 in Vitebsk, Belarus) is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils.
Afremov likes to view his artwork as politically neutral — no hidden messages, no alternate agenda.
He tries to draw the viewer towards certain feelings rather than telling a story through his work.
While Afremov’s early works are influenced by the masterpieces of older painters, his artwork is very unique and recognizable.
The artist invites us to experience the world of simple beauty which constantly surrounds us.
Leonid’s art easily transports you to other worlds, other times, other ways of thinking and feeling.
And, after all, isn’t that the purpose of Art?
Leonid Afremov’s artwork can be viewed and purchased at https://afremov.com/. You can also follow Leonid and his artwork on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/leonidafremovofficialpage and at Twitter at https://twitter.com/AfremovArt.
Jacek Yerka was born in Toruń, Poland, in 1952.
Yerka studied fine art and graphics prior to becoming a full-time artist in 1980.
As a child, Yerka loved to draw and make sculptures. He hated playing outside, and preferred to sit down with a pencil, creating and exploring his own world.
Yerka resisted pressures of his instructors to adopt the less detailed techniques of contemporary art and continued to work in the classic, meticulous Flemish style he still favors to this day.
He creates surrealistic compositions Based on precise painting techniques, taking pattern from former masters like Jan van Eyck or Hieronymus Bosch.
Like many artists, Yerka pulls on thoughts and memories of his past to create these marvelous artworks.
Yerka’s carefully rendered paintings (acrylics on canvas) are filled with images from the artist’s childhood, one heavily influenced by the surroundings of his home during the 1950’s, and his grandmother’s kitchen, where he spent much of his time.
According to Yerka, “My greatest source of inspiration is always (and I bet will be) my childhood souvenirs – that places, remembered feelings, fragrances and technique of 1950s .”
An image seen on a hundred different walls, on placemats, screensavers, postcards.
And yet the incredible history of the artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is a magical tale of its own.
Hokusai was born on the 23rd day of 9th month of the 10th year of the Hōreki period (October or November 1760) to an artisan family, in the Katsushika district of Edo, Japan.
Hokusai was a Japanese master artist and printmaker of ukkiyo-e, a style of wood block prints and paintings.
Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (c. 1831) which includes the iconic and internationally recognized print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s (first image above).
Hokusai was known by a dozen different names through his lifetime, most likely reflecting the different artistic manifestations he went through.
It is this restlessness, this thirst for life and art, that inspired countless other artesians on this continent and others.
And it is this quiet beauty that has withstood the winds of time.
You can see all of Katsushika Hokusai‘s art at his website http://www.katsushikahokusai.org/.
Sarah Kaufman is a Nashville, Tennessee-based artist who creates magical, textural mixed media paintings that explore aspects of the human experience “through the lens of surreal and ethereal narratives.”
Starting with a with a blank canvas, Sarah smears, drizzles, and splatters it with venetian plaster and gesso to create texture, then seals it with layers of translucent acrylic paint.
Once the base of the painting has settled, she paints her idea brings it to life with oil paint.
Sarah’s paintings are often soft and bright, yet sparkling with ethereal feelings.
According to Sarah, “The idea of being separate and distinct from the world around us is an illusion…”
“…we are simply a collection of energy for the moment. The houses represent our concept of self, with energy swirling around us in the sky, ground, trees and animals.”
More of Sarah Kaufman‘s lovely art can be found at http://www.sarahkaufmanart.com
https://artandinventiongallery.wordpress.com/art-artists/artwork/sarah-kaufman, http://www.larkandkey.com/artists/sarah-kaufman/, and can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sarah.kaufman.14.
Creativity is a flower blooming from the heart. Every one of us can do it.
Every One Of Us.
All we need to to is find a way to open that connection.
As a visual artist, Roza has always drawn most of her inspiration from the natural world around her.
With its diverse, stunning nature, Australia presented Roza with a profusion of ideas and influences; and it was in 2011 that Roza and her partner Afshin launched Shovava, a line of women’s clothing based on her hand drawn paintings and prints of the natural world.
All her designs are hand drawn and then digitally printed on very fine fabrics which she sources herself on her globe-trotting adventures.
In describing her creative process, Roza says, “I observe nature and find inspiration in the smallest details. Maybe it’s a butterfly’s wing or the patterned cell structure of a leaf. Maybe it’s a feather or a raven perched on a tree limb. I take in what I see in the nature and then create my pieces.”
Shovava‘s wonderfully creative works can be found at https://www.shovava.com/
Also, you can find another great article about Roza and Shovava at
Their work is also on their Facebook page: facebook.com/shovavaclothing
Janet Fish is a Contemporary Realist American painter whose still life paintings seem t0 radiate and reflect color.
Fish invigorates the still life form, both by the energetic way she paints and the often witty and ironic combinations of objects that she depicts.
She often chooses as her subjects objects that are translucent, transparent, or reflective, in particular colored glass.
Janet surrounds these objects with flowers, bright cloth patterns and other objects in brilliant hues, balanced with strategically placed rich darks.
Fish sometimes works from photographs, but often her paintings are composites of many photographs and still lifes, which she rearranges to form her compositions.
Her remarkable way of painting light and shadows puts a surrealistic glow on her fantastic art.
I feel like I can almost see my reflection in her glass works. Can you?
More of Janet Fish’s fantastic realism artwork can be found at the following sites:
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dean Russo draws inspiration from urban landscapes and his love for dogs to create truly unique artwork known for its brilliant colors and bold abstract designs of mesmerizing shapes and symbols.
To create these one of a kind images he uses a minimum of ten mediums per painting including pastels, ink, oils, pencils, wax, charcoal and spray paint.
“I used to paint portraits of rock icons and Hollywood stars for so many years with my dogs by my side. Till one day I thought, why not paint my two favorite subjects?” says Russo.
Initially inspired by his two cocker spaniels, Dean began working with rescue centers to raise awareness and donate his work.
Dean strives to communicate a message that encourages people to choose adoption, to acknowledge the world-wide failure of breed specific legislation and to combat dog fighting around the world.
“When a child sees, hears and acts upon my message, I feel successful. Anytime someone puts a message of love or respect towards people or animals into the universe it builds like a ripple. I hope I live long enough to see my ripples come back to me. That will make me smile.”
You can fulfill your love of Dean Russo‘s art and dogs at :
I had almost a whole blog finished this evening, one about deer ticks and broken teeth and watching Face Off. But when I reread it, all I saw was creatively written whine. The beautiful thing about typing on a computer is that with one sweep I can delete it all.
But what about second thoughts? What if I destroy something that one day may be my Pulitzer Prize?
I imagine my friends in other arts have the same dilemma. Graphic art, photography, writing, pottery — there’s always those pieces that you gave your heart and soul to and it still sucks. So you redo it. Rewrite it. Re-form it.
But how many times to you redo it?
I would love to hear from my graphic artist friends or sculptor friends or my scrapbooking friends. How many times to you redo something to get it “perfect”? And if you DO redo it, HOW do you do it?
Writing is simple yet complex. Often my stories, novels, poems, and other ditties start out with notes or research of some kind. Not like the Encyclopedia Britannica, but I try and create an ocean of information so that I can eventually reduce it to a cup full of water. Quite like my research for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery. Writing about Doors? Collect images of 30 different doors so I can choose 8. Writing about Nail Art? Download 20 images so you can share 7. Writing about life in 1880? Better check out things like electricity, transportation, and currency, even if the reference is only a couple of sentences long.
I keep every other version of my creations, cutting here, adding there, rearranging when needed. As the years go by I get rid of the middle versions — I’ve either moved forward and created a masterpiece, or it just hasn’t “done it” for me. I have a computer full of half-formed ideas, research that goes nowhere, poetry that needs real work. I decide what I want to work on, what I still need to research, and what was a great idea at the time but now, no thank you.
How do you deal with developing your craft? Do you network? Do you draw a basic image and then play with that same image until you get what you want? Do you you have pages and pages of canvas that hold various versions of your final masterpiece? Do you have stacks of pottery that look nothing like what you wanted to create?
My notebooks are glimpses of my thoughts through time. I’ve kept some since I started writing in earnest years ago. It’s fun going back and seeing my thought processes through the years. Sometimes I go back and reignite the embers that once burned brightly. Other times I just smile and see why the ideas are still only in a notebook.
I think beginner crafters can learn from our paths of trial and error. The thrill of creating something unique is made from the sweat and love and honesty that comes from somewhere deep inside. Some pick one idea, one idea, and stick with it from beginning to end. Others have trial and error experiences, realizing a particular path was pretty much a dead end from the beginning. So we choose a different path. A different path in the same endless woods.
I feel so much better when I write about the Craft. If I ever unlocked the door to the Hallway of Infinite Doors, I would find worlds that I love almost as well — drawing, stenciling, jewelry making, gardening. I would never have a life because my life would exist in the next dimension — the ethereal one. The Creative Arts one. I only hope you feel that way about your Craft too.
Oh, btw — the tick bite wasn’t infected, my broken tooth gets fixed in the morning, and Face Off is down to its final three.
Life is good.
I am continuously amazed at the Unique Art I come across these days — the art I can’t wait to share with you.
But this evening I am sharing an artist that somehow stirs even more inside of me. More so because I’ve always loved this artist … and never knew his name.
Are You Trying to Get To My Good Side
Meet — Blue Dog. Possibly one of the most iconic pop art figures created by artist George Rodrigue. Blue Dog has been everywhere from the permanent collection of the Smithsonian to the White House and all over the world.
Banana Split Sundae
Born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, George began painting the third grade while bedridden with polio. Later in life, his art studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette followed by the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena gave him a foundation that spawned one of the greatest success stories in southern art.
Life Is a Light Bulb
George Rodrigue was a gifted artist who set out to paint Louisiana as he knew it by visually interpreting the landscape and the rich history of the Cajun people. But that all changed when he found his model in his studio: a photograph of his dog, Tiffany, who had died.
Blue Dog Oak
She was black and white in reality but became blue in his imagination, with yellow eyes. She was also a she, but she could become a he — or, for that matter, whatever else a viewer was prepared to see.
Are You Lonesome Tonight
“I’m expressing the feelings of mankind today through the Blue Dog,” George said. “The dog is always having problems of the heart, of growing up, the problems of life. The dog looks at us and asks, ‘Why am I here? What am I doing? Where am I going?’ Those are the same questions we ask ourselves. People look at the paintings, and the paintings speak back to them.”
Mardi Gras 2015
Sadly, George Rodrigue passed away at age 69 on December 14, 2013, after a long battle with cancer. Sixty-nine. A mere youth in the cosmic scope of things. George used his art to help raise awareness of causes, and improve the profile of his beloved New Orleans and Louisiana.
His heart was in his work, in his love of his blue dog and his beautiful wife and loving kids. I am sorry I never knew his name before now. But I will never forget him.
He Stopped Loving Her Today
George’s fantastic collection can be seen at https://georgerodrigue.com/. His wife Wendy continues his legacy with a loving blog which you should check out too: http://www.wendyrodrigue.com/. A deeper tribute can also be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-ross/remembering-rodrigue-the-_b_4503698.html/.
Love Me Forever
We’ve all had our Blue Dogs — here’s hoping you find one, too.