Saturday, February 27, 2016

Love Story, Love Art

Love, love, love.

In addition to painting, I love reading and growing plants.  I used to read a lot when I was young.  My backup career ideas as a teen were Library Science and English Literature.  Like some of you may have, I quit reading fiction when I got BUSY.  A few years ago, my mom gave me a hardcover copy of “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith (who also wrote the original 101 Dalmatians story and hit plays for the London stage), and I got re-hooked!
I like romantic stories and classics and some poetry, and that overflows into my painting life and always has.  One important piece of being an artist is BEING an artist; that is living life as a story.  The things I can control-doing my best to make them beautiful- and the things I can’t control- doing my best to make the most good out of them.
I’ve always loved reading artist’s biographies and journals.  I’m fascinated by the connections between what they painted with how they lived.  The more I know of their lives, the more emotion I pull from the work.  If I have a real life encounter with an exhibition of paintings by Manet or Cezanne, for example, I am powerfully moved-even if their work hadn't been of noted interest to me before.  There is something about connecting the story of their lives with their original work that I find so moving.  

I do a lot of thinking about "why buy art?  Why watch art?  Why make it?"

There is much I could say about this topic and I’m interested in what you have to say about it, and today I’ll just share this thought: Art and the making of it and the living of it is part of a story, the story of the maker and the story of the person who collects it.  At that point our stories meet and mingle.  The art expresses something of the buyer’s taste and experience that the painter shares with them.  The artist’s accomplishments become part of the collector’s personal story.  I LOVE this tapestry.  Story is so beautifully human.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Still Life Inspiration from Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)

Gertrude Jekyll by Sir William Nicholson

This last week I reread a show catalog, "William Nicholson Paintings" from the Kasmin Gallery 2006 show held in New York.
I've drooled many times over two of his still life paintings featured in Juliette Aristides' book, "Classical Painting Atelier".  For some reason, unknown to me because I like to research things, I never looked up Nicholson or attempted to find other works of his floating on the internet.
I went to a plein air retreat in September, and on one of the nights, they have an art book sale and swap.  Of all things, Richard Jordan PAAWM's leader and talented painter, was selling this catalog -thanks, Richard!!  What good fortune for me!

What do you respond to in Nicholson's work if you're already a fan?

What do I respond to?

I respond to his inquisitive approach to his subjects and even subject genre.  I almost have the feeling that would set about to paint something and honestly not know how he's pull it off.  This makes his work feel fresh to me.  He was eccentric, and unafraid to learn, pleased by everyday beauties.  I love his still lifes best, and then some figures and landscapes...oh it's hard to choose after the still life pieces!

He did know tragedy in his life-he was not naive.  He lost two adult children, a wife, and an infant. He lived in the war years made famous by TV drama, Downton Abbey.  One of his sons died in action in France during World War 1.

My rebellious side loves that he found immense success in his lifetime without being "branded".  He made a living first with woodcut illustrations and posters, and then by his portrait skills, but now he is remembered largely for his still life paintings.  He painted all sorts of subjects, more than I've mentioned, and he painted them well.

His paintings feel fresh, curious, and sincere.  I love painting and learning about painters I admire partly for the sheer visual pleasure, but also for the stories their work and their lives tell.  Painters interpret the world around them, they paint, and the echoes can reverberate for ages.

I just read a warning blog post about using pictures cautiously in blogs because of copyright issues. Too bad, because I wanted to plaster this post with Nicholson paintings I like:)
If you're on Pinterest, look me up and I have a William Nicholson pin board.  The paintings shown here are both related to Gertrude Jekyll, the famous English garden designer.

Look up some images!  Use your favorite search engine or try this link for a few...

Miss Jekyll's Boots by Sir William Nicholson

Saturday, December 5, 2015

On Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”

This week I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book “Big Magic-Creative Living beyond Fear”.  I haven't read "Eat, Pray, Love" or "Committed: A Love Story" or "The Signature of All Things" but I may.  
When I read, I’m not the sort of person that feels that they have to agree or disagree or come up with some sort of pronouncement.  It’s enough for me to get a golden nugget of information or inspiration.  I wasn’t always this way, but I am now.
I got really excited by Gilbert’s description of herself as a child.  She describes herself as a very fearful child that wished for example, when at the beach, that everyone there would come out of the water and read so she wouldn’t have to worry for their safety.   That is familiar to me.  My parents would agree that I shared some traits with young Ms. Gilbert.

She goes on to describe her encounters with the creative spirit.  She experiences an Idea as an entity that comes knocking, asking for you to help bring it to life, and if you pass on its offer, it’ll visit someone else.  She has some examples from her own life that are fascinating enough for you to go read them yourself.  Again, after getting over the strangeness of the concept, I had to agree that I have felt that sort of “magic” in my own life.  I found that after reading about Gilbert’s experiences, that understanding creativity in this whimsical way, for me, helps me feel less fearful as I step forward in my productivity, whether it be painting, writing, or doing business or making new connections.  I feel more aware when an Idea comes knocking, more conscious as I accept a project or turn it down.  And I’ve been doing it for years, but without the sort wakefulness that Gilbert has cultivated.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Featured Pieces November 2015

This is a quick blog entry here, to post pics of some recent pieces and one piece that is shockingly NOT SOLD that should be!  Look below!!

Several of the newbies make good pairings..

September Pastoral l (Trees), 20"x16" oil on panel $2400 framed

September Pastoral ll(Path), 16"x12" oil on panel $1400 framed

Snapdragons, Peaches, Pear, 16"x12" oil on panel $1400 framed

The Grassy Slope, 8"x10" oil on panel, $800 framed

Summer Pastoral with Grazing Cows, 12"x16" oil on panel, $1300 framed

Hill in High Summer, 13"x14" oil on paper, $250 unframed

First Light Over the Lake, 9"x12" oil on paper, $200 unframed
inquire through my website here  if you'd like to ask about any painting above!  Already have a Thimgan?  Collector's discount honored.

  Maybe I shouldn't tell -in case I can get it back- but IT'S A PAINTED BOX that I did last year, it's only $300 and it's AMAZING for keeping cell phone chargers and other oft used ugly items.  The box is available at the Water Street Gallery.  Tell them you saw it on my blog if you buy it:).
NOT SOLD! WHY? Field Box Pastoral $300

Now at:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Looking for a Landscape to Paint

I posted my first self-made video with a little footage I took while tromping around in a meadow looking for amazing vantage points of peaceful Michigan farm land.

One of the cool things about photos and videos of beautiful places and things is that THEY CAN'T DO THEM JUSTICE!  Yes!  That's why I paint and travel.  Pictures can't cut it.  The colors are too complex to just use photo references (in my opinion) without extensive time spent in real life looking at real life.  Traveling somewhere gives you an experience that cannot be made up from 2nd hand experiences.  Having been there- pics and vids can be memory prompts, but they can't make up for the true experience.

I painted 5 paintings on a painter's retreat with PAAWM, Plein Air Artists of West Michigan
 I'll attach snapshots of the pieces here.  I'm waiting for frames for them and then I'll send out notes to people on my mailing list that requested info on New Pieces and my Facebook pages.
3 oils on panel and 1 on paper, far right.

Another work on paper, about 8"x14"

Same as the first, but that's a different pic on the far right! Very Irish looking scene of cows painted on panel.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

When I was in Baltimore in August at the Antique Show, I was fortunate to meet Carole Pinto, a private dealer in French art and art adviser based in New York and Paris.  I was really taken with several of the little gems she had with her, but especially a small nude and a little canal scene painted in Venice around Sargent's time.  She spent some time talking with me and kindly sent me this article she had published in 2011 in Fine Art Connoisseur and said I could share it with her blessing.
Assembling a Collection in France by Carole Pinto

My inspiration for this article came after one too many strangers
exclaimed, upon learning that I am an art dealer, “I’d love to
buy art, but I can’t afford it!”  (click this link to read on)
See the bathing woman 2nd from the upper left corner? and a little Venetian canal painting on the far left of the table?  Those were my favorites at this booth.  I'm a sucker for French art.  Most of my favorite painters are dead French artists.


 August 2015

I got home a few days ago from a road trip with my husband, Joseph, to visit a big antique, art, and jewelry show in Baltimore. I wanted to see if there were a lot of potential Thimgan collectors there, and I think there were. I may tweak my plans a bit, but I think I got some excellent feedback and met some really interesting art and antique dealers form all over the world.
Inside three days, I whisked through hundreds of booths of amazing art, saw some favorite pieces in the Cleveland Museum of Art, and visited the Brandywine River Museum, as well as an a tour of Andrew Wyeth’s studio which he used until his death in 2009, if I understood correctly. The Brandywine River setting alone was breathtaking…some pastorals will come out of what I saw there.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Andrew Wyeth’s exactly. I’ve read biographies on him and his dad, N.C. (Nowell Convers) and don’t deny the incredible force they possessed. I’m partial to N.C. and Andrew’s son, Jamie Wyeth’s work as I mentioned in a blog entry a few years ago. Again, Andrew’s work is utter genius, some of it is just darker than I…enjoy.. for lack of a better word. I saw the Helga exhibit in Maine when I was about 20 years old and I remember the emotional force of it today.
Cleveland Museum of Art, a stunner by one of may favorite painters, Henri Fantin-Latour

Marie-Yolande de Fitz-James

I went to the Cleveland Art Museum to see works by Chardin like this one, and Fantin-Latour.

I can never see too many Corot's!

A booth at the Antique Show in Baltimore

The N.C.Wyeth room at the Wyeth Museum in PA

Taking in last moments outside Andrew Wyeth's studio

The lovely Brandywine River from a window in the Wyeth Museum