Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Open House Invitation... a Chance to Share

For a few months now, I've been preparing for this coming weekend's Open House and Studio Sale. I stayed mindful of the economy and created inexpensive gift items exclusively for this event.

There are hand-painted one-of-a-kind ornaments. Some are classic. Most are interestingly different subjects for ornaments.

There are also wooden boxes with glass top frames. Under the glass is an original pastel. The boxes come in a variety of sizes, colors and subjects. Here are a few of the paintings:

My friends, the ones who love to shop garage sales, brought me turned wood recycles which I painted with original designs.

There will be note cards, unusual place markers, small framed art.

This is not just a Studio Sale. It is an Open House. A chance for us to visit, share time, sip hot mulled cider and sample home-made goodies. There's even a small gallery to see what new art I've been making.

There's really only one thing I ask (besides YOUR presence): Please bring canned goods for the collection bin. If we fill the bin, each person who contributed will be entered for a chance to win a very special art piece. See you SOON!

This blog travels to many places - too far to actually join us this weekend. I wish you could. However, your spirit and the spirit of giving will be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Louise Nevelson: The Other Louise

It seems that the 20th Century provided us with two outstanding sculptors named "Louise." Both were born in Europe and immigrated to the U.S., both made monumentally-sized sculptures and both had long lives devoted to art. One of the two, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), was the subject of this blog in August, 2009.

The other, Louise - that is Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) - was not only an outstanding 20th century sculptor, but was considered a pioneer in the use of found objects as part of her sculptures.

The daughter of a family in the timber business, it seems that Nevelson could not resist scavenging objects, especially woods ones, to create her art. She was known for her creations of sculptures of geometric shapes based on the assemblage of reused items. A lintel, a door frame, an old chair or a crate all held design possibilities for Nevelson.

Out of found materials came her signature sculptures which were often large and always painted black, white or gold. (One of her sculptures measured about 55 feet!) Below are images of some of Nevelson's sculptures which you can click to enlarge.

There is just one last thing: both Louises continued to work on commission until shortly before they died. They were two women of immense vigor and passion for art. As Nevelson stated, "It isn't how you live, but how you finish."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chuck Close: The Invincible Magician


If you've ever had the pleasure of standing in front of one of Chuck Close's (1940-) enormous portraits, there is that feeling of magic. When you stand near, it is a jumble of small colored shapes. The mind's eye sees no specific image, but stand back and there it is. The viewer's eyes blend the colorful shapes and a face appears - a portrait of someone. It is like the magic of an illusionist.

The magic doesn't end with the portrait for there is something else. Chuck Close has "face blindness" ("Prosopagnosia" in medicalese) How is it possible that someone who cannot distinguish faces is a famous portraitist?

Close says that he can only recognize faces when they are static. It is a problem of recognition in 3-dimension. As Close describes, "... move your head one half inch and its a face I've never seen before." Naturally, Close does not paint portraits from life, but rather from photographs. That's not the last of the magic...

...after spinal artery collapse left Close paralyzed, he learned to paint again by strapping a brush to his wrist. In his wheelchair, he is elevated up to scaffolding where the canvas is raised as he paints to a finished size of 9 feet x 7 feet! One painting may take him 6 months as he interprets a photo into a series of small colored areas on a very large canvas.

How does he do it all? I'd say he's a magician with an invincible spirit.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Winner: The Mola

When the Christians first happened upon the Kuna tribe living in what is now Panama, the women were heavily decorated with geometric paintings. Of course, nudity was simply not acceptable and so the women began to wear chemises or blouses. Sounds rather boring except you could say that the women had something up their collective sleeves.

You see,the women began using introduced fabrics to create a reverse applique for decorative panels on their blouses ("molas" in Kuna language).

In reverse applique, all the layers (Kuna women use up to 7 layers of different colors) are sewn together. Then the design is formed by cutting away the pattern through each layer, turning under and hand stitching the raw edge.

Typically, a woman wears two mola panels as part of her blouse - one in front and the other in the back - based on the same theme.

Now, a short digression into history: The Kuna did live in Panama, but with the diseases and social pressure of the invaders, they moved to the San Blas islands off the Panamanian coast. As too often happens, the government tried to force the Kuna to integrate by requiring they wear western clothing and outlawing the molas. This led to Kuna resistance and an uprising.

Today, Kuna Yala (Kuna Land) is a semi-autonomous region of Panama and the molas made by the women are one of the most important cash exports for the Kunas.

Below are examples of traditional and contemporary mola themes.