Monday, March 28, 2011

Progress of "Progressions"

You are the first to get a preview of my most recent art for my first solo exhibit in July, 2011. (You can see more "Progressions" at my website.)

The gallery manager is most interested in displaying the "Progressions" series. I received wonderful comments about the unusual subject, the lively colors and the smiles on viewers' faces when they "get it." (That pleased me most of all.) Having crowed enough, here are the works to date:


I'd enjoy hearing your comments/suggestions for more "Progressions."

One last thing: Thank you to so many of you who responded to last week's email with concern,good wishes and prayers. Your words of encouragement meant so much to me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Victor Horta and the Whiplash Curve

In this blog, I have written about painters, sculptors, and printers but never about architects. It was not an oversight. It was because many avant garde architects such as Gaudi and Gehring have been widely recognized. Then, I came across Victor Horta (1861-1947) who has been called, "the key European Art Nouveau Architect."

Born in Ghent, Belgium, Horta was educated in music, art, design and architecture. Early in his career, he began to work with iron and glass - often thought of as hard and angular materials. Horta designs wove them into sinuous shapes for both the exterior and interior.

He designed a few houses, but quickly moved on to designing public buildings. His signature design was the whiplash curves which you can see in the photos here. These have a certain feeling of plant tendrils and became part of
the description of the Art Nouveau period.

After WWI, Horta moved from the curving, sweeping style to a more geometrical one. This evolution would lead to Art Deco and Modernism. However, modernist felt no connection to Horta's Art Nouveau style. Several buildings were demolished in the 1960s.

UNESCO stepped in and preserved some of Horta's houses and buildings as World Heritage Sites. We are lucky to have these beautiful designs. So, if you're ever in Belgium...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tubes, Easels, and Railroads

Did you see "The Girl with the Pearl Earring?" If so, perhaps you remember that she began assisting the Dutch artist, Vermeer (1632-1675), in grinding the pigments and adding the oil to make his paints.

In those days, oil painters could only sketch outdoors. The materials they needed to schlepp were too cumbersome to actually paint the scene away from their studios. Reference sketches left the artist relying on rough outlines and memory. This led to final paintings that were fanciful especially in the backgrounds and figures.

Three inventions released oil painters to paint directly from nature. They were: industrially-mixed paint in tubes, light-weight, portable easels and the speed of railroad travel.

Starting in the late 19th century,artists could gather up their supplies, board a railroad and arrive at a place in the country to paint directly on canvas - even to paint a final version.

Painting directly outdoors became known as "en plein" air or "in the open air." It was a wonderful opportunity for artists and generated some of the finest Impressionist paintings we treasure. (Monet, above; Pissarro, below left, Morisot, below right)

Today, there are plein air painting groups and workshops everywhere. So when someone tells you it is a plein air painting, you'll be able to shake your head and say, "I thought so."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Atencio Meets Atencio

It's interesting how an unfamiliar last name can lead to so many unique and imaginative spellings. Personally, my name has been spelled Antencio, Atenico, Artencio - you get the idea.

One day while googling "Atencio" and all the variations, I came across Gilbert Benjamin Atencio (1930-1995). I was drawn to him as he was an artist in an artistic family. (His aunt was the internationally known potter, Maria Martinez. Below, right)

As a Tewa Pueblo Indian, Gilbert used art to interpret the stories told to him by his aunties. His favorite subjects were the ceremonial scenes and figures of his people.

Gilbert's early works reflect the sparse, traditional flat style. In the 1970s, Gilbert began experimenting with a more abstract style. In the top tier are his earlier works followed by his later more elaborate works. What do you think of his evolution?