Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Barbara Hepworth: A Remarkable Dame

Recently a friend read the bio of an artist and expressed her great admiration. The artist? Barbara Hepworth. (1903-1975). From what my friend told me about Hepworth, I had to know more and wondered how it was I'd never heard of her.

Her story is about great artistry and achievement. English born, Hepworth trained in art at the Royal College of Art. Although she worked in various disciplines, she was best known as a modern sculptor.
She created many public works. Her most famous was the one she created for the United Nations in New York.

She was personal friends with Dag Hammarskjöld, the second United Nations Secretary, who died in a plane crash while on official duty. As part of the memorial to him, Hepworth was asked to design a sculpture.
The sculpture, "Single Form" (1961), was to acknowledge Hammarskjöld as a distinguished and respected peace maker.

Hepworth's sculptures and fame led to Queen Elizabeth II bestowing  the title of "Dame of the British Empire." It stands to reason that Dame Hepworth's sculptures are found in many of the most prestigious museums and galleries.

She accomplished all of this while raising 4 children - 3 being triplets. She dealt with the scarcities of WWII and the difficulties of making ends meet as an artist with a family. Hepworth rose to face all of life's challenges. (Below is a small sampling of her art - one of which is from her own sad loss of her first-born son. The title is: "Madonna and Child" (1954)

Title: "Pelagos" (1946)
Title: "Tide 1" (1946)
Title: "Winged Figure" (1961)

If you've ever in England, be sure to stop off at The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens, St. Ives, which is run by the Tate Gallery. Would you agree that Hepworth was an exceptional artist and a resilient Dame?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thinking 2012...

Have you heard the expression, "Time seems to go faster as you get older?" Yeah, me, too. I could scarcely imagine that 2012 was over and what had I accomplished? What did I learn? How did it go?

BLOG: My first art blog was in April, 2009. Since then, 172 pages have been posted and those pages have been viewed over 94,000 times. According to Google, the top 3 viewed were:
(1) "Magritte: Son of Man" (archive: March, 2012) with 5,450 views,
(2) "Do-Ho Suh: Part 2" (Oct., 2010), 3560 views - although I have a personal preference for "Do-Ho Suh: The Coat" (May, 2010)
 (3) "Monsieur Monet" (June, 2010) with 3151 views.

Interesting that Magritte gained so many viewers in less than one year. I wonder if he's required reading in art classes.

EXHIBITS: "Progressions" was exhibited twice during the year and various individual pieces were included in other shows.

ART: In the "Access: Greek Isles" 4 new pieces were added - there are now 16 in the series.One piece is almost finished and 4 more are in progress. (You can see the finished works at:

For the "Walkers, Waders and Wondrous" (birds) series, I held a contest to name a piece made with ceramic tiles. The winning title chosen by a panel of interested friends was: "Wind Dancer."

A little Parula was completed for a commission. (All of the finished birds can be seen at:

I took an art workshop from Rogene Manas on paper clay. From it, I made a delightful cat/bird birthday gift for a friend.

My confidence to work with paper clay on canvas increased with 9 small birds. The sculpting is finished and I'll paint them as soon as they're dry enough. (On the right is a large clay tile of another bird in progress).

ANNEX:  "Atencio Annex" was named to distinguish items made for reproductions of fine art designs. To the mix of glass cutting boards/trays, mugs, recipe markers, and note cards, there are 4 new coaster designs. You can view all on Etsy -

This posting has been a fun exercise. Sometimes I think that I should work faster and create more, but this look back makes me feel that everything is happening just as it should. Try this exercise and you, too, might be happily surprised. Oh, and let me know what you discovered. Happy New Year! R. Atencio