Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Suzanne Crane: From Professor to Artisan



 Born into a family of birders and botanist, it was the most natural thing for Suzanne Crane to find her inspiration for her beautiful and elegant vessels in nature. As she writes, "Each of my botanical pieces begins with a walk in the mountains and woods of Central Virginia where I gather my wild plant specimens."



From these specimens, Crane incorporates the leaves, birds, berries and even the occasional frog into her works. 





As with many artists and musicians, she covered her need to earn a living by getting a Master's degree in English. With her degree in hand, she worked as an English professor at community colleges for 13 years. During this time, she was taking classes in pottery making. 




It was after the purchase of a 19th century house and barn that the opportunity came for her to have her own studio. It was this transitional three years, that lead to enough pottery sales for her to quit teaching and focus on her love of nature and the feel of the earth in clay.


Crane is a prolific potter and here are more examples of her graceful works: 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef: Father of South African Style

There was a painter born in Pretoria, South Africa of whom most of us know very little. Yet his paintings are auctioned at very high values by those familiar with his works. His name? Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) 


He came to my attention when the collection of Microsoft's co-founder, Paul G. Allen, was being auctioned after his death. The painting that Allen had was a stunner in the breadth, coloration, and drama of the landscape.


Pierneef was of Dutch ancestry. In the 1900s, with the Boer vs. English war, his family decided to return to their roots in the Netherlands. It was there that he took art classes and by the time he returned to Pretoria at 18, was an established artist in painting, linocuts, and etching.


In the years that followed, Pierneff studied South African art and evolved his own style. With the failing health of his wife, he applied himself even more to lecturing and exhibiting for the sake of providing. His efforts paid off handsomely. 



He was commissioned for a 3-year contract to paint the 28 panels of the Johannesburg Train Station, followed by 7 murals in the South African House in London and successful exhibits in several cities and countries.



Oh, and Christie's auction sale price for the one Paul G. Allen owned? Almost $300,000! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Diana Beltran Herrera: Beautiful Paper Birds


As many of you art fans know, birds are a favorite subject of mine. I can't tell you exactly how many birds I've painted and sculpted. There is an artist who also is inspired by their beauty. This artist sculpts them with what I regard as the most available and humblest of materials - paper. Her name is Diana Beltran Herrera, (1987-)



She grew up in Colombia and makes her home in England where she also received her MFA in art & design. It was while she was researching ordinary materials to use for creating her works that she found paper to be one of the best materials for her birds, flowers, and produce. (This blog features her birds. You can see her other subjects at her website.)

Herrera has exhibited in many parts of the world - Asia, Europe and America. Presently, she's preparing for an exhibit in Singapore. Her clients are also from all over the world. Of course, who doesn't enjoy being able to see a beautifully executed and colorful bird?

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Sophia Prestiagiacomo and Homo Algus




Starting the week with Halloween reminded me of a post from years back that was so popular. It was made by a French artist & sculptor named Sophia Prestiagiacomo. She created a series she titled, "Homo Algus in Habit the Séné Marshes."

Ms. Prestiagiacomo lives near the marshes in Brittany. She enjoyed her walks in the marshes, and as happens with artist, she found inspiration in the algae and mud.

She dried the algae and realized that once dried, it felt like human skin. She began to form swamp creatures mostly out of mud and algae. 

These strange, primordial creatures seem to be lost in time, uncertain of who or what they are. All that they can know is the change of seasons. They exist with the pulse of the tides, shaped by the winds and the sun. From time to time, their creator comes to restore them... for now.