Saturday, April 29, 2017

Figuratively Seaking - Idyllic Happiness

8"x10" oil
What is "Idyllic Happiness" to you?  This art lover is probably feeling pretty happy looking at beautiful paintings and carrying around her front papoose.  Giving birth to a perfect and healthy little one is a pretty good moment.  They painting she is looking at is by Gauguin, painted in 1897.  It is a representation of  Vairumati who is a legendary figure of the Maori people.  Gauguin was at a low point in his life when he painted this scene representing "Idyllic Happiness."  His colors are bright and cheerful even though he was suffering from syphilis and was feeling suicidal.  It is weird how so many artists of fame have such tragic stories and yet they have brought such joy to millions who have viewed their art.  Ironic isn't it?   Go Figure.... 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Seeking Approval

6"x6" oil
We certainly spend a good part of our lives seeking approval.  Whenever I meet someone who is not seeking approval, I admire them for their authenticity.  Unfortunately, frequently they have pronounced anti-social behaviors that keep them from feeling comfortable in the company of others. Like anything, there is a balance.  It works to seek approval as it validates our achievements, helps us to understand our tribes, and teaches us what social norms are appropriate.  The problem lies in how much approval we seek, from whom we seek it, and what are our motivations.  It can be crippling and keep us from achieving that authenticity that I frequently see in those on the fringes.  On the other hand, some of the most authentic people I have met are deeply spiritual.  They seek approval from a higher being and are freed up to be gentle and generous here in the Earthly realm.  In not seeking the approval of others, they are able to find joy in moments we are given and therefore give back what they can.  I admire this and it is something that exists both in and out of religious affiliation.  It is interesting though that some very religious people are also the ones who are least authentic and most judgemental. I am choosing to be as authentic as I can....but, I still care what you think about my painting....go figure!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Figuratively Speaking-Yoga Meditation Art

6"x6" oil
The wall painting is a Rothko.  I have gained a deeper appreciation for his work recently in my efforts to understand color.  I have heard myself (talking in my head) say, "I could spend the rest of my life studying color theory and application, and never get it all."  I think that is what Rothko (in part) spent his art career doing.  Sometimes, even when at a prestigious art museum, our bodies find a need for a little Yoga.  While her friend meditates on the Rothko, she is stretching her quads.  I spend a lot of my time doing art and doing Yoga.  It is the only way I can keep my body happy and keep my disposition positive.  Right now, I am also doing a significant amount of garden preparation which has kicked up my need for Yoga, as well as, chiropractic care and a desire for massage.  I am really excited to be getting ready to grow things and have kicked it off with an obsession with sprouting seeds and grains to eat.  It is hard work staying healthy.  I still need my chocolate though....go figure!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Figuratively Soeaking - Childlikeness

6"x6" oil
"You can't do the same thing over and over and expect different results."  I am not sure that is totally true.  Swimming laps is a good example, or perfecting any skill.  Doing the same thing over and over can refine it, teach you what you need to learn, and increase speed and confidence.  I am thinking about painting the same scene 100 times.  I haven't decided what to paint yet, but when I do, I am going to commit to doing it 100 times.  That sounds like a lot.  The above painting I have painted 3 times and they all look different.  I really like this image and the Bouguereau painting they are looking at.  Karin Jurick is my inspiration for these "Gallery Viewers" (she calls them art patrons).   She is the master in my opinion.  My husband has been waging a battle with squirrels over the bird feeders for millennium.  Squirrels are as tenacious as I want to be about my painting.  They are able to master any obstacle Carl puts in their quest to be gluttons for the bird's food.  Carl's latest trick is to hang slinkies on the poles.  So far, this has been successful and quite entertaining, but I know that it is temporary and I am laying my bets on the squirrels.  FYI:  There are 9 varieties of bird and at least 30 of them at the feeders now.  I guess when our teenagers moved out, Carl decided to spend the extra food money on birdseed.  I think a morning dove has fallen asleep under the feeder....just like teens, all they do is eat and sleep....go figure!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Julia

6"x6" oil
Julia is such a feminine name.  This is Julia Foster Ward painted by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre in the late 1800's.  Poor Julia lived a short life, dying when she was only 19.  The morning glories in her hair may symbolize her short existence as this painting was probably done after her passing.  Since morning glories mostly bloom in early morning and have a short existence, they would be an appropriate choice.  There are over 1,000 varieties of morning glories and they have been used for a variety of purposes from laxative use to vulcanizing rubber and also for creating hallucinogenic  effects.  This gallery viewer, who happens to be my sister, struck the same pose as poor Julia.  Lucky for me, my little sister is approaching 6 decades of life.  In those years she has raised 7 beautiful and talented children and now that she has time, she swims 1-2 miles a day.  She is proud of her age and what she has accomplished and, I am lucky to have her as my sister.  There is enough distance in our ages that we didn't really have much of a rivalry in our youth.  I always thought she was adorable and talented...I am sure she thought I was a fantastic big sister with a driver's license.....go figure!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Stoned6"x6" oil

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Beethoven is stoned (in white marble) in this image.  This larger than life sculpture by prolific German artist Max Klinger (not the Max Klinger from M*A*S*H) was commissioned around 1902, after the top piece of another sculpture he did in which the lower part is made of bronze and colored marble.  Max Klinger is one of those artists whose work crosses numerous lines both stylistically and in terms of all the areas of art he accomplished including etching, painting, music and sculpture.  I have always enjoyed sculpture, but until my association with the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, VT, I didn't truly understand or appreciate sculpture or how difficult an art it is.  The sculpture center lies in an old quarry at the heart of  Vermont marble mining.  Not only is it a historic industrial place that aims to keep the history alive, but it is a uniquely creative place to meet artists from around the world and witness amazing art making.  Although it is primarily focused on stone carving, classes are offered in many disciplines including jewelry making, welding, clay and fabrication.  All of that and it is located in the beautiful countryside of Vermont, wedged between the Taconic Mountains and the Green Mountains.  So if you want to get stoned (figuratively speaking) I suggest signing up for a class at the Carving Studio.  Go Figure!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Audience of Two (2nd try)

6"x6" oil
This lovely gallery viewer  (my sister) is only one of many who are sneaking a peak at Jupiter and Callisto under a shady tree.  This is a very voyeuristic painting.  First, Callisto was a River Goddess who attended to and was quite chummy with Diana who warned her against men and gods.  Jupiter  had fallen in love with Callisto so he tricked her by disguising himself as Diana.  Like all Greek myths, this is just the beginning of a confusing and tragic story.  So the painting on the wall is of Jupiter, disguised as Diana, wooing Callisto.  Part of what makes it voyeuristic is that cupid is observing them from behind the tree, not to mention all the gallery viewers who visit it at the St. Petersburg  Museum of Fine Art and, now, you who are looking at this little painting.  So, this is the rest of this tawdry story:  Callisto became pregnant, had a son, and was then turned into a bear by Jupiter's jealous wife, Juno.  Years later Callisto the bear saw her son in the woods and ran to hug him.  Fearing he was going to be attacked by a bear, he shot and killed
his mother.  They now reside together in the evening sky as the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper.  This story has been painted in many forms by many famous artists.  This version is by Angelica Kauffman, one of those rare 18th Century successful women artists whose story has lived to be told.  Although she was Swedish, she resided and was famous in both London and Venice.  And I thought my life was complicated...go figure!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Buddahs With Anonymous

5"x7" oil
Figuring things out......she is and so am I.  She is "Anonymous" and so are the makers of the Buddha's she is figuring out.  I wonder what questions are going through her mind....historical, cultural, material....maybe she is wondering if she can pick up some copies of these, made of resin, to put in her garden.  I like the patterns of straps on her blouse...very yoga-like...very zen and they echo the patterns of her tattoo, also a piece of artwork.  The shape of her bag and the shape of her skirt are also interesting patterns.  I am returning to work after traveling to help out family and then coming down with what I am calling "flying flu."  I am not sure it is actually flu, but it involves a week-long fever and generally feeling miserable. I seem to get it, or something similar, whenever I fly.  There has to be some way, short of encasing myself in an aseptic bubble, to avoid this.  It would be very cool though, if you could travel in a bubble....mmmm.....still figuring it all out.  Go figure!
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