Thursday, February 28, 2013

Etsy Artist Love: Isabella Di Sclafani


I love these figurines by Isabella Di Sclafani.  

I came across her work when she purchased a few little paintings from me -- and when I saw her work wow-- let me tell you there is no bigger compliment than one from another artist whose work you admire.  I love knowing my paintings occupy a home with these wonky guys.

 These wonderful little figures have so much personality -- some seem so worried and awkward, others like know-it-alls (I'm looking at you swimmer).  I also love the way she photographs them, the space and proximity given always seem appropriate and make me feel like the photos are an art form on their own. 

She has many in her shop along with some delightful little paintings and other goodies.  Check it out and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

St. Lucia Snapshots

I just got back from a ridiculously beautiful and fun week in St. Lucia.  Many thanks to our friends who invited us to stay at their cousin's Villa for the week.  Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip:

These handmade pots with faces were all over St. Lucia and I loved them so much.

I loved how from the right angle, this diagonal palm in front of our Villa lined up perfectly with the Piton mtn behind.

A ton of interesting plants and foliage on this island.

Not everyday this is the view from the backyard...but I started asking myself why I live in Philadelphia when this exists

Our favorite restaurant Martha's Tables

I loved the mountains at night, maybe even more than in the day, they were such dark and solid masses.
Had to pin up my bangs in this humidity...

I don't know how this is a real place...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Pick: Aafke Ytsma

Sachertorte, 2010, Oil on Canvas, 64.5 x 50 cm
Dinosaur, 2010, Oil on Canvas, 64 x 50 cm
Untitled, 2012, Watercolor on Paper, 38 x 28 cm
Untitled, 2012, Watercolor on Paper, 38 x 28 cm
Untitled, 2009, Oil on Panel, 35 x 26 cm

Untitled, 2009, Oil on Paper, 35 x 26 cm

Caravan, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 50 x 38 cm

Aafke Ytsma is a fantastic, emerging painter residing in the Netherlands.  We got in touch a few months ago, she stumbled across my blog and I was immediately taken with her work.  

I decided instead of giving you my two cents on her work and why I like it, it would be interesting to hear directly from her.  She graciously answered a few questions I sent over that were prompted by her work.  Enjoy!

Your works all seem related but the subject matter varies greatly.  What provides the original spark for creating a work?I think one of the reasons my work is diverse is because of my work process which seems roughly divided in two periods: working and observing. A period of painting ends when my questions and doubts about what I’m doing get the overhand. It doesn’t seem right anymore and I practically stop painting. Then I mostly just look and try to grasp what I’ve done and why I’m no longer content with it. Bur for things to come together again I have to actually see something. By creating certain circumstances I try to have some control but I don’t think I have much if any. It can be really trying. But then I see something, a person standing in a certain way, an object that looks strange, or the branches of a tree reaching into the sky. I get excited and paint. And this is I think what the paintings have in common. The original spark of witnessing something and attempting to catch it in paint. 

What are you currently working on and thinking about in the studio?At the moment I’m working outside if the weather permits it. I take my watercolours and cycle around the countryside until something hits me. When I finish painting I bring the things I’ve done back to my studio. I pin them on the wall and move them around. And study them while sitting in my comfy chair near the heater, warming-up again after working in the cold.

What artists are important to you and your work?It’s not so much artists that are important to me, rather it’s paintings. I don’t really have a steady selection, so many good things have been made. Matisse's goldfish in the Pompidou for example, I think its marvellous. But I also very much want to go to Italy to see the frescos by Fra Angelico and Giotto. They are important to me but it’s not in the sense of ‘using’ them, it’s rather that they give me a believe in painting.

Is there anything you can share about what it is like living in the Netherlands as a young painter?The Netherlands has a large and diverse art community and for a part it’s funded by the government. A year ago drastic cuts forced the art world to tighten its belt. Funds like a small monthly fee for young artist while starting up their ‘business’ was cut. There has been a lot of debate since on the importance of art and how the art world, having to think more commercial now, can stay artistically independent. So it’s a changing climate, and that’s not a bad time or place for a young artist I think. It takes time to find your way, but I guess that’s universal.

Friday, February 15, 2013

New Painting

Night Spills In, 2013, Oil on Panel
I am heading off to a week of vacation tomorrow!  Off we go to St. Lucia with some friends who have family with a bungalow down there.  Hopefully 24 hours from now I am poolside with a margarita and a beautiful view.  I am totally disconnecting from my phone, internet etc. So this week I won't have any Sunday Pick or other posts but I will be back!  For now I leave you with a painting fresh out of my studio.  Have a wonderful week wherever you are.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy V-Day from me and my Students

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Adelie Bischoff!

Happy 87th birthday to Adelie Bischoff!  I was so delighted when a friend of Adelie Bischoff's contacted me to say she was showing my previous post on a painting of Adelie's to her because she thought she would get a kick out of it on her 87th birthday.  

I know I didn't meet her or even directly interact, but for some reason I felt starstruck to even for one second be in the world of such a great painter.  The whole thing sent me into a tailspin, picturing how interesting and wonderful her life must be, living in California, painting, and participating in such a group of painters as the SF Bay Area group.  

I can only hope that I have as many great memories when I am 87 -- better go paint -- enjoy these other exquisite paintings by her.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Pick: Anne Seidman

Untitled, 2012, Color Pencil and Tape on Rag, 27.5 x 38.25 inches

Untitled, 2012, Color Pencil and Tape on Rag, 22.5 x 30 inches
Untitled, 2012, Water Based Paint on Wood, 15 x 18 inches

Untitled, 2012-13, Color Pencil on Rag, 35.75 x 45 inches
Untitled, 2012, Color Pencil on Rag, 22.5 x 30.5 inches
 I have admired the work of Philadelphia based artist Anne Seidman for a while now.  Her work is beautifully constructed, especially exquisite in person.  

Looking at her work in various shows has taught me a lot about my own work actually.  And you may not see why at first, because our works seem different (mine figurative/still life, hers abstract) but really those lines feel very arbitrary.  She is able to use shape and form and composition so successfully to create very specific feelings and narratives.

I was happy when putting together this post I found this in her artist statement:
"Through abstraction I reveal a world, not unlike my everyday life: rigorous and controlled but with room for spontaneity, irony and consciousness. Without the constraints of subject matter, abstraction has allowed me to explore pure painting. I suggest friction, awkwardness, a sense of self, energy and place within forms and between their edges by allowing an unwilled execution to coexist with restrained judgment. "
The unfortunate thing is, this week I saw she has an upcoming opening at George Billis, and got excited as I am planning a trip to New York.  But, it is the LA Billis Gallery, so if you are on the West Coast be sure to go!  It runs from February 23rd to March 30th.  And I will keep an eye out for a show in this neck of the woods.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lazy Saturday

Today has been one of those days that I just don't want to do the one main thing on my to-do list.  So, to make myself feel productive I will tell you what I have done instead of that thing.

Today instead of editing the talk I'm giving at Millersville this Wednesday I have :

1. Caught up on the current season of Top Chef
2. Taken some pictures of new work and other things (above) and edited them
3. Posted a new painting to Etsy
4. Created new blog buttons for email and my website (at left)
5. Done two loads of laundry
6. Registered my blog here: Follow my blog with Bloglovin
7. Experimented with a home remedy for clogged sink: baking soda and vinegar
8. Drank a lot of tea to try and get over whatever new flu my students passed on this week

Not sure how much more productive I feel...but productive enough to push editing until tomorrow and that's what matters.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New: Ink Drawings

In the Bathroom, 2013, Ink and Charcoal on Paper
Under the Easel, 2013, Ink on Paper
I made these.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Second Look: Georges Braque

The Terrace 1948 -49

Le Pigeon Noir, 1956

These absolutely stunning paintings were done by Georges Braque in the late 1930s through to the 60s.  If you are as excited about them as I am we have Ken Kewley to thank.  He is a master in his own right, (as I have blogged previously) and has been uploading a ton of Braque's work onto his facebook to the great fortune and benefit of all of us.

Nature Morte a la Theire au Citron au Poisson, 1960
If you have had any of the same art school and museum experience as me, then Braque was neatly categorized with Cubist Picasso -- a swimming image of browns and collage materials comes to mind.  Nice work, important at the time, but not so much to take from it and learn from as a painter today -- UNTIL THESE.  These paintings are some of the best, most relevant paintings I have seen in the last year and pretty much ever.  I feel invigorated by them, ready to go paint, which is when I know a painting is really moving.
 Still Life with Palette, 1943
And there are hundreds of them.  Ken says in a brilliant essay on color, "paint instinctively with joy" and since I read that I commit it to memory and use it in the studio to bolster my courage.  I think Braque is someone who truly accomplished this feat.  
L'atelier au Tabouret, 1939

Update:  Two days after posting this I learned that the Phillips will be having " the first in-depth study of still life in Georges Braque’s (1882–1963) career framed within the historical and political context of 1928 to 1945."  Eek.  Can't wait it opens June 8th.