Monday, January 31, 2011

Is “Edgy” Art Here to Stay?

Take heart artists! Some paintings are selling these days, but most of them are “edgy.” If that’s a new term for you, you’re not alone.

Henri Matisse -- The Sad King

My first experience with this novel art form was when I saw two paintings gobbled up by art collectors. One was a blue labrador retriever, and the other was a calico pit bull. The odd-color themes are not only being played out in animals, flowers and birds, but in landscape and seascape compositions. Humor is also part of the mix, and labels like “whimsy” or “fantasy” no longer cut it.

“Edgy” is perhaps the best way to describe artists who push their creativity beyond the bounds of traditional realism in style, color, and medium. It’s funky, groovy, and extremely popular right now. The colors are bright and bold; the lines are hard and well-defined and design elements play a large role in adding texture, pattern, and interest.

Henri Matisse -- Dance Creole

Sometimes humor plays a large role either in the title or through a play on words or elements in the painting. Edgy paintings become huge conversation pieces and the focal point of interest in any room by virtue of their commanding color and design. But is it really any different from art movements and styles of the last century?

Henri Matisse -- Blue Nude


I’ve scattered some paintings by Henri Matisse and Joan Miro throughout this article. If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to assume that these paintings are examples of the new “Edgy.” They certainly meet that definition; most of the modernists and contemporary artists of the past do.


Joan Miro

On this basis, will Edgy remain a viable art form or will this popular trend become yesterday’s fad? Will the public continue its current love affair, or will they grow tired of Edgy’s outrageous, sometimes nonsensical tirades?

I toy with the idea of trying the genre, but I’m torn between following fashion or sticking with what I know and do best. Still, the craze continues to catch on and the sounds of “ca-ching” are pulling me in that direction.

Joan Miro

I’d love to hear your opinions and feelings on the subject.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Would You Like to See My Etchings?

That old line has gotten a lot of laughs over the years, and it carries a grain of truth. People generally are intrigued to see preliminary drawings and sketches; a behind the scenes look at what happens before a painting is executed. That holds true especially for classic paintings done by legendary professionals such as Rembrandt and Dali.

Our local newspaper (The News-Press) featured some of these etchings in a recent column titled: “Big name’s small artwork” that advertised an art show in Naples. The display will highlight sketches and drawings that are “as small as a postage stamp” and “never larger than a post card.”

The traveling show titled: “Sordid and Sacred” will feature Rembrandt’s ink drawings of beggars and street people, along with Jesus and other Christian figures.

I clipped these photos from the article. I have always loved the intensity of quick emotional sketches. The ink strokes add to their strength. The artist’s first impressions and his desire to capture the humanity and dignity of each person is played out in the detail on their faces and in their carriage.

Another article described the artist Salvador Dali and featured his ink and water-color drawing that later became a painting of “The Old Seated Hippie.” The strokes are light and frail like the subject he portrays. Dali arouses our compassion and pity by the way he captures the grasping hand reaching out for hope; the hair shrouded head hiding the hippie’s struggle and shame.

I’m no Rembrandt or Dali, but I do love to make quick sketches. Some of them are better than others. I’ve never done a “polished” drawing because by the time I start to perfect the drawing, I’m already thinking color and eager to get my impressions down on canvas.

In my next painting, I want to incorporate the old doll buggy I showed you in an earlier blog about antiques. I've included an ultra-quick sketch that will never end up on someone’s showroom floor when I am gone. What it will do is help me compose and place my drawing on canvas. I’ll show you my “work in progress” on the next blog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Valentines Day is for Lovers

I’m a real softie when it comes to Valentine’s Day; maybe every woman is. If you’re forgotten, you feel unloved. Men shrug the day off easily. Then they can’t understand why their sweetheart or wife is hurt by this simple slight.

Valentine’s Day symbolizes all that’s romantic about love: hearts, flowers, cards, chocolates, negligees, etc. When a woman is forgotten or she receives a skillet or a blender, those tools define her place in her man’s life; unless, of course, she asked for those things in the first place.

Some women love to receive tools or appliances. They admire a solid man who stands by them in times of pain, difficulty and stress. In their view, a man like this is far more valuable than a bouquet of roses. Far better than a Mr. Romantic type who’s never there when she needs him.

What’s my point? You have to know your sweetheart or beloved in order to give an appropriate gift. But by all means, never let the day fly by unnoticed. Watching her friends (or his) receive presents, a night out, or a romantic get away while he (or she) sits home alone watching T.V. does not a strong relationship make!

In a former life, I never received these little acknowledgements of love on Valentines Day, even though it was also our anniversary. That’s why I was so touched by the beauty of the cards my current husband has given me over the past ten years. So much so, that I framed several of them. There were no elaborate gifts, but we did dine out. These little tokens of affection restore love and give meaning to life.

On this blog, I’m sharing original Valentines you may purchase for your sweetheart by using the Etsy Button link on my blog or by emailing me at – I use PayPal for payments.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wine & Cheese Event

Painters and Artists League at Gateway (PALS), held a Wine & Cheese on Friday, Jan. 14th for the community. An event where we could show our artwork and mingle with friends and neighbors. In addition to serving wine, shrimp, and appetizers, cheese was the featured dish.

Speaking of cheese, Roquefert was once my favorite. Now its substitute Blue Cheese is being used instead in most restaurants. My children called these cheeses “stinky feet” cheese. Their favorite, of course, was the chewy mild cheese that squeaked on their teeth as they chewed. We bought “squeaky” cheese in bite-sized pieces from a local dairy and brought it home in plastic bags. My kids were also big on “wrapped” American cheese slices and string cheese which my boys shoved up their noses to ape a walrus.

Goat cheese is one of my favorites, but it’s hard to get good quality; some are simply too strong. I swear I can smell the hair and body oil of the goats I fed on my aunt’s farm years ago. Other goat cheeses are mild with a wonderful tang. Goat cheese pizza with sun dried tomatoes is the ultimate yum of blended flavors.

Cheese is a satisfying food. Probably because it’s fattening. Creamy Edom cheese covered in red casing melts on the tongue and tastes even better with a glass of bordeaux. Cheddar, the all time favorite, goes with everything and is a staple for casseroles and sandwiches.

When my daughter was taking a French class, she insisted on eating everything French. Her favorite cheese was the creamy “Alouette” brand on teeny-tiny toast. We purchased French cookies and candies; tried French recipes and dined on French cuisine. I gave her my ultimate support hoping her enthusiasm would remain high and her grades would do likewise. I wasn’t disappointed.

Mice like cheese, too, even better than the dog food they came after in my garage. They are also clever. Whenever I put a mound of cheese on a trap, the little suckers manage to nab the cheese and run off scott free. One thief got his retreating tail “caught in the wringer,” but I didn’t have the heart to kill him. I lifted the spring and off he scampered. So much for brutality.

If you’re a parent of teenage boys, you know the expression “cut the cheese” which my boys said and did often. I refer to this period in their lives as the “anal stage;” when banter with friends and each other is filled with burps, laughter and other words involving bodily functions. In family photos when the cameraman (usually Dad) barked “now say cheese,” he usually got more than he bargained for.

Today’s Photos include artists from the Painters & Artists League (PALS) of Gateway.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Disappointments Come

It’s inevitable. Life is filled with disappointments. But when one door closes, another one opens, if we’re lucky. The only thing that’s certain in life is “death and taxes” and, of course, change.

Mervil’s Design Center is closing their doors after a short four month trial period. The interior design business is so slow, and the economy is so bad, that their beautiful concept and dream must end. Elaborate, well conceived and implemented, Mervil’s was an Interior Designer's dream, complete with elegant fabrics, draperies, artwork, furniture and accessories. I felt privileged to participate with other artists in their grand opening.

These are tight times for every artist. I have attended several art events this past month. I see many “lookers,” but few buyers with the exception of jewelry and personal wear. People are buying necessities: food, clothing, medical, a roof over their head. Artwork is seen as a luxury that can wait for better times.

Unfortunately, the artists and shopkeepers who depend on sales to maintain their own needs and lifestyle are critically in jeopardy. We can only hope and pray for better times.

Luckily, events are still occurring and opportunities are out there for those willing to perservere. A positive attitude and a love for the arts will keep the inner fires burning.

Our league is preparing for another event this weekend, and I will share the details with you in my next blog. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photos of some of our members preparing for this event.

To see Carol’s artwork, please go to Prints, giclees, and greeting cards are available for purchase via PayPal.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Antiquing isn’t for Everyone

Whenever my husband hears the words: “Let’s go antiquing,” he conjures up musty smells, people’s old junk, and lots of walking. As a result, most of my antique browsing is done with friends. For me the word "antique" tingles with “discovery,” “hidden treasures,” “history and nostalgia;” and if I'm lucky, a bargain in the hunt.

I don’t know about you, but the thrill of finding a piece of history turns me on. I admire each item long after my purchase and wonder who may have owned it and what they were like? If the “find” was once a part of my own family that makes it even better.

Some people like contemporary or brand new things; but I’ve always loved the sense of history and aura surrounding antiques. The sturdiness of solid rare woods, the change in kitchen tools and the progress of society throughout the ages call out to me. I swear, you can feel the presence of the people who have owned these fine things, or is it only my imagined thoughts about them? At any rate, for me antiques seem to have a life and a spirit that new things don’t.

I once purchased a large oval frame for a relative’s photo. I was told that the photo inside was worth far more than the frame itself, but it was the frame I was after. Apparently, some people use old photos in interior decorating whether the people are related to them or not.

The photo in its beautiful frame was placed in a basement store room until I could get it to a frame shop. The original family photo was fairly fragile so I wanted a professional to mount it inside the antique frame for me. It was to be a surprise for my husband’s birthday.

From the first moment I saw her, the woman in the photo haunted me. Each time I walked into the room, her dark piercing eyes seemed to watch me; follow me. I felt a strange darkness every time I was around her photo.

At first, I pooh poohed it; but my dark feelings increased until I couldn’t ignore them. Eventually, I ripped her photo from the frame and threw it away. Dang that its value exceeded that of the frame I’d purchased. I wanted that beguiling devilish face out of my sight!

I’ve never had an experience like that before, but I vowed I would be more in tune with the “old things” I purchased thereafter. Call me superstitious or overreactive if you want, but I can’t shake the memory of that steely-eyed woman from the past.

In case you’re wondering, the woman in the photo above is not, I repeat not the grisly woman from the past. She is my Swedish grandmother and the frame is an original antique from “the old country.”  The old doll buggy was purchsed at a flea market, and the beautiful carving above was done by my husband's Norwegian Great Grandfather.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kelly’s Rose – Completed

I love roses! They’re old-fashioned. They come in many unique variations: floppy, ruffled, exquisite and perfect. Above all, they are fragrant.

Whenever I’m seated at a restaurant with a white cloth on the table and a live rose as the centerpiece, the first thing I do is “wake up and smell the roses.” Once that ever-pleasing scent wafts up my nose, the rest of the meal is delicious -- no matter what I’ve ordered.

If that makes me a romantic, I’ll accept that handle. The rose calls out to every feminine bone in my body, and to every primitive instinct I’ve ever had. No wonder it’s the flower of choice to say: “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” and “you’re the one – the object if my affection and desire.”

There’s something so elegant and sophisticated about a rose. And sensual. Remember the movie “American Beauty” with Kevin Spacey and the imagined red petals surrounding his love object; petals representing her innocence and his lust in one glorious vision of vibrancy and life? The blood red rose symbolized all of this as it wound its thorny stems around the characters, extracting droplets of emotion, pain, and self-awareness.

I like that no two roses are alike. Their thorny disposition doesn’t deter me, though. In fact, some of my favorite people are a bit prickly until you get to know them. Once past that bristly barrier, they are pure mush; good-hearted and immensely satisfying.

I love to paint roses, too; but I’m still learning the intricacies of their sensual beauty and uniqueness. I’m grateful to Kelly Bell for allowing me to paint from a photograph she took that inspired me. In an earlier blog, you can see the first coat of paint applied to a 12x16 treated masonite board. It was a lot of coats and glazes later before I had the look and feel I wanted.

As in all paintings, this is my “interpretation” of Kelly’s photo, along with my personal skill (or lack thereof). When you compare the painting and photograph, you can see that both are beautiful in their own right. They are just different: different media, different light, different focus. But both equally beautiful; Kelly’s because she has captured something real on film and preserved its original beauty forever.

Kelly’s photograph was purposely out of focus so the details eluded me. I filled in the gaps with imagination and my own personal take on the photo. Please enjoy! And thank you, Kelly. I invite you to visit her blog at Check out her humor, wit and georgous photographs!