Monday, June 30, 2008

Miro Quote

In his studio

Joan Miro outside his studio

"The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. I'm overwhelmed when I see, in an immense sky, the crescent of the moon, or the sun." - Joan Miro

Friday, June 27, 2008

Out of Africa

Schematic Bushman wall painting at Nachikufu, Rhodesia.
Bushongo design of palm cloth strips applied onto plain palm cloth backing, Congo-Kinshasa.

Carved design on Dogon wooden door latch, Mali.

Common Zulu hide shield design, Republic of South Africa.

Bangba symbolic wall painting, Congo-Kinshasa

Fon carved altar slab, Dahomey.

Here are some beautiful and graphic designs of African origin. They sort of speak for themselves! Taken from a book published by Dover: African Designs from Traditional Sources by Geoffrey Williams( published in 1971)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Goya Prints

The dream of reason produces monsters (Caprichos, pl. 43) Etching and aquatint.
Feminine folly (Disparates, pl. 1). Etching, aquatint and ?drypoint

Gone for good (Caprichos, pl. 61). Etching, aquatint and drypoint.

Here is just a tiny smattering of Goya on a Thursday afternoon. He did so many incredible paintings and prints. He did several series of prints... was quite political, serious and very humorous, especially for his 'day.'

"Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes 1746-1828. Spanish painter and engraver. He painted portraits of 4 successive kings of Spain; his series of etchings include the famous Los Caprichos 1797-98 and The Disasters of War 1810-1814, both depicting the horrors of the French invasion of Spain. Among his later works are the 'Black Paintings'.
Goya was born in Aragon and was for a time a bullfighter, the subject of some of his etchings. After studying in Italy, he returned to Spain and was employed on a number of paintings for the royal tapestry factory as well as numerous portraits. In 1789 he was appointed court painter to Charles IV. The eroticism of his Nude Maja and Clothed Maja about 1800-1805 (Prado, Madrid) caused such outrage that he was questioned by the Inquisition. The Shootings of May 3rd 1808-1814, painted for Ferdinand VII, is passionate in its condemnation of the inhumanity of war." (Brockhampton)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Good Noir

Even van Gogh was searching for good colors and good art supplies. Here is an excerpt from Dear Theo - van Gogh's collection of letters to his brother, benefactor and confidant:
September, 1883
My dear Theo,
...If you want to do me a great favor, send me by post some pieces of craie de montagne - a kind of crayon/pastel. That crayon has soul and life - I find Conte crayon lugubrious. It's as if 2 violins had more or less the same appearance, but when you play them one produces a fine tone, while the other is useless.
That crayon has a lot of resonance and tone. I'm tempted to say that it understands what I want it to do that it understands what I want it to do, that it listens intelligently and obeys, while Conte crayon is apathetic and unwilling. Craie de montagne has the true soul of a gypsy; send me some of this marvelous stuff, it it isn't asking too much...
(From the book, Colors, the Story of Dyes and Pigments by Francois Delamare and Bernard Guineau.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Deborah Dewit Marchant

Rest, 2005. Pastel, 18 x 24"
The Evening Paper, 2006. Pastel 16 x 24"

Friday Nights, 2006. Pastel 23 x 27"

A great Portland, OR area artist (I believe she lives in West Linn), Deborah DeWit Marchant works mostly in pastel but also does a lot of oil painting. She is also an accomplished photographer. I discovered her art cards at Annie Bloom's Books in Portland but actually met her in person some years back at the Sausalito Art Festival, it was such a pleasure! About 2 years ago I went to her show at Gallery Fraga in Winslow on Bainbridge Island, WA. It was a lovely show and so nice to finally see her work up close in a well-lit gallery setting.

"Born in 1956, Deborah DeWit Marchant is a 5th generation artist, a descendant of Dutch illustrators and painters. As a child, her father's career in the international grain business took her family to live on 4 continents and in 6 different states, instilling in her curiosity, wanderlust and a zest for knowledge. She started taking photographs at 16 but entered Cornell University as an Agronomy major. After 2 years her interest in photography and art led her astray and she took to the road in search of imagery and experience, traveling extensively in her 20's. Self-taught, she has been making images since that time, beginning with photographs - both black and white and color- and moving later into pastel and oils. Her work resides in private, public and museum collections across the country, and has been used on the covers of books and magazines, in calendars and on cards. She is also the author of Traveling Light: Chasing an Illuminated Life, a photo-illustrated written chronicle of her young years as a photographer and developing artist. Deborah and her husband Robert live with their 3 cats in an old red house in a suburb of Portland, Oregon."
(Taken from the back flap of the book, Deborah DeWit Marchant In the Presence of Books, intro and text by Kim Stafford. William, James & Co., 2007.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Joan Brown

After the Alcatraz Swim #3, 1976.

The Night Before the Alcatraz Swim, 1975
I love Joan Brown!!! She's such an inspiration

"I strive for that delicate balance between reason and feeling, knowing that sometimes the pictures will lean one way or the other. I'm constantly trying to pull out new information from my intuitive self, which results in the surprises that I discover in my work, and which keeps me ever stimulated." Joan Brown.
Book reference: Karen Tsujimoto and Jacquelynn Baas: The Art of Joan Brown 1998.
I'm going to do another post with her bio and more paintings some time in the coming weeks!
***I was featured on Friday, June 20th at ... for ways to better your Etsy photography skills! There are a lot of good ideas I will try and lots of compliments too. Thanks, dif-fraction!***

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Stoichedon inscribed in stone

Arrangement of letters aligned vertically as well as horizontally. Common in Athenian inscriptions c 400 BC. (Rose Folsom)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Paganini, 1819. Pencil drawing, 12 x 8 1/2 in. Louvre, Paris
Princess de Broglie, 1853. Oil on canvas, 47 x 35 in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.

Ingres: (pronounced 'Ang') 1780-1867. French painter, a student of David and leading exponent of the Neo-Classical style. He studied and worked in Rome about 1807-20, where he began the Odalisque series of sensuous female nudes, then went to Florence, and returned to France 1824. His portraits painted in the 1840's-50's are meticulously detailed and highly polished.
Ingre's style developed in opposition to Romanticism. Early works include portraits of Napoleon. Later he painted huge ceilings for the Louvre and for Autun Cathedral. (Brockhampton)

Monday, June 16, 2008


The Parting of Lot and Abraham, mosaic in the nave of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome - 432-440.

Pantomime: A method of representation used in Early Christian and and medieval times which simplifies all meaning into body attitude and gesture. - For example: ' The wide eyes, turned in their sockets; the broad gestures of enlarged hands; the opposed movements of the groups all remind us of some silent, expressive chorus that documents only by gesture on the action of the drama. ' (Gardner)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Evening Star V, 1917. Watercolor, 9 x 12 in.

'...The evening star would be high in the sunset sky when it was still broad daylight. That evening star fascinated me. It was in some way very exciting to me. My sister had a gun, and as w walked she would throw bottles into the air and shoot as many as she could before they hit the ground. I had nothing but to walk into nowhere and the wide sunset space with the star. ' - Georgia O'Keeffe.
Quote taken from the book: Georgia O'Keeffe, (1976) published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Stoa of Attalos, Athens, 150 B.C. This photo depicts the style of a Hellenistic civic building.

(from Greek ex, 'out' plus hedra, 'seat') A seat with a high back, curved in a semicircle; also a semicircular roofed recess in a building with seats or a curved bench. (Leland M. Roth)

Unfortunately, I did not have an image of an exedra but, this public building from the same period as the exedra's origin may have had them built inside or outside. (the building was refurbished in the 1950's).

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Battle of San Romano, 1430's. Panel 6' x 10' 7". National Gallery, London. By Paolo Uccello.
Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter, 1481 Fresco. 11' 5 1/2" x 18' 8 1/2 ". Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome- by Perugino

"d" points out the orthogonals.

Orthogonals: Lines running at right angles to the plane of the picture surface but, in a representation using one-point perspective, converging toward a common vanishing point in the distance. (Hart)

The lines on the ground in the middle ground of Perugino's fresco are a nice example of orthogonals.

Paolo Uccello loved the use of orthogonals, some say he 'overdid' his use of them in most of his paintings - The Battle of San Romano is a nice example - especially in the foreground.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Arnold Genthe

Greta Garbo portrait, 1926.

Arnold Genthe was born in Berlin in 1869. In 1894, he earned a PhD in Philology at the University of Jena. In 1895, he came to San Francisco and became a self-taught photographer. He took many photos of Chinatown that are some of the only surviving ones that were taken before the 1906 earthquake. His most famous photographs are of the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake. In 1911, he moved to New York City and opened a portrait studio. He had many famous clients including Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson and Greta Garbo. His portraits of her sent her career into orbit. He died in 1942 in NYC of a heart attack.
Note: I have a big sale on woodblock prints in my Etsy shop right now with free shipping!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sense of Place

Paul Gauguin - Still Life with Peaches, 1889.

"I thought that by leaving Aix I should leave behind the boredom that pursues me. Actually, I have done nothing but change my abode and the boredom has followed me." - Paul Cezanne
Note: For those of you wondering why I chose a Gauguin painting to go with a Cezanne quote... I saw the image and automatically assumed it was Cezanne, later to realize it was not! Anyone else agree this painting is very much in Cezanne's style?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Janet Fish

Olive Oil from Provence, 1973. Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 ".
Janet Fish and Charles Parness, 1999.

Butterfly Collection, 1984. Oil on canvas, 54 x 68".

Butterfly detail

Four Honey Jars, 1970. Oil on canvas, 67 x 54 ".
Oh, how I love Janet Fish. She is known for painting still lives - especially collections of things and vignettes too. She's amazing at painting glass and reflections as well as fruit in packages. The subject seems to take on a life, even a 'personality' of it's own.

"Gloriously ripe oranges strain against their high-gloss grocery wrapping. Grouped tequila bottles create a visual symphony of reflected color and light. An afternoon tag sale, complete with badminton set and Barbie doll, is brought to life through lush brushstrokes and vivid color. Artist Janet Fish is well known for her richly executed oil paintings and watercolors of glass, fruit, and flowers, through which she 'captures the beauty of everyday objects.' Her art is 'beyond realism.'" (Vincent Katz)

Janet Fish was born in Boston, MA in 1938. She grew up in Bermuda, went to Art College in New Haven, CT and the Skowhegan School in Maine. She was big in the New York art world in the 1960's and 1970's.
Images from the fabulous book : Janet Fish Paintings by Vincent Katz - 2002, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Chien Yao

2 Vases (1895-1910) by Emil Arnold Krog and Knud Valdemar Engelhardt. Porcelain, multicolored underglaze and crystal glaze. Made by Den Kongelige Porcelainsfabrik, Copenhagen.
Chien Yao: Shallow Japanese tea dishes that in earlier times were produced in China. Their glaze recalls rabbit fur, bird's feathers, turtle shells or oil spots. The predominant color tones of dark blue, brown, and green pan out from the center or form cloud-like patches. The glaze is applied in several layers which are fired several times. The result is that, as the light striking the surface varies, the color apparently keeps changing. (Gabriele Fahr-Becker)
These vases are made by Danish designers of the Art Nouveau period who were inspired and influenced by Asian ceramics and techniques.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Athena batteling Alkyoneos, detail of Altar of Zeus frieze, Pergamon. Marble, 7' 6 high. Staatliche Museen, Berlin. (Hellenistic Period)
Procession of elders and maidens, detail of east frieze of the Parthenon, c 447-438 B.C. Marble, 3' 6" high. Louvre, Paris.

Seated gods and goddesses, detail of the east frieze of the Parthenon, c 447-438 B.C. Marble, 3' 6" high. Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece.
(This photo is a bit fuzzy, I know, but the frieze is notated on the upper left side in the inner, top bracket.)
The part of the entablature between the architrave and the cornice; also, any sculptured or ornamented band in a building, on furniture, etc. (Gardner)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Abstract Lyrical

Title unknown, by Honora Lyall
Title unknown by Helen Bartley

Abstract Lyrical: Emotional art that emphasizes rhythmic use of line, color, and form for their abstract charm instead of their values, associated with objects or things. (Ralph L Wickiser)