Saturday, November 29, 2008

Deconstruction in Architecture

Gunter Behnisch, Hysolar Institute Building, University of Stuttgart, 1987.

Deconstruction- A method of analysis proceeding by re-reading the received art-historical picture and showing where and how it is false to the realities of the cultures in attempts to explain and to the meanings of particular works of art - or in this case architecture. (Gardner)

'Deconstruction in architecture proposes to disorient the observer. To this end, the conventional categories of architecture are set aside and our expectations based upon them upset. Order, harmony, balance, symmetry, regularity, clarity, consistency, continuity, completeness are replaced by their negatives: disorder, dissonance, and so on. We are meant to be confused by a haphazardry of volumes, masses, planes, borders, lighting, locations, directions, spatial relations and disguised structural facts. According to deconstructionist theory, it's the very absence of the assurances given us by habit and the traditional architecture that create the presence of a deconstructed building.' (Gardner)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Night Herons

Otto Eckmann. Night Herons - Three Philosophers, 1896. Color woodcut, printed in watercolor on Japanese vellum, 26.5 x 46 cm.
"With Eckmann, sentimentality in ornament was perhaps extinguished for good. He was, if not its final mainstay, nevertheless the one who lent ornament enough attraction to arouse the desire to preserve it... He always made me think of Chopin. Neither of them troubled themselves with the pure line of construction... His fingers quiver on the line like those of a violinist on the strings." (Henry van de Velde - from Gabriele Fahr-Becker's Art Nouveau).

Monday, November 24, 2008


Mark Tansey, Innocent Eye Test,** 1981. Oil on canvas, 6' 6" x 10'. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
A postmodern approach which sets aside Modernist formalism, Expressionism, and Realism in favor of picture-making, where idea and subject matter determine what the picture will look like. As in Conceptual Art, the artist begins with an idea and the picture follows. (Gardner)
**The Innocent Eye Test refers to a term primarily used by John Ruskin a famous, British art critic of the 19th century. He referred to it as the ideal condition for viewing art, much as a child who might see art without preconception for what it actually is; or a blind man, who sees the world for the first time. For a truly 'innocent eye' to be tested we might resort to a non-human subject - in this case, a cow. (Gardner)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Helen Frankenthaler, Bay Side, 1967. Acrylic on canvas, 6'2"x 6' 9". Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York.

Soak Stain- A technique of paintings pioneered by Helen Frankenthaler in which the artist drenches the fabric of raw canvas with fluid paint to achieve flowing, lyrical, painterly effects. (Gardner)

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Glimpse into 1880s Paris...

Edouard Manet. At the Cafe, study of legs. Circa 1880. Watercolor, 7 1/4 x 4 3/4 ". Musee du Louvre (Cabinet des Dessins), Paris.

"...Have you noticed how mysteriously pretty women look, at night in carriages? ...They seem to have something shadowy, ghostly, mask-like about them... a veiled look, a voluptuous appearance, things one can guess at and not clearly see, a vague hue, a night smile, with lights falling on their features, all those half-reflections which swim beneath their hats, the great touches of black they have in their eyes, their very skirts, so full of shadows..." (from , Manette Salomon by Edmond and Jules de Goncourt - published in 1866.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Picasso Peace Posters


Picasso designed his first posters in 1948, at age 67. This was astonishingly late, seeing as he had devoted himself to other applied arts such as book illustration, ballet costumes and sets, tapestries, and carpets from very nearly the start of his career. Over the following 2 decades, Picasso produced approximately 70 posters - and his treatment of image and word were extremely unconventional. Intrigued by his playful and emotionally charged style, it is collectors - more than art historians - who have done justice to Picasso's poster art. (Marc Gundel)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Air Bridge

The 'synapse' between two separate sequential strokes in which the pen's, or brush's, movement above the paper can be charted without having been graphically recorded. (Rose Folsum)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Camille Pissarro

Apple Gatherers, 1891. Gouache on silk on paper, 10 1/4 x 8 5/8 in. The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, 2001.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). French painter, printmaker, and draughtsman, born on St. Thomas in the West Indies, where his parents (a French Jewish father and a Creole mother) ran a prosperous general store. He was educated at boarding school in Paris, but returned to the Caribbean and didn't settle in France until 1855. In 1859 he met Monet, and with him became a central figure of Impressionism. Pissarro was the only artist who participated in all 8 Impressionist exhibitions and he was a much-respected father figure to his colleagues - he was about a decade older than most of the other members of the group. He's famous for his genre scenes. By 1895, his eyesight was going and caused him to give up painting out of doors and many of his late works are urban scenes painted from windows in Paris and elsewhere. He's best known for his landscapes and city views, he painted usually from Paris hotels.
He had 5 painter sons, of whom the most important was the eldest, Lucien (1863-1944). He was often overshadowed by his more famous father but he was an important figure in helping to introduce Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism to England. His daughter, Orovida Pissarro (1893-1968), often known simply as 'Orovida', was a painter and etcher , mainly of animal subjects. (Ian Chilvers)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dark Abstraction

Dark Abstraction, 1924. Oil on canvas, 25 x 21 in.

It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they say something. For me that is the very basis of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form of the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.
-Georgia O'Keeffe

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Josef Albers

Homage to the Square, 1964. 30 x 30 in. Tate Gallery, London

4 squares of yellow nest together. Despite a rigid format, they float freely, creating an optical illusion of another dimension. Each area has been painted in a single color. The paint has been applied with a knife, directly from the tube.
Joseph Albers was born in Bottrup, Holland in 1888 and died in New Haven, CT in 1976. Between 1920-23, Albers studied at the famous Bauhaus school. He joined the staff in 1923. He is from Holland but moved to the USA in 1933, where he taught many established artists at the Black Mountain College and Yale University. His influential book The Interaction of Color was published in 1963. In this he explores the perception of color, which was a dominant theme throughout his life. (Butler, Van Cleve, Stirling)

**Apologies for the quality of this photo... after several attempts, I just couldn't get a clear one!**

Monday, November 10, 2008

Celtic Spirals

An example of how to make a spiral border
The spiral design comes from the cross-slab at Aberlemno, Angus, in Scotland. A good working understanding of the use of the triskele (an archetypal symbol of power, later called the 'legs of man') is needed to conceive such a design.
When early man observed the beauty of nature's spirals it is not surprising that the spiral would become a potent symbol for creation and growth. It is the only decorative motive used in Christian Celtic art proven to have its roots in the preceding pagan period, the best examples of which are found on stone monuments such as the decorated kerb-stone at the entrance to the burial chamber at Newgrange, Co. Meath, in Ireland, which dates from around 3000 BC.
(from the book, Knotwork and Spirals by Courtney Davis)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pietra Serena

Interior of Pazzi Chapel- Filippo Brunelleschi, Santa Croce, Florence, begun 1440.

Literally, 'serene stone,' a type of gray stone used for its harmonious appearance when contrasted with stucco or other smooth finish in architecture. In the photo above, articulations and trim are done in pietra serena, which stands out against the white, stuccoed walls and crisply defines the modular relationships of plan and elevation. (Frederick Hartt)

ps - today's the last day of the fiber art sale in my Etsy shop... take a look!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Direction in which most of the fibers of machine-made paper are lying. The direction is important if paper is to be folded or rolled. It will fold more easily and smoothly along the grain. 2 methods of determining grain are firstly, to bend the paper in half, noting how much it resists bending: and secondly, to tear the paper. Handmade paper may be folded indiscriminately, as it has no grain. Its fibers are lying evenly in all directions. (Rose Folsum)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Mosaics of the Last Judgement, Ranks of Angels, and Scenes form the Lives of Christ and St. John the Baptist; this figure is attributed to Coppo Di Marcovaldo. 2nd half of the 13th century. Baptistery, Florence.
Andrea Orcagna. Enthroned Christ with Madonna and Saints. 1354-57. 9' x 9' 8". Strozzi Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence.

From the Italian word for almonds. An oval or almond-shaped halo that surrounds the body of a figure to indicate divinity or holiness. (Frederick Hartt)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote!!!

If you have not voted by mail.... don't forget to vote today or drop off your ballot. Every vote counts and is important! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sarah Lugg

Sarah Lugg's innovative mixed-media collages have captured the attention of are and design communities around the world and won her a legion of devoted fans. Sarah's distinctive artistic style has led to many prestigious commissions and exhibitions, including 60 collages for the UK Mission to the UN in New York, and a further 30 collages for the British High Commission in Trinidad. Her work has also been commissioned by many interior design companies, art galleries, and private collectors.

Sarah was honored as Victoria magazine's Artist in Residence for 1999. (Photos and text from Sarah Lugg's Handcrafted Wedding by Sterling Publishing, 2003.)