Oppressive Abundance: Danielle Mourning

As first world citizens, we are so beyond lucky.  We throw away more food than the majority of the world’s population ever sees.  And yet we still continually fuel our desire for more and more.  The work of photographer Danielle Mourning struck me in its quiet melancholy and its lavishness of pattern and lifestyle.

Danielle Mourning | artsy forager #art #artists #photography Danielle Mourning | artsy forager #art #artists #photography Danielle Mourning | artsy forager #art #artists #photography Danielle Mourning | artsy forager #art #artists #photography Danielle Mourning | artsy forager #art #artists #photography

In her photographs, we usually find women surrounded by life or luxury, but often looking out, perhaps longing for freedom from the trappings of an abundant life.  Since Mr. Forager and I have been traveling, it has definitely been a slow letting go of material things.  We can only travel with so much, even less now that we’re fitting everything into the back of our car, leaving little room for impulsive hoarding.  This life forces us to seriously evaluate every purchase and for me, anything new has to either replace an existing item or be super-functional or too beautiful to live without.  But I’ve also learned that less can be more.  There is a freedom to be found in a minimal life.  And we are still blessed beyond measure.

If you’d like to see more work by Danielle Mourning, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

Finding My Own Artsy: Feminine Wiles, Painting Five

OK, Artsies, please don’t judge me, remember I was a young, impressionable girl growing up in the South.. but I was obsessed with Gone With the Wind as a youngster.  Don’t recall how old I was when I first saw the movie, but I’ve already confessed my early love for glamour and gorgeous design.  Then as a pre-teen, I read the novel, my first “adult” book, and the full-blown obsession began.  The movie always drew me back in and as an adult, I grew more critical and analytical of the characters and design.  The fifth painting in my Feminine Wiles series, is a color study of Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, prominently featuring her signature color.

FMO_Scarlett collage

images found here here here and here

The character’s costumes, designed by Walter Plunkett feature a heavy dose of emerald and jade hues.  The green is an obvious nod to Scarlett’s Irish heritage and her notable green eyes.  But perhaps the color was used to make a few more subtle clues into Scarlett’s personality..

FMO_Scarlett painting collage

film image found here

Earthy yet regal, in green, we see Scarlett as the renown beauty and notorious flirt, but also the pillar of strength and a cut-throat businesswoman.  She uses whatever and whoever may be at her disposal to get what she needs.  A character that’s often difficult to love.

Frenz_Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind by Lesley Frenz

acrylic on canvas panel, 6×6

Did you have any movies or characters you were obsessed with when young?  I still can’t resist watching a bit of GWTW whenever I catch it on.  Want to see more of the work in my Feminine Wiles series?  Check out the archives here.  This is the last piece I currently have finished.. guess someone needs to do some painting this weekend!

Film image sources listed above, paintings by Lesley Frenz aka Artsy Forager.

Fantastical Specimens: Susan Beiner

Now that Spring is here and we are eager to explore our new spot, Mr. Forager & I have been getting back into a regular hiking routine, weather permitting, we are out on the trails every Saturday.  One of my absolute favorite things about hiking is the chance to marvel at the natural world just outside our back door.  Every hike is filled with wonder and discovery.  Perhaps that’s what has drawn me to the work of today’s artist.  The ceramic sculptures of Susan Beiner are bursting with organic whimsy, making me want to peer closer to take it all in.

Susan Beiner | artsy forager #art #artists #sculpture #ceramics Susan Beiner | artsy forager #art #artists #sculpture #ceramics Susan Beiner | artsy forager #art #artists #sculpture #ceramics Susan Beiner | artsy forager #art #artists #sculpture #ceramics Susan Beiner | artsy forager #art #artists #sculpture #ceramics

Clusters and orbs remind me of the mussels and anemones that we delighted in among the tide pools along the beaches in Trinidad this weekend.  Each piece seems teeming with life, ready to explode with movement at any second.  All the nooks and crannies, where there may be hiding a new shape, a new creature to be discovered.  These pieces are like the best of hikes– there is always something new to see and each glance leaves us looking forward to the next discovery.

To see more of Susan Beiner‘s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

How to Commission Artwork

So you’ve found an artist whose work you LOVE and you want to commission the artist to create a piece of work especially for you.  How exciting!!  But you don’t know where to start.  If you’ve never done it before, commissioning an original work by an artist can be intimidating ( for you and the artist! ).  So here are a few guidelines on how to commission artwork that I hope will help when you’re ready to take the plunge!

How to Commission Artwork featuring work by Erin McIntosh | artsy forager #art #artists #howto #painting

1 | know the artist, know yourself 

As enticing as it might be to instantly fall in love with an artist’s work and immediately set off on commissioning them, you’ll be better off slowing down a bit.  Take some time to really get to know the artist’s work, their palette, style, medium, what you love about it, ask yourself if living with a piece of this artist’s work will make you happy forever and ever.

How to Commission Artwork featuring work by Erin McIntosh | artsy forager #art #artists #howto #painting

Once you’ve done that, figure out what you want.  If you’re commissioning for a specific location, figure out what size would work best ( often an artist can help guide you if you’re uncertain ).  Do you prefer a work on canvas or paper or another substrate?  Maybe the artist works in a few different styles like our Featured ArtistErin McIntosh.  If so, determine which style you’d like your commission to follow.  And then there’s the most fun decision of all– palette.  What colors would you like to see incorporated?  Is there a certain palette the artist works within that you love?  Collect fabrics, paint samples, photos, anything the artist can use for reference and guidance.  Help the artist by creating a vision of what you’re expecting.

Commission_erin studio paint table

2 | communicate what you want

Reach out to the artist first and find out if a| they are accepting commissions, b| what their current lead time might be, and c| the price for a commission in the size you’re desiring.  It’s possible that the answer to any of these questions might mean putting off the commission until the artist has time or you have the necessary funds ( though always ask about payment options– many artists will work with a payment plan! ).

Once those basics are agreed upon, chat with the artist via phone or email about your expectations ( email is best, so you both have a record of what was discussed ) .  Share all the visual references you can, use as many descriptive phrases as you can– like happy, serene, intense, organic, bright, light, etc.  Give the artist your specifics regarding size, substrate and style and be sure to include information like where the piece will hang, who it is for ( if a gift ), if the work will commemorate a special occasion, etc.  All these elements will help guide an artist into creating a work of art that fits your vision.

How to Commission Artwork featuring work by Erin McIntosh | artsy forager #art #artists #howto #painting

3 |  expect a written agreement

Once you and the artist have communicated fully your exact needs and expectations and agreed upon a price and lead time, the artist should provide you with a written statement of what is to be done, including all specifics regarding price, size, substrate, palette, shipping arrangements if not local, deposit and payment arrangements, etc. for your approval and acceptance.  This step protects both your interests and the artists, certifying that both parties understand what is expected of each other.

Commission_erin paints

4 | don’t mistake an artist for a machine 

Let’s say you’ve commissioned an original based on another existing but unavailable work by the same artist.  Same style, same substrate, same palette, same everything.  But don’t expect an exact replica of that piece you loved.  An original piece of artwork is a completely unique undertaking, each piece will have its own personality.  Just like a snowflake, no two are exactly alike.  On the other hand, if you receive progress photos from the artist and things don’t seem to be going in the direction you’d specified either stylistically or palette-wise, don’t be afraid to communicate your concern to the artist.  They want you to be happy with your finished piece, so your feedback will be necessary and appreciated.

How to Commission Artwork featuring work by Erin McIntosh | artsy forager #art #artists #howto #painting

5 | be patient, be available 

You’ve paid your deposit and the artist has given you a lead time.  Now just sit back and wait. I know it’s hard!!  We live in such an instant gratification society, we want what we want and we want it NOW.  But creating an original work of art takes time and the artist may have other projects due to be completed before yours.  It will be done, just be patient.  And be available if the artist has questions, wants your input or needs your opinion. ( see #4 ).

How to Commission Artwork featuring work by Erin McIntosh | artsy forager #art #artists #howto #paintingfeatured artist Erin McIntosh in her studio

6 | accept your finished piece with grace and thanks 

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am is no way to finish off commissioning a piece of artwork.  Yes, you’ve paid the artist, but said artist has put a tremendous amount of time, creative energy and spirit into your creation.  A heartfelt, gracious thank you goes a long way!  And helping spread the word about your beautiful new work of art and lovely commissioning experience will support and encourage the artist’s career and soul.

How to Commission Artwork featuring work by Erin McIntosh | artsy forager #art #artists #howto #painting

Now all that’s left to do is to live with and love your work of art for always!

See more from our March Featured Artist, Erin McIntosh, on her website and on the Artsy Forager Facebook page.

All images via Erin McIntosh on Facebook.

Super Naturale: Jacqui Stockdale

We are all creatures of our past and present.  Influenced and affected by what has come before us, as well as our current experiences, our future selves a hybrid of what was and is.  In her latest portraiture, Australian photographer Jacqui Stockdale weaves fantastical tales of identity inherited and identity discovered.

Jacqui Stockdale | artsy forager #art #photography #artists Jacqui Stockdale | artsy forager #art #photography #artists Jacqui Stockdale | artsy forager #art #photography #artists Jacqui Stockdale | artsy forager #art #photography #artists Jacqui Stockdale | artsy forager #art #photography #artists

Her work has a vintage, tin-type feel, yet the figures we see are utterly contemporary.  Modern masks mimic ancient ritualistic garb and figures pose rigidly as if sitting for a daguerrotype.  But there seems to be a defiance in each face, a fight against a past, perhaps an assertion of the future.

To see more of Jacqui Stockdale‘s intriguing work, please visit her website.  This latest series of work can be seen in person at Helen Gory Gallery in Australia.

All images via the artist’s representing gallery website.

Artsy Dwelling: Art Filled Nursery

Mr. F and I may not have any babies, but that doesn’t keep me from ooing and awing over fantastically artsy nursery designs.  So when my friend and fellow art obsessive Kaitlyn, over at isavirtue shared pictures of the art filled nursery which will soon welcome her new little bundle of joy, I just had to share them with you!


I love the zap of color, texture and gosh-darn-happy this painting by Freyja Zazu hits you with.     I’m willing to bet that baby Patience will love to stare at it when he gets a little older and plays that age old game of let-me-turn-the-light-switch-on-and-off.

In the rest of the light filled space, Kaitlyn and her hubby have chosen to hang work that is meaningful and playful, perfect for an artsy baby.


Over the crib hangs a series of original illustrations by the artist for whom Kaitlyn works, Ted Harrison.  The works were created as illustrations for a children’s book about Harrison’s dog titled Maggie’s Magic Dream.  Perfect for a peaceful sleeping baby, kind of a visual lullaby.


On the wall above the ( awesome ) rocker, is a vintage print salvaged by K’s hubby from his parents’ garage.  Six sweet vignettes capture the bedtime routine of a daddy bear and baby bear.  ( collective awwwww! )

Above the dresser/changing table, which by the way, is such a smart use of resources, is a lovely little art wall filled with a collection of quotes and woodland themed prints from affordable sources like Etsy and BigCartel.  That little fox is grabbing my heart and so is the story of the inspiration behind the doe and fawn drawing.

DSC_0297_2 DSC_0254

all art sources linked on isavirtue

I mean, if this isn’t the sweetest little nursery ever, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.  See more images from Kaitlyn’s art filled nursery and find out more about the design on the isavirtue blog.

PS– Congrats to Kaitlyn & hubby Jon as they welcomed baby boy Jackson on March 22nd!

All images via Kaitlyn Patience and isavirtue.

Walking the Line: Sabine Finkenauer

While I have a great love of work with lush, chaotic patterns and texture, there is always something so lovely and intriguing in work that embraces visual economy.  Barcelona based, German born artist Sabine Finkenauer breaks down the world into simple lines and shapes, creating a signature visual language that is a little whimsical, a little retro and altogether lovely.

Sabine Finkenauer | artsy forager #art #artists #painting #abstractart Sabine Finkenauer | artsy forager #art #artists #painting #abstractart Sabine Finkenauer | artsy forager #art #artists #collage #abstractart Sabine Finkenauer | artsy forager #art #artists #collage #abstractart Sabine Finkenauer | artsy forager #art #artists #painting #abstractart

There is a childlike playfulness to her work, but her use of space and palette bring a sense of sophistication.  Light-hearted enough to seem like Sunday afternoon doodles, looking closer and at her body of work as a whole, you can see the thought and calculation as she works her way through her use of space, line and color in drawing, painting, collage and sculpture.

Want to see more of Sabine Finkenauer‘s work?  Please visit her website.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to see the world in such a simple way?  I’m making that a goal this week– ignore the distractions and see what is simply before me.

All images via the artist’s website.

Wafting Serenity: Laura E. Pritchett

It seems that spring in Eureka is a very windy season.  The sun is shining and from our cozy apartment, it looks deceptively warm.  But upon stepping outside we’re quickly reminded that we are in a transitional season– the air still has a chill and the warmth of stillness is welcome.   The breezes blow and scatter fallen leaves, branches and petals, but at the same time, they are carrying away the grey and damp of winter, ushering in the peace and warmth of the coming summer.  In her Room to Breathe series, artist Laura E. Pritchett explores the magical  influence of a breath of air.

Laura E. Pritchett | artsy forager #art #painting #artists Laura E. Pritchett | artsy forager #art #painting #artists Laura E. Pritchett | artsy forager #art #painting #artists Laura E. Pritchett | artsy forager #art #painting #artists

Pritchett has made a big splash in the Instagram world with her breathtakingly beautiful photography– studies of light, air, and seasons ( follow her IG feed here for regular doses of serene inspiration ).  While perhaps more well known for her photography, these paintings  translate the same quiet wistfulness found throughout her work.  You can almost feel the soft breeze as it wafts up, up, and away, taking with it cares and troubles.

To see more of Laura E. Pritchett’s work, please visit her website and do yourself a favor and follow @bythebrush on Instagram!  ( And @artsyforager, too, if you aren’t already.. ;-) ).

All images are via the artist’s website.

Long For This World: Rebecca Reeve

Some people are urbanites.  And I used to think I might be one.  But then we lived in Seattle for three months ( and not even in a super-urban neighborhood! ), and I quickly confirmed that while I love and occasionally need a visit to a concrete jungle, the city just isn’t me.  Give me trees and an unobstructed view across the landscape and my heart is at peace.  In her series, Marjory’s World, New York photographer Rebecca Reeve captures the experience of our loss of connection to the natural world.

Rebecca Reeve | artsy forager #art #photography #nature Rebecca Reeve | artsy forager #art #photography #nature Rebecca Reeve | artsy forager #art #photography #nature Rebecca Reeve | artsy forager #art #photography #nature Rebecca Reeve | artsy forager #art #photography #nature

Taking inspiration from the 1800s Dutch practice of covering mirrors, landscape paintings and portraits, Reeve chose to point her lens toward the disappearing landscape of the Florida Everglades.  Using household drapery to frame each scene, the photographer reminds us of our continuing forsaking and consumption of the natural world.

To see more of Rebecca Reeve‘s work, please visit her website.  Happy weekend, Artsies!  Mr. F and I are planning to immerse ourselves in the magnificence of the Redwoods a bit this weekend.  Hope you can get out and enjoy the beauty around you.

All images via the artist’s website.

Finding My Own Artsy: Feminine Wiles, Painting Four

Another week, another painting in my Feminine Wiles series to share with you!  Feminine Wiles is a series of small abstract color studies based on iconic female film characters.  My introduction to many of these films and characters came through my mom, with whom I share a love of sappy love stories, witty characters, and gorgeous design.  One of her favorite character turns ( and mine!! ) is Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.

FMO_Funny Girl collage

images found here here here and here

I’ve always loved the palette of this film– filled with warm earthy browns and oranges, highlighted with delicate pinks and passionate reds– but when thinking about this project, I was struck by the reoccurring use of lavender hues on and around Fanny.  Of course, this could have something to do with how the cool hues so beautifully compliment Streisand’s creamy complexion!  But I like to think that costume designer Irene Sharaff and the production team were delicately clueing the audience in to the fact that the character of this young girl from Henry Street was destined for greatness.

Frenz_Barbra Streisand as Fanny Bryce

 Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl by Lesley Frenz

acrylic on canvas panel, 6×6

Purples hues are often associated with royalty, riches and power.  So it isn’t surprising that Fanny would often assume a lavender glow.  She was a star, but unlike Jo Stockton, one of her own making.  She was confident in her talent and passionate in her pursuit of fame and stardom, even at personal loss.

FMO_Funny Girl collage with painting

Funny Girl still found here

In the end, despite setbacks and heartache, Fanny perseveres and shows that the strong will always survive.  I’ve always thought there were great lessons to be learnt from Funny Girl– of tenacity, talent, love, humility and perseverance.  Oh and let’s not forget that unbelievably beautiful voice!

To see more from the Feminine Wiles series, check out the archives here.  Next week, a polarizing character and one of the most iconic!  Hint: drapery.

Film image sources linked above, art images by Lesley Frenz.

1 2 3 4 5 6 109