A while back I wrote about the work of Wendy McWilliams and how to me, much of her work illustrates the glimpses of light and color that give us hope in the dark. We are now well into winter and if you happen to be living in the Northeast, you may be wondering if you will ever see blue skies, flowers and unfrozen ground. February has always seemed to be winter’s last cold blow, preparing us for March and the beginning of our transition into spring. But maybe you can’t wait for March and need to put a little spring into your dark winter days! This painting by McWilliams reminded me that even in the midst of the coldest, darkest winter, we can still embrace the spring in our souls.
the art | find more like it here
the necklace | find it here
the inspiration | found here
I love how the Tapestry Necklace brings together the dark and light of McWilliams’ painting, the colors echoing the painting and the inspiration, as well as mimicking the beautiful messiness of the brushstrokes. Perfect for a shot of color and would keep your neck warm while it’s still freezing outside!
To see more of Wendy McWilliams’ work, please visit her website and to see more fiber art necklaces like these ( I want one! So many gorgeous choices! ) check out the You Made That shop on Etsy.
Image sources linked above.
OK, I admit it. I like fashion and all its trappings as much as the next girl. But there is something that doing this traveling thing is teaching me– how to not just live with less, but to desire less. I found these collages by Jonni Cheatwood, acrylic and mixed media applied to the pages of a Neiman Marcus catalog to call attention to our need to chase the latest trend.
As a single girl, I was definitely a bit of a fashionista. Always a bargain shopper, I didn’t spend massive amounts of money, but being single, I had a lot of time to spend hunting down just the right pair of boots or the latest jacket cut. But when we prepared to embark across the country and begin traveling, I had to pare down like crazy and then before we left Seattle, I had to purge even more ( everything we live with right now fits in the back of our car ) and it was painful. Clothes had been such a crutch for me– you see, when I was young, I knew what it felt like to be the girl in class in the hand-me-down clothes, the girl who only got one new outfit for the first day of school, not an entirely new, on-trend wardrobe. So when I was an adult and earning my own way, fashion wasn’t just an indulgence for me, it was a way to get past the feeling of being the girl with the holes in her shoes.
We still find we need to pare down just a touch more, so more purging is occurring. What I’m learning through this process is that there are certain items of clothing I own that I love, not because they are in keeping with the latest trends, but because I love the way they fit, the way the clothes look on me and, most importantly, how I feel in them. Paring down to just what I love is a perfect way to ensure that every piece of clothing is worn and that I feel beautiful and special in everything in my closet. Shopping is hard to resist still, but when I do indulge, it is for something that I know I’ll love and feel good in for years to come. And with the paring down, it has to replace at least one ( preferably two! ) things already in my closet. Not as much thought goes into choosing an outfit for the day, freeing my mind to concentrate on other things and cultivate new, more important ideas. When you chase trends, fashion changes so much, you’re constantly feeding the need for the latest thing. I’d rather fill my life with things that aren’t so easily replaceable.
How about you, Artsies? Are any of you recovering fashion-addicts? How did you overcome?
To see more of Jonni Cheatwood‘s work, please visit his website.
All image via the artist’s website.
Once upon a time, wood paneling was the epitome of dated and dreary. Think back to that 70s basement.. yikes! But wooden wall treatments are seeing a resurgence lately and they are coming back stronger and more artful than ever! You may love the look of these modern paneling interpretations, but not sure how to incorporate art on wood walls? There are as many ways to style a wood paneled room as their are trees in the forest. Since painting over wood gives you basically the same canvas as a painted wall and I like a challenge, we’re going to focus on art on wood walls with a more natural finish/stain.
Here are just a few ways you can go–
1 | beachy keen, jelly bean. Lightly stained or pickled wood lends the perfect bleached out style to a coastal setting. If your taste in art tends toward a pastel palette, keep the softness and natural calm going. Pieces like these by Leora Armstrong with a strong horizontal vibe recall that perfect spot where the sky meets the sea.
image found here
2 | mid-century glam it up. Love Mad Men? Live for Saturday afternoons spent combing vintage shops and thrift stores for Mid-Century treasures? Secretly want to wear a pencil skirt and heels while serving cocktails? Large cut wood panels in a uniform stain are the ideal backdrop for some MCM goodness. Abstract artwork in earthy tones complete a room Don Draper would be proud of.
image found here
3 | cozy up to modern warmth. Sometimes the elements we love about modern spaces, like concrete floors and soaring ceilings, can lead to a less than inviting atmosphere. But juxtapose warmly stained wood walls against those details and it’s like cozying up to a warm fire. Artwork with lots of texture as well as pops of color and pattern add to the warming effect.
image found here
4 | elevate to rustic elegance. Pickled wood walls can be taken in so many directions. Their greyed-out tone makes them ultra versatile. In Jackie Aster’s NYC apartment, as featured in Elle Decor, the wood walls add just a hint of neutral texture and ground the formal finishes with just the right amount of rusticity. A Damien Hirst etching adds a bit of playfulness turning what could have been an uptight room into space filled with snuggly joie de vivre.
image found here
Do you live with art on wood walls? How is it working for you? Or maybe this inspired you to embrace that wood paneling you used to hate! Work with the grain, not against it.
All images are linked above. Want to see more in the Artsy Dwelling series? Check out the archives here.
Not that long ago, women were valued for not just their beauty, but their “accomplishments”. That term didn’t refer to earning a promotion or college degree at the time, but showing a capacity for a certain “womanly” skill set– things such as singing, playing music, dancing and embroidery– all thought to be the types of talents needed to be a successful hostess and therefore, appropriate for marriage. In her Samplers series, New York artist Clare Grill deconstructs these antiquated notions by reinterpreting and deconstructing embroidery samplers in paint.
Painting would have also been listed under the merits of “accomplishment”, a coincidence not lost on me or I’m sure on the artist. Samplers were originally just that– quick samples of stitches a needlewoman saw and admired. Then, as time went on, they became examples of proficiency and skill at needlework, a talent valued across the classes, though certainly more necessary for the lower.
Grill’s paintings retain some of the original sampler designs– the decorative borders, the notation of name, date and age. Yet I find it interesting in the way that these painted samplers are done in a much more abstract and naive style. Perhaps a nod to the exclusion of these girls and women from achieving more meaningful and intellectual pursuits.
To see more of Clare Grill‘s work, please visit her website.
All images are via the artist’s website.
Mr. F & I have recently established a democratic movie-night selection system. It goes something like this, His, Hers, Ours. We love a well done documentary and after the last two disturbing political picks by Mr. F ( Dirty Wars & The Act of Killing ), it was time for a joint movie night selection. Documentary for Mr. F + art-related story for me, we settled on Cutie and the Boxer. Win win. The Sundance Film Festival winner follows the story of the 40 year marriage between famed “boxing” painter Ushio Shinohara and his artist wife Noriko.
image found here
Ushio Shinohara came to notoriety as an artist in Tokyo in the 60s, eventually leaving Japan for New York, where he was a relatively unknown working artist and met Noriko, then an art student around twenty years his junior. Not long after meeting and falling in love, Noriko became pregnant with their son, Alex. She would spend the next forty years raising Alex and taking care of Ushio, a temperamental alcoholic ( who is now sober ).
images found here and here
There are obvious parallels between the relationship of Ushio & Noriko and that of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner– the boisterous, alcoholic artist husband overshadowing his artist wife and caretaker. But in Ushio & Noriko’s story, the long-suffering wife regains her artistic identity not with the death of her husband, but by taking it back for herself.
images found here and here
I do wonder if, had Pollock lived and gotten the treatment he needed, whether that couple’s story would have had a similar ending– the tortured artist finding health and peace while his wife finally comes out from behind her husband’s shadow to find her own voice. Krasner, of course, would eventually gain her own well deserved notoriety but only many years following Pollock’s death.
We love documentaries for all the questions they bring forth, leading to great conversations between Mr. F & I, usually over coffee the next morning. Cutie and The Boxer led to questions like Is there truth to the stereotype of the tortured artist? Why do so many female artists end up putting their own work on hold while caring for husband and family? Was that a generational thing or is it still happening today? Is all art cathartic for the artist in some way? What say you, Artsies? Would love to hear your thoughts on these questions and the film, if you’ve seen it!
All image sources linked above.
You know one thing I miss about working in an office? Cake days. Birthdays, new babies, going aways, work anniversaries– any excuse to have an afternoon cake break in the lunch room. I was always amazed by how having a little treat in the middle of the day made the work day seem just a bit special. I can almost taste these painted treats by Kentucky artist Lori Larusso.
It’s interesting how important food is, the preparing of it, the gathering, the sharing and consuming, to so many cultures, including our own. How baking cookies for someone is a warm and welcome way to say thank you and how we wouldn’t dream of having a celebration without food! Why do you think that is? Perhaps because our need to eat is so universal? Because we all need and crave food, it’s the perfect ice breaker and status leveler. Maybe that cupcake isn’t on our diet, but the child we share it with will remember the moment always.
To see more of Lori Larusso‘s work, please visit her website. Her work will be showing as part of a traveling exhibition at the Schneider Museum of Art at SOU in Ashland, OR until March 15th.
All images are via the website of the artist’s representing gallery, Skidmore Contemporary Art.
It’s happened again. We’ve turned over the calendar page to a new month. February is such a short & sweet month, isn’t it? It’s here and then over before we know it, but while it remains, it’s filled with Valentines and chocolates, hugs and kisses and cuddles. The work of this month’s Featured Artist Jenny Brown with her use of antique papers and ephemera seemed the perfect way to put just a little more love into the next 28 days!
Jenny collects antique papiers and books, which she methodically and meticulously weaves together to create these magical organisms that seem to float in the ether. Each small element is put into place just so, resulting in a delightfully real fictitious character on the page, like little Victorian nymphs.
To see more of Jenny Brown’s work, make sure you head over to her website. Jenny is opening two shows this month– she’ll be in the Enormous Tiny Art Show at Nahcotta in Portsmouth, NH and over here in the Northwest at Ghost Gallery in Seattle. If you’re in either area, please check out her work in person! You can also follow Jenny on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ( her feed is so fun! ), and Pinterest. Four of Jenny’s pieces are gracing the Artsy Forager Facebook cover for the month AND I’ve compiled an album over there of the Jenny Brown’s I love the most.
All images are via the artist.
If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might have caught on that Mr. F and I are hikers. Not quite in the super long distance-backpackers way ( though Mr. F could do it and has! ), but when the weather is good, most of our weekends are spent winding our way through the woods. We love winter time, the cold and the snow, but the chillier season means that we go for long stretches without out woodsy walking. And that can make us a mite antsy. In these in-camera(!!) multiple exposure portraits, UK photographer Christoffer Relander reminds us that even in dormant seasons, there is a wilderness in each of us.
It only had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rock, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets.
– Cheryl Strayed, Wild
I’ve been reading the book quoted above lately and so much of it rings true for me. How we start out on each journey with so much baggage, slowly stripping ourselves of what isn’t necessary, how much nature welcomes us and takes care of us. And once we spend time in her presence, how every other place no matter how welcome, feels foreign and cold.
I’m hoping Mr. F and I are able to get out into the woods a little this weekend, my soul needs a bit of a recharge. Hope you have a wonderful restful weekend, too! Perhaps you’ll be able to embrace a bit of your own inner wilderness.
To see more of Christoffer Relander‘s work, please visit his website.
All images are via the artist’s website. Artist found via This is Colossal.
I love writing this blog so much. One of my favorite reasons? An excuse to follow the artistic journey of so many amazing artists. California artist Clare Elsaesser was among some of the first artists featured on Artsy Forager and her work just continues to evolve and grow. This latest body of work is so stunning, I couldn’t wait any longer to give you a peek.
Clare’s work is moving into a more complex, narrative direction with these, yet still retaining the simplicity and graphic style that is her artistic trademark. There is so much visual texture and depth and the emotionality that is always present in her work really takes center stage. It feels like we are being given short glimpses into not just a moment in physical existence, but a visceral, intimate look into the spirit of a moment.
To see more of Clare Elsaesser‘s work, please visit her website. Prints of Clare’s work are available in her Etsy shop!
Flustered. Anxious. Stressed. Extra crabby. These are just a few ways to describe how I’ve been feeling lately. My freelance work is busier than ever, I’m working under a deadline for a project debuting in March that I’m really excited ( and super stressed ) about, and I’ve just added more by creating an Instagram project for the month of February! The work of sculptor Tanis Saxby is just exactly what I need to focus on right now.. pure, flowing, and delicate, they remind me of the fragility of this life.
Life is such a delicate balance. Too much of one thing or another is enough to set us off into dangerous territory. How much I sometimes envy the birds and animals of the woods, how simple their needs and how instinctual their purpose!
Much of Tanis Saxby’s work is an embodiment of the vulnerability of life, the sculptures in her Flow & True series speak to the delicate strength possessed by all life and the movement and transitory forms of every element in nature. Her Dandelion & Bone series continue along this theme, especially focusing on the ethereal dandelion seed. The flower, often thought of as a weed, has held the wishes of many a young child ( and this Artsy adult! ).
So I plan to gaze awhile at these lovely creations and focus on the flow of good coming into and going out of my life. There is so much more to be thankful for than to be stressed over.
To see more of Tanis Saxby’s work, please visit her website.
Thank you to artist M.A. Tateishi for introducing me to Tanis’s work! All images are via the artist’s website.