Our April Art Association Winner!

I am in the midst of packing and researching Seattle apartments and am going kind of insane, so I’ll keep this short & sweet.. HUGE congrats to our April Art Association winner, Niki Bradly!

Niki's winning Pinterest board

Niki’s winning Pinterest board

We loved the cheekiness of Niki’s associations!  I mean how awesome is that Hard Livin’ Barbie??  The reward for Niki’s hard work is this fun Voss print by Jessica Brilli.

Voss, limited edition print on paper, 8x10 ( edition size 200 )

Voss, limited edition print on paper, 8×10 ( edition size 200 )

Thank you to everyone who pinned their hearts out for the contest!  Erin and I will have another edition ready for you next month.  Get your pinnin’ fingers ready!

 

Inner Archetypes: Haley Hasler

We all struggle against that ideal we have in our head of the person we feel we are supposed to be.  Whether it be the strong head of household, the June Cleaverish mom or the anti-establishment free thinker.  Artist Haley Hasler conveys the inner archetypes caught in the complexity of the exterior world in her self portrait series.

Portrait as Sunday Brunch by Haley Hasler

Portrait as Sunday Brunch, oil on canvas, 46×56

Portrait as Lady Bearing Snacks by Haley Hasler

Portrait as Lady Bearing Snacks, oil on canvas

I am continually in awe of any working mom’s as when I glimpse into the insanity of their daily lives, I wonder how in the world they do it.  My friend V and I talked about it once, that inert striving that seems to always be present to live up to some sort of ideal.

Portrait as St. Caslide by Haley Hasler

Portrait as St. Caslide, oil on canvas, 32×46

Portrait of Allegory of Fidelity by Haley Hasler

Portrait of Allegory of Fidelity, oil on canvas

But when we let go of that ideal, as my very wise friend told me, that’s when we can really dwell in each moment.  The dishes may be dirty, the laundry may be piled up, but our loved ones will remember the time we gave them.  There will always be the inner struggle for the “perfect” life– whatever that may look like.  But even if the life we cultivate isn’t perfect, it can still be filled with moments of magic.

Portrait as Tooth Fairy by Haley Hasler

Portrait as Tooth Fairy, oil on canvas, 38×56

To see more of Haley Hasler’s work, please visit her website.

Electrified Flora: Thrush Holmes

Forget those boring old still lifes from your grandma’s era.  Artists like Thrush Holmes are taking that classic subject and reinterpreting it through modern eyes.  The result is anything but boring.

Untitled by Thrush Holmes

Untitled 2011, oil on canvas, 84×84

Untitled 2012 by Thrush Holmes

Untitled 2012, oil on panel, 16×20

Neon-hued petals in flattened, simplified shapes let you know these aren’t just any old floral paintings.  With color blocking reminiscent of Matisse, these blossoms fairly jump off the canvas.

Untitled 2011 by Thrush Holmes

Untitled 2011, oil on canvas, 60×84

Untitled by Thrush Holmes

Untitled, oil on panel, 16×20

Graffit-like lines incorporated give these paintings a freewheelin’ freedom their classical predecessors never dreamed of.

Untitled 2012 by Thrush Holmes

Untitled, oil panel, 52×62

To see more of Thrush Holmes’ work, please visit his website.

All images via the artist’s website.

Missing Pieces: Lisa Hochstein

During our time in Joshua Tree, every time we’ve driven to San Diego or made the trek “down the hill” into Palm Springs, we’ve experienced the wind tunnel that exists in the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass, where over 4000 windmills provide energy to Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.  When I saw the latest collage series by Lisa Hochstein, Missing Pieces, the shapes seem to echo the turbines and the torn papers reminded me of wind’s inherent power.

Missing Pieces by Lisa Hochstein

Missing Pieces 2012-5, salvaged paper, 12×16

Missing Pieces 2012-3 by Lisa Hochstein

Missing Pieces 2012-3, salvaged paper, 12×16

Whether wind and its harnessing machines were an influence to the artist, I do not know.  But I can’t help but see in the grid lines an aerial view looking down onto the giant arms of these energy producers as they spin, some barely moving others cycling at a steady pace.

Missing Pieces 2012-6 by Lisa Hochstein

Missing Pieces 2012-6, salvaged paper, 12×16

Missing Pieces 2012-1 by Lisa Hochstein

Missing Pieces 2012-1, salvaged paper, 12×16

In the shredded pages that make up these collages, I see the destructive nature of the desert’s blasts of air.  All over, we’ve seen evidence of wind wreaking havoc across the landscape, even in our own backyard here in Joshua Tree.

Missing Pieces 2012-2 by Lisa Hochstein

Missing Pieces 2012-2, salvaged paper, 12×16

That’s what I see in Lisa Hochstein’s work.  What do your eyes see?  If you’d like to check out more of this artist’s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

This Artsy Life: Weekend 16 [ Our Last in Joshua Tree ]

Happy Earth Day, dear Artsies! I wish I could tell you that in anticipation of the celebration of our beautiful planet that Mr. Forager & I got out and did some hiking during our last weekend in Joshua Tree. But alas, there were errands to run, boxes to pack, and it was close to 90 degrees here in the desert, which when hiking with little shade feels like triple digits!

As we prepare to bid farewell to JT, I thought you might enjoy a few peeks inside our past forays into JT National Park to celebrate Earth Day!

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It’s been lovely, Joshua Tree.  I wish we could say we will miss you like crazy, but you deserve folks who love you like we never could.  It’s not you, it’s us.  Farewell.

To see more images from This Artsy Life, follow Artsy Forager on Instagram!  We don’t have any adorable kitties or pups to fill up our feed, but there is the occasional super cute image of the gosh darn handsome Mr. Forager.

All images by Artsy Forager.

Finding Place: Robert Josiah Bingaman

As you know, dear Artsies, our time in the California high desert is quickly coming to an end.  We are this very moment packing and preparing to leave Joshua Tree on Saturday.  As much as we’ve been looking forward to this day, anytime you make yourself at home anywhere, leaving can be the slightest bit bittersweet.  In each new spot, we find ourselves searching, contemplating.. could we live here permanently?  Could this be home?  Very often we find the answer to that question rather quickly, but it doesn’t diminish how unique we find each place and how each one carries its own memories.  The work of Kansas City artist Robert Josiah Bingaman resonates with the recollections of moments we find with each place we visit.

Texas by Robert Josiah Bingaman

Texas, acrylic on linen, 102×61

I-70 Drive-In by Robert Josiah Bingaman

I-70 Drive-In, acrylic on birch, 24×18

Bingaman captures the magic of those flashes in time, when we become engrossed in the scene in which we find ourselves, instead of thinking of where we are headed next.  We see the beauty in the simplicity of neon against a night sky or a small corner of a big world.

Trex Northwest by Robert Josiah Bingaman

Trex Northwest, acrylic on panel, 20×16

Trex Southwest by Robert Josiah Bingaman

Trex Southwest, acrylic on panel, 20×16

It’s so easy to focus on what isn’t right about a place.  Especially as Mr. F and I always know that for now, each spot is just a temporary home.  But we’ve found that once a place is just a memory, we tend to recall it more fondly.  Its flaws fade and we learn to love it from afar.

Nevada by Robert Josiah Bingaman

Nevada, acrylic on linen, 120×54

To see more of Robert Josiah Bingaman’s work, please visit his website.

Artist found via New American Paintings. All images via the artist’s website.

Design Foraging: Wonky Pots

I don’t know about you, but I love anything that’s just a bit off.. wonky if you will.  So of course, I’m loving this collection of Wonky Pots by Anthropologie Featured Artist Vanja Bazdulj.  A little odd, a little irregular, a whole lot wonderful!  Here are a few of my favorites!

Small Yellow Wonky Pot

Large Jug Handle Wonky Pot

Large Coral Kingdom Wonky Pot

Large Riptide Wonky Pot

Small Pink Strip Wonky Pot

Normal is completely underrated! ( see yesterday’s post ;-) )  I’ll take my artsy a little on the wonky side any day.  Happy weekend, Artsies!

All images via Anthropologie here.

 

 

This Artsy Life: Weekend 15 [ Different Kinds of Normal ]

I’ve been thinking a lot these days on the concept of “normal”.  As we prepare to leave Joshua Tree after Mr. F’s six month work contract here, it feels normal to us– this constant research of new places, rental prices, average weather temps, this packing up of our belongings and anticipation of discovering a new place.  While this is life for us right now, it’s taken a while for it to feel normal for me.  I don’t freak out as much as I used to.  In fact, it’s possible we could leave the desert without actually knowing where our next landing spot will be.  I know for many folks, the concept of this way of life would be too scary, too unpredictable to handle.  But for us, at least at this point in our lives, that’s what makes it fun!  And in each new place, we settle into our own very normal routine, just as if we’ve lived there for years.  We find our favorite coffee purveyor, weekend breakfast spot and an evening walking route.

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We were back in San Diego this weekend to celebrate the birthdays of the young sons of our friends there.  A & N turned three years old.  Three years ago, their parents had just adopted big brother C, and were getting used to the idea of being parents to him when they found out they were pregnant with two more boys.  Their idea of normal life had been turned on its head.

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After lots of scares and complications, the boys were born, but very prematurely.  They struggled to survive in the NICU for weeks.  M & V’s new normal was caring for C while championing A & N to grown strong enough to come home.  Their normal changed again after finally being able to bring the boys home but then continuing to endure hospital stays, testing and therapy.

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Eventually it was determined that A wasn’t progressing in the same way as N.  Normal then morphed again when their son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  So normal became not only the craziness of juggling life with three small children, but fighting the odds to make sure A had every chance possible.  He is now a thriving three year old boy with a smile as wide as the ocean.  He can communicate in three languages– English, Spanish ( V is from a wonderful, large loving Mexican family ) and sign language.  He loves music and went horseback riding with no fear the morning of his birthday party.

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And now their normal has been shaken again, as C undergoes genetic testing for a possible muscular disorder.  It seems that normal will be an ever changing concept for this sweet family.  But what remains constant through each twist and turn is their love and strength and grace in weathering each storm and embracing each change.  After all, their normality is what becomes every day practice for them, just as our normality is our own familiar experience.  Circumstances may feel foreign at first, but the more we immerse ourselves in our new experiences, the more normal they become.  This is what I’m continually reminding myself when I think about the uncertainty that lies ahead.  With each change, we become better versions of our normal selves.

Photos were taken during the “painting party” for A&N on Saturday.  Want to see more from This Artsy Life?  Follow me on Instagram!

All images by Artsy Forager.

Deceptive Beauty: Olaf Hajek

There has been a poignant video being posted all over social media this week.  By now, you’ve probably seen the Dove Real Beauty Sketches on YouTube.  In it, we are confronted with the disparity between the way others see us and how we perceive ourselves.  As I was watching it this week, it brought to mind these portraits by German artist Olaf Hajek.

In these portraits, we see women of African descent adorned in the extravagant style of Marie Antoinette, the standard of beauty and opulence in her day.  These women look every bit as refined and elegant as Antoinette ever did, yet there is a discomfort and sadness about them.

To put on the trappings of another person’s beauty is to not embrace what is truly beautiful about ourselves.  We all buy into the lies being told that we need to look a certain way to be considered attractive.  Do the birds in all their glory worry about the way their feathers are arranged?

We are constantly in search of the next fashion trend, face cream or make-up that will transform us into the beauty we hope to be.  But instead, why don’t we embrace our beauty for what it is?  We are each uniquely lovely in a way that no other person in the world could be.

To see more of Olaf Hajek’s work, please visit his website.  For a laugh, check out this parody of the Dove Real Beauty Sketches.  ;-)

Images via the artist’s website.

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