Archive for September, 2012

Artist of the moment….French artist Georges Barbier…

Georges Barbier was a great illustrator and fine artist who was born in Nantes, France in 1882. Barbier took part in his first exhibition at the age of 29 in 1911.

The artist had a great career in a variety of artistic director positions such as head of theater and he even designed dresses and other dance costumes. The artist worked with the internationally known Folies Berger.  Barbier also dabbled in jewelry design. The artist also designed wall paper and glass.

For his college education the artist attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. Here he was part of a group that was given the title “The Knights  of the

Bracelet. ” The group had a reputation for being flamboyant in both their public appearance and mannerisms.

A great selection of posters and prints of the artist here. I don’ t want to sell you anything, but rather to see how versatile the artist was with his genre. He was certainly at the front of illustrating the upper class lifestyle. His style is considered Art-Deco. I prefer “Gatsby like!”–a452/georges-barbier-posters.htm

A clip of some of Barbier’s erotic type of work. I find it similar to present day artist Michael Bergt. Bergt uses egg tempera to bring Greek fables to life. Many Surrealistic visions of creatures like the Centaur, half horse and half man.

A great selection of the complete ouvre of the artist. You can see the artist’s style for flair and sort of “Gatsby” like presentation of large groups celebrating and dancing about.

When the artist passed away in 1932, he was atop the profession. He was already so successful seeing his designs appear on wall paper, glass, and childrens books. He illustrated many books over his career. Barbier also penned essays and illusrations for a hit magazine called “Vogue”  on fashion published in France from 1912 to 1925. When French fashion was at the peak of European style, this magazine was a must read and he its best known artist.

I enjoy the artist for his fashion illustrations the most, though he was great at anything with the female figure. His indoor dining rooms are similar to Lindsay Goodwin. He went into such fine detail in his works its as if the viewer is looking at a very lively photograph! Very good with color as well. I enjoy looking at fashion designs and when Isaac Mizrahi used to have his show on the fashion network, my favorite part of the show was watching him sketch some designs. I wish more artists would do so.

Try drawing or painting a fashion illustration.



Artist of the moment…Anne- Karin Furunes…


The artist was born in Orlund,  Norway in the year 1961. Furunes studied at the National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo, Norway. In high school in Oslo and for two semesters in London, England the artist studied architecture. In the early 1980s the artist attended The School of Fine Arts and Crafts in Oslo.

She is known worldwide for her paintings which are based on old and sometimes  historic photographs. She enlarges the idea and actually makes holes in the canvas. The artist doesn’t always use canvas as a surface. On occasion the artist uses a perforated piece of plastic as her working surface.


In this clip from a show given in 2010 at the University of  Wyoming by Anne Karin Furunes. Here she talks about creating work in her specific style of making holes in the canvas.


In this clip you can see the artist at work for an installation that she finished in 2010 for an international competition.

Furunes has also garnered some public commissions. She can seemingly adapt her style to fit any size, one  installation work she made in is 200 inches by 200 inches. For the most part she paints with acrlylics on perforated canvases.


Low price range: $10,000

High price range:  $40,000


One of her medium sized canvases, having sides thirty inches or close to it, is filled with thousands of actual holes. In this manner the artist reminds me of the close up Polaroid photographs and then paintings of Chuck Close. My favorite works of Chuck Close are when the artist was developing his style Clsoe would use a grid to break down the shapes of the face  into smaller absract shapes and patterns. Close up its a wonderful mix of organic and geometric shapes, from a distance the image falls into place perfectly. The dots are similar in that close up its just a random pattern of holes and circles, but take a few steps back and the viewer is transported back to the birth of photography with the artist’s unique painting style.


Her first exhitibion was in 1985 and the subject was architecture.


On line and land based galleries:  Barry Friedman Gallery located in New York, New York.   Great photography selection as well as fine art such as paintings.


I enjoy this artist for her very unique style of creation. Having been to the toy store last weekend, this method of painting would be awesome in a puzzle setting. It would be great to see the artist’s work in person as you could get a better feeling for how the lighting changes when you move farther back or closer to the painting. Again another artist that relies on tone to give a viewer emotional portrait of a person.


Try a black and white portrait or figure painting this weekend. For an artist working in black and white and with the female figure check out Bernardo Torrens. I have blogged about him in the past. He works mainly in black and white with acrylics with stunning nudes. Other artists that have done great etchings would be Rembrandt and the current figure master Stephen Scott Young and of course Kathe Kollwitz. All of these artists made very emotional works with little color.





Arist of the moment……Liu Ye…

The artist comes from China abd was born in 1964 in Beijing.

A short clip from a show given by the artist titled Bamboo Bamboo Broadway in New York. You can easily tell the artist who has most influenced Ye was Mondrian.

He has worked in various mediums including oils, lithographs, silkscreens, lithographs, watercolor, acrylics, and etchings.

His work is a mixture of surrealism and realism. In many paintings at least one character is involved with something from the Pop art world.

For collegiate studies Liu Ye attended the Beijing Academy of Fine Arts. Whilst there he learned specifically how to paint very large murals. For his graduate studies the artist moved to Germany and attended school in Berlin, Germany.

His father was an  author  of childrens books. His father wrote his own books as well as worked on those made by government agencies.

Liu Ye was turned onto the books of Hans Christian Anderson by this dad. After spending hours and then days learning to draw the characters in the book, Ye knew he had to be an artist.

High price range:  The artist had a painting titled “Night,”  which sold for $1,900,000. It was 86 by 70 inches. Acrylics painting titled ” The Bright Road.” It sold for $2.469 million.

Low price range:  Lithographs and silkscreens start at $3,000.

Another artist who enjoys bringing old stories, such as those from Hans Christian Anderson, to life. I so love looking at modern interpretations of stories that have been around for so many generations. I also enjoys the way he draws children. As an ex-caricaturist myself, looking at the art of Liu Ye we can see what certain charateristics make up a child.

A large forehead and somewhat larger than life eyes.  This will help with expression. Before we learn all the words, babies learn to express emotions by certain facial features. Another key feature  is a somewhat smaller than life nose and most importantly NO HARD EDGES AROUND THE MOUTH. So many drawings of children I see(that come from photographs) the tones that make up a babies cheek are done with almost an heavy outline style. This ages them quickly. Even when drawing an older person who in fact does have wrinkles, use thin lines, taper the lines, and don’t press too hard with your pencil.

In his statement we can see how he feels about art and politics. He says,” I find that art should not interfere with politics because art is univeral, and not something emanating from a certain country. ”

This artist is just so versatile in the mediums he uses. He has an awesome style that is very creative and expressive with a high level of technial skill as well.

Create It!


Artist of the moment…..Alessandro Raho….

The artist is British and was born in 1971 in the Bahamas. He now lives and works out of London.

He is held in high regard for his paintings of portraits. He also has garnered quite a large following for his landscapes.

The artist is shown painting a large work. Its a time lapse video, I wish more artists would do this so we could get a behind the scenes look at how an image is created from start to finish.

On line and land based gallery:   Alison Jacques Gallery in London, England.

I found this site to have a great collection of his art. You can tell the artist makes a great deal of small sketches and studies for his final paintings. Some of the sizes of his studies are tiny (6 by 9 inches) compared to his larger portraits (many are 97 by 67 inches).

He is included in museum collections such as the Musuem of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Collection in Minneapolis, and the National Portrait Gallery located in London, England. For this museum Raho was commissioned to paint a portrait of the great actress Dame Judy Dench. She has been in many feature films from James Bond to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He finished the commission in 2005.

For his education the Raho attended Goldsmith College in London, England.

For mediums Raho paints mainly with oils with an occassional watercolour.

High price range:  Large oil paintings $20,000 for a large portrait.

Low price range:  A smaller watercolor sized 10 by 9 inches start at $2,500 to $3,000.

From a style standpoint the artist reminds me of Dean Mitchell and Mario Robinson. Both are American painters that use watercolour for a great deal of their art and both use the plain grey background. I enjoy the fact he doesn’t spend time depicting a background, it allows for more concentration on the figure. The figure is presented rather closely to the viewer, this is similar to the Chuck Close method when he started out back in the 1970s.

I wish the artist would paint more landscapes of his native Bahamas! Not many fine artists have tackled the beach for a setting. Among my favorite are Hilo Chen, C.W. Mundy, Rick Fluery and Sally Swatland. The paintings of Raho that I have seen concentrate on the blueness of the water and the sky mixed with the yellow ochre and light toned sand. He doesn’t paint people in these works.


How about visiting a museum or state park this weekend!


Artist of the moment……..Illustrator Chris Van Allsburg….

lets take a closer look at one of the best illustrators  of childrens books in the country, Chris Van Allsburg.

A clip with the artist explaining finding a model to pose for him in the book “Queen of the Falls.” This book had to do with the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in barrell and live. She was 62 years old at the time. Its great to see how the artist goes about finding a model and poses of how to design and compose his book.

Van Allsburg was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the year 1949. Van Allsburg attended high school in Grand Rapids. The artist then went on to study architecture and design at the University of Michigan. Van Allsburg earned a bachelors degree in sculpting and learned to work with bronze and wood. He then went to the Rhode Island School of Design where he earned a master’s degree in scultpure. He finished college in 1975 and immediately set up a studio.
Whilst Van Allsburg worked on scultpures, his wife had a different idea. She thought his drawings would be great for illustrating childrens books. She showed them to a  publisher and the artist wrote his first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. He has written done both the writing and illustration for fifteen childrens books. Also did some artwork for the Chronicles of Narnia series.

The artist currenly lives and keeps a studio in Providence, Rhode Island.

The artist has illustrated many childrens books over the years including Jumanji and the Polar Bear Express. Van Allsburg wrote and illustrated both books.
The top prize for having the best childrens picture book is called the Caldecott Medal. The artist won this award two times for Jumanji and Polar Bear Express. He won a simlilar award for his first book titled “The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.”

high price range:  An original illustration from the Jumanji book that was done in graphite went for $31,000.

low price range:  An original from the Harris Burdick series done in charcoal went for $5975.

If you enjoy this type of work with allegorical figures you might check out the art of James Christensen, who paints this world in color. Another artist working in a similar manner would be Aron Weisenfeld. This artist started out as a comic book man and has worked his way onto the national fine art scene. If you want to study someone who is a master at drawing from unique vantage points, be sure and check out this artist.

I look at this artist as very important to the art world. Able to inspire both young artists, who are just learning to draw and create, and older artists who see what a pleasant and fruitful career he has already had.


Artist of the moment…….Burmese artist Min Wae Aung…..

This artist was born in Danubyu, Myanmar. Myanmar used to be known as Burma.

In 1982 he attended the State School of Fine Art located in Rangoon, Myanmar.

Min Wae Aung is perhaps the most famous living artist in Myanmar today.

A short collection of paintings by the artist set to music.

Great interview with the artist done by CNN’s Focus Asia spotlight.

Min Wae Aung was born and raised in Burma. As a child the monestary became his favorite hang out. In his paintings he creates the many monks and nuns he has seen over the years walking in groups off the page. Very contemporary composition. He paints brightly colored backgrounds that make the viewer concentrate even more so on the figures and their clothing moving through space.

Aung seldom paints the face from the front or profile positions, he concentrates on viewing the figure from behind and watching not only the shape of the individual, but the shape that the individuals make as a group. Aung enjoys the mystery these figures have since the viewer never sees the full face. Other artists who paint in a similar manner would be Willie Matthews. He paints the cowboy at angles not allowing the viewer to see the entire face clearly. Nelson Boren is another western artist who concentrates on painting the shoes and feet, leaving the rest of the image up to the viewer.

High price range:  $20,000 for a larger work, sized 40 by 50 painted in acrylics.

Low price range:  $5,000 for a small painting done in acrylics.

On line and land based gallery: Karin Weber Gallery located in Hong Kong.

The artists main output has been paintings of monks, followed by nuns. Only recently has the artist been captivated by painting the simple person from Myanmar just enjoying the simple and beauty of things around them hoping to get through another day of political turmoil.

In most paintings the figures are outlined in black. The background is made up of several hundred strokes and sometimes the background can look like an Impressionistic or Pointallist work of art.

After finding success on a world wide level the artist decided he loved and enjoyed collecting art as much as he did creating it. The majority of his collection is that of the Burmese artists that inpsired him. In my future entries we will take some time and learn about the Burmese/ Myanmar artworld.

I enjoy this artist and find his work to be very uplifting despite living in a place where most people have to curb their tongue and watch what they say about the government.



An art discussion about Andy Warhol and David Hockney……

Lets have some fun and compare some artwork done using the computer. Andy Warhol is my favorite artist because he tried so many mediums and was open to trying anything. He was very successful as a commercial artist and gallery artist. The first art superstar and nothing  has come close to the Factory. I mean Ed Ruscha talks about having famous musicians drop by as does caricaturist Sebatien Kruger about the Rolling Stones. But the Factory was the place to be seen if you were famous in any way. A true happening of town.

Here is Andy using a computer to paint a portrait of actress Debbie Harry. This is probably my favorite clip of seeing Andy paint! Remember this isn’t a guy using photoshop in the 2000s. Andy is doing this in the eighties and he is using an Amiga computer.


Next lets check out some very contemporary artwork by legendary U.K. artist David Hockney. Hockney is right up there with Damien Hirst for trying new mediums and modes of expression. Hirst has a diamond encased skull he made that has a multi million dollar price tag on it. Real diamonds were used.

In this clip watch an exhibition for David Hockneys paintings that were executed on an Ipad using a special brush app. He paints using his thumb and pointer finger. This exhibition is taking place in Toronto, Ontario in Canada.

Hockney is was able to put in a fair amount of detail if he wished.


I have never tried digital painting but feel you should try it if you get the chance!




Artist of the moment…..Ilya Bolotowsky….

The artist was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in the year 1901.

The artist attended college at the University of St. Joseph in Istanbul, Turkey from 1921 to 1923. He then emigrated to the United States. He became a naturualized United States citizen in 1929.

Whilst in the United States studied at the National Academy of Art and Design in New York city. He also became associated with a group that came to be known in the art world as the group of ten. They rebelled against the Academy and held exhibitions on their own. The most famous of these artists was Mark Rothko. It was during this period of his life he became aware of Piet Mondrian and his use of the grid and primary colors.

Bolotowsky worked in several mediums such as oil, acrylics, serigraphs, silkcreens, gouache, and wood.

Here is the best compilation of works by Bolotowsky I could find. Paintings start at nine seconds into the video.


Low price range: Acrylics start at $1,000.  Oil paintings start at $5,000. Prints can be found for a few hundred dollars.

High price range: Oil painting record is $35,000. Acrylics record is $26,070.

The artist with the most influence on Bolotowsky was Piet Mondrian. Mondrain was a Dutch artist who specialized in abstract works with geometric shapes. Mondrian used a plain white background. He then painted a grid using black and the three primary colors. Bolotowsky used some ideas of Mondrian and also inlcuded ideas from other movements including Cubism.


Bolotowsky taught at several universities over his lifetime including the University of New Mexico, Long Island University, and Black Mountain College.


In the 1930s New York mayor Fierrello LaGuardia was the chief component behind housing projects in Brooklyn. Some abstract artists received commissions from the federal government. This included Bolotowsky, Balcomb Green, Paul Kelpe, and Al Swinden. These houses were designated a national landmark in 2003. Awesome!


In the 1960s he turned to working with wood and tried various forms of sculpture.


Bolotowksy passed away in 1981 at the age of 74.

This artist caught my eye, and you might have seen the story on the news as well. A lady purchased a work by the artist for less than $10. Where did this thrifty buyer find the painting? At a Goodwill store! What a fantastic story!!!

The artist who bought the painting at Goodwill sometimes buses slightly used canvases to begin her paintings of kitties. Her name is Beth Feeback and a link to her website is here:

After seeing the quality of the painting a friend told her not to paint over it. She did some research about the signature and found out she had a true abstract masterpiece. The piece was sold recently at auction for $34,375 including the buyers premium. Feeback collected over $27,000 for her efforts. I hope she at least purchases some linen or birch panels to experiment on!


What a great story!

Make some time every day for art. Read about it, create it! Get involved!


Artist of the moment…..Indian artist S.H. Raza….

The artist is perhaps the Picasso of India, having a very long and successful career as an artist. Raza was born in 1922.

A clip from a documentary on the artist.

Raza has worked in many mediums over his mulitple decade art career. He has used bronze, lithographs, gouache, oils, watercolor, and acrylics.

High price range: $3.4 million for “Saurashtra”  Acrylic painting record is $847,000.

Low price range: Lithographs start at less than one thousand dollars.

When creating his works the artist uses a variety of images taken from Indian culture, he adds dynamic color, and sometimes uses very geometric shapes that keep the viewers eye moving through out the painting.

Raza started taking drawing lessons at the age of twelve years old.  For college Raza attended the Nagpur School of Art for four years. He also attended the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay, India. Lastly he earned a scholarship to study at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, France. This happened in 1950 and the artist has remained in Paris every since.

Was the first non French artist to win the Priz de la Critique. Its an award given to the best comic book produced in a certain era.

First solo show was at the age of twenty four years old. He won a silver medal from the Bombay Arts Society. This society was founded in 1888 and includes the art circle of Mumbai, India.

He first painted the landscape. Raza then moved on to painting more abstract items.
In 1947  Raza founded a group called the Bombay Progressive Art Group. This collection of artists wanted to reject the ideas of European art and its realism. The group was interested in painting more abstract works that provided feeling without realism.

By 1949 the artist had lost both parents and half of his family moved to Pakistan after the Indian partition took place.

The artist then decided to move to France and start anew. Whereas other modern artists were painting figures  Raza  explored his passion for painting landscapes surrounded by his new French environment. He even married a famous french artist named Janine Mangillot. Below is a work of hers, she was primarly an abstract painter.


Raza went to become a guest lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley.


After years of painting and selling landscapes, Raza felt a change was needed and he wanted to quit producing plastic art. He then did some more travelling and found his style. From this move he came to a Bindu statment in his works. Very expressive. In the Indian culture Bindu is both the point at which creation happens and also the point which all things become unified. This was his goal and he been very prolific in his type of painting.


I enjoy this artists work for his use of hard edges and straight lines. He uses curves and circles as well, but not as much as other contemporary artists. If I had to compare his work to an American painter it would be Frank Stella. I hope Raza can make it to one hundred years of age!


Try an abstract painting today! Loosen up and have fun with the color.




Artist of the moment….Wallace Cleaver……..Anthony Dow…

In the gallery below the second picture from the top is the scultpure of his that appeared at the Louvre.




Did you know that the actor who played the “beaver’s” brother on the hit television show from the fifties and sixties is also an artist. His work is called abstract, but I would say its more a loose sense of realism done with the figure.

A clip with the artist in this studio.

The artist was born in Hollywood, California in 1945. His father was a designer and his mother worked in the movie industry as a stunt woman and body double. Dow got his break with the show, ” Leave it to Beaver,” with little acting experience. He was a champion diver at the junior olympic level. He joined the national guard for three years in the sixties.

A link for the artists own website dealing with his sculptures:

Dow has had the opportunity to exhibit his art in the Louvre in Paris, France. At first I thought it was  because he was a television star. Hey, I still watch “Leave it to Beaver” up to four times per week on cable. But the artist assures us he wasn’t known at all in France. He was accepted on the merits of his artwork.

Very interesting story about how Dow got into the Louvre. In the television show his little brother was played by Jerry Mathers and the two were in Los Angeles and appeared as guest on a morning news program. Another guest who was co-owner of several art galleries named Robert Berger. He got to talking with Dow and found out Dow and been painting and sculpting since he was a teen. It was among his favorite hobbies.

After the Beaver show ended in 1963, Dow appeared on shows such as General Hospital and Emergency! Emergency is starting to show reruns on cable tv as well, watch for him!  He then went on to be a director and producer. When he was nearing retirement age Dow decided to give his all to sculpture. He had even learned to work with wood whilst still producing and directing.

When he took on sculpture as a daily activity he perfected his skills enough to have his works that he made out of wood, also cast into bronze.  The sculpture that appeared at the Louvre was a bronze.

He and his wife currently live in Santa Monica, California.
This artist is a great story about an artist that through his entire life has continued to learn new mediums and forms of expression. I am glad he got to exhibit his art at the Louvre and look for him to make an impression on the national level just as big as fellow television celebrity Brady Brunch star Eve Plumb. He just doesn’t have many works for sale. I was unable to find high or low prices.


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