Entries tagged with “Art”.


CofCNow for a little nepotism…

…this past Sunday I had the great pleasure to see an art installation, The Colors of Cuba, presenting the work of my very own sister, Paula, at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.

My sister is an accomplished photographer and is on the staff of Phillips Academy where her work is the main feature of a current exhibition of the art works of faculty and staff.

Earlier this year, my sister and a colleague travelled to Cuba where they immersed themselves in the local culture. The exhibit, The Colors of Cuba, presents many of the photos and other observations they made on the trip.

cc1About the The Colors of Cuba exhibition at Phillips Academy: “Sherri Gray and Paula Driscoll, who work in the Polk-Lillard Center in the Elson Art building at Phillips, traveled to Cuba in February for a week-long educational tour supported by the Abbot Academy Association. The duo, who specialize in photography, digital photo and film editing, spent a week immersed in the local culture and got to see how most Cubans live on a daily basis. In addition to learning about a country most Americans know little about, they participated in discussions about the U.S. embargo and how it impacts the Cuban economy. Colors of Cuba chronicles their experiences through photographs and a documentary-style video.”

In addition to The Colors of Cuba, the works of other Phillips faculty and staff were great to see. However, I am most proud of my sister and I am a big fan of her work.

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The Colors of Cuba continues at Gelb Gallery inside Phillip Academy’s George Washington Hall through tomorrow, July 31, 2013.

Read more about The Colors of Cuba exhibition in The Andover Townsman here.

PAR.3A few weeks ago I wrote about my trip to Chicago and the wonderful Gold Coast Art Fair I attended while I was there.  One of the many fine artists on exhibition at the fair was photographer Jean-Claude Louis, whose work moved me very much – so much I bought two pieces.

About photographer Jean-Claude Louis: “Born in Alsace, France, I moved to Southern California in 1990, where I currently reside, in Agoura Hills. A physician and scientist, I led a life-long career in biomedical research, which I left in 2007 to pursue my two passions, travel and photography. My work is largely rooted in cultural, social and ecological issues. I have traveled to more than forty countries in five continents, creating images that explore people, their culture and their relationship with their environment. I make photographs using digital, film and Polaroid media.”

I am reluctant to provide the details of Mssr. Louis and the work I purchased from him for a couple of reasons.  First, the photographs of the work I purchased do not do them justice.  Second, Mssr. Louis’ website has not been updated with his latest work (although he promises it will be soon).

However, I loved Mssr. Louis’ work so much I am compelled to share.  I was drawn to Mssr. Louis’ photography first and foremost as a result of his subject matter and artistic eye.  I noticed his tent at the fair out of the corner of my eye and was drawn right in.  My eye was transfixed on a photograph of a gargoyle atop of Notre Dame with Paris spread out before him.  The image (below) was just so perfect and fit my sensibilities perfectly I just had to have it.

I was further intrigued by the process which Mssr. Louis mounts his work.  This image is set on a sheet of metal.  Through a high-tech process, the photograph is fused to the metal and mounted on another smaller piece of metal to allow the work to protrude from the wall when displayed – a wonderful effect.  Gorgeous!

I purchased this work, in a 16”x16” version and had it shipped to my home where it arrived last week.  I could not wait to get it out of the box and on to my wall.

On the second day of the fair, I went back to Mssr. Louis’ tent.  A second piece of his was in my mind all night.  It is an image of a ski slope in France where several skiers are riding up on a j-bar tow.  The image is creepy and wonderful and I just had to have it.  So, like the Notre Dame Gargoyle, I bought and had it shipped.  That image is particularly difficult to photograph due to lighting challenges, so I am not displaying it here.  But trust me, it is great.

I am going to used these two pieces as the center point of the decoration of my pied-à-terre in Portsmouth, NH which I hope to find very soon.

Visit the (soon to be updated) website of photographer Jean-Claude Louis here.

The work I purchased from Jean-Claude Louis – much nicer in person (the art not Mssr. Louis):

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TB3In December, I had the great privilege of visiting the annual open studios at the Button Factory Artists Studios in Portsmouth, NH.  Lynda and I had heard about the event a few months earlier and marked our calendars to make sure we didn’t miss it. 

I love seeing artists in their studios and have often enjoyed open studios as a way to see new works and be inspired by the folks that are doing what I would like to do one day soon – be a working artist.

We saw many great things at the Button Factory and were pleased to see the event well-attended and an air of excitement all around.  One of the artists that particularly caught my eye was Todd Bonita

TB1I was excited to see Mr. Bonita’s work and even more thrilled when I checked him out on-line to see his excellent work.  His choice of colors, scenes and capture of light is just great.  Many of his oil paintings depict scenes around the seacoast which are stunning, but he seems to be able to capture people and farm scenes equally well. 

But it his series of oil-on-wood depictions of vintage toys that sent me over the moon.

Check out artist Todd Bonita’s website here.

I adore Mr. Bonita’s “Reach for the Sky” (14×11″) Oil on wood (for obvious reasons):

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ls1I fancy myself as some sort of artist as well as an art collector and critic.  I like all kinds of art and always have my eyes open for finding interesting works wherever I go.

After a week in Italy gazing at some of the world’s most amazing works of art, and touring around the master works in London’s fine museums, I was truly overwhelmed with it all.  However, I was delighted to discover the work of British artist L.S. Lowry at the Tate Museum in London.

Laurence Stephen (L.S.) Lowry (1887-1976) is by no means one of the great masters of the ilk in the museums of Florence and London.  However, his charming “primitive” or “naïve” style was refreshing and charmed me.

L.S. Lowry was known mostly for his drawings and paintings of industrial and city scenes in Northern England.  His work is not realistic and has a bit of whimsy, especially when people are depicted.  I can’t say I “discovered” L.S. Lowry, as he seems to be somewhat of a British national treasure, but he is new to me and I am enjoying reading more about him and seeing his work.

On a whim, while still in London, I looked into what it would take to purchase one of his works.  One search uncovered a major work that was coming to auction soon, with an estimated sale price of over £3 million.  I think I am going to need to stick to admiring his work in museums and galleries and stick to “finding” my new artists at the flea market.

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See the Tate’s collection of L.S. Lowry’s work here.

See more of the L.S. Lowry catalog here.

Read about L.S. Lowry on Wikipedia here.

LFA1I LOVE LOVE LOVE this site: Lost Fond Art

If there was every a person, place or thing that fit’s the Lost Cowboy aesthetic, it is Lost Found Art.  As a life-long collector, and budding artists myself, the collections of Lost Found Art are a true inspiration and are just great.

I know I have featured these guys in the past, but I find myself going back to their site all the time to see what they are up to and be inspired.  The art I am working on (I promise to share it here in the coming weeks) is very much in line with Lost Found Art, albeit much humbler and less cool.

About Lost Found Art: “Lost Found Art is a unique design company that specializes in sculptural installations and assemblages using antique and vintage pieces. Our works are created with an eye to scale, balance, color and surface interest, and the end result is a strong visual statement that combines artistic statement, whimsy, form and uniqueness. We can customize to fit any space, décor, or point of view. Subtle or outrageous, free standing or wall mounted, our collections become the focal point of any room in your home or business. Our designs work equally well in a contemporary setting as they do in the more traditional. Lost Found Art also offers in-house consulting in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas, providing an expert eye to residential owners and businesses in order to maximize the display potential of existing personal collections.”

Lost Found Art has really put together some great collections as art.  As I have been going around to various tag sales, flea markets and auctions lately, I have kept an eye out for things that could be collected and presented together to form what I call “instant collections” – and Lost Found Art has been a true inspiration.

Here are a couple of lots of tools I picked up at an auction that may be something I can work with:

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TcoleI recently raved about the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA and their current Painting the American Vision exhibition.  I was lucky to visit the museum last Saturday with my life-long friend Claire and thoroughly enjoyed the Painting the American Vision exhibition.

I was particularly thrilled to see the works of artist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) on display.  I was immediately drawn to his “Mount Chocorua New Hampshire 1827” work, which I had only seen pictures of in the past. Seeing this work live was a great experience.  Although the painting is much humbler in scale compared to Cole’s epic works, I was touched by the locale.

I often tell people that Mount Chocorua is in my back yard.  Although not literally in my back yard, Mount Chocorua is just a couple of miles from the NH family estate where I am spending my sabbatical.  Seeing Cole’s work from over 180 years ago painted so close to where I live was just amazing.

Even more amazing is how little the landscape has changes in the intervening years.  Mount Chocorua is still stunning, as I noted in a recent post.

Mount Chocorua New Hampshire 1827 by Thomas Cole (1801-1848):

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The Painting the American Vision exhibition continues through November 6, 2011 at PEM.

welldriveIt is clear that I could go on for days singing the praises of Wellfleet, MA and all the great things we did there on our end-of-summer vacation.  However, like summer itself, we must move on – but first one final wrap-up of some of the great things we found there.

First, no trip to Wellfleet would be complete without a pilgrimage to Jules Besch Stationers. In fact, Lynda (and sometimes Sophie) and I have been known to make special trips to this amazing shop off season.  Jules Besch Stationers has extraordinary cards, fine stationery, journals, papers, and pens and is just great fun to visit and chat with Michael the proprietor, who always entertains us with hints and teases about the store’s upcoming special events.

billsgtWe also stopped in at Billingsgate Arts and Antiques to find it thriving nearly a year after we first stumbled upon it on its opening weekend.  Billingsgate Arts and Antiques describes themselves as “a new center bringing back the fine Cape Cod tradition of Antiques and Art coupled with working Artists and Craftsmen.”  We enjoyed our visit and were thrilled to see that they have definitely found their groove.

Meanwhile, we made three visits to the Wellfleet Drive in Flea Market while we were there.  The Flea Market is a hybrid of vintage goods, new goods, arts and crafts and swap meet.  We like to say “from tube socks to fine antiques.”  We love browsing this market and have made some great finds there over the years.

In fact, a bit of Lost Cowboy trivia: The original purchase of the little cowboy figurine that was the inspiration for this blog’s charter was purchased at the Wellfleet Drive in Flea Market in 2009.

This year we found some more great stuff.  However, it was the people we met this year that made our visits special.  On the first day of vacation we stopped in and met a vendor named Homer (middle name Virgil) who was a complete delight.  Homer had some lovely items for sale which we discussed with him and he also gave us some tips for what to do while we were in town.  Lynda was particularly charmed by Homer and we made sure to stop in on our way out of town to bid farewell.

juliaOn Homer’s recommendation we sought out the local artist Julia Salinger who owns the Mermaid’s Grange gallery in Wellfleet where she displays her work.  Lynda ran into Ms. Salinger a couple of time around town and she was very sweet to us.  Her work is a mix of collage and sculpture and is as unique as she is.

Ms. Salinger’s work can be found on her Mermaid’s Grange website.

We did so many fun things on the trip and made some great discoveries.  One of the best stops we made was at a church tag sale in Truro on the back road to Provincetown. Lynda posted a great story about this on her blog, Grateful Evermore

globeThe church was holding a “shed sale” where they were selling stuff to raise money.  The shed was full or books and bric-a-brac and it was great fun.  Lynda ended up with the “find” of all finds – a very cool light up globe, which set her back a very sweet $3.00!  Awesome.

It was a great vacation and I thank you for indulging me in my posts about all the great things Wellfleet has to offer.  I can’t wait for next year. 

In the meantime, I have a busy fall coming up with travel to Italy and London – so stay tuned.

CA1One of the great things about Wellfleet (the Cape Cod town where I spent my vacation last week) are all the galleries located there.  Lynda and I made sure to set aside some time to take a walk and check out the cluster of galleries spread around the town.

On of my favorite galleries is the Left Bank Gallery, which is really two galleries – a front part that displays installations of noted artists; and a back part that is more of a retail gallery.  Inevitably I fall in love with an artist in the front half (read: expensive) and settle for something from the back part (affordable).

Anyway, the gallery is great, and on this year’s visit I discovered the art of Carol Aust.

About Carol Aust: “Carol Aust works in acrylic on canvas and wood panels from her studio in Oakland, California. Her figurative paintings are emotionally-charged narrative fragments infused with mysterious tension and secrecy. She often places her figures in precarious environments where anything could happen. Sometimes celebratory, sometimes lonely and disturbing, her paintings express a wide range of human desire and yearning. Aust’s work consistently features strong and vibrant colors along with figures that are both engaging and vulnerable.”

I love the whimsical yet somehow realistic images Ms. Aust invokes in her work.  I was thrilled to visit her website to see the full expanse of her work. So many great works by this talented artist – I am simply in love with her art.  Now I just need to save my pennies and keep an eye out so I can add one of her pieces to my collection.

The lesson is to not be intimidated by galleries – it does not cost to look – and in the end you may discover something that moves you that you can dream about.

I love the scale (18” x 48”) of Ms. Aust’s “Boat Without Oars #3” (Acrylic on wood):

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Check out the Left Bank Gallery here.

See the wonderful paintings of Carol Aust here.

PP1I love folk artsy things – whether they are new or vintage.  I just like the whole idea of people being creative with the materials at their disposal.  I have often found that our friends south of the border have created some of the best folk art and art in general, and I was thrilled to stumble upon New York based Pan American Phoenix, a long-standing vendor of Mexican handicrafts.

About Pan American Phoenix: “Pan American Phoenix is New York City’s oldest shop specializing in Mexican goods. Located on the Upper East Side since 1959 the Pan American Phoenix has brought the finest from Mexico in jewelry, clothing, textiles and folk art. Martha Bartos started the shop and her daughter Mary joined her in 1976. Mary continues to run the shop, importing an extensive selection of Mexican and Latin American treasures.”

Although Pan American Phoenix offers something for everyone, including jewelry and textiles, I again am drawn to the Mexican folk art.  I particularly love this “recycled” watering can.

Explore all the fine products of Pan American Phoenix here.

PEM1I lived in Salem, MA for a short time in my young adulthood and loved the historic seaside setting, which is very much alive long after this once thriving port took a back-seat to other cities.  Most know of Salem’s colonial history, particularly the Salem Witch Trials.  However, Salem was once a major seaport with ships from all over the world pulling into the wharfs to trade.

Salem’s place in history is preserved throughout the city, but there is one real gem amongst the more touristy fair – the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM).  Once dedicated to Salem’s seafaring roots, the PEM now is a world class museum with an amazing collection and excellent special exhibitions.

About the Peabody Essex Museum: “The mission of the Peabody Essex Museum is to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind and stimulate the senses. Through its exhibitions, programs, publications, media and related activities, PEM strives to create experiences that transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.”

I have visited the PEM many times over the years, but was recently thrilled to see their latest special exhibition – Painting the American Vision – continuing through November 6, 2011. 

About Painting the American Vision: “In the mid-1800s, a loosely knit group of American painters-now known as the Hudson River School-forged an “American” landscape that regarded the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and an expression of cultural and national identity. Drawn from the celebrated collection of the New-York Historical Society, this exhibition features 45 magnificent landscapes, including Thomas Cole’s iconic series of monumental paintings, “The Course of Empire,” as well as works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Asher B. Durand and others.”

This exhibition includes an excellent collection of landscapes of the northeast.  As a new resident of one of the areas painters flocked to in the 1800’s – I particularly love these works.  As I travel around the amazing White Mountains region of New Hampshire I continually pinch myself of how lucky I am to take in the natural beauty all around.  Looking at the painting in the Painting the American Vision exhibition reminded me of my good fortune and my love of art and nature.

Here’s to appreciation the beauty around us – in museums and nature.

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Visit the PEM website here.

Read more about Painting the American Vision here.