Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Art Attack


o far this year I've already read a couple of books where art is central to the plot, and digested a couple of books on specific artists. I'm really thankful for art. When I look around my house at the paintings I have - they make me really happy. Like instantly. So I'm going to put in a plug for getting some art for your home, (again). Because that's certainly one of my themes. Buy it, make it, borrow it, find it, photograph it, but just do it. Make a goal that this year you're going to find a way to get at least ONE original piece of art in your house. It might be something as simple as buying a photo that you really like. is a great source of wonderful photography for sale by artists and much of it is entirely inexpensive. is a great source for art that is being made by struggling little artists everywhere and you can get it for a bargain. If you have a local venue like First Fridays here in Phoenix (and many many cities have something similar) or if you can attend showings at an art school, go to an art fair, etc. I guarantee you can find something in your budget that you like. Maybe it's a simple little piece of blown glass from a gallery. Even though there is a glass gallery in Sedona which is quite expensive, there are always little tiny things there that are cheap enough for almost anyone to afford (little glass balls for $30). Don't be too intimidated to look either. Galleries WANT you to come in and look. Artists WANT you to browse through their stuff, even if you don't buy any of it!

I would have a hard time telling you for sure what my favorite piece of art is around here. I think my opinion on that changes frequently. I do really love these Jon Babbitt paintings right now though (part of a larger triptych, which reminds me every day of a powerful emotional truth and belief in ourselves and doubt):

Over the years I've wandered through quite a lot of museums and art galleries. When I think back on it, there are some paintings that really struck me (not to be too cheesy...but I like to think of it as an Art Attack), stopped me dead in my tracks, and randomly occur to me on a regular basis. Here are some of those paintings:

This was possibly the first painting I ever saw where I said "wow". This is a Fragonard at the National Gallery in Washington DC. It's beautiful of course. And even if I had not seen it in person I think I would like it. But somehow when you're standing in front of this thing it just has this incredible zinging energy while having a complete calming effect at the same time. I think this might be the painting that really hooked me on art in a new way.

I think about this artist a lot. She's about my age. Her name is Kelly McLane and she lives in Los Angeles. Her work as part of a group show at the Phoenix art museum several years ago. Her art are these lovely soft colors of images which border on being post apocolyptic, but which on more careful reflection, seem to represent a version of that which already is, but which we often choose not to see. The Los Angeles Central River Project, burnt out meth labs in the desert, penned up animals, urban landscapes. Pretty and haunting and commentary while offering a surrealists skewed view all at once. I've thought about her paintings many many times.
This is a Francis Bacon I saw in London at the Tate. Bacon always offering a jarring viewing. My mind wanders back to this self-portrait often. How many of us would paint ourselves like this?
This gothic little Nightmare comes to us by way of an artist named Fuseli. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of this in past year while I've had terrible nightmares and insomnia. What a painting!

This is the Executioner of Lady Jane Grey by DeLaroche. Wow. Just wow. The story of Lady Jane Grey is very tragic. To be in London and see this painting is stunning. Look at some of the detail...
to see it in person kind of takes your breath away.

Find some art that stuns you, amazes you, makes you think, makes you feel this year. Find something you love. And find something you can call your own.


Cynthia said...

The details of those paintings amaze me. I am always surprised when I see paintings in real life that I am already familiar with and have seen in books for years. Standing in front of the real piece of art takes my breath away. Books and post cards etc. don't do much for showing the real deal.
You've inspired me to get busy. I saw an artist I liked and saved a place on a wall for some of her artwork, but still can't afford it. So I think I'm going to make a piece of my own to fill the spot while I'm saving my pennies.

Bandanamom said...

I love that you're going to make something! The biggest benefit of being artist, I would think, is the ability to pull that off! Of course, even not having the kind of talent that you or some of the other artist I know have, I still was quite happy with the simple little collage pieces I did recently. It's so nice having original things in your home.


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