Tag Archives: Mary Cassatt

Know your audience…Charlie Brown v. Martha Stewart

I was asked to help with the holiday tradition of “getting the Tree” by two very dear friends of mine.  Both reside in restored Connecticut properties.  One is a good ol’ barn and the other is a circa 1700 cider mill.

Walking through the threshold of the cocoon-like barn, Scotty beams you to a Scotty-Star Trekdeep-forest campsite in Montana.  It’s mood changing.  Complete decompression.   The first step in forces your diaphragm to expand and contract and your shoulders drop. You don’t want to leave.  You almost can’t.

The Mill seduces you.  As you descend down the tree-lined driveway, your searching eyes find evidence of a nestled rooftop within a chiseled stone wall.  A moat of playful plant life greets you with a wave of country garden scents of lavender and roses.  America’s board room, the kitchen, where Second base in viewlaughter sometimes meets tears is already at second base.  Soft lighting mysteriously glows to balance the cool marble tops with the wide-planked floors.  You’re naturally drawn around third to enter the living area by a small opening pulling you in to meet low hanging, dark hand-planed beams lit by a soft green hue projected from an arena of windows.

Now, both love gardening and cooking, are green-minded organic and chat up an auctioneer paced wild prattle. Demographically, pigeonholed…..but…..

“Barn” Tree
Barn Tree
Hunting ground: Large brush pile.
Species: Needleless, gnarly, bleached 8’ aged cedar.
Lighting: Trunk wrapped multi-color with neon white shell.
Décor: None.
Location: Outside-fire pit.

“Mill” Tree
Mill Tree
Hunting ground: “Destination” tree farm.
Species: White Pine-postcard.
Lighting: Soft white.
Décor: Popcorn/cranberry string, local hand-crafted ornaments.
Location: Inside, left field.

Every time I ask these same three questions (below­-to more than 50 artists), I’m reminded of one of my personal, constitutional doctrines of life…know your audience.   And as seemingly predictable the answer to the question of “your first art piece sale” would be, there is a continued diversity of answers ranging from “I practically had a f#c&ing  heart attack” to “I never thought about my first sale”.

A marketing strategist might feel comfortable putting an “artist” in a box…a tight niche.    But we’re all as unique as our thumbprint.

Paul ShampineCheck out these thumbprints….
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Renee Prisble, Chicago, IL
Renee Prisble

When did you first discover your creative talents? My creative talents were never discovered, they’ve been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories from before I began “real” school was an art class dilemma. I’d made a pinch pot at workshop at our local art center and I was given the opportunity to fire it if I wanted. I remember clutching the four quarters my mom gave me to pay for this extra step as I listened to the instructor explain to me the possible risks of the object exploding in the kiln. The funny thing about this story is that I don’t remember what I decided.  I was fortunate that my mom was also an artist and she very much spoiled me with extra courses and all the supplies I could ever desire.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  Selling work hasn’t been a big part of my practice since much of my work has been installation based. I once sold a piece of jewelry I designed, cast, formed and fabricated for $300. I immediately regretted it. But for the most part I enjoy selling work now because I like that it has a life of its own and that someone likes it enough to exchange money for it. I make so much work now, that the sentimentality of that first sale doesn’t occur anymore.

Who are your favorite artists?  My favorite artists are Janine Antoine, Doris Salcedo, Anthony Gormley, Ernst Haeckel, Lucy Lewis, to name a few from the top of my head.

Artist: Renee Prisble
Title: Thunder Cell Pods
Medium: Bronze
Dimensions: 6” Diameter
Website: http://reneeprisble.com

Blanche Serban, Storrs, CT
Blanche Serban
When did you first discover your creative talents? Being creative is part of being human. We are all creative, at any age. We are creative in what we make with our hands and with our minds. But we are also creative in the way we look at the world, in the way we perceive and assemble and “bend” in our mind the reality around us. We are creative in the way we relate and communicate with one another. Artists are people who value creativity to a high degree. As my daughter keenly noticed: “We always improvise.”  It is a great joy to try new things, to invent new things for oneself, to push this unbelievable body that can think, feel, sense, imagine to get a new experience of this reality. I guess I never discovered my creative talents – they have always been with me, just as they are with all people. I take great pleasure in making art, I can spend all my hours working, and it feels like a party.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  I have never thought about my first sale. Let me see. My father was my first client. It was a Sunday afternoon, in Bucharest, Romania. I was about 10-years old and very opinionated. I was drawing as I often did, and my father stopped to watch me. He said that I should draw something more classical, like the subject of an oil hanging on the wall across from me. I challenged him. “Do you think that painting is so good?”. It showed a blue lake where a woman was washing linens. In the background was a village spread under fall trees. “Can you do it?” he asked me. So, I drew the image in pencil. My father was very pleased, and he bought it from me for the equivalent of $100. I remember seeing the money in a drawer of my table for a long time. Then I sold drawings and paintings to friends of my friends while I was in school. Each painting that I sell acts like a marketing agent, because so many contacts of the new owner see the work. And the more people see the work, the better. The more paintings I sell, the more I paint, and this works great for me. Of course, I do have some paintings that I will not sell, like the cityscape that I painted after my first child was born. I was very busy with the baby and very tired, and I worked at this canvas every day for three months to complete it. I remember how much I enjoyed painting it, even though some days I had only a couple of minutes free to paint.

Who are your favorite artists?  I love Vermeer‘s paintings.  They are like polished gems, perfect worlds. If you look at them this way, you might notice that some do not match – and it is hard not to wonder if there are still some fake Vermeer’s hanging in museums… I love Rembrandt’s portraits, he is a magician. Look closely and the brushwork is simple, ascetic, spontaneous. Step back and it comes alive. I love Matisse for his color and craft. I enjoy Gerhard Richter‘s technique and breath, and Wolf Kahn‘s colors. I enjoy children’s art … I obsess with Marc Mellits‘ music, and contemporary Japanese pottery…There is no way to make a good list of favorite artists… There are many artists whom I admire, and they are unknowingly my teachers.

Artist: Blanche Serban
Title: Place de la Marie, Aix-en-Provence
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 30x24x1.5 inches
Website: http://www.serban-art.com

Jan Geoghegan, Tolland, CT
Jan Geoghegan
When did you first discover your creative talents?  “Artistic talent” is hard to define so I can’t know if I have it any more or less than anyone else does.  I do know that whether I have “it” or not,  I have a persistent need to create.  When people remark that I am talented, they usually mean it as a sincere compliment.. but it  could also be a polite way to avoid saying anything negative about my artwork. It’s not something I dwell on.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  When I began painting in my 30’s, I sold most of what I produced and felt a personal need to break even with the cost of art supplies and framing.  I painted in oils and watercolor; house portraits, landscapes and local scenes. When I began experimenting, my work changed and appealed less to the general public as it garnered recognition via juried shows and gallery representation. My work restoring oil paintings helped to balance the books.  I  recall showing one of my newer paintings to my father.  He commented gently,”You used to paint so well, dear.”  So although I have always been encouraged and appreciative of sales, it’s especiallgratifying when I sell my recent work.

Who are your favorite artists?  Paul Klee is among the artists who hold my interest as well as Mark Rothko, Joseph Cornell and Mary Cassatt.  But closer to home, I am influenced by my artistic peers who, for the most part are, like me,”little fishes in a big pond.”  I look to the artwork of contemporary encaustic artists, not for imagery, but in order to become more familiar with the endless ways in which the medium can be used. My studio is a place for discovery…challenging, frustrating and exhilarating!

Artist: Jan Geoghegan
Title: Studio Time Line
Medium: Encaustic Mixed Media
Dimensions: 7 x 27 inches
Website: http://jangeoghegan.com

“Art is not…” Interview with an Artist, part 4

“Inspired” by Mr. Sadler’s comments below, I’ve found what others have to say what “art is not…”  I open with my friend Pablo and close with some reality:

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Art is not an investment” – VIDEOArne Glimcher, founder of Pace Gallery.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”  ~ Edgar Degas

One of many collections – daughter Samantha @ 7, now 12 years old

“Start by remembering that teaching children about art is not just about showing them how to recognize a van Gogh or Picasso, it’s about preparing young minds for a future of invaluable experiences—art related or otherwise.” by Andrea Mulder-Slater (http://www.kinderart.com/artspeak/important.shtml)

Art is not a luxury.” Fresh Artists (http://www.freshartists.org), a non profit 501(c)(3) organization, created to help save art making in K-12 public schools.

The interviews continue….
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Roger Sadler, Temple TX

I am never inspired. Art is work. And I work. Within the process of work I may get excited about an idea and follow it out. Work and ideas. No inspiration: that is a late 19th early/ 20th century concept. Sorry to contradict you but making art is not magic; and inspiration bespeaks of magic. To conclude, art is work and ideas.

When did you first discover your creative talents? 14 years old.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Selling The Leaving for 600 dollars was my biggest sell and biggest painting and most dear to me. THE LEAVING is not a horror painting despite appearances. It is about pain. The pain of a relationship breaking up and the child being abandoned, or being left with the clan behind the fence. The male is exiting the front of the picture. He is slumped with grief and depression. The women stays behind with the child, holding her hand. The characters are so depressed and in so much pain that “the flesh is stripped from their bones.” The painting is medium large, 5 ft x 5 ft.

The other painting is PURPLE PAINTING. It is an example of my current painting style. My previous painting style was realististic/impressionistic. My present style is abstract. The size is 16 x 20 inches.

Who are your favorite artists? My present (and they change) favorite artists are Brice Marden and Sean Scully.


Artist: Roger Sadler
Title: The Leaving and Purple Painting
Website: http://www.rogersadler.com/

Ruby Farias, Scottsdale, AZ

When did you first discover your creative talents? I was passionate about art as long as I can remember… I loved doing crafts with my mother as a child. In school, I doodled a lot and in high school I think I took every art class that was available. Although in my adult life I took somewhat of a hiatus to work on my “corporate career”, I came full circle in 2001 and reconnected with my passion. It was then that I promised myself that I would never put my brush down again.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. It was my first piece that I sold to someone I didn’t know. It was my first gallery show and I was thrilled to see the tab on the wall announcing to all that “Lavender Morning” was sold. It felt great and I was so happy that someone out there could love a piece of art that I created. It is a great feeling when the public enjoys my work. I want my work is to provide energy and to brighten up ones soul.

Who are your favorite artists? It is the works that are created with somewhat of an abstract technique, bright colors and details that make you wonder what is going on in that piece that attracts me. Of course, there are works done by familiar artists like Monet, Van Gogh, Kahlo, Klee and Matisse that I truly enjoy; not only in their work but in who they were and what their story was.

Artist: Ruby Farias
Title: Nights Magic
Medium: Acrylic, Gel on Canvas, 16″ X 20″
Website: http://www.rubyfariasdesigns.com

Courtney Jacobs, Pleasanton, CA

When did you first discover your creative talents? Drawing was one of my earliest ways to play.  My mom told me that my preschool teacher had contacted her out of concern for my “different” drawings…and for the fact that I spent so much of my time drawing.  Painting didn’t come until waaaay later in my teenage years.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I had a large abstract painting (Big Bang) on display at a local theater event.  At the artist reception I was approached by TWO people who were interested in purchasing the painting.  I was completely ecstatic to be in such “demand”, and ended up selling the painting to the first buyer for over $1000 (big bucks for me at the time).  The buyer still comes to a few of my events each year to check out the progress.

Who are your favorite artists? I have become a big fan of Gerhard Richter.  He is so versatile, working between photo-realistic painting, and completely colorful non-figurative painting.  Jackson Pollock‘s action paintings were also a big inspiration for me.

Artist: Courtney Jacobs
Title: Trummerzackam
Medium: Acrylic on panel, 36×60 inches
Website: http://www.courtneyjanejacobs.com/

Patricia Corbett, Wallingford, CT

When did you first discover your creative talents? I was drawing figures, horses, etc. as a child and would win little awards in grammar school. In high school I was known for my art.  But after high school graduation and 3 years of night school, I went back to college majoring in music applied in voice.  My professional career as a singer was very satisfying. 10 years ago I retired from music and rekindled my art career.  It has been very enjoyable.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I sold my first piece of art at Zoe & Floyd Art Gallery in CT.

Who are your favorite artists? Edgar Alwin Payne, Richard Schmidt, Mary Cassatt, John F. Carlson, and Franz A. Bischoff.

Artist: Patricia Corbett
Title: Summertime on the Merritt
Medium: Oil on canvas
Website: http://www.patriciacorbett.blogspot.com/

Eric Valdez, Alhambra, CA

When did you first discover your creative talents? I’ve been creative from as far back as I can remember. My earliest memory of doing anything creative is drawing an Easter bunny at a YMCA after school program when I was 5. From then on I kept drawing, but I never considered it a talent. It was just something I did. I still don’t consider my artistic abilities a talent. They’re more like skills that I’ve been honing for over 25 years.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first exhibition that I was ever in kind of set a pretty high benchmark for any other group shows that I’ve been a part of because during the opening I sold both of the pieces that I had submitted. I picked up painting in the early 2000s as a hobby and then stopped when my record collecting hobby took over. Getting back into painting a couple years later was dumb luck and becoming a visual artist was something that I had never set out to do, so it was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I had sold two paintings in my first show. Those paintings were done to fit into the theme of the show so I didn’t have a personal connection to them beyond the work that I put into them, but having such strong reactions to pieces that I had painted motivated me to keep going.

Who are your favorite artists? One of my biggest influences is Neal Breton (Google him!), my friend and mentor who dragged me kicking and screaming into his studio and gave me the confidence to show my work off. I also really dig Jean-Michel BasquiatBanksyAndy WarholRoy LichtensteinShepard Fairey, and pop art and street art in general. Comic books also have had a huge influence on me and some of my favorite comic book artists are Frank MillerJack KirbyTim SaleBruce TimmJim Steranko and John Romita, Sr..

Artist: Eric Valdez
Title: Vicente Fernandez
Medium: Vinyl, acrylic, spray paint, 18×24 inches
Website: http://ericvaldezart.com/