Tag Archives: Modigliani

Spiritual Liberation – make Art, view Art, buy Art

Paul ShampineTop ten reasons why I shaved my head:

10.          Humility.
9.             Eliminates bed head.
8.             Vulnerability.
7.             Saves  $519.73 annually in haircuts and hair product.
6.             Empathy.
5.             Triathlon performance…saves  3.14 seconds off my run, 2.718 on my swim and  4.20 on my bike.
4.             Vanity.
3.             Fitting in with the other inmates.
2.             Cleansing.
1.             Spiritual Liberation.

If you’re less likely to shave your head to experience spiritual liberation, then make Art, view Art or buy Art.  Start now and view the Art of Mary Blum,  Sara Biersteker, Linda Bladen and Helena Hötzl.
Thank you.

Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Mary Blum, NYC
Summer Mary Blum 2012When did you first discover your creative talents?

In Kindergarten, a loaded brush, a bib and smile ear to ear for the praise from my teacher and classmates. . . a beginning. At 10 years old standing two feet away from the big Larry Poons dot painting at MoMA, my mother quiet on one side of me and my father standing on the other, I heard his soft voice say, “I don’t really think this is art”. I felt a slow running wave of shock moving from my feet to my now bulging eyes. How could my hero of information, a man who traveled Europe just to see the art, say something so completely illogical. I was stunned. I felt so confused and finally so angry! We had a well controlled argument in the Cafe. As I experienced the rest of our visit, blue dots still swimming in front of me, I realized, I was sort of like Larry Poons. Art didn’t have to be a particular thing. It just was. That day I gave myself permission to be an artist in “the Larry Poons sort of way”!

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 my first piece, a glistening blue and gold leaf painting of a fish, was a thrill, not unlike the feeling that morning in Kindergarten. Selling pieces is a fascinating push pull. (I’ve signed my child up for sleep away camp, the morning comes—- his gleeful face and I think I might go a bit mad. Who’s idea was this? He’s going away). Am I taking too much money for the piece? Have I not set the price high enough? Should I have done the piece in the first place? Oh, my. Within the realm of good business sense, for me, the theme is letting go, and letting go some more. Letting go as I paint and as I offer to share a part of myself with the world.

Who are your favorite artists?  The William Bouguereau exhibition at the small museum where I worked was magic. Everyday I met his porcelain figures, his surfaces miraculous painting. Narratives that told infinite stories.
So very powerful. Then there’s Joseph Albers, formal and minimal, often repetitive. Assuring color and form. Robert Rauschenberg‘s Combines. A stuffed goat with a tire around it. I only wish I could have been the tourist who sat on it. Unfortunately it had to be repaired. An extreme sport for the tourist and the restoration team. Louise Bourgeois with her visceral eccentricities. I wonder what it would be like to be Jean Basquiat for a day.  His brief and brilliant gushing of life and paint. Or Yayoi Kusama. Dots!!! So many artists inspire me. . . so many! And I’d like to think, the best is yet to come.

Artist: Mary Blum
Title: Summer
Medium: Mixed media metallic on canvas.
Dimensions: 36 ”x 24”
Website: http://www.maryblumstudio.com

Sara Biersteker, Venice Beach, CA
When did you first discover your creative talents? When my mom wanted me to clean the cat box when I was young, I would sulk in my room and draw a picture. These pictures were always the same. I would draw my mom as a massive queen in renaissance attire, sitting on a wooden throne. I would then draw myself very small and wearing rags. I would be sitting at the base of the throne with large tears that resembled bullets jutting out of my face. Once I had finished my drawing I would give it to my mom and run back to my room. Sometimes it worked and I wouldn’t have to clean the cat box. Sometimes it didn’t. I believe this is when I learned that visual representation has a great power to manipulate and therefore evoke strong emotion. Emotional responses to artwork give us, as artists, opportunities to experience our unadulterated selves. I believe that this process is the core of creativity.

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 person to approach me about buying a painting was a tall woman from Topanga Canyon. She told me that the painting reminded her of her favorite book. The painting, a 36’’ x 36’’ acrylic on canvas, I had painted for my cousin’s graduation from Berkeley. The subject was our great grandfather as a youth atop a large horse. The photo I found had been taken in old Rancho Malibu somewhere in the 1880s. Though I needed the money badly, I wanted to give the painting to my cousin so that she would feel connected to her family. I declined the offer and proceeded to give my cousin the painting. I am glad it went to her because it was created for her. She recently sent me a picture of it hanging in her bedroom of her new apartment.

Who are your favorite artists?  The artists I love change with whatever mood I’m in. My mom used to say that when I would ask her what her favorite color was. It would make me so mad. But it’s true. One artist that will always be in the forefront of my mind, though, was my grandmother. She was an advertising artist for Bullock’s-Wilshire while it was still in business. While her body of work was marked by profound control of line, she was also talented with watercolor. There are a few California coast landscapes done on cold pressed paper that hang in my studio. My favorite piece, however, is a watercolor of an old Mexican scarecrow. For years I thought it was just a man with a cigar until I finally learned to actually look at what I was seeing.

Artist: Sara Biersteker
Title: Old Rancho Malibu
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 36 ”x 36”
Website: http://www.BierkstekerArt.com

Linda Bladen, Los Angeles, CA
Maria.Linda Bladen
When did you first discover your creative talents? My father was a professional artist in Chicago. Both my parents discovered that I could stay amused for hours with some paper and crayons. This began at a very early age – possibly around three years old. I was lucky to have my father around to validate me and encourage me. It shaped my identity as an artist from the beginning of my life.

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. My biggest thrill was probably when I sold a piece before the show opened. The Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors was screening for new members and then showing the work at the La fond Gallery. It was exhilarating because I was accepted into the group and then discovered a red dot next to my piece when the doors opened. It had been purchased by the juror of the show.

Who are your favorite artists?  Since I grew up going to the Art Institute of Chicago, which holds the largest collection of French Impressionists and Post Impressionists outside of Paris… I will say I love Degas, Gauguin, Caillebotte, all of them really…  van Gogh is one of the greatest painters, Camille Claudel‘s sculpture, Corot – a great innovator, the American painter George Inness, Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Isabel Bishop‘s character studies… too many to name.  Then going back a little… Georges de La Tour and then Velasquez, who started new ideas about painting, and inspired the great portrait painters like John Singer Sargent – “a painter’s painter”.

Artist: Linda Bladen
Title: Maria
Medium: Oil on wood panel
Dimensions: 32 ”x 48”
Website: http://lindabladenart.com

Helena Hötzl, Alingsas, Sweden
When did you first discover your creative talents? I always used to paint and draw and worked several years as a make up artist painting faces. One day I got an email from a man at Saatchi gallery in London telling me that they liked my website and thru them I was invited to participate in a Scandinavian exhibit with the best contemporary artist in Budapest, Hungary.  That was when I realized that I actually had an creative talent in me.

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 done a piece with women with trench coats that I went to a gallery to ask them to frame it for me.  The man at the gallery looked at it and asked me who had done it? I was very shy and remember looking at the floor telling him that I did that one.  He bought it as fast as I can remember telling me how great it was.  I started to realize that maybe other people would like to buy my art too.

Who are your favorite artists?  I love Gustav Klimt. My favorite. At an exhibit I had a man told me I had some similarities of Modigliani. Never though about him but starting to like him more and more. There are so many good artist out their today.

Artist: Helena Hötzl
Title: The lady in the red dress
Medium: Acrylic/kohl and pearl liquid
Dimensions: 100 x 70 cm
Website: http://www.helenahotzl.com

Interview with an Artist – Nancy Jaffee

Nancy Jaffee, Weston CT

Abstract in blue and brownWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I didn’t really
know I had any artistic talents until I was an adult. But my mother
was artistic. She worked as a clothing designer and a decorator and I always appreciated the way she put colors together in her work. My sister used me as a guinea pig in grad school for her PHD in Psychology. And after taking all her tests, she said I should pursue a career in the arts but I never really did anything about it.  It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I started taking formal art classes and realized this was truly something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Some visual artists describe crossing a threshold where they see new colors, shapes, forms, shadows and movement. Did younude looking up experience this kind of artistic “awakening?” It happen at The Rye Arts Center. When the teacher was explaining how to convert three dimensional space onto a two dimensional page she taught us about foreshortening, cast shadows, reflected light, modeling…volume. It was eye-opening for me
because it all worked. It was like unlocking a door and learning how to
see.

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. My first sale was to my neighbor. It was a sketch from a life drawing
class. Just a quick one minute pose. But she liked it, had it framed
and hung it in her living room. She had a lot of beautiful art that she
collected, so I felt honored to have my little throw away amongst her
really nice paintings. I think I charged her $20 for the sketch.

Who are your favorite artists? My favorite artists… long list… but
I would start with Michelangelo… I was lucky enough to travel to Europe several times as a child and was exposed to some of the most beautiful masterpieces of
the world. But the David really blew me away. I love Whistler, JS Sargent, Cezanne, Modigliani, Matisse, Picasso (especially his blue period), Egon Schiele, Munch (the Storm is my favorite), Clyfford StillMilton Avery, Jim Dine… too many to mention.

Do you “see” your paintings before you create it or is it a
work-in-progress? I often start out with an idea for a nude or
something representational. But the abstract pieces are more works in
progress. I usually try to start with a palette and work from there.

When a painting takes on a mood….say a dark one. Do you feel likeescape
you need to exist in that mood to continue with the painting? When I’m focused on painting, I want to create something evocative and
interesting and I’m just trying to do that. What’s so cathartic about
painting is that it takes you out of your own head while you’re doing
it. It can also give you an outlet to express what’s inside you. I
think the emotions come first and then the painting.

I think my outlook is naturally somewhat dark. I see people as alone,
my figures are always alone, they sometimes seem isolated. I think a
heavily clouded sky is more interesting and than a bright blue clear
one. My least favorite paintings are “Spring” and “Painted Flowers” in
terms of their content and color. I was experimenting more with
technique on those, using a calligraphy pen in the first and a palette
knife in the latter.

You mentioned that you like Picasso…specifically his blue period.Picasso
Some feel that his blue period was a reflection of depression, while others say blue paint was cheaper and he couldn’t afford other colors at that time. What do you think? I like his blue period because it seems more compassionate than his later work. Like the famous painting of the woman with the iron. She’s exhausted, endlessly working,  overwrought, poor. She’s not glib or superficial. Looking at her evokes powerful emotions. The painting has soul.

In general though, if you ask most people what their favorite color is,Rockbottom
they say blue. Blue is rich and soothing. It can also be considered
sad as in a blue motel room or a blue mood. But art is in the eye of
the viewer. It’s highly subjective. I think the artist may have one
thing in mind and the viewer something entirely different and both are
equally valid.

male nudeIs there a particular painting of yours that evoked polar views or
moods from a viewer? If so, which one and describe what they “saw.” This is a funny story. A friend of mine on Facebook saw my male nude
who is masturbating in the painting, and thought it was a woman. To be fair, he was looking at it on his phone, so it was only 3″ big. Mainly in my drawings people have experienced the nudes as sad when I just felt they were relaxed, neither happy nor sad. Some people try to understand literally what I’ve painted as in “Escape.” Like what exactly am I depicting? Are there mountains in the foreground? Is that a lake beneath them? Others will just see it as a seascape and not wonder about the realism of the specific shapes. I can’t really think
of any that have evoked polar reactions from different people except
that some will love a piece while others aren’t impressed at all.

I’m also a fan of Sargent. My favorite Sargent piece (El Jaleo) is in
one of my favorite Museums…the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It’s one of those paintings that you have to seeWhistler's Mother
up-close-and-personal.  Do you have a “must see” that you re-visit or moved you when you viewed the original? I was really moved by
Whistler’s “Mother.” When I saw it, I couldn’t stop looking at it. The
mood was so compelling, the gray on gray, the contrast of white on
black, the quiet stillness of the subject almost trancelike.

Sargent’s work is just so elegant and beautiful. One of his paintings that
impressed me the most is in a permanent collection at a museum in
Scotland and it’s titled, “The Lady Agnew”. She is seated and dressed
in white. The skin tones are flawlessly smooth and the eyes seem as
though they are laughing. I also love the painting “Madame X” at the
Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

Favorite museum? Having grown up in NYC, my favorite museums are the Metropolitan and the Museum of Modern Art. It’s always a pleasure to spend an afternoon there rediscovering my favorite masterpieces. I recently discovered the work of Clyfford Still and his work has had an influence on several of
my most recent pieces.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out? Well, since I Nancy Jaffeetoo consider myself an artist just starting out, I can only offer what I say to myself. Try to be the best that you can be.  Compete only with yourself. While there will always be someone out there that you find more talented or more accomplished then you don’t let that discourage you. There is room for all of our artistic expressions. Just enjoy the process and remember that the nature of
creation is creativity itself.

Nancy’s website: http://www.nancyjaffee.com

Paul ShampinePaul Shampine