Friday Favorite

Still Life Revolving by Remedios Varo

Remedios Varo was a Spanish-Mexican surrealist. I believe this is the last painting she completed before she passed away in 1963.

I like the contrast between the lines that divide the background space versus the circles and sphere shapes we see from the table, plates and fruit in the center. The space is both fragmented and whole. The fruit and plates revolve around the candle like planets orbiting the sun. Though this is not a realistic scene, it is presented in a realistic and convincing way which is something I’d like to see in my own work someday.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share art that inspires me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Autumn Trees – The Maple by Georgia O’Keeffe

This is part of the Modern Nature exhibition at the De Young Museum and is one of O’Keeffe’s many Lake George paintings. The time she spent at Lake George and the work she did there is often seen as separate from her more famous desert landscapes and close up flower paintings. However, in this fantastic lecture by Erin Coe, chief curator of the Hyde Collection, Coe suggests that O’Keeffe’s time at Lake George isn’t a separate period, but rather a place that O’Keeffe returns to throughout her lifetime and whose influence can bee seen throughout her career.

According to Coe, Lake George is where O’Keeffe created her first botanicals and it’s where she “found her balance between abstraction and nature.” It’s the place where the O’Keeffe we know today was formed.

Coe notes that trees are one of the most underrated subjects in O’Keeffe’s body of work even though they are the most enduring of all her subjects. With over 31 canvases of trees O’Keeffe repeatedly returns to this subject over the course of seven decades.

O’Keeffe is quoted as saying, “If only people were trees, I might like them better.”

On a personal level, I’m drawn to O’Keeffe’s color selection and the contrast she achieves through her use of tertiary colors offset by grayer tones. There’s a feeling of both unity through color harmony and fragmentation through her division of the surface.

Though this lecture is an hour long, it’s absolutely worth listening to if you are an admirer of O’Keeffe:

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works of art that I admire. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

The Chestnut Grey by Georgia O’Keeffe

A little rushed today. It’s our 6 year wedding anniversary and so I’m trying to get enough work done on assignments to take some time off. Plus, I’m having internet connection problems again. O’Keeffe is a fascinating individual and there’s so much more about her I want to post, so I’ll have to write more about her in the coming weeks.

I saw her work featured at de Young Museum online and decided to post this one today for sentimental reasons. The shape and character of the chestnut tree remind me of where Jeff and I said our vows. We said them in private before the wedding underneath a similar tree overlooking the Puget Sound. The close up view of the tree overlooking a vista of abstracted hills/mountains/peaks reminds me of home.

What I love about O’Keeffe is that although she is simplifying forms, her work is not simple. I mentioned last week that I love how she combines realist and abstract elements. This is a great example of what I mean. There is a hierarchy of abstraction and detail with the hills in the background being the most abstract and the tree in front, the focal point, containing the most detail.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works of art that I admire. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

White Bird of Paradise by Georgia O’Keeffe

I love Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings and will post more about her next week. With a busy weekend ahead I don’t have much time to post so I’ll keep this short.

She painted White Bird of Paradise during a trip to Hawaii. If you happen to be in Hawaii sometime between now and September this piece is featured in an exhibition alongside work by Ansel Adams (apparently they were friends). Wish I could go!

In all her work we see a blend of abstraction and realism resulting in a style that is uniquely her own. In this piece she achieves depth through changes in value, temperature and overlapping forms.

One of my favorite web comics does a nice job describing her paintings.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works of art that I admire. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Music by Alphonse Mucha

Though Alphonse Mucha is more than capable of using value to describe form as seen by clicking here, in many of his illustrations he chooses not to. He uses color and value contrast within the work itself, but not to describe the volume of form or to describe the volume of the form very minimally. Instead he relies on gesture and line. This is a wonderful example of how much can be accomplished even while using fewer values.

He uses beautiful lines that alternate between straight geometric and curves adding variety and interest throughout. Mucha’s work always has a beautiful feeling of rhythm and flow.

Many of his paintings of women remind me of nature and the moon goddesses. The shape she sits on resembles a full moon framed by a crescent moon overhead. Further back receding in space, there is another glowing moon.

According to WikiPaintings, Mucha was a musician himself and “chose to personify music as a woman with both hands raised to her ears listening to a chorus of nightingales, the most creative and spontaneous of songbirds.”

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Street in Venice by John Singer Sargent

Sargent is another favorite. Most of his work is categorized either under realism or impressionism and I love his work in both styles.

Even though he’s using a limited palette he gets full effect of the colors he is using. This is a wonderful example of effective temperature and value contrast. He captures the atmosphere of this city street so well. The two men look mysterious and foreboding while the woman appears self reflective. She appears a little chilly too, but her arms aren’t wrapped around herself the way one might expect on a cold winter morning, but rather her hands are clasped in front of her and her eyes are slightly downcast giving the appearance that she’s lost in thought. There is a beautiful contrast between the dark twisted strands hanging off her black shawl and the folds of her white dress.

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I wanted to post this earlier, but I was having internet connection problems. Might have to reconsider the name Friday Favorite if I keep posting late. Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who influence and inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Three Sunflowers inĀ  a Vase by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh considered himself to be the painter of sunflowers, rightfully so as he is arguably most famous for these paintings. This subject was so dear to Van Gogh, who described them as a symphony of yellow and blue, that in a way they can be seen as a self portrait of him.

Once cut sunflowers wither fast so Van Gogh had to work quickly to capture what he saw. Here we see the transition of the sunflower from upright to nearly drooping. They’re commonly interpreted as signifying the impermanence of life though Van Gogh is quoted as saying that they might represent gratitude.

An alternative explanation is that they carry religious symbolism. Van Gogh’s father was a pastor and Van Gogh tried to follow in his footsteps. The following art blog poetically describes his sunflowers as representative of Van Gogh’s search for sun and pure light as well as a metaphor for his search for God.

Regardless of interpretation, each one of these that he painted is a masterpiece.

Below is an excellent BBC Documentary. It’s a longer video, but for worth watching if you’re a Van Gogh fan.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Since I missed last Friday, I’m posting two Friday Favorites this week (on a Saturday, though it might still be Friday somewhere…). Sticking to a schedule isn’t my strong suit, but I’m trying so bear with me!