Saturday, February 24, 2007
Over the past two days, I've been doing a series of photo shoots with my two dogs, Peanut and Bailey, and it occured to me that Peanut really is a peculiar little animal. It's only because I've lived with her for 5 years that I'm used to her weirdness. If dogs really are like their masters, I'm in trouble, as Peanut has more eccentricities than an A-List actress.
For starters, Peanut is neurotic. I have mentioned previously in my older blog ("Why I Would Die in A Natural Disaster") her tendency to bark at her own farts, so I'll pass over that. I've also mentioned already that she barks in her sleep and that said sleep-barks sound like laser gun fire. So today I will instead talk about another of her many quirks, her DAAS.
DAAS stands for Domestic Abuse Awareness System. Peanut possesses a very finely tuned one. Though she cuddles with my husband and finds him to be highly suitable for tummy rubbing, she deeply suspects that he is the wife-beating sort. If he lays a hand on me and raises his voice, no matter how big his grin, Peanut swings to immediate barking action. How useful. Imagine the scene: I prance into the kitchen, Peanut on my heels, and say, "I got into that posh exhibition! Whoo hoo!" My husband shouts, "We'll be rich!" and claps me on the back. Peanut goes wild. Her bark indicates that I should forego Social Services and call 911 immediately.
And the problem is now my husband has caught on to her latest neurosis and thinks it's hilarious. He'll begin picking me up and shouting while spinning in a circle to make Peanut bark. "Am I being bad now, Peanut? How about now!" Bark, bark, whine, you're killing her, etc.
Maybe that does count as domestic abuse. Officer, please, my husband was hurting my sanity. See the bruises? Right here in the part of my brain that used to do long division.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
"Luxor" - 6 x 6" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
$200 - available through Chasen Galleries.
This is the second half of the interview with Andrew Chasen of Chasen Galleries -- this half is for artists.
1. Traditionally artists have been told to approach galleries with informational packets and portfolios, but of course the internet and sheer number of artists out there has changed things. How do you find most of the artists that you represent?
2. What is the biggest mistake you see emerging artists make when approaching you? Is there anything in particular that screams "don't take me!"?
3. On the flip side, what makes an artist attractive to a gallery?
4. How many pieces should an artist have before looking at gallery representation? Framed? Unframed? Is "gallery wrapped" canvas the new black?
5. Do you think the gallery scene has changed in the last five years? Ten years? Do you think it will change substantially in the near future?
6. What should an artist expect from a gallery, marketing and sales wise? And conversely, what does a gallery expect from an artist? Is there a period of time after which you decide to drop a non-selling artist?
7. Tell me about medium. Oil has traditionally been king of the hill. Do galleries prefer oil? What about more "fragile" media that have to go behind glass: pastel, colored pencil, watercolor?
8. Artist-Gallery contracts – good thing? Bad thing? Necessary thing?
9. If an artist markets themself well, what's the advantage to the artist of having gallery representation? In other words, what can galleries offer an artist for the commission they extract?
10. I see a lot of big name artists with multiple galleries representing them. How many galleries should an artist have, anyway?
11. Describe your perfect artist. How many pieces, what sort of style, what sort of behavior they exhibit – what does this perfect artist do to make your life as a gallery owner easier?
12. And finally, every artist has a dream gallery they'd love to represent them one day. Do you have a dream artist that you would love to represent?
"Luxor, Cary Street" - acrylic on canvas.
Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater
Available through Chasen Galleries.
So I'd like to post the rather long interview in two parts here for all to peruse and enjoy and please, visit their website or ask Andrew (andrew at chasengalleries.com - use a @ in place of "at") if you have any questions about the work they have there. Especially mine.
This first half is about Andrew and about the buying process; the next post will be for artists.
ABOUT ANDREW CHASEN, owner of Chasen Galleries:
1. Why did you open a gallery?
2. Tell us about Chasen Galleries -- what sort of work do you represent?
1. Why go to a gallery?
2. I've stayed away from galleries because I don't have thousands to spend. Is that an erroneous conclusion?
3. I have a very particular sort of piece that I'd like. Could I ask a gallery owner about something like it, even if they don't have anything like it on their walls?
4. The gallery I visited has a huge painting that I love but I can't afford it all at once. I'm afraid to ask the owner about layaway or financing - do galleries do that sort of thing?
5. Can I go to the artist and get their work for a lower price?
6. Why should I buy an original instead of buying a print? If I tell my husband that I'm buying it as an investment, would I be lying?
Monday, February 19, 2007
"The Secret Wood"
15 x 30" I think - acrylic on canvas.
Click here to buy.
I admitted previously that I didn't find Van Gogh as artistically energizing as Sargent. No, it's not the ear thing. Or the relationship with the prostitute thing. Or even the whole shooting himself thing. No, it's an entirely artistic roadblock for me: I found I didn't really like a lot of his paintings. I mean, some were really good, but it didn't speak to me in that thrilling way Sargent did. Hence my stalling until nearly March to do my Van Gogh painting.
Before I talk about what I learned, I want to give you two links that I was perusing this morning in my research of Van Gogh.
Both of these explain a bit about his techniques.
So, you see my Van Gogh painting above. How did I arrive at it? Well, I learned the following things about good ol' Vincent's work:
- he wanted viewers to learn something about him from his paintings; they had emotional attachments/ meanings
- his colors more often found their basis in emotion than in reality; objects were the color he needed them to be to convey his message
- his painting technique was fast -- sometimes as fast as one a day towards the end of his life
- his painting technique was sculptural. in one of his letters to his brother, he notes that he squeezed paint directly out of the tube onto the canvas to achieve the 3D effect he wanted
- he used a lot of the new lightfast paints that were being developed at the time -- bright yellows in particular
I used a ton of paint for this. I really hope I sell this painting quickly so that I can afford to buy four gallons of white paint to replace what I used. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I really slapped on that paint to emphasize the birches.
And I did this fast. Once I knew what I wanted to do and had the composition basically mapped out in my head, I sat and painted for four hours straight.
So I know it's not perfect Van Gogh style -- more like a love child between my style and Van Gogh. But now it's out of my system . . . though I have to confess, it's still not quite like what I imagine that birch forest to be like. I'm going to have to do another version, maybe with next month's artist . . .
So if you're not sick of Van Gogh yet, these are the artists who participated this month, you can check 'em out:
Casey is making the best of it so far, I think, followed by Katherine. They get the GUNG HO award from me. That and a buck will get you a cup of coffee.
Oh, and I also painted Moose again today:
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
"Between the Lines" - 6 x 6" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to bid.
Well, I've been very slow to get started with the Van Gogh Project this month (see the first of the month's post or round about there) because I have to confess now that I was not initially overly inspired by the Tragic Painter of the Peasants (hey, he said it, not me)(well, not the tragic bit).
And actually, I found it surprising that I was not entirely lit on fire, given what I remembered of his works and how excited I'd been during my Sargent project last month. But Sargent was an entirely different sort of painter - methodical, formally trained, and far more representational than Van Gogh. Easier to like, one might say, both artistically and as a man.
Van Gogh, on the other hand, was self taught, struggling through mountains of sketches and chasing after some sort of self-revealing style that would make his career. To me, he seems less skilled than Sargent and I (this just my opinion here, please don't lynch me) find his style to be forced and heavy handed on many of his pieces. In short, I thought I'd seen a lot better contemporary painters than 90% of Van Gogh's work.
It took a lot of hunting for me to find the pieces that spoke to me. And I did, finally. Just a few. But enough for me to settle down, stop chafing, and get to work on learning what I can from him. I wanted to show you the piece I've liked the best so far:
And then tell you what I've been planning on doing. I have had an idea in my head for a long time, an image from a dream, that I've wanted to do as a piece of art. It's of a birch forest all in peaches and golds, and I think I could use Van Gogh's broken color and interpretive color methods to pull it off. We'll see. More study is needed, and I guess the next step for me is to do a sketch in Van Gogh's style.
I should also let you know who else is in on this project, too, while I'm at it. Here's Katherine's post with all the participants so far (email me or comment if you want to be added in!)
I have to admit that now that I've studied him more, I have high hopes for what Van Gogh might do for my cityscapes. Okay, VG. Do you stuff. C'mon!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater.
Click here to purchase.
As you may have read in my last post, my husband and I recently acquired a new dog, Bailey, a terrier with a penchant for eating children's toys. The list of toys he fancies grew today to include a small plastic tree, an orange star toy which has no discernable use or value as far as I can see, and a stuffed Spot dog. And while my husband and I were talking about his teething habit, I recalled another terrier of my youth, Paddington, and how she had chewed two toys of mine. The conversation went like so:
Me (sitting cross legged in passenger seat and turning heat setting up to "death ray"): "Yeah, my dog Paddington, she only chewed two toys that I remember. A Lego tree and my Popple."
My husband: "What the hell is a Popple?"
Me: "I don't remember."
The truth was, I have been carrying the memory of Paddington the dog chewing the back of a Popple's head off, and I really had no idea what the front of the said head really looked like anymore. I just remember that a Popple was from the 80s and I had not seen them since. Clearly, they were a casualty of the late 80s.
Luckily for my naturalist side and unfailing curiosity, google came to my rescue, and I was able to find a site completely dedicated to preserving the memory of Popples. To my bemusement, it has an .org suffix . . . I thought that was nonprofit organization? To save Popples? Anyway, I visited www.popples.org (you can thank me later for the web address) with high hopes of jogging childhood memories and basking in the fond light of nostalgia.
But to tell you the truth, I still don't know what the heck a Popple is. There was no blazing flash of memory when I saw their strange animated little faces, other than realizing that Puffball Popple was the unlucky 80s creature to get the terrier-induced lobotomy at our house. No, perusing the Popples site (obviously the theraputic creation of some sketchy programmer born in the 80s), I had more questions than answers. What is a Popple? Why did I have one? Why did I have just one? Was someone trying to set me up as a Popple Lover? Why did they need to do that to ruin my reputation? Couldn't they have just revealed my 50 My Little Ponies to the world and accomplished the same thing?
Whoops. I have said too much. I must leave before I let slip any other casualties of the 80s that haunt my troubled past. I'll leave you with the Popples theme song, which some even more troubled soul bothered to transcribe:
Popples pop-pop-popples.. Popples livin' just for fun
Laughter and good times too when the Popples pop up for you.
Pop up just for you!
You just can't say it any better than that.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
- Van Gogh is the sort of son I hope I never have, the ne'er do well was living with his parents when he was thirty.
- He was self-taught
- He voluntarily checked into an asylum after cutting off his ear lobe (sort of like voluntary artist rehab) -- who knows if he meant to cut off his own ear lobe, after all, he had the razor blade out to threaten fellow artist Gaugin. Dummy.
- He was almost 3D with his paint. Note to self, buy more thick, globby paint and plan on using a lot.
But so far, I'm sort of . . . well, disappointed. That site I mentioned lists 854 paintings, or something like that, and his quality -- to me -- seems rather uneven, in comparison to Sargent. With Sargent, I felt like I could really learn something from every piece. Not so with Van Gogh. And plus, Sargent seemed to have a sense of humor, which I appreciated. Van Gogh decided to dress like a poor dude and wander around telling people that he was the painter of the peasants while having epileptic seizures that caused mental disorders. He must've been great at dinner parties.
But I still found some fodder that interested me, such as:
I know, I know, too many links, Maggie, we're lazy . . . well, I can't save images from that website or I would've shown them to you here. I have a vague idea what I might try doing, but just wait til you get a load of what sort of prep work Van Gogh did . . . . http://www.vggallery.com/drawings/p_1540.htm
Oh, and for crying out loud, would you guys check out my minis at my Las Vegas gallery? I'd love to offer them on eBay but unfortunately they are having fun out west instead. . .