Monday, October 31, 2011

Fra Bartolomeo | Florentine Renaissance Painter

Fra Bartolomeo was born in Florence, Italy on 28 March 1472 and died on 31 October 1517.

A leading artist of the Italian Renaissance, he initially trained under Cosimo Rosselli, and opened a worshop with a fellow pupil, Mariotto Albertinelli.

He entered the Dominican Order in 1500, reportedly due to the influence of Savronela's preaching, and from that point on restricted his painting to religious subjects only.

Fra Bartolomeo's contemporaries included Leonardo, Raphael, and Bellini, and their artistic influences appear in his use of sfumato, composition, and the way he addressed landscapes in his paintings.

His work is characterized by a reserved approach to the thematic content, and solidly painted forms.

You can read more about his work and biography at The Oxford Dictionary of Art  and The Web Gallery of Art.

A few of his monumental works are displayed below:

The Adoration of the Christ Child  c. 1499 
Tempera on wood, diameter 89 cm 
Galleria Borghese, Rome

Prophet Isaiah   c. 1516  
Panel, 168 x 108 cm  
Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence  

The Marriage of St Catherine of Siena 1511 
Wood panel, 257 x 228 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Saturday, October 29, 2011

First God created time; then God created man that man might, in the course of time, perfect himself; then God decided that He'd better create eternity. (Robert Brault)

SIMON RENARD DE SAINT-ANDRÉ   Vanitas   c. 1650   Oil on canvas

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You're Going to Get Rejected

Wm. Mulready - The Sonnet - 1839
Oil on canvas, 36 x 31 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Galleries are going to reject you, people are going to say insensitive things about your work, critics are going to ignore you and family members are going to plot to steal your painting time but you have to pick yourself up and go back at it.

(Cathie Harrison)

Today I got rejected.
Well, I knew I had a slimmer chance of acceptance,
but it,s still difficult to read the rejection letter.

Do you think rejection is a necessary part of an art career?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Role of Anxiety in Making Art

Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity. (T. S. Eliot)

REMBRANDT - Portrait of a Young Woman
  1632-   Oil on canvas, 92 x 71 cm
So this week I am taking a painting workshop with my former teacher.
Of course, I am a little anxious about it.
I have prepared all my materials, and packed my bag.
But the anxiety is still there.
I really don't know why, because I have taken classes with him before.
I guess it's just the fear of the unknown.
And, like most artists, I am worried about my skill level.
I am sure everything will turn out well.
But anxiety keeps me focused, alert, and ready to act.

How does anxiety factor into your work?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jane Austen on Charm

Jacob Cuyp -  Portrait of a Child  -   1628?
There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.
Jane Austen

Friday, October 21, 2011

Never miss a good chance to shut up. (Will Rogers)

At first thought, this quote seems to refer to conversation between individuals.

But what if we thought about its meaning in a different way?

Don't we also need to "shut up" and listen to ourselves?

REMBRANDT - The Mennonite Minister Cornelis Claesz. Anslo
 in Conversation with his Wife, Aaltje (detail) - 1641 
Oil on canvas

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Daily Motivation

Albrecht Durer -  Portrait of a Young Venetian Woman
   1505  -   Oil on elm panel, 32.5 x 24.5 cm

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily. (Zig Ziglar)

What can you come up with as a daily motivator?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hidden Treasures

 Annibale Fontana   Lidded Goblet
   before 1569  
Rock crystal, enamelled gold setting  
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The human heart has hidden treasures, / In secret kept, in silence sealed; / The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, / Whose charms were broken if revealed.
(Charlotte Bronte)

What "treasures" are you hiding, and why?

Can you express any of these treasures through art, music, writing?

October Newsletter

Here is the freshly released October Newsletter!

Friday, October 14, 2011

How High is Your Learning Curve?

I don't always have a five-year plan. One thing you must do in life is keep your learning curve as high as possible. (Yo-Yo Ma)

Yo-Yo is speaking about challenges, and keep one's skills on a continual quest for improvement.

What skills do you need to reconsider and improve?

What learning curve do you need to expand higher?

PARMIGIANINO - Portrait of a Young Lady   c. 1535 -  Oil on canvas, 139 x 88 cm  
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Art is Risky Business

Art is, from any point of view, the greatest of risks. (Jean Helion)

Why is it so risky to be an artist?

Is it because, as artists, we wear our hearts on our sleeves?

Is it because we cannot separate ourselves from our work?

Is it because we fear rejection and criticism?

But what do we gain if we never put brush to canvas?

 John Singleton Copley - Brook Watson and the Shark - 1778  
Oil on canvas, 182 x 230 cm - National Gallery of Art, Washington

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where is fantasy bred, in the heart or in the head? (Willy Wonka)

DOMENICHINO - The Cumaean Sibyl - c. 1610  
Oil on canvas - Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In one ear...

-ca. 1385...
Oon ere it herde, at tother out it wente. [trans. in one ear and out the other] (
Geoffrey Chaucer)

The phrase "in one ear and out the other" rings true for parents of teenagers.

 Quiringh van Brekelenkam 
  Confidental Conversation - 1661  
Oil on panel, 47 x 36 cm  
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam  

We scold, suggest, hint, and demand, yet the words have no effect on them.

We want to help them avoid danger, be healthy and have opportunities.

But we are also susceptible to having words travel through our own heads,  in a meaningless torrent.

What words might you make more of an effort to listen to?

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Yogi-ism for Artists

You can observe a lot by just watching. (Yogi Berra)

The other morning I hunted high and low throughout the house for my favorite coffee mug.

I checked the car, the studio, and the dishwasher.

As I closed the dishwasher, I looked up at the counter and noticed my freshly washed mug serenely sitting there.

I had looked, but I did not see.

As artists, we learn to see, to acutely observe.

It does not suffice to just "look."

My art took a giant leap forward when I was finally able to focus on fully observing my subject.

To do this, I narrow my field of vision.

I observe all the details of the one section of the subject.

The whole is divided into parts.

What do you need to focus on to really see?

 Willem Claesz Heda   Still-Life with Gilt Goblet   1635  
Oil on panel, 88 x 113 cm  
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Art will never exist without...

Art will never be able to exist without nature. (Pierre Bonnard)

Let's really stop and think about this.

Without nature, there is no art.

Nature is inherent in almost every piece of art, whether it is the subject matter, the materials, or the emotion conveyed through the artwork.

It's a gorgeous morning here in New Hampshire.

The leaves are turning, the sky is a deep cerulean blue, and the grass glistens with the morning dew.

It's a work of art.

I hope you enjoy the artful side of nature today.

Richard Wilson   View of Syon House across the Thames near Kew Gardens  
c. 1760       Oil on canvas, 104 x 139 cm

Friday, October 7, 2011

Missed Opportunity

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. (Thomas Edison)

Hmmm, Edison implies that opportunity is work.

Sometimes it seems as though others get all the "breaks," or opportunities.

But is that really what is happening? Sometimes, it may be a "lucky break."

I think it has more to do with working on a daily basis.

How have you met your opportunities? Did you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work?

Georges de La Tour   The Newborn   1640s  
Oil on canvas, 76 x 91 cm

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art and Technology | A Tango of Tension

Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination. (Daniel Bell)

Art dances with technology in a tango of tension.

Together they can appear as one, unified in a smooth blend of moves.

But in one quick turn, they pull apart.

Artists have resided along the continuum of technology - some embracing it fully, others decrying its fast and finicky nature.

How has technology impacted your art?

 Jacob van, the Elder Oost   The Artist's Studio   1666  
Oil on canvas, 111,5 x 150,5 cm

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beauty and Grace

Beauty and grace command the world.
(Park Benjamin)

 Jean-Honoré Fragonard 
  A Young Girl Reading
  c. 1770  
Oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm  
National Gallery of Art, Washington  
Beauty and grace are two traits which rarely appear in their purest form in one individual.

People who have shown true beauty and grace have captured our hearts and minds.

They are the legends, the shining stars, the unforgettable.

They have been poor people, princesses, volunteers and saints, and have commanded our world, and our attention.

But sometimes, they have been the quiet ones, silent in deed and in voice, yet still full of beauty and grace.

Whom do you see as full of beauty and true grace?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The St. Francis Mural | A Visual Prayer

   Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, the environment, and Italy.

  Francis began his life as Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone, in the year 1181/1182, in the small Italian town of Assisi. He was born into a relatively wealthy family of cloth merchants, and lived a spirited life of luxury and pleasure until about the age of twenty.

Enlisting as a soldier with the local army, Francis fought in a skirmish with a neighboring city state (a frequent political occurrence during the time period), and was taken captive by the opposing army. Imprisonment, two illnesses, and two dreams or visions effected a change of heart in the young man, who returned to the town of Assisi with a more solemn outlook on life.

   A chance encounter with a leper, and his ability to overcome his own fears and revulsion of the disease, allowed him to physically embrace the leprous man. This was a turning point for Francis, who then entered a life of prayer and service to the poor, renouncing all his worldly wealth and pleasures.

He went on to become the founder of the Franciscan Order, and The Order of the Poor Clares. He is credited with creating the first live Christmas manger scene, a tradition still performed today.

   Francis' love for nature and animals is legendary and he is often portrayed with images of birds, a wolf or a dog, and other small forest creatures.

 So why am I telling you all about St. Francis?

In the summer of 2008, I volunteered my time and talent to paint a mural of St. Francis in the reading room of the children's library at the Villa Augustina School. The mural covered one entire wall, about 12'hx14'w, and portrayed St. Francis in his native countryside, surrounded by woodland creatures, a wolf, and the tiny church of Portiuncula.

Here are some photos of the mural in progress:

Kelly working on the mural.

A closer view of Kelly painting.

Detail of face in progress.

Detail of the dove.

View of the scaffolding needed to reach the higher sections.

Kelly, and members of the Villa community, with the Franciscan priest who performed the Blessing of the Animals on the feast day mass. Photo courtesy of the Goffstown EDGE.

The Spirituality of Art

First, one seeks to become an artist by training the hand.

Then one finds it is the eye that needs improving.

Later one learns it is the mind that wants developing,
only to find that the ultimate quest of the artist is in the spirit.

(Larry Brullo)

How have you experienced the spirituality of art?

 Lorenzo Lotto   Madonna and Child with Saints and an Angel (detail)  
Oil on canvas  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Discipline | What's Your Struggle?

Artemisia Gentileschi  
Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting   1630s
Oil on canvas, 96,5 x 73,7 cm  
Royal Collection, Windsor  
It is one thing to praise discipline,
and another to submit to it. (Miguel De Cervantes)

Every morning I wake up and look at my treadmill. I want to have the self discipline to run on it daily, but I struggle to get up and get on it. Some days, its very easy. Most days, it takes almost herculean effort.

As artists, it's necessary to adhere to self discipline in the studio. Without it, there would be no art, or at least no completed artwork. Thankfully, I am much better at being disciplined in the studio.

How have you struggled with self-discipline in the studio or your life?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Healing Power of Art

I have huge appreciation for the healing power of art.
(Melanie Circle)

How has art "healed" you?

STEEN, JanThe Doctor and His Patient   c. 1660?  
Oil on canvas, 76 x 64 cm  
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Pursuit of Perfection

Forget perfection; only God is perfect. Go for excellence. (William Herring)

John Singleton Copley   Paul Revere  
Oil on canvas, 87,5 x 71,5 cm  
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jaws of Darkness | Caravaggio in Art and Life

On this day in 1571, the artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born in Milan, Italy. He would later be referred to as simply, "Caravaggio."

His short life was a dichotomy of darkness and light, eerily reflected in his use of chiaroscuro, a technique he refined in his paintings. In art, chiaroscuro describes the strong contrast of light and dark, resulting in a bold composition and realistic rendering of objects. Caravaggio took chiaroscuro to new heights in painting, yet his life was marked by a similarly bold contrast of light and dark.

CARAVAGGIO   Boy Peeling a Fruit  
c. 1593
Oil on canvas, 75,5 x 64,4 cm  
Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell'Arte Roberto Longhi, Florence

 As a young boy, Caravaggio lost his father to a plague, and his mother died when he was about 13, just as he began a four year apprenticeship to the artist Simone Peterzano. His young adulthood was marred by brawls, outbursts of violent behavior, killing and imprisonment. As he aged, he grew increasingly turbulent, and was imprisoned a second time for a violent incident. The court documents of his trials and proceedings show a troubled and chaotic man, so fearful of his enemies that he slept with his dagger. This was the blackness of his life, the "jaws of darkness" from which he could not escape.

CARAVAGGIO   St Jerome  
c. 1606  
Oil on canvas, 112 x 157 cm
   Galleria Borghese, Rome

In stark contrast, his artistic career flourished, although the heightened realism of his paintings often offended his patrons, resulting in some of his works being repainted to suit their modesty. Through the use of chiaroscuro and realism, Caravaggio depicted his human subjects with intense naturalism. His compositions often portray biblical figures experiencing an episode of keen emotional or psychological conflict, or at the precise moment of  an event, such as in Judith Beheading Holofernes (1599). He also mastered still life, and genre scenes of musicians and fortune tellers. This was the light of his life, the blinding brightness against the obsidian darkness.

CARAVAGGIO   The Fortune Teller 
Oil on canvas, 99 x 131 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Caravaggio's art has greatly influenced other artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, La Tour, Delacroix, Courbet and Manet. His art and life have been the subject of recent books and articles, including the latest by Andrew Graham-Dixon, Caravaggio - A Life Sacred and Profane.

Article main source:
Secondary source: Andrew Graham-Dixon, Caravaggio - A Life Sacred and Profane.
The quote"jaws of darkness" is from Wm. Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Web Gallery Of Art

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The View from the Summit

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey. (Harold V. Melchert)

 Caspar David Friedrich   Morning in the Mountains  
Oil on canvas, 135 x 170 cm  
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 Tips for an Art Museum Visit

Planning a museum visit? A few important tips can help make your trip more enjoyable:

    Leonardo da Vinci   Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci  
    Oil on wood, 38,8 x 36,7 cm  
    National Gallery of Art, Washington
  1. Research the museum. View the museum's website for important info, such as visiting hours, location, parking, restroom and handicap services, and availability of a cafe/restaurant. Although this may seem like a no brainer, skipping this step could result in a less than ideal visit. While researching the museum info, look for special exhibits, programs, guest speakers, and other events. You might want to time your visit to include one of these features. If you will be taking children, most major museums have childrens' programs, often with hands on experiences. Again, check the website for these special programs. Call the museum to see if there is a slower attendance day, which would give you and your little art collectors more "breathing room."
  2. Give yourself plenty of time to tour the museum. A national gallery or major city museum will take at least 3 to 4 hours for a thorough visit, and this is on the conservative side. Your pace will be determined by the size of the crowd, your art preferences, if you are touring with children, and if you are a "skimmer" or "contemplator." Contemplators may stop for most artworks, while skimmers cruise the gallery to spot works which interest them. They then spend time at those particular art pieces. Touring a museum with children requires a brisk, and lively strategy, and works best when the adult's focus is on the children's experience.
  3. Consider taking a guided "docent" tour. On our first trip to the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC, we participated in a guided tour. Our extremely knowledgeable and likable guide showed us a handful of major artworks, giving us mini lectures on each one. We were able to learn more about those artworks than had we toured the museum independently. A guided tour often includes a variety of artwork in various media, such as paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, jewelry, textiles and furniture. Guided tours are also very good choices for the older school aged child, as the docent will frequently engage the children in the learning process by asking them questions, and encouraging discussions.  Most docents are specially trained to give an informative yet interesting tour. If you are really under time constraints, choose a tour. You will see some major pieces and also get a feel for the rest of the museum.
  4. Be open to the variety of artwork and media. Its tempting to walk through only those rooms which have your favorite kind of artwork, yet keeping an open mind can lead to surprising and delightful discoveries. If you have been to the museum before, start your tour in a gallery room which you usually avoid or haven't visited before, and spend some time in there. Try to see the artwork in the socioeconomic context in which it was created. Compare it and contrast it with your favorite artwork. How are they similar, or dissimilar? Try to find something to like about it, such as the color, shape, or size. You don't have to like the whole piece to appreciate it.  Ask questions. You may end up liking something you never thought you would!
     John Singleton Copley   Brook Watson and the Shark  
    Oil on canvas, 182 x 230 cm
    National Gallery of Art, Washington
  5. Research one work of art or particular artist before your visit. Although you do not have to be an art historian to appreciate art, knowing a little bit about a certain piece or artist will help your visit immensely. For example, one of my favorite artists is John Singleton Copley, and I love his painting "Watson and the Shark." Prior to my museum visit, I read about the painting, so when I saw it, I was able to understand and enjoy it more. I had read about the reason for the painting, how it was painted, who it was about, and more. To find an artist or artwork to "study," simply browse the museum website before your visit. Most museums have some of their collection online. You can select a piece, research it a little, then head off to the museum. Your viewing experience will be better for it, and, when you return with a friend, you can share your new found knowledge about the artwork! And that is one of the best reasons to visit an art museum!
Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. (Camille Pissarro)

File:Pissarro-zwei schwatzende Frauen am Meer.jpg
Two Women Chatting by the Sea, 1856, Camille Pissarro
10 7/8 x 16 1/8 in
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Monday, September 26, 2011

Daily Art Quote

I cannot live without books. (Thomas Jefferson)

Jean-Baptiste Greuze   Student with a Lesson-book  
1757   Oil on canvas, 63 x 49 cm
 Carlo Dolci   St Catherine Reading a Book   Oil on canvas

 Sébastien Stoskopff    Books and a Candle   1625   Oil on canvas 
 Gerbrand van den Eekhout   Scholar with his Books  
1671   Oil on canvas, 64,5 x 49 cm

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Daily Art Quote

Imagination is the highest kite one can fly. (Lauren Bacall)

 Samuel van Hoogstraten   Still-Life   1666-68  
Oil on canvas, 63 x 79 cm
   Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Daily Art Quote

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' (Theodore Roosevelt)

 Gerrit van Honthorst   Musical Group on a Balcony   1622
   Private collection

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy First Day of Autumn!

The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
Morning Mist Rising, Plymouth, New Hampshire (A View in the United States of America in Autumn)
Oil on canvas
55.88 x 38.1 cm
(22" x 15")
Private collection

Today is the first day of autumn -
a glorious season here in New Hampshire.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

NH Wedding Photography - A Farm Fresh Wedding

I recently had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Becky and Jason, one of my most favorite couples! They said their vows in a beautiful farm field at Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol, RI.
Thank you Becky & Jason for including us in your gorgeous day!

Daily Art Quote

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Leonardo da Vinci   Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine)  
Oil on wood, 55 x 40 cm

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daily Art Quote

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet. (Colette)

Juan van der HamenStill Life with Flowers and a Dog
c. 1625-30
Oil on canvas, 228 x 95 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Daily Art Quote

Everything worth doing is exhausting. (John Polanyi)

Pieter de Hooch, The Courtyard of a House in Delft  
1658,   Oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm  
National Gallery, London

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Down on the Farm

This weekend, I travelled to Bristol, Rhode Island to photograph a wedding at Coggeshall Farm. This late 18th century working farm is a delightful surprise, nestled between the bay and Colt Park. The bride requested photos of some of the farm animals, and this friendly rooster was happy to pose for a picture.

Rooster by Kelly Mann  2011  
Coggeshall Farm Museum

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Daily Art Quote

I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next. 

George Romney
Portrait of Mrs Henrietta Morris and Her Son John   1777
   Oil on canvas, 90 x 70 cm
   Private collection