Saturday, June 30, 2018

How To Choose Art For Your Home.

A Williams Parks" oil in my bedroom
I worked as an interior designer for 10 years when I was the sole support of my three daughters and I always told clients that they should choose art as if they are choosing a friend. It will be something to live with for a long time, something that cheers you when you look at it, and is doesn't matter if it matches the sofa!

There are times when we outgrow our friends and our art collections. Both come from an increased awareness of what qualities we want in our associates and our homes. With art, often it comes with growing realization of talent, skill and message of the artist. You can learn about art by looking at a lot of it.

Whenever I was in a gallery or museum and encountered a painting that I didn't like, often I would sit down and study it. What was about it that put me off? What was this painter trying to say? What didn't I understand about it? Frequently, I changed my feeling about the work. Not always.

I share a home with a daughter who is also an artist and had been an art dealer in San Francisco for 18 years. She knows more about art than anyone I have ever met. We do confer about what gets hung in our home, and we know the importance of changing the placements of the art at least every 6 months. It is like seeing the art anew.
Here are some photos of the art in our home.
In the foreground are 2 of my cold wax paintings. In the background by the entrance, is an encaustic painting by Cynthia Hamilton

In the kitchen, yes art belongs in every room, is one of my favorites over a shelf. I do not remember the name of the Spanish artist, but I never get tired of looking at this moody piece. 

Living room. Left is an encaustic painting of mine. In the middle is an exquisite drawing of Arranz-Bravo, an artist from Barcelona. top right a Miró

Another of my favorites, "Carmen" oil on lead. 

An encaustic painting by Cynthia Hamilton in the guest bathroom.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Should Artists Give Work to Charity Auctions?

Here is the painting I am donating. cold wax and oil, 17"  x 24", framed in a simple black wood frame, ready to hang

close up detail

 My answer for the last few years has been a resounding NO! Why?

1. It is not good exposure for you, no matter what the charity promoter says. I would love to hear the story of the artist whose career rocketed to success because he or she donated a work to a charity auction and this act alone tipped the first domino toward an avalanche of success coming his or her way. n. 

2.  You announce that your art is worth low bids

3. Your work could become devaluated because the collector got such a bargain on your art. If you are a regular contributor to charity sales, your collectors may forgo paying your retail price and just wait for the next auction.

4.  You empower strangers to devalue your artwork

That said, I want you to donate some work so medical care will be available to a community that for years felt forgotten by local society. Open up your hearts and let go ( for just a moment) from those wonderful ego enhancing art sales that you have  or hope to have. I am all for art sales! It is my income, but there comes a time when you see others needs and want to be part of a better future for them.

11 years ago when Elsmarie Norby, the founder of Ojala Niños, build her home in the indigenous village of San Miguel Viejo, there were no services like internet, cable, landline phones, bus transport or community center, but the main thing the villagers told her was, "We need a clinic."

Now the plans are in motion and you can help by contributing a piece of your art or buying art from this auction. All the profits go to the building fund. It will be part of the community center. Children and families will finally have access to medical care, health information and all the support that comes with a nearby functioning clinic. Ojala Niños will build the clinic as part of the new community center.

Art and crafts will be donated by well known artists and others who just want to help build the clinic.

Daniel Brennan, "Leo and Friends" oil on canvas 40" x 50"
article from Southwest Magazine, 1980

Ojalá Niños is a non-profit year round program that gives 100 + indigenous children in this rural community, in the state of Guanajuato, México. the opportunity to explore their strengths through art, music and literacy. All classes are free of charge. Ojala Niños is a daily year round free education program for all the children the rural community of San Miguel Viejo, near the historic city of San Miguel de Allende. They emphasize the importance of social service to develop critical  thinking skills, self-confidence and sustainable work ethics. 

Ojala Niños helps local women learn the cooperative business model and develop hand-made products for sale.
This is changing lives. And they need our help.

Send me your images of work that you want to contribute, sizes, retail price (You won’t get it) and a short bio)

I will begin posting the work on a Face book event page. The online auction will start inconjunction with a very popular concert in the village. Date is July 29th at 2pm. The bidding will continue until July 30th at 5pm.

If you are not an artist, bid on the art and special crafts. Local residents will have their purchases delivered and international shipping is available for those living outside of San Miguel de Allende. see what Ojalå Niños are doing and contribute@

Monday, June 11, 2018

Visiting Artists' Studios

Our home gallery and studios have been a part of the art tours for over a year now. Below is an article about these fascinating visits that I wrote for the local paper.

Here are some of my paintings that were sold In the last tour:

Art Tours SMA
Ezshwan Winding

"As an artist, San Miguel de Allende called to me 14 years ago. Even then this magical town was a center of cultural activities and artists. The first night I arrived in my new home, I went to an art opening and someone told me, after discovering I was a painter, “You are in the right place!”  I have never doubted that.

San Miguel has become one of the most popular and celebrated art towns in all of Mexico with hundreds of working artists. Art is the spirit of the town.

This colonial jewel has been a destination for artists since the 1940’s and now it continues to be a magical magnet for artists, galleries and art lovers. Constantly evolving and increasingly sophisticated, it is a center of creativity and inspiration in all forms.

Inspiration is everywhere.

A strong and constantly evolving community of creative types is welcomed. You will find a haven for artists and aficionados from around the world.

San Miguel has developed into probably the most popular and the most famous of all art towns in Mexico with a growing list of art galleries and artists’ studios.

One of the best ways to understand the art community is to meet the artists personally. It isn’t always easy to gain access into a working artist’s studio. We work in solitude and aren’t always open to inviting visitors into our workspaces. Arturo

Aranda Esparza has the perfect solution. He created Art Tours SMA. Arturo has chosen some of the best-known artists in San Miguel that are using diverse mediums and brings you to their studios. For my part, I enjoy the tours because I get to meet people that I otherwise would not. I can discover a bit about my guests, offer refreshments, give a demonstration and explanation of my painting technique and offer a visit of the viewing room in my home gallery. Each artist on the tour will welcome you with a similar, but different experience. If you are interested in art, this tour is a must."

Friday, June 1, 2018

My Encaustic Palettes

For encaustic figurative and portrait painting, my hot palette is laid out the same as my oil painting palette; naples yellow, yellow ochre, cadmiun red light, cadmiun red medium, saguine earth deep, (from R&F paints), white, and sap green. Sometimes, I add purple. I use oil paint straight out of the tube and some powered pigments.

extra encaustic medium for mixing colors on the palette

I plug the hole in the electric griddle with Bondo so the melted medium floats on the surface rather than drains out.

For abstract painting and the encaustic workshops, I have basic color palettes that include, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, yellow ochre, turquoise (this is usually a favorite color for my students) ultramarine blue, black, yellow, alizarin crimson, alizarin orange, (one of my favorite colors) and white. Often I include orange and a red brown. I get some the colors from R&F paints. I love the gorgeous colors and saturation. I also make many of my colors by adding powdered pigments to the clear medium. Using those, you must be careful to wear gloves and a mask. I also do that before the class.
Two people share a palette

Close up of a palette with more than the basic colors. It depends on what the student wants

The can in the lower left is paraffin to clean encaustic tools