Archive | April, 2011

Hang ‘Em High..Not TOO High

28 Apr

CONFESSION TIME:  One of my biggest pet peeves is artwork hung incorrectly.  And by this I mean too high, too low, staggered when there is no reason for staggering ( i.e., up a staircase wall ), etc.   While there are no set rules when it comes to hanging artwork, there are guidelines.  Knowledge is power, ya’ll, and you’ll thank me for it when my eyes aren’t twitching uncontrollably when I come over and see how your artwork is hung.  I’m too polite to say anything, though.. I am a Southern girl, after all.

Guideline #1:  Normal height for  hanging artwork is to center it at eye level. 

But whose eye level?  You may be 4’11” but your husband is 6’4″– how do you decide?  Law of averages, my friends.   I’m 5’5″ ( ok, 5’4 1/2″ ), so my eye level is actually spot on.  The safest height at which to hang artwork is 60″ from the center of the artwork to the floor.

I couldn’t resist adding in this image from Traditional Home ( via House of Turquoise ).  Recognize the work of our very own Pick of the Crop artist, Christina Baker?!  Girl’s got skilz.

Guideline #2:  Use picture hooks and D-rings for hanging whenever possible



Plain ol’ nails might be super cheap, but picture hooks are the best way to go to get your artwork to hang levelly and securely.  The weight of a piece of artwork will drag down a nail, but the picture hooks are designed to set the nail at an angle so that the laws of physics hold the picture up, instead of putting all the weight on the nail.  There are different size hooks available according to the weight of what you’re hanging, so if you’re in doubt about the weight, go with the heaviest weight hook so you’ll be sure your artwork won’t fall on someone’s head.. or toes.

D-ring hanger

D-rings are God-sends for hanging artwork and should be used instead of wire, if possible.   Simply install two d-rings at the same horizontal level on the back of the picture frame.  It’s true, you’ll need to put two holes in the wall instead of one, but your artwork will be more secure and won’t have that annoying habit of going crooked anytime it get’s bumped a little or someone closes a door a bit too hard.

Guideline #3:  When hanging multiple pieces together, be aware of the space between them and how they relate to each other

If you’re hanging a pair or series of artwork above a piece of furniture, measure and treat the pieces as if you were hanging one solid piece– taking into account a bit of space between them and center the overall size horizontally above the furniture and center each piece vertically at 60″.

Guideline #4:  Some rules were made to be broken

Not Guideline #2, the picture hook thing is always important, not just for aesthetics, but for safety.  The other two, however, might be flexible depending on the situation.

  • Broken rule #1– It is OK to hang artwork lower ( or higher, I guess, though this is less common ) than eye level if it helps the work relate to its surroundings

  • Broken rule #2– Sometimes extending a grouping of work outside of the borders of a piece of furniture or other furnishing helps the artwork to make more sense within the room, as in the case of the room below.  In this instance, more is more, yes?

  • Broken rule #3– The rules are, there are no rules.. Sometimes the positioning of artwork doesn’t really need to relate to the surroundings at all.. randomness & asymmetry can be beautiful!  If done well, of course. 

If you ever find yourself unsure of how to hang your latest acquisition, I hope these guidelines are helpful.  If you’re really stuck, drop me a line– I’m happy to help!  Happy hanging!

Hands-On vs Hands-Off Artistry

27 Apr

In my daily reading of this morning I came across two articles, seemingly unrelated, until the Facebook comments regarding one of the articles tied them together for me.  The first article, found here, poses the question, “Should Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Remain Unfinished?”  The Barcelona basilica, begun in 1882 by renown artist-architect Antonio Gaudi is still under construction eighty-five years following the architect’s death. 

Sagrada Familia under construction in Barcelona, Spain

 Though Gaudi left plaster models and drawings, many of his notes were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, leaving his vision open to interpretation by current sculptors, architects and designers.  While some critics feel the current direction doesn’t jive with Gaudi’s original vision, even during his lifetime, there were many sculptors working on the basilica.  Like any monumental undertaking, “it takes a village” to bring Gaudi’s creation to life.

Close-up of one of La Sagrada Familia's spires. Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Should Gaudi’s original design be so open to interpretation?  He gave artistic license to those working under him while alive, would he so object to modern interpretations now being imposed?  Unlike other types of sculpture, cathedrals are often the product of centuries worth of work by multiple architects, artists and craftsman. 

The star-studded ceiling of the east wing of La Sagrada Familia under construction. Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

As Gaudi was aware he would not be alive to see it to completion, wouldn’t he have known his original design would be open to interpretation by those who came after him?  Does the fact that Gaudi is not here to personally oversee the work negate the additions?

Artists using apprentices and assistants is nothing new.  The art world of the Renaissance era, which produced such celebrated masters as Michelangelo and DaVinci was built upon the concept of apprenticeship.  But what about now?  The second article I read this morning was regarding the approval of a Dale Chihuly museum at the site of a former amusement park in downtown Seattle ( now the Seattle Center ).

The museum in itself is the subject of controversy, but that isn’t what I’d like to address here.  Instead, I’d like direct attention to another Chihuly controversy– his use of others to craft his designs.  One Facebook poster thought it necessary to point out that since losing the use of his left eye due to a car accident, he is no longer the person actually blowing the art glass he is so famous for.  ( In reality, Chihuly continued to blow glass for three years following the accident, until a body surfing incident dislocated his shoulder, so he was no longer able to manually manipulate the glass ).   The poster’s statement that “His employees make everything.  Just sayin’.” seems to somehow fault Chihuly for continuing to create in the only way he physically could, by having others help him.  The artist himself has said that his role, more of a director, allows him better perspective on the work.

As stated above regarding Gaudi, the practice of using assistants and apprentices to create monumental works of art has been done for centuries ( and yes, many of Chihuly’s creations are monumental in scope ).  So as long as the artist himself continues to design the creations with his name on them, what’s the big deal?

And what about so-called “production originals”?  You might be thinking of the ones advertised as “hand painted original works of art”, usually being sold out of a hotel ballroom.  But what I’m talking about are the production art studios– where perhaps one “lead artist” is creating original works of art, which are then being recreated & reproduced by the hand of “assistant artists”.  There are more of these studios around than people realize and the work can be found in galleries, corporate and private collections all over the world.  While the savvy gallerist, art consultant, designer and art afficionado knows production art when they see it, what about the collector who thinks they are buying a true original work of art, only to spot an almost exact replica when in their hotel while on vacation in Hawaii?  Do we lump Chihuly in with these?

These are three examples of artwork being completed and accomplished without the direct hand of the creator.  What are your thoughts?  Is it ever OK to put your name on something you didn’t actually physically create?  This is definitely a gray area.. would love to hear your thoughts!

Masterworks Monday: Edward Hopper

25 Apr

Happy Monday, Artsies!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.  This week’s Masterworks Monday artist is one of my all-time faves, American Realist painter Edward Hopper.   A feeling of melancholy tends to pervade most of Hopper’s work, but maybe that is why they appeal to me.  His scenes seem so very real, not just in their sense of time and of place, but in the capturing of a moment.  Early mornings in small towns DO feel desolate, being an attendant at a gas station on a far off country road WOULD be lonely. 

Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper

Image via Whitney Museum of American Art

Gas by Edward Hopper

Image via Museum of Modern Art

Don’t you want to know what’s going on with this young blonde movie usher?  Is she sad?  Is she contemplating making a change in her life? 

New York Movie by Edward Hopper

Image via Museum of Modern Art

Despite the lone figures or desolate landscapes, Hopper’s images are filled with light and in that, create a sense of hope within the isolation.  Early morning means it is a new day.. light coming in a window means that there is an escape from the darkness.  Whether this is what Hopper intended or not, it is what I personally take from his work.

 Morning Sun by Edward Hopper

Image via The New York Times

How about you?  What do you see in Hopper’s work?  How does it make you feel?





A Girl and Her Chickens

21 Apr

A little girl with brown pigtails makes a trip with her family to Colombia and there, befriends two chickens.  And so begins the story of “What Happened to the Chickens?”, the latest exhibition of Yvonne Lozano’s work at The Art Center in Jacksonville.

Yvonne Lozano’s work is autobiographical, each painting telling the story of a particular childhood memory or even just the memory of the feeling of being a kid.  Upon first glance at her style, you may think “A child could have done that”, which is exactly the point!  Her simple, faceless figures look initially like a child’s creation, but look a little more closely and you will see a layering of glazes and accomplished drawing skills.

Yvonne has created a storyboard format for these works, some finished paintings, some watercolor sketches, so that it seems that you are “reading” a book in progress.  The small sketches reiterate the childlike quality to the work and the “story” itself reads like a wonderful children’s book!  ( I personally think it is only a matter of time until we see Yvonne as a children’s literature author & illustrator! ).

“What Happened to the Chickens?” is a story after all, so I don’t want to give too much away.  If you’re in Jacksonville, please make some time to visit The Art Center gallery downtown to see & “read” this charmingly familiar childhood story.

The Art Center Cooperative gallery space is located at 31 W. Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville, FL.  Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-3pm.

To see more of Yvonne’s work, visit her website, YCLArt and be sure to “fan” her Facebook page!

DoGooders: Helping Kids with Cancer Through Art

20 Apr

Hospitals can be scary places.  Especially if you’re a small child being poked and prodded and put into scary looking machines when all you want to do is play. 

Art proves a great distraction to kids at Shands Jacksonville |

Pulp Fashion

20 Apr

OK, the fashion loving girl in me is coming out! Check out this amazing show opening at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. “Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabel de Borchgrave” is a study in fashion and sculpture, meticulously recreating garments from the annals of art history out of paper. Wonder if George will let me take me a detour through San Fran on our trip to the NW?

Masterworks Monday: Georgia On My Mind

18 Apr

OK, I know it’s something of a cliche to be a woman who loves the work of Georgia O’Keeffe.   But I don’t care.  I have unabashedly loved her work for what seems like forever.  And I’m proud to say that my ten year-old niece, Samantha is a fan, as well and with no initial prodding from her aunt. ( Though I do admit to unabashedly encouraging her whenever I can! )

I was drawn to her work on first sight, but it wasn’t until I began taking studio courses in drawing and painting that my love truly blossomed.  Maybe it was that her palette seemed to be similar to the colors I was repeating in my own work.

Or maybe it was how shocking some of her abstract work, thought to recall certain parts of a woman’s body, were in her day.  Perhaps that sense of rebellion against the “boys club” appealed to the feminist in me.

It could have been how she was celebrating quiet and peace of the natural world, while technology was being ushered in at a rapid pace.

Maybe it is the softness of her brushwork– seriously, can you even see any brushstrokes?   Or how delicate her lines were drawn.

Perhaps it is a combination of all these things.  Whatever it is, I find her work magical.

All images via the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum online.

Should Artists Donate Their Art?

18 Apr

When I worked for a gallery we were constantly being asked to donate a piece of artwork for this charity and that.  Artists are no different, but donating artwork affects them in many ways that charitable organizations may not consider or that the artists themselves may not think about.   Here is a well written article by artist Helen Klebesadel, outlining some of the pros & cons of donating for an artist and suggestions for how to donate smarter.

Thanks to Yvonne Lozano for sharing!

The Double Edged Sword: Should Artists Donate Their Art?.

Friday Forager Faves: Birthday Wish List

15 Apr

Today is my birthday, ya’ll.   I will be happily spending the day with the one who birthed me, touring the Downtown Jacksonville studio of Christina Foard and researching downtown galleries for an article I’m writing for EU Magazine ( my first published print article! ).   In the spirit of Steve Martin’s SNL “Christmas Wish” sketch, I’m indulging in my own Birthday Wish list.

These are works of art that, “If I could have but one birthday wish this birthday”… to own any one of these would be my birthday wish.  These are the pieces I covet, the pieces that I know I would love forever and ever and give them a kind and loving home. 

Sleep Deprived and the Dog Can Wait by Casey Matthews

The title alone makes me smile.  I love how the palette is both warm and cool AND neutral all at the same time.  And I have a thing for circles.  I’ve seen this in person and it is stunning.

Lucy in the Sky by Maribel Angel

I love the Beatles.  I love the idea of a flying bunny chasing carrots.  I love Maribel’s work.  I would never tire of seeing this.

Speak No Evil by Pam Moxley

This reminds me of what it was like to be a kid, without a care in the world.  Summer days, carefree ways.  Before life was complicated.

Hotel, Calgary by Theresa Maxwell

This sweet little painting makes me think of honeymooning.. living out of a suitcase.. letting someone else make the bed.. bliss!

Lifetime Partners by Christina Foard 

I fell in love with this the first time I saw it on Christina’s Facebook page.  It reminds me of the devotion and complete commitment it takes to make a life with someone, to be a united front through thick and thin, to be sure of each other no matter what may lie ahead.  Maybe I’m just a starry-eyed newlywed.

I could go on and on adding more and more to this list– believe me, there are MANY more!  But I was raised to not be greedy, so I’m limiting myself to these five.  Even if I don’t have the real thing, they will always be here for me to gaze upon lovingly.  Happy birthday to me!


14 Apr

What an amazing story!  If you love something, you will find a way to do it and the Vogels found a way to become art collectors on a very modest income.   I can’t wait to see this.

HERB & DOROTHY | The Vogel Art Collection | Independent Lens | PBS.

Who knows, maybe one day they will make a film about Lesley & George:  The Frenz Art Collection.   One can dare to dream.

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