Archive | September, 2012

Outsider Beauty: Margaret Bowland

20 Sep

Coming from the South, I had this image in my mind of the Northwest– open minded and full of diversity.  And it is like that, in major cities like Seattle and Portland.  But in the small towns we’ve lived in and especially for the last 10 months spent in Coeur d’Alene, ID, we’ve found diversity pretty hard to come by.  We get used to all of the faces looking like ours.  The work of New York artist Margaret Bowland explores what it means to be beautiful outside the expected standard– tall, thin, white.

Flower Girl #2, oil on linen, 48×48

Bowland contends, via her artist statement, that “being beautiful is as as important as being rich, that being beautiful is itself a form of wealth.”  Women have, for centuries, tirelessly sought to conform to the celebrated standard of beauty at the time. Bowland’s images of young black girls with sad, painted faces convey what it must be like to be asked by society to put a mask over your own unique beauty in order to be accepted.

Color, pastel and charcoal on paper, 37x 48

Portrait of Kenyetta and Brianna, oil on linen, 72×80

We feel compelled either by our environment or by ourselves ( or more likely a combination of the two ), to comply to what we are told is beautiful.  Stay hungry all the time to be thin, dye your hair, whiten your teeth, don’t be too pale.. don’t be too dark.  When will we, as individuals and as societies realize that to homogenize beauty only serves to promote what is ugly within ourselves.

Flower Girl, oil on linen, 44×52

To see more of Margaret Bowland’s work, please visit her website.

Artist found via Artist A Day.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Art Association Pinterest Contest!

19 Sep

The fabulous Erin Cassidy of art social and I want to play a little game with you!  OK, so you’re Charlie Brown and we’re Lucy.. the art doctors are in.. Now look at this piece, Rorshach by Laura Newman.. what do you see?

Rorshach by Laura Newman

An open window looking out onto a sunset?  Two heads?  Or are you like me and just get distracted by the luscious rainbow of colors?

But now for the real fun, the CONTEST!  Here’s how our little artsy mad scientist experiment will work–

Step 1|  We give you a piece of artwork, this month’s work is Laura Newman’s Rorschach ( above )

Step 2 | You create a Pinterest board titled Art Association, like mine here, where you pin any and all images you associate you have with the featured artwork ( like word associations, only visual )– here’s a little sneak peek at my board to get your creative juices flowin’

Artsy Forager’s Art Associations board

Step 3 | Leave a link to your Art Association pinboard in the Comments section of this post

Step 4 | Follow both art social and Artsy Forager on Pinterest ( if you already are, you’re ahead of the game and doubly awesome )

Here’s what you can win–

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you’ll be entered for a chance to win one month of free BOSS ad space on artsocial. This top spot gets you shout outs on Twitter, Facebook, and a spotlight post all about you, Boss. At 200×400 pixels, you’re blog, shop, or biz will get some awesome exposure by association. 😉

The pinner with the best art associations ( as judged by me and Erin ) will be chosen on Wednesday, September 26th at 5pm (mountain standard time).  I know that ya’ll are a creative bunch, let’s see what ya got!

Ready..   set..   associate!!

Would you like your artwork to be featured as an Art Association subject?  Shoot Erin an email at for more info.

Laura Newman image via 20×200.

Fresh Translucence: Maria Olivares Alfaro

19 Sep

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of artwork filled with thick, saturated color.  But there are times when I happen upon an artist whose work feels like a breath of fresh air.  When I saw Mexican born Maria Olivares Alfaro’s work, it felt refreshingly light and simple.


I hate to use the word simple to describe her work, because  I feel like it has such a negative connotation.  But they seem like beautiful little doodles.


Von Dibujo

Alfaro’s work has a young, naive quality but they are too elegant to feel immature.  There is a thoughtfulness and sense of restraint behind each composition.


To see more of Maria Olivares Alfaro’s beautiful work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

Artsy on Escape Into Life: Joe Sinness

18 Sep

There is something so intriguing about an artist who chooses to focus on drawings on paper.  It seems like such an introspective type of expression.  Today in my Artist Watch on Escape Into Life, I’m featuring artist Joe Sinness, whose quiet works scream for your careful attention..

Shinola, colored pencil on paper, 28×22

Joe Sinness on Escape Into Life

Delicate Punk: Susan Carter Hall

18 Sep

I’m going to kind of tell my age with this post.. I’m a child of the 80s.  There, my secret is out.  I remember all too well the punk movement– the mixing of Victorian-inspired lace with torn fishnets and combat boots.  The latest work of Los Angeles artist Susan Carter Hall reminds me of those bad-a$$ chicks this good girl could never be, like totally.

Circus, oil on canvas, 32×36

Her soft palette and supple forms are punctuated with areas of darkness, lending a little hard-edge to what otherwise might feel overtly feminine.

Earth No. 1, oil on canvas, 24×24

Bridge, oil on gessoed paper, 25×40

Those punches of black and the slash-dash expression of color make Hall’s work bodaciously rad. Ok, enough of the bad 80s lingo.  Her work just rocks.  Period.

Earth No. 2, oil on canvas

To see more of Susan Carter Hall’s work, please check out her website and to keep up with her latest work & shows, be sure to like her Facebook page.

All images are via the artist’s website.

Painted Ponies: Karen Keene Day

17 Sep

I’ve never been one of those horse-crazy girls.  You know the ones.  Oh, I read my share of Black Beauty and The Black Stallion when I was young, but I just never caught the equestrian obsession.  But we have been knee-deep in horse country here in Idaho and after seeing these creatures everyday, I can now understand the fascination.  In her paintings, artist Karen Keene Day perfectly captures the untamed beauty and spirit of American wild horses.

Moments with Wild Horses 79, 24×24

Powerful yet gentle and graceful, the horse often serves dutifully yet you can see in their eyes the longing to run free.

Moments with Wild Horses 81, 12×12

Moments with Wild Horses 116, 48×60

Through her use of simple painted line drawing juxtaposed with slashes of vibrant color, Day translates into her work the innate wildness of the animals and unique personality each one displays.

Moments with Wild Horses 84, 8×8

To see more of Karen Keene Day’s work, please visit her website.  The artist supports the work being done to keep wild horses safe by donating 3% of her commission on each sale to the National Mustang Association branch in Cortez, CO.

PS– If you’ve never seen the documentary Wild Horses & Renegades, I highly recommend it!

Artist found via Michael Mitchell Gallery.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Friday Finds: Anthropomorphically Artsy

14 Sep

These last four months of living on a lake in Northern Idaho has had its advantages, wildlife spotting being chief among them.  A favorite post-dinner activity of Mr. Forager & I is to take a long walk in the hopes of spotting a few deer, osprey, rabbits and lately, turkeys(!).  While Mr. F loves to fantasize about how awesome it would be to be a bird of prey, I tend to humanize the animals we see.  I like to think they are more like us than we realize.  Today, I’m featuring a few artists who seem to also love blending the line between humanity and the animal.

To Fall for Flattery by Nate Frizell

Beyond the Menagerie by Kareena Zerefos

Renard by Charlotte Caron

Sabrina Hornung

Nate Frizzel | Kareena Zerefos | Charlotte Caron | Sabrina Hornung 

I would love to commission Charlotte Caron to create a portrait of Mr. Forager as a grizzly bear– it would be his ultimate dream come true!  What animal do you see yourself as?

Charlotte Caron found via The Jealous Curator, Sabrina Hornung found via Lost at E Minor.  All images are from the artist’s websites, linked above.

Toast of the Town: Grant Schexnider

13 Sep

Few places in the US hold our fascination like New Orleans does.  It’s heady dose of hard partying, spirituality and historic charm completely enchants us.  Chicago artist Grant Schexnider ‘s work addresses the iconography of New Orleans and the bayou with bold strokes and a seemingly carefree style, much like NOLA itself.

Sazaerac, oil on canvas, 36×36

Old Fashioned, oil on canvas, 36×36

You can practically hear the jazz horns, taste the andouille, feel the misquitos’ sting.  His palette is rich and warm, like the colors of the city’s weathered buildings and vibrant characters.

Blue Heron, oil on canvas, 20×20

Deliberately messy layers remind us of a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously in spite of its history of hardship.  The cheerful resilience of the people of New Orleans may be captured in the warmth of Schexnider’s palette.

Blue Shotgun, oil on canvas, 18×36

Shotgun 2b, oil on canvas

To see more of Grant Schexnider’s work, please visit his website.

All images are via the artist’s website and the website of his representing NOLA gallery, Gallery Orange.

Paper Chase: Mary Button Durell

12 Sep

I am so taken with the way artists take common materials and lead us to think of them in a more abstract way.  San Francisco artist Mary Button Durell uses simple tracing paper to create beautifully simple yet amazing sculptures.

The Piles, tracing paper, wheat paste and acrylic, 17x18x16

The Piles ( detail )

Using the tracing paper and wheat paste, Durell hand shapes the forms, resulting in light, organic arrangements that seem to be suspended in a fragile state.

Empty, tracing paper and wheat paste, 16x12x4

3 Cloud Blue, tracing paper, wheat paste and acrylic, 17x24x1.75

The cell-like shapes and translucency call to mind shells or bubbles, ever changing and fleeting.

60 ( detail ), tracing paper, wheat paste and acetate, 43x29x1.25

To see more work from Mary Button Durell, please check out her website.

Artist found via Anthology Magazine.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Artsy on Escape Into Life: Kristine Moran

11 Sep

Lush color and luminosity?  What could be better!  Head over to Escape Into Life to check out this week’s Artist Watch on New York artist Kristine Moran.

Slow Wave 2 by Kristine Moran, oil on canvas, 54×60

Kristine Moran on Escape Into Life

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