Tag Archives: abstract expressionism

Exploratory Expressions: Amadea Bailey

23 Aug

I love the way some artists are visual archaeologists.  California based artist Amadea Bailey takes a journey of exploration and excavation each time she works a canvas.

In the Pink, mixed media on canvas, 53×89

Out of the box, mixed media on canvas, 60×80

Like other “excavation” artists whose work I love, such as M.A. Tateishi and Christina Foard, Bailey builds her work, layer upon layer, eventually unearthing treasures as they resurface.

La Dolce Vita, oil on canvas, 38×54

Her large canvases are worlds unto themselves, images appearing out of the chaos, like mirages in the desert.

Free Fall, mixed media on canvas, 54×62

The Little Prince, acrylic and oil on canvas, 62×78

To see more of Amadea Bailey’s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

Spontaneity of Expression: Elizabeth Schuppe

8 Aug

Sometimes, there is just nothing I love better than staring at a painting thick with color, line and texture.  The work of Brooklyn artist Elizabeth Schuppe‘s abstract work practically sings with spontaneous marks, expressive color and light.

Take Three, acrylic on canvas, 70×65

True to the Abstract Expressionist style, Schuppe works intuitively, without a forethought plan, allowing the placement of color and line to speak to her, directing the brush in her hand.

Hard Hearted II, acrylic on canvas, 44x 46

Hard Hearted IV, acrylic on canvas, 44×46

Each painting tells a story created from the artist’s emotional expression, yet in their abstract nature, we are still able to interpret their story in our own fashion.

Pearls on Five, acrylic on canvas, 70×65

To see more of Elizabeth Schuppe’s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

Expressive Conversations: Galen Cheney

27 Jun

It’s no secret that street art has exploded in popularity recently, gaining momentum and long deserved recognition.  We’re living in a world in which people are constantly looking for sources of inspiration and stimulation, which street art often provides in the most surprising places.  Vermont artist Galen Cheney’s work melds together the painterliness of Abstract Expressionism with elements of street tags to create work that invites us into a conversation about how strivers and outsiders express their creative voice.

Catalyst, graphite, acrylic and oil on rag paper, 38×50

Illuminated Earth #2, oil and acrylic on paper, 22×30

Just as the AE’s are often remembered for their intensity and rebelliousness ( think of AE poster boy Jackson Pollock ), so are street artists of yesterday and today.  Though street art is being increasingly recognized and accepted, it’s beginnings as graffiti were often considered ugly vandalism, more likely to be white-washed or painted over rather than celebrated.

Morning Table, oil on canvas, 24×24

Through Deepest Dark, oil on canvas, 42×43

Cheney’s inclusion of graffiti-like elements against an expressionist background speaks to the evolution of both movements.  Just as Abstract Expressionism was a polarizing movement ( and still is, to a degree ), so is contemporary street art.  And just as AE artists gained more and more notoriety, so too, are street artists.  What once was seen as rebellious and highly individualistic eventually became lauded as a major movement and an important part of the art historical canon.

Evocateur, acrylic, oil and enamel on canvas, 40×36

Is this where “street art” is headed?  What will be the new means of outsider expression?

To see more of Galen Cheney’s work, please visit his website.

Featured image is Catalyst, graphite, acrylic and oil on rag paper, 38×50.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Primal Expression: Brenda Hope Zappitell

2 May

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m far from a wild child.  I tend to be calm, controlled, even-tempered.  Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to abstract expressionist work like a moth to a flame.  And the work of Delray Beach artist Brenda Hope Zappitell is a fire this little moth can’t resist!

In Search of Sunrise II, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 42x42

In her work, Zappitell “surrenders control to the paint, the brush and a visceral process of creative discovery” [sic].  She works spontaneously and rapidly, following the paint as it dances across the canvas.

In Search of Sunrise I, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 42x42

Taking her inspiration from the energy of nature, her palette builds from light, delicate tints to saturated rapid-fire strokes of bold color.

A Matter of Perception, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 48x48

Squiggles and strokes that could almost be graffiti-like still retain their softness, like a flourishing garden in the middle of an urban metropolis.

Embracing Uncertainty II, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 30x36

Reverie I, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 48x48

To see more of Brenda Hope Zappitell’s work, please visit her website.  You can see her work in person at several galleries across the US– be sure to check her website to see if there is one near you!

Featured image is Translation, acrylic with cold wax on panel, 60×30.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Lush Layers: Karen Silve

14 Mar

Our memories of places and experiences are not simply visual recollections of what we saw, but a culmination of all that our senses absorbed at the time.  The sounds, the smells, our impressions of and reactions to our surroundings.  It is in this intuitive way that Portland artist Karen Silve translates her own memorable moments into abstractions of rich layers, swirls and drips of paint.

Market VI, acrylic on canvas, 50x60

Open air markets are cacophonies of stimulation– full of mounds of colorful produce, people talking, laughing, fragrances of coffee, freshly baked pastries and other yummies– all swirl around us.  ( Can’t wait for the market here to open for Spring! ) Silve captures the friendly frenzy in her Market Series. ( above & below )

Market IX, acrylic on canvas, 42x46

For her Sacred Places series, she explores the impact of a different kind of stimulation, those stolen moments found when we are surrounded by the quiet of nature.  Being in Portland, Silve has access to some of the most spectacular natural spaces in the world ( can you tell I love Oregon?! ).  A favorite of hers, and mine, is the Columbia River Gorge, whose lush and quiet beauty she captures in paint.

Sacred Veil II, acrylic on canvas, 58x68

Through our travels, many times I find myself feeling like I’m a bit more attuned to my location and experiences.  Perhaps because we are experiencing new places so often, that each one seems enchanting and special in its own way.  But there are also times when we fall into the repetition and monotony of every day life and forget that each place and day is unique.  Karen Silve’s intuitive expressions of her experiences are reminding me to be fully in each moment, immersing myself into making of a memory.

Market VII, acrylic on canvas, 50x60

Morning Glow, acrylic on canvas, 48x48

To see more of Karen Silve’s work, please visit her website.  In Portland, her work can be seen at Portland Fine Art, but check out her website for representing galleries in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, California and the UK.

Featured image is Yellow Rapture, acrylic on canvas, 96×48.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Harnessed Energy

29 Nov

This Fall, the leaves in Oregon have been full of riotous color, bursting forth in celebration of the last days of sunshine and warmth.  But to find happy energy in the long, grey days of winter, one only need look as far as Dutch painter Guus Kemp’s work.

Just Beautiful, oil on canvas, 36x48

Thick bursts of glossy paint almost leap of the canvas, like fireworks in the sky.  This is an artist using the properties of paint– its colors, texture and sheen to bring joy to the viewer.  The works elicit emotion, excitement and energy.

Red Man, oil on canvas, 48x60

A Dutch-born artist, now a resident of Houston, Kemp began working with oils in 2008, opening up a whole new means of expression.  According to the artist, “My paintings are a reflection of who I am . . . an extrovert who takes life by the horns!”

Female Tornado, oil on canvas, 48x60

Indeed, these large scale, intensely hued works are no shrinking violets.  These are pieces that demand your attention.  And once they get it, you can’t help but be happy and energized.

Riot of Parrots, oil on canvas, 48x60

To be enlivened by more of Guus’s work, please take a peek at his website.  Thank you to Gallery Orange for introducing me to this artist, if you’re in New Orleans, be sure to check them out!

Featured image is Carpe Diem, oil on canvas, 48×48.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Fashion Plate: Leigh Viner

14 Sep

What do you get when you take one part line sketch + one part abstract expressionism + a flair for fashion?  The stunning work of Denver artist/photographer/designer, Leigh Viner.  Leigh elevates what could be a simple fashion sketch to fine art by her extraordinary eye for composition, figurative expression and well-placed explosions of color and texture.


Look closely at the women Leigh is painting.  These models aren’t faceless mannequins, each one has a story to tell.  Their faces are full of subtle emotion– vulnerability, longing, confidence.



The strength of her work is in it’s simplicity.  She is an artist that understands “less is more”.   In her hands, a simple line drawing becomes a striking portrait with just a few limited dashes of color.

Draw The Line

Abstractions Aside

To see more of Leigh’s work, visit her website.  Her work is available for purchase in her Etsy store, jkldesign, which features original art, as well as prints of her artwork and photography.  Leigh also writes a delightful blog, CREATE.  You’ll be inspired.

Yes, Virginia, You CAN Afford To Buy Artwork! ( Part 1 )

31 Aug

Please enjoy this oldie by goodie while I spend the next two weeks camping, packing, visiting with the mom-in-law and moving from WA to OR. See you in September!

It is a huge misnomer that only the rich can afford to be art collectors or even to purchase original work.  When most of us think of an “art collector”, we tend to think of the stereotype of the wealthy patron, attending auctions at Christie’s, buying artwork for more than many of us make in a year, heck, in a lifetime.  Or maybe you’ve gone into a higher end gallery and seen a price and thought to yourself, “Self, no way you’ll ever be able to afford that.”

Well, I’m here to tell you, the times they are a changin’.  It has never been easier or more affordable to purchase original artwork and/or high quality limited editions.   No, I’m not talking about the kind of “original art” you buy at the fleamarket or from a sale in a hotel ballroom.   I’m referring to original, gallery worthy fine art.  The kind you can be proud to hang on your wall.

Here are some suggestions for finding the artwork of your dreams and getting your collection started:

Online galleries/exhibition websites– These are popping up all over the place and many of them represent some very talented artists and you can usually find wonderful work in every price point.

  • Etsy— Possibly the largest online art & handmade marketplace, complete with a powerful search engine, you’ll find a wide range of artwork available.  Many artists are using Etsy to reach a wider audience and as a way to sell their work independantly. ( Note that many of the artists with shops on the “exhibition sites” will have their links on those sites connecting back to their Etsy shops. )

Into the Mystic, photgraphic print, 8″x8″ $30

  • 20×200this New York City based website works with artists to offer limited editions of original work.   Starting at just $20 for the smallest size, 20×200 offers affordable, quality work for newbie collectors.

Well-Being I, limited edition on archival paper, 8″x10″, edition of $200, $20

  • Papernstitch— I must admit, I’m a little biased toward this one, as it is run by my friend ( and fabulous artist in her own right ), Brittni Wood.  Started as a blog, Papernstitch is a growing online exhibition site, curated monthly by Brittni and features handpicked, talented artists, designers and craftspeople.   The Papernstitch blog is still going full force and features daily posts from Brittni and a handful of other talented contributors.  Papernstitch is definitely worth a look when you are searching for something special.

  Open Space by Rachel Austin, original mixed media on canvas, 8″ x 8″, $85

  • Artwelove— Founded in 2008, ArtWeLove “offers exclusive, museum-quality art editions by today’s inspiring artists”.  A big difference with this site is it focuses on offerings from artists whose work is found in top galleries, museums and exhibitions throughout the world.  The work is curated and commissioned directly from the artist to ArtWeLove exclusively– you won’t see these prints anywhere else.  The site has a “learning engine” similar to Amazon.com, which tracks your artwork preferences over time and makes recommendations for you.

 Petal, Pixel and Stain by Nina Tichava, limited edition on archival paper, starting at $50

  • PoppyTalk Handmade–Founded in 2008 by a Canadian husband and wife team, PoppyTalk Handmade is a monthly curated and “themed” marketplace showcasing artwork, handmade and vintage goods from around the world.   Sort of an online street fair/festival, PoppyTalk provides an online marketplace to emerging and indie artists and craftspeople. 

Pillow Land, sewn print by Clare Elsaesser of Tastes Orangey, 4.75″ x 4.75″, $20

Stay tuned over the next few days for more suggestions on ways to buy original art on any budget!

Melodious Abandon: Michelle Armas

14 Jul

Pablo Picasso once asked ( rhetorically, of course ), “Why do two colors, one put next to the other, sing?” Good ol’ Pablo had no answer, nor do I.  But they do.  Color calls out to us, reaches out to something in our spirit and psyche, evoking emotion.  Not every artist gets color, how different hues complement and interact with each other.  Michelle Armas gets it.  She gets it and puts it on canvas for all the world to see and enjoy.

Rosalia, acrylic on canvas, 36x48

Michelle began professional life, not as an artist, but in graphic design and corporate branding in New York.  Talk about baptism by fire!  To help cope with the stress of working in NYC, Michelle began painting.  After about a year, she decided to trade the corporate world for the art world and began painting full-time.

Nuca, acrylic on canvas, 18x18

Her canvases explode with color, joyous, juicy and fluid.  It’s as if she’s captured the hues of the warmth of a sunny day, of being a kid again, running and jumping with full abandon.

Arelis, acrylic on canvas, 24x24

Lovely, sketchy scribbles and seemingly-spontaneous pops of color remind us what it was like before we were “taught” to draw and color– that magical time when we, as young children, were only concerned with the feel of the crayon on paper, fascinated by the variety in our Crayola 64.  We weren’t trying to create anything.. we were just completely submerged in the process of creating.

Topping, acrylic on canvas, 18x18

Filled with the colors of poppies and popsicles, sundaes and springtime, her work does sing.  Sappy, happy love songs, you know, the ones that we all know the words to.  Because we recognize this artist’s vocabulary– these are stories of pure color, that speak to the very basic of creative instincts that began deep within all of us.  They sing us a sparkling lullaby as we bask in their sunshine, dreaming of coloring in the clouds.

To see more of Michelle Armas’ work, check out her website and be sure to stop by her blog.  Her writing style is as cheeky and colorful as her paintings.

Masterworks Monday: Rauschenberg in Tulsa

6 Jun

Hello Artsies!!!  After being out of the blogosphere for the past three weeks or so, I am finally back behind the computer, as it were and it feels great.  I have so much to share that I hardly know where to begin..  As many of you know, my hubby George and I recently moved from Florida to Washington.  We were incredibly blessed to be able to make a vacation out of our cross-country trek, with stops to see friends, new places and old favorites along the way.

Our first stop ( OK, first fun stop.. we spent the first night in a motel outside Little Rock, AR, not super exciting ) was Tulsa, Oklahoma.  George lived in Tulsa for several years and we hadn’t been back since we got married, so decided to take a couple of days to introduce me around to Tulsa friends and places.  It just so happened that the friends we were staying with in Tulsa had a friend who owned a gallery, Exhibit by Abersons at Center 1 Tulsa.  Said friend of friends happened to be having an opening the night of our arrival in Tulsa, so even though there was a whole gang of people expected for dinner, we popped over to the gallery to have a peeksy.

 The exhibit, which opened on May 19th was curated by Master Printer Bill Goldston of Universal Limited Art Editions and follows the progression of Rauschenberg’s print work through the years.  Like any good Art History Major, I recognized Rauschenberg’s work and his importance as a painter & print maker, but beyond that, I admit I didn’t know much.  Rauschenberg came to the forefront toward the end of the Abstract Expressionist movement and toward the beginning of the Pop Art movement.  The prints included in the exhibition lean more toward the Pop end of the spectrum, showing examples of his collaging of photographic images through silk-screen processing showcasing pop culture imagery of the 1950s and 60s, such as Guardian ( 1968 ).

Guardian is compromised of transfer images from Life Magazine, the transfers being done by brushing the images with solvent, placing them on the lithograph stone, then passing the stone through the printing press.  These are works that demand a closer look, there is so much going on, even little details are significant.  George enjoyed scrutinizing the work ( see photo below! ), which are so accessible that they seem just as relevant today as they must have 50 years ago.

The work George is pondering is Bazaar, an intagilio print and lithograph on paper created in 1984.  Other highlights for me included, Aquafix ( below ), a haunting image created by Rauschenberg in 1981.  As the years progressed, his work evolved into cleaner, more simplified compositions as exemplified in Aquafix and Lotus VII, both favorites of mine from the exhibit.


Lotus VII ( above ) is part of Rauschenberg’s final series of prints, completed only a month prior to his death.  The Lotus images were created for an exhibition of Rauschenberg’s work in Beijing and are compilations of photographs taken by the artist on two trips to China.  The photographs were transferred to panels, then an intagilio process, photogravure, was used to tie the images together visually.   The results are stunning images, which surely pleased Rauschenberg as his final legacy.

If you are in the Tulsa area, be sure to check out the show at Exhibit by Abersons.  If you can’t get to Tulsa, Rauschenberg’s work can be found in many major museum collections with images, biography and other info available online, check out the websites of MOMA, The Tate, the Guggenheim and many more.

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