Tag Archives: horses

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.

Angelic Imaginings: Maribel Angel

15 Mar

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, then you know that I have a few absolute favorite artists.  These are the artists whose work I absolutely adore and return to again and again.  Today’s artist, Maribel Angel is high on my list of favorites.  From the first time I saw her work, during my gallery career in Florida, it was delight at first sight.

Bird Park, acrylic on panel, 34x24

The irresistible charm of Maribel’s work is pretty obvious, but even more so when she begins explaining the inspiration behind each one.  For these latest paintings, she found unknowing muses in the form of all the birds congregating on her lakeside property in North Florida due to such a mild winter ( even for Florida! ).

Fruit and Bandits, acrylic on panel, 12x12

From the artist: “..all those feathered creatures that flew south for the winter used our yard as their tourist destination for several months. Not to mention all the local birds who had no reason to fly further south – so we had double the  population than usual and I could hear them chattering and chirping non stop from dawn till dusk while i was working in my studio. It wasn’t like song birds keeping a tune and creating a beautiful orchestra of sound – it was just full on chatter! Similar to the sound you would hear of camp kids shouting and playing at the pool.  I enjoyed their company and while I was painting I would imagine the stories they were sharing with each other.

Gentle Whisper, acrylic on panel, 34x24

The way she renders animals in such stylized simplicity is so appealing.  Her horses stand lean and graceful, birds are bright and cheerfully scattered.  She enriches each with beautifully layered color and texture– as stunning as they are online, her work is even more wonderful in person!

Crossing Over, acrylic on panel, 12x12

New Nest, acrylic on panel, 12x12

To see more of Maribel Angel’s work, please visit her website and the Gallery Orange website.  If you’re lucky enough to be in New Orleans, you can stop in at Gallery Orange to see her work in person or in Florida, check out Maribel’s work at Southlight Gallery.

Featured image is Shangrila, acrylic on panel, 48×12.  All images are via Gallery Orange, Maribel’s representing gallery in New Orleans.  For more on Gallery Orange, check out the recent Artsy Spot feature on the gallery here.

Artist Diggs: Angel’s Haven

30 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!

There are people and by people, I mean artists, whose life and art are so intertwined that almost everything in their life looks like their artwork.  Maribel Angel is one of those people and I mean that in the best possible sense.  The minute I drove up to her home & studio in St. Augustine, Florida, I knew I was in for a treat.

Maribel’s home & studio, which she shares with her husband, Cash, dog Miss Hannah and three cats, is on a quiet street removed from the bustle of tourists in downtown St. Augustine.  Entering through a green gate with a little bell,  I am greeted with a hug from the artist and meow from possibly the friendliest cat ever, Lulu. 

Trimmed in bright colors reminiscent of her paintings, the house, studio and workshop are like sweet little dollhouses.  Maribel and Cash purchased the property, which faces a lovely canal where Lulu loves to beg for attention from joggers, as a fixer upper and have done most of the work themselves over the years.  It is apparent that this is a place created with love.

Let’s go into the studio.

Sunlight streams through the windows, filling the diminutive studio with light and warmth. 

Every artist’s studio needs a comfy chair.  A place where an artist can curl up with a cup of coffee and read or dream about where inspiration will take them next.  Finished artwork or works in progress are all around the studio– like these sweet little horse paintings ( below ), which were big sellers during the MOCA Studio Tour a few weeks ago. 

The studio floors are reclaimed hardwood, which came from a local horse barn.  Maribel theorizes that perhaps the floors are subconsciously leading her to paint horses!  Whatever the cause, these equestrian inspired pieces are hard to resist.  However, I am even more in love with a new series Maribel is working on– inspired by the Anthropologie catalog! 

I told Maribel how much I loved these and when she told me her inspiration source, I was downright gleeful!  There is just something about Anthropologie that we artsy girls love.  Ask anyone who has ever been in one with me.  I get this joyous, glazed over look in my eye, which I’m sure is very similar to the look I had upon leaving Maribel’s.

On the opposite side of the room, are the quintessential elements of any artist’s studio– easel, work table and of course, stacks of works in progress.   See the horses?  I think the floors are working their magic. 

Ever wonder how Maribel creates those wonderful, collaged layers in her work?  First, she makes a color copy of the inspiration source, whether it be a textile pattern, page from a book or other ephemera, then soaks the copy in a medium solution which allows her to peel the transparent image from the paper.  The transparency allows for background paint and other elements to show through and using this instead of the paper itself will be more permanent and chemically stable. 

I can’t wait to try this out on my own.. I already have a few ideas!  If only I was as prolific as Maribel.. there is artwork and inspiration everywhere you turn in her studio.

Don’t you love the rustic window paned doors?  Maribel has definitely created a space that warms the heart and nurtures the soul.  I was there for less than an hour and came home incredibly inspired and ready to create!  I hope our visit to Maribel’s studio has done the same for you.

To see more of Maribel’s artwork, visit her Pick of the Crop page here at Artsy Forager or drop by her own website.

Savage Beauty: Madeleine Peck-Wagner

19 Aug

Madeleine Peck-Wagner has a way of taking subjects that could be trite and making them extraordinary.  Her latest series features mythical wolves and horses, but in Madeline’s hands, they are treated in a way that is contemporary and elegant.  The cross-hatching & precision of the lines are reminiscent of architectural drafting, giving the figures depicted a strutctural, landscaped quality.  Conversely, blots and washes of brightly colored paints call to the spiritual significance such animals, both living and decayed possess.

Fighting Hessians

Russian Winter II

Wolves At The Door

We Are All Tragedies

To see more of Madeleine’s work, visit her art blog, Art Isn’t Rocket Science or visit Jen Jones Art Consulting.

Gallery Hopping PDX-style

30 Jun

PDX is slang for Portland, apparently.  I kept seeing it everywhere in Portland this weekend and being from Florida, of course had no idea what it meant.  Was it some sort of secret code?  Some inside joke only super-hip Portlandians knew about?  Nope, just Portland’s airport code, which has become short for Portland, just like JAX is short for my hometown of Jacksonville.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t some sort of subversive meaning to PDX, at least not one I could find on Google.

After a month in the Northwest, George & I finally made the 2 1/2 hour drive from Aberdeen, WA to Portland last Saturday.  We’ve already hit a couple of smaller artsy destinations nearby ( Olympia, WA & Astoria, OR ), but finally worked our way up to the mac-daddy of them all, Portland.  The home of hip.  We were only in Portland for the day, so decided it would be best to limit ourselves to one section of the city.  So we chose The Pearl District, for its galleries for me and its proximity to Powell’s Books, Stumptown Coffee & Rogue Brewery for George.  I try to make sure that when I drag him gallery-hopping, there is always the promise of beer.  This makes for a much happier husband.

Work by David Slader at Gallery 903

Gallery 903 was filled with contemporary painting, sculpture and mixed-media work.  I can usually tell the minute I walk into a gallery whether or not I’m going to enjoy my visit and find artists to blog about.  As soon as I saw wonderfully textured abstracts and thoughtfully placed sculpture, I knew Gallery 903 was a good stop.  The work of the artist above, David Slader, got George’s attention before than mine.  Slader is a former high-powered attorney turned artist and after reading his tongue-in-cheek artist statement, I had a better appreciation for him.  His work has deep texture , a powerful palette and expression.  Here’s an even better shot of “You Want to Dance”, that gallerist Herschel was nice enough to email me..

You Want to Dance, Oil on canvas, 24x24

This was just the first of the delights to be found at 903.  While George continued to admire the Sladers, I rounded the corner and happily came across a little niche and what was to be found there?  Some thrilling little Salvador Dali prints!

Salvador Dali prints at Gallery 903

Complimenting the Dalis in the same little space were two epoxy-resing pieces by Alan Fulle.  One of my favorite things about working in a gallery was designing & creating tableaus of artwork that coordinate together in unexpected ways.  Virtual congrats to whomever hung the work in this gallery.

Artist: Alan Fulle, Gallery 903

Here are some more treats from 903:

Artist: Chuck Gumpert, Gallery 903

Artist: Natalia Petrova, Gallery 903

Artist: Georgia Gerber, Gallery 903

I absolutely loved this bronze geese sculpture!  George wasn’t quite as enamored.  What’s not to love about lovey-dovey, fat bronze geese?  I mean, really, how could you not love them?!  Oh well, moving on..

Augen Gallery had two interesting exhibitions showing, the first, work by Wendy Franklund Miller– I am a sucker for encaustics.  There is just something about that waxy texture that I adore.

Artist: Wendy Franklund Miller, Augen Gallery

The kind-of cosmic feel to Franklund Miller’s work was a great complement to their other exhibition, Light Drawings by James Minden.

Artist: James Minden, Augen Gallery

These “light drawings” are scratched/etched PETG ( plastic ) reflecting light.  They are totally trippy in the best sense.  We had so much fun looking at these from all different angles.  Check out this slide show to see better photos than I could have taken:  James Minden on Vimeo.

Continuing the equestrian kick I seem to be on lately, Froelick Gallery happened to be showing Equine, a juried group exhibition showcasing the horse.  A diverse showing of work centered around our four-legged friends, it was fun to see the variety of interpretations, including a plate from the famous Muybridge Animal Locomotion series.  George was drawn to the work of Miles Cleveland Goodwin, which while beautifully rendered, was a bit on the dark side for my tastes.  I love how the differences in our tastes spark lively discussion!

Artist: Miles Cleveland Goodwin, Froelick Gallery

I, on the other hand, fell in love with the giant below. White Shadow by Rick Barstow is pastel on paper, 74″ long and it is fabulous.  I’m not sure what I love more, the lovely layering of the pastel, the unfinished, sketchy-quality or the scribbled “HORSES” at the bottom.  It’s all workin’ for me.  Or maybe it is that the straight-on gaze of the horse reminds me of an illustration of a story my grandmother used to read me as a little girl, The Goose Girl.

Artist: Rick Barstow, Froelick Gallery

Our next stop, Bullseye Gallery has a kick-a$$ space.  Two levels, full of exposed brick and metal work, rustic wood and these amazing little installation rooms.  I got so caught up in admiring my surroundings that I failed to take many pictures.  I know, bad little blogger.  The gallery is part of Bullseye Glass Company, maker of colored glass for art & architecture.  Oh, that explains why there was so much incredible art glass!

Artist: Dante Marioni, Bullseye Gallery

Artist: Silvia Levenson, Bullseye Gallery

Our final destination was Butters Gallery.  Are ya’ll tired yet?  Because I sure was by this point in the day. ( We’d also hit the Saturday Market, Stumptown Coffee, Powell’s Books and Rogue, in addition to all the galleries. )  Butters reminded me of some of the Chelsea galleries in NYC, as it was kind of hidden away, on the 2nd floor of a walk-up building.

Butters Gallery

Artist: Susan Hall, Butters Gallery

Butters had some really interesting work on display, I hope to bring you more on those artists very soon, especially the one whose work is pictured above, Susan Hall.  I fell head over heads for her work– my crappy picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice.  I’ll feature her more in depth in a separate post in the next few weeks.

So ends our little jaunt through Portland’s Pearl District galleries.  I can’t wait to go back to PDX and explore the other art districts.  This weekend we’re headed North!

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