Tag Archives: artist

Bugging Out

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Entomology (from Greek ἔντομος, entomos, “that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented”, and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of insects. Insects account for more than two-thirds (2/3’s) of all known organisms on the earth. The study of insects is a form of biology, ecology,  arthropodology, specifically in zoology. That’s a lot of “ologies”. The scientific study of insects is thought to have begun around the 16th century – which accounts for the first century of the Renaissance.  As Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) wrote, “It is indeed true that art is omnipresent in nature, and the true artist is he who can bring it out.”

Christopher Marley, The Coleoptera Mosaics, each piece is signed and labeled and no two are exactly alike.

Whether we are discussing beetles (25% of all known lifeforms are in this order), bees, moths, butterflies, ants, grasshoppers, or candidas, it should be noted that most of the bugs’  exoskeletons are gorgeous. Bugs usually rely on the defense mechanism of camouflage so as not to be eaten or seen. This mechanism (through the course of evolution) has allowed bugs to have colors as variegated as tree moss, tropical birds, succulents, desert flowers, and rainforest bark. Historically, several species of bugs have been incorporated into ritual objects because of tribal religious significance. In Mexico, live beetle brooches (don’t be squeamish!) are a growing trend. Several living artists have reinvented the idea of scientific insect study and raised the pinning and conservation of insects as an art form.

Christopher Marley, “Lumens Prism”, Via.

A gallery wall featuring several Christopher Marley creations, for purchase go HERE. 

Framed insects via The Evolution Store in Soho, NY. 

Steven Kutcher works with animals far too small to hold any paintbrush!  He treats insects as living (and thus, moving) brushes in order to create his canvases. Kutcher’s bug art concept grew out of his work as an insect wrangler for Hollywood films, including “Arachnophobia” and “Spider-Man.” The inspiration came on a Hollywood set in 1985, while working on the Steven Spielberg television project “Amazing Stories.” He explains, “I’ll take a bug in my hand and, leg by leg, [and] load the paint onto each leg.”  This concept of letting animals roam free on a surface creates his “masterpieces” – sometimes with sup rising patterns and results! No insects were harmed in the making of his paintings!

Via.

 Steven Kutcher, Starry Night, Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), with Gouache on Paper, 18 x 24 in., 2004.

Sunrise No. 1., Darkling Beetle (Eleodes sp.), With Gouache on Paper, 18 x 24 in., 2004.

Bug stationery!   102. Earth Nova, by Darkling Beetle; 103. Butterflies in the Garden No. 1,by Darkling Beetle; 70. Olympic, by Darkling Beetle;  (front row, left to right). 93. Fireworks in the Forest by Darkling Beetle; Making Tracks*byDarkling Beetle; 74. Dancing Beetle LL (Lower Left, part of a series of four paintings), by Darkling Beetle.

Bug art prints as decor, image from DesignSponge, HERE.

Bug Under Glass is an amazing online retailer that features several styles of bugs, prints, dioramas, and insects on maps! Check it out, HERE.

As a teen, Christopher Marley spent 2 years in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. As a professional photographer his assignments sent him to dozens of countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. All he saw and photographed generated a desire to produce a work that would share the awesome variety of insects world-wide. Besides insects, he also has designed items with fossils, minerals, botanicals, bones, and sea life.  If ACTUAL bugs on the wall are not your cup-of-tea, feel free to purchase this gorgeous coffee table book instead.

Or you can invest in bug prints, without using the actual insect bodies. Either way – the colors and shapes are inspiring!

Barton Lidice Benes, Bug, 2009, Mixed-media on paper , 16 x 14 inches, found HERE. 

 

Let Them Eat Cake

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The word “pastel” as we know it is originally an art term (of course). It technically is the term for a powdered pigment stick (or chalks) in a binder. The most widely used form of pastels is a “soft pastel” which is a crayon that can be easily smudged and whose colors are bright. Pastel techniques can be challenging since the medium is mixed and blended directly on the working surface, and unlike in paints, colors cannot be tested on a palette before applying to the media. The pastel form was first mentioned by Leonardo da Vinci (who apparently invented and discovered EVERYTHING) in 1495. Because the use of pastel and term has become so colloquial and ubiquitous – IT HAS BECOME AN ADJECTIVE – pastels can now mean any color that is pale in color and saturated in a low hue. Let us hop into the candy-colored, cake-frosted world of pastels (encompassing several art forms):

Wayne Thiebaud “Cakes and a Counter,” 1963, National Gallery of Art

THE ABOVE IMAGE IS A PHOTOGRAPH AND REPLICA OF THE THIEBAUD PAINTING. The Inspiration: “Cakes,” by American artist Wayne Thiebaud, 1963. Williams Freeman’s sugary spread is virtually identical to the original. Image found via Martha Stewart Weddings, HERE.

 Wayne Thiebaud Pies, Pies, Pies 1961. Oil on canvas 20 x 30 in (50.8 x 76.2 cm) Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.

Mary Cassatt, Sleepy Baby, 1910

Ian Davenport,”Puddle Painting: White”, 2008

Ian Davenport, Prismatic Diptych (Ghost), 2011, Colour etching diptych on Hahnemühle Bright White 300 gsm paper

I find these muted hues extremely calming, almost bordering on earth tones (on that note, it is said that technically cave paintings could be considered pastels). My bedroom is in a pastel, sage green so that I can feel relaxed before the sandman visits. A pastel color palette feels cozy and inviting. It also allows your home to be in a perennial spring!

Why not live inside of an Easter Egg Shell? Image found HERE.

I am showing this even though I am not the biggest fan of slipcovers. To each his own pastel! Image found at InteriorHolic, HERE.

Image found at House To Home, HERE.

Photographer Deborah Whitalw Llewellyn found via Coastal Living, HERE.

Add a little touch of Versailles to your life! Image found at the Shelterness, HERE.

A dessert colored palette readymade in your kitchen. Who wouldn’t want to be a baker living in this? Image found HERE.

The colors and the glass jars transport me to 1920’s Italy. This image hails form a GELATO THEMED BRIDAL SHOWER found at Ruffled, HERE.

Pastel living room found HERE.

I get that this isn’t TECHNICALLY interior design, but I actually could not resist. Photo by Camilla Lindqvist.

Image designed by Behr Paints, exact colors and image details found HERE.

Image found HERE.

Pastel meets crochet meets Art Deco, found HERE.

NOW HOW CAN YOU LIVE IN A VAT OF FROSTING?

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 /

Studio Visit

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Diana Kurz is a naturalist and figurative painter based in Soho, NYC. She was born in 1936 in Vienna, Austria. Kurz explains, ” My parents and I came to the US via Italy, Switzerland, England (where I learned to speak English) and Ireland. Because of the large body of work I have done on the subject of the Holocaust, I think it is important to mention that we were forced to flee Vienna in 1938, and that although we came to the United States when I was four years old, the events of WW II directly affected my life and childhood. Family history and my parents’ generosity in raising two of my orphaned cousins, survivors of concentration camps, as their own children instilled in me an awareness of the importance of social justice and caring for others.” To read a more in-depth biography, reprinted from Veteran Feminists of America, go HERE.

Diana Kurz and her mother in Europe when she was about 2 1/2 or 3.

Diana with a hip, mod, Sassoon inspired pixie cut in her Paris studio in 1965.

And later in her Soho studio – one of the lucky few to find these hidden Soho loft gems in the 1970s (before the area became the trendy, commerce center it is today).

Like in the Wizard of Oz, we just went from Black & White to Color! This is Diana today standing in front of one of her paintings. Look a that necklace!

She has exhibited her work extensively in solo and group shows nationally and internationally and her work is in many distinguished private and public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Rose Art Museum, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien in Austria; The Jewish Museum of Vienna; Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Hudgens Center for the Arts, GA; Savannah College of Art and Design, and Yad Vashem. Among the numerous awards she has received are a Fulbright Grant in Painting to France;  New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant; American Center Residency in Paris; Austrian Federal Ministry of the Arts/VCCA Artist-In-Residence in Vienna;.Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency. Kurz has been on the faculty of distinguished art schools including Pratt Institute, Queens College, Cleveland Institute of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, SUNY at Stony Brook, University of Colorado in Boulder, and Philadelphia College of Art (now known as University of the Arts). She has a Bachelor of Arts cum laude degree in Fine Arts from Brandeis University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from ColumbiaUniversity.

John in the Studio, oil on canvas, 57″ x 68″

Ann in Striped Dress, oil on canvas, 72″ x 51 1/2″, Collection of Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts

Women painters were rare in the 1960’s and so the best compliment she would ever receive at the time was “that could have been painted by a man” (How horrible)! Although it might not show at first glance in her works, Kurz studied the compositions of Piet Mondrian at great length. Her canvases are heavily influenced by the the exploration of lines and color composition.

Silver Spring Monkeys, #2, Monotype, 6″ x 8″

The Hudson River Downtown Study #2 ,oil on paper on canvas, 7″ x 10″

I have had the pleasure of meeting Diana on several occasions – we talked over cookies and tea just last week! We first met during my time at Columbia University while I was the Project Manager for an amazing endeavor called “Art Cart: Saving the Legacy”. Enough on the history, now for a present-day studio visit:

Alternate uses for Cento Tomato Paste. 

Not shown in the photo, the other kitty and an adorable lap dog – DIXIE!

A detail. 

What inspires you to succeed and create? What do you need in your office or workspace so that you can be successful?  I have a garden gnome given to me by my friend Sonja that has been in every apartment in which I have ever lived. It travels with me, and is always lurking in the corner, helping me to conjure ideas!

 
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