Thursday, December 26, 2013
Minnie Valero: COLLIOURE II, FRANCE, watercolor on Arches: COLLIOURE II, FRANCE, watercolor on Arches paper, 7x5 in. Collioure is the extreme South of France, next to the border with Spain. Actua...
Collioure is the extreme South of France, next to the border with Spain. Actually, it is the very last town in France where the train goes. Matisse took the train to the very last station in France, and started painting there. Later his friend Derain came over, too, they started painting the beach red, and using strong colors, plus black lines, and....voilá! Fauvism was created!
Anyway, here I was in Collioure, enjoying the beautiful light, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the boats, the lighthouse, and the beautiful and colorful town.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
This painting is recent, and part of my new series of San Diego scenes, acrylic on canvas.
This "painting San Diego" I'm doing lately, reminds me of Gianfranco Baruchello, an Italian artist whose work was exhibited at the Biennale di Venezia this year. He is 89 years old, was a friend of Marcel Duchamp and Italo Calvino. These friendships introduced him to the notion that art is a form of faith in the ability to transmute everyday objects and activities into something greater.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Plein Air painting did not begin with the Impressionists. Camille Corot (1796-1875) used to paint outdoors, in front of the subject, like his "Waterfall at Terni", from 1826. The invention of the oil tubes of paint, made it very practical to carry outdoors without having to mix the paint in your studio. In 1897, Claude Monet said: "There is only one master here: Corot. We are nothing compared to him." Typical of Corot's Italian oil sketches are the small format and the use of paper as a surface.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." ---Edgar Degas
Monday, December 9, 2013
In Creating Depth, an article by Cindy Sorley-Kelchinger, she says that being a self-taught artist is freeing in many ways, since there are no rules to slow you down, and you have the fun of finding out what you like and what you don't, on your own. That's what I did, I chose my instructors, in California and France, and learned from the best!
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." ---John Muir
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Tonight, at the reception, I noticed a couple standing in front of my painting, so I approached them. They surprised me by telling me not only that they had recently been in Toulouse, but also in the area of the Pyrenees where I live part of the year, including Cauterets! They are bikers, and have biked up the mountains from Lourdes, to Cauterets. This is a feat that only expert bikers can achieve!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Chinese painter and poet Sou Zhi (1035-1101) believed that painting and poetry were one and the same. Each painting becomes a symphony. Zhang Can, painter from the Tang dynasty (618-907) said: "The imitation of nature, the exterior form, is not the essential thing. The essence is born from the source that resides in the heart of the painter."
Sunday, December 1, 2013
I visited LACMA's (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) Calder exhibition this week. Very small, compared to Calder's exhibition at the Musee Pompidou in Paris a couple of years ago. The Pompidou had several floors of Calder's contraptions, while LACMA had just a few of them in a big room, so I was disappointed, but still, Calder is Calder, and it was fun to see them.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
This book is being published as I write this, first available date is December 10. You can see up to 15 pages in the Blurb website. Take a look, and get your copy now! I am trying to follow Benjamin Franklin's advice: "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Will Gompertz, director of the Tate Gallery for seven years, has recently published the book: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?, 150 years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. The book is written in a fun and casual way, yet with excellent ideas, information, and profound comments. One of the best things about this book is the chart of the art movements and "isms" of the past 150 years. Strongly recommend it!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Elements of Design are LSD + CVS + T , which stand for Line, Size, Direction, + Color, Value, Shape, + Texture. Ken Goldman said that these elements are like the ingredients. Like when you are making cookies, and you need MSF , for example, Milk, Sugar, Flour, etc. The elements alone, by themselves, don't do anything, cannot produce a painting. But without them, we don't have a painting either! Stay tuned...tomorrow the solution!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Ken Goldman is an internationally known artist, author, teacher and juror. He was teaching us while he was doing a beautiful portrait of his model. He taught us about the Elements of Design, the Principles of Design, and most importantly, by example. He is extremely talented, and humble. It was a pleasure to attend his lecture and demonstration. Thank you, Ken Goldman!
Monday, November 18, 2013
Petrini's Restaurant, Ash and India streets, Little Italy, San Diego, California. I've been exhibiting my paintings at Petrini's Restaurant since March 2006, when David Petrini opened its doors for the first time. I usually change the show twice a year, a shorter winter/holiday season exhibition, and a longer spring/summer/autumn exhibition. Come to Petrini's for the art, and come for the food, delicious italian cooking by the Master Chef, David himself!
Au Lapin Agile is the famous bar-cabaret where the intellectuals, artists, writers, used to meet at the beginning of the 20th. C. Paris. Coming down from Montmartre, this is the lovely view.
Au Lapin Agile is the famous bar-cabaret where the intellectuals, artists, writers, used to meet at the beginning of the 20th. C. Paris. Coming down from Montmartre, this is the lovely view.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
While I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago, I visited one of my favorite museums: Musée du Quai Branly, and saw the KANAK exhibition. The Kanak culture is based on oral language. Their myths evoke the times when the Word was able to create. To give a name to something was to give it life. It is a fantastic exhibition, I strongly recommend to visit it with plenty of time to read and absorb the spirituality of the Kanak culture. Their people live in New Caledonia, in the South Pacific.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Kandinsky said: "...Manet started it all when he began to remove pictorial detail in his paintings such as "The Absinthe Drinker" (1858). Each generation of artists that followed removed more and more visual information from their paintings. When Kandinsky saw Monet's haystack's series in Moscow in 1896, he was so impressed, he left his job as lecturer at Moscow's University of Law, and went to Germany to study art.
Monday, November 11, 2013
At this moment, you can see several of my paintings with Art Cuestion in Ourense, Spain, at Arte Studio Ginestrelle in Assisi, Italy, at Ricklundgården Museum in Saxnãs, Sweden, and in two places in Cauterets, France: la Mairie de Cauterets (City Hall), and Agence Immobiliere Bordenave. At this moment, you can also see my work in San Diego, California, at the following places: La Jolla Art Gallery, in La Jolla, California, Petrini's Restaurant in San Diego, California, Women's Museum in Liberty Station, San Diego, California, and San Diego Art Institute, Museum of the Living Artist, in Balboa Park, San Diego, California.
You are invited to the upcoming reception at La Jolla Art Gallery on Saturday, November 16, 5:00-7:00 pm. Come on over! It's a beautiful little gallery!
Sunday, November 10, 2013
I recently finished reading Marian Keyes' The Mystery of Mercy Close. Helen Walsh doesn't believe in love, fear, depression or hot drinks...she's a Private Investigator, and by the end of the book, she's been scared, fallen in love, checked herself in a psychiatric hospital due to depression and suicidal tendencies, and even served hot drinks to guests at home. Fun, witty, interesting, but too stretched out and repetitive in my opinion. It could have been the same story, and better, if shorter.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
This painting and several others will be in exhibition and for sale at the San Diego Art Institute, Museum of the Living Artist C-NOTE EVENT, Balboa Park, California, from November 22nd to December 8th. Reception on Saturday, November 23rd, 6:00-8:00pm. Come early!!!! Since all the paintings in this event have a fixed price of $100 or $200 or $300, they sell fast. You literally take the painting you like off the wall and walk to the check out tables. It is a very popular event, where artists "clean up" their storage bins, and customers walk out with a favorite painting or two. First come, first served.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I recently read in the International Artist magazine, the following comment by John McCartin, an artist from Australia:
"My personal idea of success is to be in a position where I can fully develop my craft without having to spend large amounts of time doing other things. To come close to reaching my full potential as an artist while encouraging and inspiring other artists along the way."
I like this, I feel it also represents me, in a way.
Monday, November 4, 2013
I was just sitting there sketching away. When the woman noticed I was drawing her, she smiled.
"Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence." - ------- Abigail Adams
"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience."
------------Henry Miller (1891-1980)
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Sitting at the corner cafe, Metro Alésia , having a cup of coffee in the morning, while watching people go by and sketching. That is the life in Paris!!!
One day last week I went to the Pinacothèque de Paris. The exhibition of Chu Teh-Chun, "Les Chemins de l'Abstraction", is magnificent! Chu Teh-Chun has lived in Paris for over 25 years. He says that it's all a matter of energy, the capacity of showing with a unique brushstroke that painting and poetry are one. He says he was impressed by reading Kandinsky: "Abstract art, far from being separated from nature, is more intimately closer to nature than art has ever been."
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Quick sketch standing on the side of the Seine near le Pont des Invalides. I love to make quick sketches directly with ink, in this case a very thin pen in sepia color, and afterwards I add a little color to the sketch. 5 minutes to do the sketch, 5 minutes to add a bit of color. It's a great exercise to "keep the hand warm" as Sorolla used to say and do.
Go ahead! Draw, sketch, paint and enjoy!
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Le "petit" (small) Palais, in Paris, was built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, like its neighbor, the Grand Palais. It houses a magnificent collection of decorative murals and sculptures created between 1903 and 1925. The architect Charles Girault wanted to lend his building the grandeur and dignity of an official palace and created a program of work designed to glorify the city of Paris, and celebrate the benefits of art. This is the view from the garden, where I was sitting sketching in ink, and then put some color into it. I used sepia ink, then some watercolor. It is a huge, beautiful, very elegant building. Nothing in it is "petit", but it is smaller in comparison with the "grand" Palais. In the galleries around the garden, Paul Baudouin painted a huge vista of vines interspersed with medallions featuring the months of the year, and the hours of the day and night. Then three large sections of the vaulted ceiling are painted with feminine allegories of the Seasons. Gorgeous! Not to be missed!
Here in Paris, at the Musee d'Orsay, this is the leading painting for the excellent exhibition: ALLEGRO BARBARO: Béla Bartók et la Modernité Hongroise 1905-1920.
Young Hungarian artists were living in Paris at the beginning of the XXth C., and they would spend thieir summers in Hungary, painting in plein-air. At the same time, Bartók published his "Fourteen Bagatelles" for piano, dissonant, revolutionary, radically different. Music and painting were working together. Bartók would play during the painters exhibitions.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
At the Musee d'Orsay, in Paris, I had the great opportunity of enjoying the temporary exhibition: "Béla Bartók and the Hungarian Modernity 1905-1920". In music and in painting, the same spirit of renewal was vibrating in Hungary and Paris. A group of Hungarian painters and the musician Bartók, were visiting Paris for different periods of time, enjoying the art scene Parisienne. This is Robert Bereny's masterpiece, in oil. I did a quick watercolor in my art notebook to remember this beautiful painting: Dans la Rue = En la calle.
Friday, October 25, 2013
I've recently read, admired, enjoyed beautiful watercolors by Jean Christophe Pierre in his book: COULEURS DE BIGORRE. I learned some details about this area of Southern France, and enjoyed Pierre's watercolors. They are very traditional, lots of details, and beautifully done. Sometimes I do work like that, whatever gets into me to work very detailed. But most of the time I prefer to work more loosely, faster, and get more into the mood of the moment than in the detail.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I was a few days in Arcachon, a beautiful and elegant beach city near Bordeaux, in France. One day I was looking for postcards, and found a series of 10 envelopes each with a scene of Arcachon. Since I had white writing paper, I painted in watercolor, in the corner, one scene on each paper sheet. Then I wrote letters to friends. Each one received a letter with an original watercolor, matching the photograph on the envelope. They were happy. One of my friends even framed the letter!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Only the swans are missing! But at the moment I painted this small watercolor, the swans were somewhere else, I guess. They are often swimming around this area of Annecy, on the East of France.
I've just finished reading Katherine Pancol's LES YEUX JAUNES DES CROCODILES, original in French. The literal translation is: "The yellow eyes of crocodiles", but who knows how the offcial translation will be when it appears in English, or maybe it already has? It's a novel placed in Paris, France, about fear, low self-esteem, redemption, happiness, lies and truth, about men and women, about who we are and who we want to be, it's full of laughs and tears, it's about life. I enjoyed it very much, I recommend it, if you can find a translation.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Le Béarn is one of the regions of France, with its own distinctive architecture, wines, foods, accent, veggies, and agricultural life style.
Looking through my older watercolors, in my art storage in France, I found this one on Yupo I painted over 6 years ago. It's still not too bad, although today I'd paint it more loose, and the colors in the front and the building would be more varied. I find lots of mistakes here, but I still like it a bit, I can't get myself to cut it up and throw it away. You cannot tear Yupo. If you really want to get rid of a painting on Yupo you have to wash it, since a lot of pigment will go away with water and brush, and then you have to cut it up with scissors. Enjoy looking at the problems on this painting, and send me a comment, let's see how many points of improvement you can find!!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
WINNER: Prix de Peinture a plein air: St. Sever de Rustan, 2011.
This painting is hanging at the Agence Immobiliere/Galerie Bordenave, in Cauterets, France, where it can be seen, enjoyed, and purchased. It is for sale.
"Inspiration exists, but it must find you working!" --- Pablo Picasso
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Painted a couple of years ago, while I was in Boquete, Panama, surrounded by Panameñan people from different ancestry: Spanish, and Gnobe-Bugle. This girl is wearing the typical dress of the Gnobe-Bugle women, in bright colors, and decorated with ribbons in zig-zag. Also, the cut of the dress seems to be made to de-emphasize the "feminine curves", yet this young girl attracted my eye as she walked past me, on her way to school.
I was able to quickly capture her image with my camera, and later I painted her in pastel (this version here) and in oil on burlap coffe bag. Enjoy!
Sunday, October 13, 2013
"Every portrait that one paints with soul is a portrait, not of the model, but of the artist."--Oscar Wilde.
"A painting is a poem that one can see instead of feel, and poetry is a painting that one can feel instead of seeing it." --Leonardo da Vinci.
"It's the canvas of nature that the imagination has embroidered." --Voltaire
Thursday, October 10, 2013
This last weekend in Bordeaux, France, I visited the art gallery IMAGINE, where I saw a beautiful display of Josepha's sculptures. Josepha exhibited her work at this same gallery 20 years ago, and now again. She makes sexy, fun, intelligent women. Her woman is sensual, voluptuous, and yet fragile and a dreamer. It's a pleasure to see this exhibit!
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
What a beautiful city! Bordeaux, on the river La Garonne, an elegant city with beautiful water fountains, the river, incredible bridges, excellent wines, and good friends. What more can one wish? I even had good weather! I had a fabulous weekend in Bordeaux, and now it's back to work, continuing my watercolor workshops in France. My friend Daniele Hoursiangou, journalist and poet in Bordeaux, has recently published another book of poems: Territoires Caches. (Hidden Lands). From there, I'm copying this poem, in its original French:
Rage du vainqueur
Tout est cru comme cuirasses au soleil
Mon propre sang m'attaque
Douleur de mes yeux
Tenailles sur mes vaisseaux trop tendres
Les broussailles glaces
Le vent aigu et les bois gris
Tout passera. "
Friday, October 4, 2013
Salis de Bearn is a small town in the Pyrenees in France. What's so interesting about it is that most of the town is built on stilts, because water flows all around it. I guess similar to Venice, only here the water is very low, and it is not totally an island, like Venice. Yupo, as you may know, is a non-absorbent surface, 100 % prolypopilane. It doesn't absorb the water or THE PIGMENT. Thus, the watercolors remain bright, like when you first put them down on paper. The water evaporates, and all the pigment remains. It takes longer to dry than on regular paper, but it's worth the wait! I love working on Yupo!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
La Nonette is a river in the area of Senlis and Chantilly, north of Paris. This painting and 23 others, are hanging at the Bibliothèque Municipal d'Argeles-Gazost, France. The solo show has started on October 1st, and tomorrow Friday, at 18:00 hs (6:00pm) is the Vernissage (opening reception) at the Bibliothèque. YOU ARE ALL INVITED!!!
I've just finished reading: LA LISTE DE MES ENVIES (The list of my desires) by Grégoire Delacourt. The story of a haberdashery owner, who comes into fortune, but keeps it to herself...for a while. She questions the benefits and problems of being able to offer oneself everything one can desire. It is a beautiful story, which invites us to revisit our own list of wishes and desires. I strongly recommend it.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
A few years ago, my friend Frank asked me to paint this image. He wanted to offer this image as a present to his wife, Marisa. Frank and I were talking about this image without her knowledge. I decided to paint it in watercolor, which was Marisa's favorite medium. After Frank gave the framed watercolor to Marisa, we all laughed very much at the "secrecy" of our communications, when dealing with the request and later delivery of the painting.
Today, I offer this publication in honor of Frank. Marisa left us at the beginning of this year, and Frank has recently left us, to join his dear wife. They had shared 56 years of marriage, and the love of children, grandchildren, and many friends. Goodbye Frank!
Monday, September 30, 2013
Just walking around Argeles-Gazost, I stopped and sat for a while at the beautiful park, did this little watercolor, and continued my walk. Happiness is enjoying the small things in life. The birds are flying south from the Pyrénées to the north coast of Africa. Autumn is changing the dress on the trees, every day the greens are more yellowish and orange.
We are hanging the show today, at the Bibliotheque d'Argeles-Gazost. The new exhibition starts tomorrow: "Le Mystere de l'Eau/Agua/Water". They are mostly watercolors of water scenes in Sweden, Italy and France, with two pastel portraits, two women.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Saint Savin is a very cute little town, on a hill, with a beautiful XIIIth C. church. There is a river down below. On the other side of the river is Hautacam, another beautiful hill with gorgeous views of the valley. In between all these lovely places, is my mechanic's garage. When I took the car for some work the other day, I had to wait for about an hour. I walked to the river, sat down, and painted a couple of small watercolors. This is one of them.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
I travel. I travel a lot. I'm trying to follow Woody Allen's advice. He has said: "It's not that I am afraid of death, but I prefer not to be there when she arrives. " And this is what I am trying to do!
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Painted after an original watercolor I did 6 years ago, when my daughter Evelyn came home from the hospital with her new baby, and sat in front of a window. The light was beautiful, the baby was beautiful, and so was my daughter's expression of absolute love.
Our acrylic workshop in Cauterets, France, is going well. We are painting a lot, and having fun. The beauty of acrylic, is how fast it dries. The tragedy of acrylic is how fast it dries.
Monday, September 23, 2013
I believe that studying and painting from life is very important, actually essential, to being a good artist. I promote art education through teaching, lecturing, doing demonstrations, and publications through my blog and books. I truly believe that passing along information and what I've learned from my own observation and experience is my obligation to generations of artists to come.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Title based on the lyrics of an Argentinian tango.
The Power of Notan. It gets at the essential spirit of a composition, it's pattern and design, through a strict black and white dark-light arrangement. NOTAN is a Japanese word that translates as dark-light harmony. It refers to the arrangement of light and dark patterns that serve as a foundation of a composition. And now.....there is an app for your iphone or ipad for it!! I just got it, it's great!
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Starting Monday, September 23, I will be teaching a three day acrylic workshop at the beautiful Club House in Cauterets, France. A couple of spaces are still available. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (+33) 07.81.96.24.15.
LA INSPIRACION EXISTE, PERO DEBE ENCONTRARTE TRABAJANDO. Pablo Picasso
INSPIRATION EXISTS, BUT IT MUST FIND YOU WORKING. Pablo Picasso
Monday, September 16, 2013
This is a pastel painting of internationally known DJ Dan DeLeon, who can often be seen playing at the best night clubs in San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, in California, or in Shanghai, Singapore, Brazilia, or Barcelona, as his music takes him.
It was not love that Paul Gauguin searched in Tahiti, but paradise. He found in such luxurious vegetation, an explosion of colors...and the absence of temptation.
---It is a land, --he assured his friends-- where there are no snakes and no apples. For that reason, the women there are not dangerous.
from Les Mots les Plus Drôles de L'Histoire, by Bernadette de Castelbajac.
This was a commissioned portrait of her children, by their mother, in Wilhelmina, Sweden. When the whole family visited my studio in Saxnäs, the children were so well behaved, loving and kind, that it was a pleasure to work on their portraits afterwards. I also see them as an example of bilingualism, they are growing up bilingual in Swedish and Spanish. I believe we should all raise our children bilingual in any two languages, as long they are two.
PASTEL WORKSHOP starts tomorrow Tuesday, September 17, in Cauterets, France. Three days, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, three hours each day: 2:30-5:30 pm. To register, send me an email or call me to my French mobile phone: 07.81.96.24.15. There are two places available.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
The original is a horizontal painting, bigger and wider than this photo. It is hanging in the show at the Bibliotheque de Cauterets, France, and I don't have access to the original photograph at the moment. It was painted in Perugia, Italy, this summer.
When Marilyn Monroe registered as a blood donor, and she was asked what blood type she had, her answer was: "the passionate type".
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Always clever, the American painter and sculptor Alexander Calder, better known for his "mobiles" (1898-1976), answered in a dry and serious tone to a rich art collector who requested a "mobile" made in gold:
"Yes, I will do it in gold if you want, but I will paint it in black!"