This weekend, I participated in a wonderful juried art festival in Needham, Massachusetts. The 2017 Needham Winter Arts Festival was held at Town Hall and featured over 30 local artists exhibiting their work. It was wonderful to be a part of this event which attracted hundreds of people (despite the first snowfall of the season) and featured musicians and singers performing holiday tunes onstage. The event was made possible through support from the Town of Needham and the Massachusetts Cultural Council Festival Grant Program.
I decided to post this blog article because two paintings of mine found a new home! The paintings, shown here, "Honey, I'm Home" and "Love Shines #2" were both sold and is now part of a private collection, bringing smiles to people residing in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The "Honey, I'm Home!" painting is acrylic paint on canvas and is 18" x 24". I was inspired to paint the house upon being invited to exhibit in a group show with the theme, "House." Before being sold, the "Honey, I'm Home!" painting was exhibited at the Morse Public Library, in Natick, MA in October 2016. It was also exhibited at the Attleboro Arts Museum December 9, 2016-February 2, 2017. I love this painting because of all the mosaic illusion elements, the representation of bushes, and how I used a broken line to indicate the front doorway.
The second painting sold, "Love Shines #2" is a 10" x 10" acrylic on board painting with resin and ground glass. "Love Shines #2" was one of my most recent paintings completed within the past month! This was one of my first few paintings that features my use of acrylic paint and ground glass with multiple layers of resin. I love using hearts in my artwork to convey the emotion of love, passion, romance, and fun! I really do feel that love does shine, and in the case of my artwork, it does too through the use of ground glass that reflects the sparkling light!
The accompanying painting, "Love Shines #1" is still available, and I'm glad that it received a lot of positive praise at the Arts Festival. I'm currently working on another series of 10 paintings, all 10" x 10" with acrylic paint, ground glass, and resin. So stay tuned for more information on those paintings once I'm done with them in my studio. They are going to be awesome and a LOT of FUN! OMG!
I also sold out all my puzzles and blankets featuring my artwork as well as sold a lot of greeting cards, coasters, candles, limited edition prints, and notepads too! The 2017 Needham Winter Arts Festival was a great and successful event! I'm looking forward to participating in it again next year!
I'm thrilled that these paintings sold to folks who absolutely loved them and I hope that they will enjoy their original paintings for many years to come!
To see the painting sold last weekend and read the blog article: CLICK HERE!
Part 1: Barcelona Architecture
One cannot talk about Barcelona's architecture without mentioning Antoni Gaudi. Part of the Modernista movement of the late 19th Century, Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona's most famous architect. Almost anywhere you look in Barcelona, Gaudi had some part in its creation, from the houses, apartment buildings, churches, sidewalks, parks, and even the city benches lining the streets. In Modernism, nature was a huge element present in decorative motifs as well as present in the actual architectural structure of Gaudi's buildings. Below are some of Gaudi's masterpieces, but there are dozens of others throughout Barcelona to visit and experience.
I really enjoyed seeing Casa Batllo, which is situated on a main street in the heart of Barcelona. Mosaic is everywhere. The Chimneys of the building are works of art. The roof is representational of a dragon's back. The exterior facade demonstrates Gaudi's expert use of texture and color. Below are some photos of the exterior of the building as well as the interior. The sidewalk tiles as shown in the photos below line the streets and feature an underwater, marine-life motif.
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia is innovative and highly symbolic. The architect's objective was to explain the teachings of the Church through sculpture and architecture. Following Gaudi's death, work on the Sagrada Familia continues to be carried out by collaborating architects and artists. The project is expected to be complete by 2026, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.
The stained glass windows were perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of the Sagrada Familia. The colors were so vivid and bright.
Park Guell is another one of Gaudi's masterpieces. It was build between 1900 and 1914. It was opened as a public park where Gaudi let his imagination run wild with his incredible use of mosaics throughout the park. Below are some photos of Park Guell. The mosaic work is unbelievable and reminds me very much of the mosaic illusion that I paint in many of my own paintings.
La Pedrera is also known as Casa Mila. It was completed in 1912 as an apartment building. There are curved walls that seemingly defy the laws of gravity. The rooftop is amazing at night and includes all of Gaudi's architectural trademarks. Bricks in the attic create arched ceilings and are uniquely used using the log side of the brick, which also features the brick-maker's fingerprints. There are terrific wrought iron balconies and exquisite ceramic mosaics. I highly recommend visiting La Pedrera by booking a night tour, which includes a full tour of the building and a surreal visual light display on the rooftop under the stars, followed by a champagne toast and cookies!
Although my time in Barcelona didn't permit me to visit the Palau Guell, I should mention that it is an excellent example of one of Antonio Gaudi's early architectural masterpieces. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a magnificent example of domestic architecture in the context of Art Nouveau and one of the first important commissions Gaudi received at the start of his career. It is located just steps away from La Rambla, not far from La Boqueria.
Part 2: Barcelona's Art Museums and Fine Art
A Guide to Visiting Barcelona's Museums:
If you plan to visit Barcelona, I highly recommend purchasing the Barcelona Museum Pass, also known as an art passport from ArtTicket BCN, which will give you access to six Barcelona museums, including the ability to skip the lines. The Passport give you access to the Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso), the Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro), the National Museum of Art of Catalunya (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), the Antoni Tapies Museum (Fundacio Antoni Tapies), the CCCB, and the MACBA. I purchased the passport online (for 30 Euros), and simply showed the ticket to the first museum I visited to receive the passport. The passport is stamped upon entry at each museum. To learn more about the ArtTicket BCN, check out their website: http://articketbcn.org/en/barcelona-museum-pass. I should also mention that it is very important to check the hours of each of the museums as they vary significantly. Most museums, with a few exceptions, are closed on Mondays. Also, all city museums are free at last one afternoon per month, so be sure to check the websites in advance for hours and special exhibition dates.
If you're interested in contemporary art, check out this website that provides a network devoted to contemporary art in Barcelona: http://www.artbarcelona.es/circuit/en/.
Picasso Museum in Barcelona
The Museu Picasso of Barcelona is a wonderful center documenting Pablo Picasso's early years of apprenticeship. With over 4,000 works of art in its permanent collection, you'll see why this museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona.
The Picasso Museum highlights the artist’s relationship with the city of Barcelona. I learned that Pablo Picasso's father was a teacher at the San Telmo Fine Art and Crafts School. and had an important influence on Picasso's future career as an artist, who demonstrated a strong interest in art from a very young age. There are some drawings and small panels in oil that give an idea of his efforts to give his own creativity free rein and explore new techniques by taking in his immediate environment.
In Barcelona, Pablo Picasso continued his art education at the La Llotja Fine Art School. The photos here show his artwork featuring Barceloneta Beach and two ports. After taking these photos, I learned that photos were not allowed, so unfortunately, I do not have photos showing the rest of the museum. This Picasso museum focused on his earlier works, and very few on display were "well-known Picasso masterpieces." The museum highlighted Picasso's creative process of some of his work of his Blue Period. Some of the highlights of the museum included Las Meninas Series. This was a series of paintings based on the Velazquez painting Las Meninas.
For more information, please visit www.museupicasso.bcn.cat.
Fundacio Joan Miro
The Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro) is located in the Montjuic area of Barcelona and houses the work of Joan Miro as well as temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st Century art. The collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings displayed at the museum is one of the most comprehensive collections representing every stage of Miro's career as an artist. There are paintings related to Surrealism and works based on the Spanish Civil War. Miro's work on large canvases in the late 1970s onward demonstrate his use of large color fields and painting with free gesture.
For more information, please visit www.fmirobcn.org.
Museums Further Afield from Barcelona:
In the town of Girona, I visited the Museum of Jewish History. The goal of the Museum is to preserve the history of the Jewish communities of Catalunya. Art at this museum included various Jewish ritual objects. Be sure to visit if you are in Girona, which is not far from Figueres, where the Dali Museum is located.
On of my favorite pieces was this one below entitled, "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at a distance of 20 meters is transformed into the portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko).” Gala was his wife and muse for many years.
The exterior of the museum is a work of art as well. Statues with loaves of bread on their heads. Inside the museum in the open air courtyard is a spectacular and wild work of art called, "Rainy Taxi". If you put a Euro in the slot located at the base of the artwork, it will rain inside the taxi, and an umbrella will open up on top of the artwork!
The museum includes paintings by Old Masters with works from the 13th Century to the 18th Century. The largest section of the museum is devoted to works from the 19th and 20th Centuries and includes a wonderful selection of Catalan painting and sculpture of the Modern period. I was very impressed with their collection of paintings by the great masters of French and international impressionism (Degas, Sisley, Monet, Pisarro, Sargent, etc.). Picasso and Dali, avant-garde artists are also well represented!
Part 3: Barcelona's Public Art
The streets of Barcelona are filled with art by world renowned artists. Below are just a few of these that I came across on my artistic journey.
There's a great article that was recently shared with me on the pros and cons of some of the major brands of acrylic paint used by both professional and amateur artists around the world. As a professional artist, the paint I use for my artwork is of paramount importance to both me and those who purchase and collect my artwork. The article is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about acrylic paint, and finding the paint that works best for you, meeting your artistic and creative objectives.
The link to the article written by Lindsey Bourret on Wonderstreet.com can be found here: http://wonderstreet.com/blog/choosing-the-acrylic-paint-thats-best-for-you
For me, my go-to acrylic paint is Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paint. I like the drying time, the vibrancy of the color, the consistency of the paint, and I never experience any color shift. And I sometimes use Liquitex Professional Gloss Medium & Varnish to varnish some of my paintings to create a shiny or glossy look, or in some of my mixed media work where I use it to affix special papers on my canvases. I also like the Liquitex Acrylic Paint Markers, which come in both a small and large point or tip size.
I've also experimented with another acrylic paint, not mentioned in the article, called Flashe paint. Flashe comes in jars and once applied to the canvas, it dries completely opaque with a matte finish. It is made in France by Lefranc & Bourgeois. And for teaching, I often recommend that my students begin to learn how to paint with Grumbacher Academy student grade paint because it is fairly inexpensive and in my opinion has a similar feel to the Liquitex Professional Heavy Body. Grumbacher Academy Paint is discussed in the article using the link: http://wonderstreet.com/blog/choosing-the-acrylic-paint-thats-best-for-you
I encourage you to check out the article and see for yourself what works best for you and the artwork you want to create.
Just recently, on February 14th, I came across an editorial article on Artsy.net by Isaac Kaplan entitled, "Do Francis Picabia's Anti-Semitic Remarks Tarnish his MoMA Retrospective?" After reading the article I learned about Picabia's anti-Jewish feelings (and womanizing behaviors). MoMA's exhibit apparently does address this part of Picabia's character; however, I must have missed this as I walked through the gallery. To answer Kaplan's question personally. I think it does, in fact, tarnish his reputation. I really enjoyed his artwork during my visit to the MoMA. But after learning more about the artist, I can't say that I can admire him. Famous artists are people that I want to look up to and admire. They are people that I want the next generation of artists to look up to. And so, while I can appreciate his artwork at face value and his artistic technique, learning about his anti-Semitic behavior does take him down several notches in my book. Similarly, just like we want our kids to admire our professional sports players, it's hard to have our kids look up to them if they do drugs, treat women badly, are anti-gay, or are anti-Jewish, or discriminate in any way. So, I'm kind of let down after my great experience viewing his work in the gallery. But for this blog article, I will continue to proceed sharing my thoughts on the exhibit as if I hadn't learned of his anti-Semitic feelings and behavior.
Here is the link to the article for your information: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-francis-picabias-anti-semitic-remarks-tarnish-moma-retrospective
As I walked though the gallery rooms, the one thing that struck me the most was how his artistic style changed throughout his lifetime. Picabia was an artist of many genres, and his body of work lacks consistency and categorization. He shifted styles over time. The exhibit highlights his impressionist landscapes, abstract works, paintings, photo-based nudes, etc.
Here are some photos from the exhibit.
These two Picabia paintings shown below reminded me of one of my own paintings that I painted earlier this past year, "Woof Woof! Gotta Get My Bone." All three works utilize black lines in a similar fashion. I should note that my painting was created without ever seeing Picabia's work; I am just noting the coincidence in how we both used these lines in the same fashion.
"Revolutionary Impulse: the Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde" was another wonderful temporary exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art that runs through March 12, 2017. The fact that all the artwork on display comes directly from MOMA's permanent collection, demonstrates how wonderful MOMA is and how impressive their permanent collection is. Of all the artwork on view, there were two artists whose work caught my eye.
The two photos below are from the Russian artist Alexandra Exter. The oil on canvas painting on the left, called "Theatrical Composition" was very intriguing to me. I loved the colors, shapes, and overall composition of the painting. The other smaller works, pictured to the right are six designs from various stage sets like The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and others.
To photograph all the well-know paintings from all the famous artists would be a huge undertaking. So I'm including a small selection of some of my favorite pieces along with some detailed close-up photos from the following artists: Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger, Jim Dine, Andy Warhol, Edward Ruscha, Josef Albers, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, and Sol LeWitt. I have the close-up photos to show the brushstrokes, the detailed use of color, and a glimpse into what the artist was focused on while painting their masterpiece.
Pablo Picasso's Guitar Sculpture (3 views), and below, "Vase of Flowers" & "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
I highly recommend visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. More information about the museum can be found on their website: www.moma.org.
It's been a wonderful weekend, first with a very successful 2016 Needham Open Studios, selling a number of original paintings and prints as well as some of my merchandise featuring my artwork; and second with a spectacular interview/article about me and my art. Lisa Koschwitz Salerno's website features a wonderful art blog, and one of the exciting themes is her "Support Living Artists In 2016" series. #SupportLivingArtistsIn2016 I am pleased to share that this week, I was selected to be her "Artist of the Week"! Thank you Lisa for the Interview!
Please take a moment to check out her website: www/koschwitzsalerno.com and visit her blog to read the full interview:
You can also download a PDF of the interview here:
The Art Connection
Welcome to Eddie Bruckner's Art Blog!