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Divine Delights: Olga Antonova

31 Jan

I’m a firm believer that anything you eat will taste better served on pretty china or a lovingly decorated table.  The work of Russian born artist Olga Antonova celebrates these every day objects, elevating them using her technical prowess tinged with a hint of charm and whimsy.

Stacked Cups With Yellow Top, oil on canvas, 22x24 ( via Selby Fleetwood Gallery )

The delicate porcelain vessels are stacked, one on top of each other, creating dainty monuments of indulgence.  Tea or coffee sipped from colorful china induces us to have a seat, slow down, have a leisurely chat.  Antonova’s work does the same, creating a calm sense of elegant consumption.

Red and Blue Teacups, oil on canvas, 16x16 ( via Gallery Henoch )

Her depictions of the smooth, shiny surfaces and colorful patterns make me want to fall down a rabbit hole and crash a tea party hosted by a bunny with a crazy chapeau.

Composition With Dragon Pot, oil on canvas, 20x20 ( via Gallery Henoch )

Composition With Pink Cup, oil on canvas, 28x26 ( via Gallery Henoch )

To see more of Olga Antonova’s work, please visit her website or the websites of her representing galleries or check them out in person, if you can at — Gallery Henoch in New York, Selby Fleetwood Gallery in Santa Fe, Beth Urdang Gallery in Boston, Gardner Colby Gallery in Naples and Rice Polak Gallery in Provincetown, MA.

Featured image is Composition With Cups, oil on canvas, 30×15.


Portrait of Things Already Come

5 Jan

We are a world that loves stuff.  One look at the tv show Hoarders will confirm that, as human beings, we develop emotional and psychological attachments to objects.  Certain things may represent for us the physical manifestation of the memory of a time, a place, a relationship.  Canadian artist Christopher Stott celebrates this connection by elevating every day objects to the subject of portraiture.

Good Times, oil on canvas, 30x30

Stott takes simple objects, isolating them against a neutral, traditionally lit backdrop, he treats them his subjects tenderly, as another portrait artist might portray the innocence of a child or quiet strength of a grandmother.

GE Vintage Electric Fan, oil on canvas, 22x28

Compositions containing multiple objects take on an interesting dynamic– they seem to communicate, to regard and relate to each other in an almost human-like way.

Candlestick Phone and Electric Fan, oil on canvas, 24x24

Remington, Overwhelmed, oil on canvas, 36x24

By choosing subjects with an already inherent history, the artist celebrates the lives of these every day objects– the people they have served, the differences they may have made to a human life, the treasured memories that may be associated with their torn pages and chipped paint.

Baggage, oil on canvas, 30x30

To see more of Christopher Stott’s work, please visit his website.  Maybe these portraits will inspire you to look at your “stuff” a bit differently!

Featured image is Quartet, oil on canvas, 48×24.  All images are via the artist’s website

Artsy on Escape Into Life: Mia Brownell

20 Dec

Can’t believe I almost forgot to let you all know about my post today over at Escape Into Life!  Better late than never, I suppose.. Be sure to click on over there and check out today’s feature on artist Mia Brownell.  I think you’ll find her work as intriguing as I did!

Still Life with Villin Headpiece, oil on canvas, 56x42

Mia Brownell on Escape Into Life

Loneliness and Loveliness: Holly Farrell

12 Dec

I have a weakness for objects with a past.  Everyday pieces from days gone by hold the  untold stories of a person, a family , a home.  Toronto artist Holly Farrell’s paintings of vintage objects explore this sense of nostalgia for days gone by, while also having a strong, strikingly melancholy visual impact.

Bowl, acrylic and oil on masonite, 18x14

The self-taught artist isolates her subjects, often with a muted, neutral background, taking a bit out of their normal context, emphasizing their design and calling our attention to their forsaken state.

Couch, acrylic and oil on masonite, 28x18

These are works that are wryly reverent.  Remember that hideous sofa in Grandma’s living room?  It is now immortalized on canvas, forlornly longing for the days when grandchildren used to bounce and play on it’s floral-covered cushions.

Mugs, acrylic and oil on masonite, 12 @ 7x8 each

Colorful Fire King mugs, which once warmed young hands and tummies with hot cocoa are now another kind of “mug shot”… snapshot compositions feel like they could be the sales photos for an eBay or Craigslist ad.  Going once, going twice.. sold.

Ken and Barbie dolls, once beloved playtime companions now seem vacant and distant.

Kens, acrylic and oil on masonite, 4 @ 12x14 each

Barbie, acrylic and oil on masonite, 12x14

Though there can be a definite sadness surrounding some of Holly Farrell’s work, it is tempered with charm and joy.  Just as our memories should be.  To see more of Holly’s work, please visit her website. On her website, not only will you find more deliciously intriguing work, but also a list of galleries in the US and Canada where you can see them live and in person.

** Thank you to The Jealous Curator for the introduction to Holly Farrell’s work via her post on SF Girl By Bay!

Featured image is Books, acrylic and oil on masonite.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Cult Of ( Fashion )Personality: A Conversation With Christina Foard

15 Sep
Jacksonville artist Christina Foard has been developing a series of paintings, “Dresses”, which explore the connection between what we wear, our personality, our past, present and future.  Here, Christina talks candidly about this series and what she sees as the psychology behind our fashion choices.
AF:  Hi Christina!  Thank you so much for taking the time for this little interview.  You know how much I love your work.  I am completely enamored with your dress series and am so excited you have been creating some new pieces! How did this series begin and how has it evolved?
C:     I’ve been working on dresses since 2008. It began with self-portraits where I am wearing gowns painted with mapped areas or terrain I’ve covered. Mapped gowns was a personification and extension of aerial landscapes that I had begun a year prior.  (Ballerina Dance, The Written Legacy, Fluid Gown ( below ), The Courtesan, A Life-changing Conversation, A Single Mom’s Playground, Picnic of Adulthood are some of these.) Since it was more about the journey, decisions and influences, I eventually removed the figure altogether. I began to place myself in and amongst other women, each of us represented symbolically as a dress.  In these, I paint the way someone feels to me. It’s more about vitality and energy than their physical presence…a little like painting a pattern of the music they emanate and comparing those rhythmic differences in a series. ( “Pajama Party” ( below ), “Three Sisters”, “Five Friends” ). For example, a 90 year old woman with a saucy, adventuresome personality might end up with the most flamboyant and lively dress, which looks more suitable for a 20 year old.
Recently, in “Polka Dot Party” ( below ) and a few others, my focus area shifted from observing others to a discussion of how I choose to present myself to the world around me each day. Again, choices, decisions and influences.

Liquid Gown, oil on canvas, 48x60

The Pajama Party, oil on canvas, 36x60

AF:   Tell me about what you see as the psychology around fashion and the garments we choose to clothe ourselves in.
C:      When we are shopping for clothes, we pass up most items available. We reject all the items which don’t fit our perception of ourselves or our perception of our bodies. These rejections are as telling as what we eventually choose to buy. We essentially have to contend with the roles we play in our relationships as well as physical issues that dictate attire: seasons, terrain and climate. Specifically for women whose options vary greatly, our choices can openly display themes of femininity: sexuality, power, accessibility, creativity, compassion, social status, affluence, self-respect. Because our attire speaks so loudly about who we are and who we aren’t, we also deal with influence and who we hope to engage with on a given day. How accessible do I want to make myself today? How much do I want to reveal? How much do I want to conceal? Do I want to lead or do I want to be one of the masses? Do I want to bring attention to myself? These aren’t conscious questions we ask ourselves necessarily; yet they sit below the surface. 
           Behavior and language is affected by dress. From my personal experience I’ve noticed that I’m more expressive and creative when I wear a long scarf; more formal, precise, and attentive wearing a suit jacket; more nurturing and tactile in a long flowing dress. I notice my energy, tone, and carriage alters depending on the femininity of my fabrics, the structural formality of a garment, the heel height of my shoes, the accessories I’ve chosen. My language and sentence structures change, my accessibility to others is affected. The emotional, physical, and psychological components are intertwined. This, I find fascinating.

Polka Dot Party, mixed media on canvas, 48x60

AF:  I’ve noticed a few of your latest works in this series are named after women.  Are these “portraits” of specific women?
C:     Yes, they are. It is part of a social “inspiration” project that I began in 2009 and will be complete in the next several months. It is comprised of 6 individual paintings around 40″ and one larger 10′ painting. It is entitled Accidental Mentors Project and I’ll be sure to let you know all about it when fully complete. 

Hope: Cultural Connectivity, Accidental Mentors Project

AF:  I can’t wait to see the completed series!  Do you have a favorite article of clothing?  What makes it special and what does it say about you, as a woman, as an artist or as a mother?
C:     I found this question challenging, if you can believe it. I decided on one long skirt I’ve had for about 6 years. It has a conservative pattern on a somewhat sheer fabric, yet a Latin-inspired construction. Every time I wear it, it makes me feel like dancing and I couldn’t feel more feminine or more perfectly my age in it. Because of how it makes me feel, I’ve also had some great memories attached to it. That adds a sentimental component.

Decisions, mixed media on canvas, 36x60

AF:    Finally, just for fun.. What are you wearing? 😉
C:       Pink racer-back NIKE T-shirt, navy blue Adidas cropped workout pants and my favorite socks – my running shoes yet to be put on. Plus, a little locket with my kids’ tiny toddler faces inside. The combination seems perfect at this quiet, early morning moment before the sun has arrived.
A huge thank you to Christina for sharing her work and insights.  To see more of this talented artist’s work, please visit her website.
Featured image is Christina in her downtown Jacksonville studio.  All images are courtesy of the artist’s website.

Friday Faves: Eat. Drink. Be Artsy.

22 Jul

The hubby and I love food.  Eating food.  Buying food.  Cooking food.  Talking about eating, buying and cooking food.  We plan trips around where we will eat.  For us, food is more than just a way to provide energy to our bodies. ( Although, we take that pretty seriously ).  Food doesn’t just nourish our bodies, it is a feast for the eyes and the soul.  The best times are those spent lingering over wine after a delicious meal with friends.

For centuries, artists have seen the beauty and sensuality in food.  Gastronomical still lifes have long been the fare first of students, then of masters like Cezanne.  For this Friday’s round-up, I’m featuring some selections from an artsy menu.  Here are some of my favorite artistic comestibles!

Falling Seeds #8 by Gustavo Castillo

Opaque Cookies by Kim Frohsin

Tower by Justin Richel

Hot Sauce Spill by Carlos Lopez

Strawberry PB&J by Duane Keiser

After you wipe the drool off your keyboard, be sure to check out the websites of all these grocery-lovin’ artists.  Hmm.. I think maybe it’s time for lunch.

1.  Gustavo Castillo

2. Kim Frohsin

3. Justin Richel

4. Carlos Lopez

5. Duane Keiser

Any other foodie Artsies out there?  Have a favorite eatery or foodie artist?  Do tell!