Living with Art // Loving Summer Color

It's that time of year, late July, when we find ourselves commenting on how the summer is going by so quickly. We look forward to the summer months, anticipate, talk about and plan for summer - and the season itself is so fleeting. The long days, warm weather and clear skies come together to create a more carefree and easier few months. Regardless of what you enjoy for leisure, there is more time to indulge during the short summer months. There is an easy feeling amid the long days, crisper summer light, which make the colors cleaner and  brighter. I love to see how artists reflect the beautiful blues and and other sun drenched colors, how the look and feel of the season infuses their artworks, and in turn, how the art enhances a room and brings the good feeling of summer home...

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Mothers & Art // 12 Artworks That Celebrate Motherhood

In honor of Mothers Day this week, I took a look through history at a variety of artists’ portrayals of motherhood. This Sunday, we celebrate our mothers, the women in our lives, the strength, fortitude and joys that motherhood brings. While looking at paintings, drawings and sculptures of moms, I found the artworks range from filled with awe and respect to some fairly disturbing imagery. As with all subjects, motherhood evokes a broad range of emotions…and creative results. Last year I posted about the history of Mothers Day, which dates back to the early 20th century. At that time, James Whistler had just painted his famous Whistler’s Mother. This painting is identified as an American icon. Ironic, that James Whistler’s 1871 painting has been at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris since 1891.

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Mary Cassatt, an American artist, lived in France and became one of the most recognized Impressionist painters. She was friends and exhibited with Degas, Renoir, Monet and others. Writings claim that her creativity and talents were influenced by her mother and she is known for her many paintings of mothers and their children. Additionally, she is credited with influencing the careers of many female artists.

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The beautiful paintings of Degas’ dancers included the mothers of the young girls, watching, observing and probably worrying about their daughters. The Dance Class, 1874

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Van Gogh was introduced to art by his mother Anna, who was an amateur artist while raising six children. Her love of nature, flowers and plants influenced Van Gogh's development as an artist and the subject matter of matter of much of his paintings. His first works were copies of his mother’s drawings. Portrait of Artist’s Mother, 1888

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Artist Alice Neel is considered, “one of the greatest portrait artists of the 20th century”. Her expressionistic work was largely centered on themes of motherhood, after the loss of her daughter. She went on to have other children and often depicted mother, child and familial relationships. Neel was one of the first artists to work for the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. Mother and Child, by Alice Neel, 1926

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Photographer Dorothea Lange was also employed by the government during the Depression. She documented migrant workers escaping the dustbowl for the Federal Farm Security Administration. This photo, Migrant Mother with Three Children, became symbolic of the hardships that migrant mothers and their families faced during those years.

Figurative artist Lucien Freud is known for his psychologically filled portraits examining the relationship between artist and subject. He painted a series of eighteen portraits of his mother over the course of ten years. It is suggested that these intimate portraits were his way of helping her cope with the death of her husband. The Painters Mother, 1983

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Sculptor Louise Bourgeois’, Maman, is an unexpected tribute to her mother. This large bronze and stainless sculpture is over 30’ high and 33’ wide. There are 6 in the series that was created in 1999 and is in museum and public collections worldwide. The spider is a common theme for Bourgeois, as she said,

“The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a        spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective,  just like my mother.”

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In 1991, this photo of Demi Moore was controversial. Annie Liebovitz’ cover for Vanity Fair of the naked and pregnant Moore was considered very risque at the time. Leibovitz, a mom of two, provoked a change in the perception of a woman's pregnant body as she prepares for motherhood.

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Photographer Laurie Simmons is known for the fantasy dollhouse worlds she creates and photographs, filled with dolls, finger puppets and ventriloquists. She is also Lena Dunham’s mom and is credited as the influence of her breakthrough film, Tiny Dollhouse. Simmons' portrait of her daughter,

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I had the pleasure of attending a memorable exhibit last year by my friend and artist Wendy Shalen in Chelsea. Shalen’s show was inspired by the birth of her granddaughter, her daughter entering motherhood and the aging grace and beauty of her elderly mom. She captured the generations of women in her family in her exquisitely rendered drawings and paintings. Sam and Mia,

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WS.Sam&Mia

I couldn't have been happier for Shalen to be able to celebrate the 4 generations of women and motherhood in her family. Mom at 101,

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Mom-at-101-charcoal-on-Riives-paper-19-x-26-inches-2013-B2

Artists have their singular and unique ability to convey their relationships with their mothers or children through their art. For the rest of us…whether remembering a mother, grandmother or celebrating with your children, as I will be, I hope you enjoy the day set aside to acknowledge the wonderful experience of motherhood!

Have a Happy Mothers Day!

 Microsoft Word - CAROL.Doc1.doc

Microsoft Word - CAROL.Doc1.doc

The Many Shades of White // in Art and Interiors

March is a month of transition. We are tired of the cold, and the flat colors of winter, grays and browns. We're waiting expectantly for spring to arrive, and with it the beautiful colors of the season. Before we get there, I have been thinking of white, and its many shades. White is associated with light, freshness and new beginnings. As we anxiously wait for the new season to arrive, a look at white and how neutral artwork looks great in a variety of interiors, especially as part of an all-white decor, layered with texture, fabrics and variations of color. March2015_Eblast

During the winter, it's always refreshing to wear or see someone in shades of white. Winter white is a warm color, with yellow undertones. There is an elegance to white clothing, especially in contrast to the black, or dark clothes we usually wear in the fall and winter months. A preview of classic winter whites from Ralph Lauren’s new Fall 2015 collection

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I recently read on GOOP about the redesign of Gwyneth Paltrow’s music room in her Hamptons home by designer Windsor Smith, and loved this white room. It works  beautifully because of the crisp dark contrasts and layers of color, including the abstract painting.Gwyneth.natural painting

The crossover between fashion, interiors and art is particularly clear with color trends. Windsor Smith Interiors puts together inspiring collages on Instagram showing the parallels and influence across the different disciplines. The clarity of white has always appealed to modernist artists, from Mondrian to Barnett Newman, and also to architects, from Le Corbusier to Richard Meier. I loved this recent Instagram post, classic architecture paired with a new sculptural design from Prada.

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The beauty of white in the various arts is that you can create interest and complexity by using different shades together to create an interesting neutral color scheme. The hues and intensity of a white vary depending on how much of other colors, red, yellow, grey are in it, from cool and crisp white, to warm beige, ivory, linen, cream, vanilla and more. In a recent article, The Insiders Guide to Decorating with White, in Country Living Magazine, I read that Benjamin Moore offers over 200 shades of white.

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Various interior designers discussed their preference for using white, from paint to furnishings to artwork. Darryl Carter said, "White rooms are more complex than they appear, because there are no distractions. Every choice becomes critical.” This white room is warm, especially complimented by natural woods and the addition of an all-white artwork

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Designer Suzanne Kasler says its her “liberal use of ivories and creams — plus loads of natural texture” that gives her classic rooms their casual, contemporary appeal. Her home is all whites and natural colors. The design and layout of the collection of artworks by Kris Ruhs add pattern and interest to the neutral living room.S.Kasler, ADI have collected a number of all-white rooms, many with tonal white artwork on my "White" Pinterest board. The style, look and color white of these rooms vary. From this crisp contemporary white room by Eric Cohler accented by warm woods with a large scale white painting

Eric Cohler

to designer Jill Stuarts’ cool sleek bedroom, with a large modern painting, White on White, by Julie Olitski

Jill Stuart

to Vicente Wolf’s dining room with a mix of materials and whites, complimented by a sculptural triptych of white artworks which adds depth to the spaceV.Wolf

RE photographer Shelli Breidenbach’s large scale Abstract Shells are the visual centerpiece in this yachts stunning interiorsSB.Shells.yacht2

SB.Shells.yacht The color white is versatile, it's many shades, from warm to cool, can vary and change the mood of a room, whether in the paint color, fabrics, accessories or art. White artwork, with nuances of color, texture or pattern, beautifully compliments and enhances a white palette. The large scale plaster bas relief by artist Mark Beard in this tonal room by Victoria Hagan brings a quiet drama to the elegant space.

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Here is our selection of RE artworks in the many shades of white. These can be the starting point in creating a personalized white on white space. Photographer Barbara Erdmann creates graphic images by capturing patterns in nature.  Mesh looks great alone or is striking when used as a diptych or triptych, with it's varying shades of whites and beige8654 Mesh

Another of Breidenbach's Abstract Shells, No. 3, these graphic images work as a grouping, as in the yacht, or alone

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Artist Andrea Bonfils' underwater photographs have an ethereal quality, especially Joy, of a woman floating in a diaphanous white dress. Installed by the artist at her clients' light and airy white home

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In Winters Dream, artist Kerri Rosenthal captures the nuances of whites in her abstract snowy landscape

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For horse lovers, Shelli Breidenbach's portrait of Flamissy would be a great addition to a room with the contrast of warm woods and natural fabricsCF023837 Flamissy

The beautiful serenity of the sea and sky in Stefan Radtke's Sound Portrait #1, with its subtle gradations of cool color, would be the perfect beginning for a quiet peaceful room

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I look forward to the transition to a more colorful season, and the natural beauty of the grasses, trees and flowers that will (hopefully) soon be blooming. Color is always an option in the coming months or you can opt for white on white, even in flowers, as in Morning Blooms, by Kerri Rosenthalphoto 2

Looking forward to the change of season and color...happy (almost) spring!

Microsoft Word - CAROL.Doc1.doc