Monday, December 12, 2011

Big Art, Small Art

Wilde Meyer Gallery, "The Gem Show" Scottsdale, December 2011
Unless you’re a miniaturist, painting in a small format can be challenging. Certainly, abstract painters prefer a large canvas. Since there are no figurative images, they need the size to make a powerful statement with form, composition and color. But painters who employ realism also have to rethink their skills: they have to simplify and create a way to draw the viewer into a small space.


If you’re used to working with large brushes or palette knives, it can be weird to switch to a small brush. Since I don’t use very large brushes, this doesn’t present a problem. For me, it’s more about choosing subject matter that will work in a small space, and creating a composition that’s the right scale. I wondered what other Wilde Meyer artists had to say about making small paintings, and since the gallery has its annual Gem Show up right now, I decided to call a few people.

Back of the Sierras  18"x14"

First, I spoke with Judith D'Agostino, who lives in Santa Fe. She had been an abstract painter, but began plein air painting in 2005. She committed to doing a painting a day, so she started taking small canvases on her trips to paint landscapes.

Italian Landscape, 12"x18"
“There is a learning curve to painting small,” she said. “You need to simplify and create an intimate environment. But it’s a useful exercise to paint on a small scale, and these paintings often become ideas for larger ones.”
What Are You Looking At? 7"x5"
When she’s painting small, Judith often turns to another subject. In this painting, entitled “What Are You Looking At?,” she’s used a canvas that’s 7” X 5” and "Taking a Break" that's 6" X 8". 

Taking a Break, 6"x8"





Desert Dreams (left) 6"x6"
Fancy (right) 5"x5"
 
 Suzanne Betz, a painter from Taos, alternates between small and large paintings. "Changing the size exercises my creativity,” she says. “That way, I don’t get locked into one mode of painting. My smaller pieces are intimate and open to interpretation by the viewer.”



Suzanne uses mixed media, painting in water-soluble mediums on drafting film. She can cut the film to any size, so she can quickly select the format she wants. Her goal is to achieve transparency, and she works in many layers. These small paintings, which measure 6”X6” and 5”X5,” are covered with plexiglass, which add another layer to her work.
Quiet Time,  7"x9"

Connecting Heaven and Earth 5"x7"
When I talked with Deb Komitor, who lives in Colorado Springs, she said that she’d rather paint “huge,” but her car isn’t big enough! So, I guess practicality also enters into the equation.  Like Suzanne, Deb enjoys switching back and forth, between large and small paintings. She, too, says it gets the creative juices flowing.

The Protector 39.5"x11.75"



“By varying the painting sizes, the rhythm of my painting process keeps changing. It keeps me from getting stale and repetitious, since I use different images and the paint application is different.”

Honoring Joy 7"x5"
Deb paints mainly on wood – she uses panel boards for her small format work, and actually paints on wood doors for her large pieces (I guess she borrows someone’s truck). She recently painted a series of small pieces in an iconic style, which she says is her “way of honoring these animals.”

You can see this technique in her beautiful hummingbird painting called “Honoring Joy,” which measures 7”X 5”, as well as “Connecting Heaven and Earth,” which measures 5”X7.” Both birds have the gold halo that is inherent in icon paintings.

Down Low 12" x 12"
 
Mama and Baby Bear 7"x5"

Tracy Miller also lives in Colorado Springs, and enjoys painting wildlife. Her expressionistic style and love of color make her work quite unique.

She starts with an abstract painting, getting colors to vibrate off one another. Then an image comes to mind, and as she defines it, an animal is created! You can see an example of her technique in this small painting of bears called “Mama and Baby Bear,” above, as well as the buffalo in “Buffalo Study 47,” shown below.

Buffalo Study 47,   5"x7"

Tracy likes to “mix things up,” painting in larger and smaller formats.

“The small pieces are great for first-time collectors,” she says. “It’s important to introduce your work to people at an affordable price. Also, painting small is instant gratification!”




From these artists’ comments, I guess you could say that working in a small format is both liberating and limiting. I’m going to end this blog now, so I can face the challenge of a small painting!




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Wilde Meyer!


Fire Passage mixed media on canvas 36"x48"
by Charles Davison
November marks Wilde Meyer Gallery's 28th anniversary! In 1983, when Scottsdale was known as “the West’s most western town,” Betty Wilde and Mark Meyer moved here from Tulsa, Oklahoma. “We had a gallery in Tulsa, but we wanted to move, and Scottsdale had a good art market, both from tourists and year-round residents,” Betty said.

They opened their gallery just across from the current site on Marshall Way. At the time, the other galleries were located on Main Street, and they were the first to have an art venue on this part of Marshall Way, aside from Elaine Horwitz, at the other end. A few years after they opened, Jonathan Henderson joined Betty and Mark as a partner in the gallery.

View from the Rim
oil on canvas 48"x60"
by Barbara Gurwitz

The Present oil on canvas, 41"x41"
Jacqueline Rochester
At first, they brought in artists they represented in Tulsa, but soon after, artists from the area came to the gallery. Some of the early artists are still represented by Wilde Meyer today, including Linda Carter Holman, Charles Davison and Barbara Gurwitz.  I’ve been with the gallery since 2005, and it still thrills me to be included with the wonderful artists who show here.

In the early years, Wilde Meyer consulted with many corporations in the area, assisting them in purchasing art for their offices. First Interstate Bank was a large client, and hung original art in its executive offices, bank branches and operations center. Business gradually evolved into residential clients – both designers and private collectors.
Virgin of Love  36"x36"
by Linda Carter Holman

Garden Wall, (1984)
By Linda Carter Holman
Another Wilde Meyer gallery opened in Tucson in 2000, in the beautiful Foothills area at Skyline Drive and Campbell. And, if you’re lucky enough to spend time at the nearby Canyon Ranch Spa, you’ll see many Wilde Meyer artists’ work displayed on the walls there, available for purchase.


Wilde Meyer Gallery, Tucson
Colores, located on Main Street, is the gallery’s third space, and features art, as well as jewelry and clothing

When you enter a Wilde Meyer gallery, your first impression is usually “Wow! What amazing colors!”  We are a collection of artists who love to paint and use strong color whenever possible. Some of the work is figurative; some abstract - but, for the most part, color plays a major role in every piece of art. Most of us are animal lovers, too, so you’ll see anything from dogs to horses, cats, monkeys and even elephants in paintings and sculptures.

Ranchero (2007) 72"x36"
by Sherri Belassen

Species From the Undiscovered Continent
48"x72" acyrlic on canvas
by Timothy Chapman
It’s fun to hang out at a Wilde Meyer gallery. Betty furnishes them with interesting pieces from China, and other accessories to make the gallery feel more like a home. The bright colors and creative art make people want to linger. The artwork is moved around from one gallery to another, so you’ll always see something different when you return.

As a way of giving back to the communities that support them, Wilde Meyer has always been involved in charitable endeavors. The gallery helps the Arizona Cancer Center select a painting each year, donated by the artist, as the key piece in their fundraiser’s live auction. I was honored to be selected by the organization last year, and attended their wonderful event at the Phoenician Resort. Since Betty and Mark both love animals, they have worked with such charities as Equine Voices in Tucson and Southwest Wildlife, among others, donating art, furniture and jewelry for fundraisers.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exploring Artistic Influences

Recently, I was lucky enough to see some wonderful art at museums in Paris and Amsterdam. I started thinking about how many of the master artists were influenced by other artists. Some, like Cezanne and Pissaro actually painted together. They were both influenced by the Impressionists, but Cezanne, like Van Gogh, went in a different direction, which, in turn, influenced many other artists after them.
Chloe and the Red Chair 36"x36"
Judy Feldman
 Almost all artists have their muses, and I think it’s so interesting to see how an artist can take inspiration from art they admire, and then incorporate certain elements into their own unique work. I believe that inspiration also comes from the subconscious, from experiences we’ve have had and places we’ve been during our lives.

For me, it’s always been the post-Impressionists – especially Matisse! I admire his amazing use of color, his disregard for the rules of perspective, and his emphasis on his reactions to what he saw, and how he transmitted those feelings in his paintings. Can you see his influence in "Chloe and the Red Chair"? Other painters, such as Bonnard and Gabrielle Munter also have inspired me. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in France, and I think that this, too, shows up in my paintings.
Following this theme of influences, I phoned a few Wilde Meyer artists to see who their muses were. Here are their responses:

Karen Bezuidenhout:

Three Horses 48"x48"
by Karen Bezuidenhout
Karen Bezuidenhout came to California from South Africa. She started painting in Santa Barbara and bought her first piece of original art from an artist named Billy Woolway. He became her muse and her mentor. Karen grew up around horses and knew that she wanted to paint them, but in her own way. Soon, she found her style and went from small paintings to works as big as 8’X12’. Karen also mentioned that she’s influenced by the painter Milton Avrey.

"Someone once said that my paintings reminded them of Avery, so I got a book about him, and became so inspired by his work," she said.
Elephant Family 48x48
by Karen Bezuidenhout

 Her painterly technique, simple shapes and use of earthy color reflect her influences, as does her South African background and affinity for horses. You can see this in her paintings, "Three Horses," and "Elephant Family."






Desert Valley 41"x55"
by Sushe Felix
Sushe Felix lives in Colorado. Her southwest landscapes have a distinctive style, which she claims is derived from her interest in American abstract painters from the 1930’s and 40s, as well as the modernist movement.

Vista 24"x33"
by Sushe Felix
“In particular, I’ve been influenced by Raymond Jonson, who led the Transcendental Painting Group in Santa Fe,” Sushe explained. 

I looked up the group on Google, and found that the aim of the Transcendental Painting Group was "to defend, validate and promote abstract art. They sought to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new expressions of space, color, light and design."   Thomas Hart Benton, who was at the forefront of the Regionalist movement, also influenced Sushe, as did the southwest regionalist painters, who took the local landscape and abstracted it. Sushe has her own spin on this inspiration, with a strong focus on forms, shapes and color. You can see her unique style in these paintings, entitled "Desert Valley" and "Vista."


Ka Fisher:

Sneak Preview 60"x72"
by Ka Fisher
 Ka Fisher has some conscious and some subconscious influences on her art. She has studied with Marjorie Portnow and followed the work of Ron Pokrasso – both printmakers. She’s a big fan of Joan Mitchell, who she admires for her energy and mark makings. Other painters who have contributed to her style include Eric Fischl, Susan Rothenberg, Caravaggio and Renoir (in particular his iconic painting entitled “The Luncheon of the Boating Party”).

Spiritual Ritual 36"x48"
by Ka Fisher
I asked Ka why she frequently uses Native Americans in her paintings – such as “Spiritual Ritual” and “Sneak Preview.” Then, I learned of her subconscious influence: she believes that her mother, who grew up in South Dakota, was a Native American. According to Ka, her mother never actually said as much, but she talked all the time about her heroes, who included Maria Tallchief, Crazy Horse and the Olympian Jim Thorpe. Her mother was a great storyteller, and that, too affects Ka’s narrative style. Native American artists, such as Fritz Scholder and Melanie Yazzie are also in her “muse library.” But Ka says she’s influenced by “everything,” and has photos all over her studio to provide the “information” that fuels her painting process.

Barbara Gurwitz:

The Mission at Tucamcori 40"x60"
by Barbara Gurwitz

Barbara Gurwitz’s first artistic influences were some prints that were on the inside and back cover of the dictionary she used as a child.

"They were primitive American paintings of the four seasons in a rural setting," she said. "I couldn’t stop looking at them."

Barbara went to school in Boston and frequented the Fine Arts Museum there. She likes the Impressionists, as well as Modigliani, but her main muse is Van Gogh because "he was willing to go outside the box.
Looking Northwest Across the Rio Grande 34"x44"
by Barbara Gurwitz
"With Van Gogh, the paint itself is part of the subject. I love how he painted wet on wet. Van Gogh said that it’s the artist’s responsibility to help people see the joy of creation within the world." 

Barbara lives outside of Tucson, and likes to paint the small villages in southern Arizona and New Mexico, particularly those with a mission church surrounded by the town. She has painted the same village seven or eight times, from various directions and in different seasons, so that no one is ever the same. "The Mission at Tumacacori" and "Looking Northwest Across the Rio Grande" are examples of her colorful, expressive landscapes.



You can view more art by each of these artists at Wilde Meyer Gallery's website:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tucson Rocks, Wilde Meyer Too!!

"Bad Boy Jacket: Cool"  mixed media on canvas 46"x46"
by Melinda Hall

"Seranade" oil on canvas 12"x12"
by Linda Carter Holman
Wilde Meyer Gallery presents our “Tucson Rocks” event, “Wilde Interpretations of Rock and Roll: The ‘50s to the Present,” a group art exhibition featuring art that captures the mood and feeling brought about by music and Rock showing October 6, 2011 through October 28, 2011.

"Tucson Rocks" is community-wide programming that celebrates "Who Shot Rock and Roll, A Photographic History" an exhibition opening at the Tucson Museum of Art on October 23, 2011.This exhibition originated at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and has traveled to several museums  across the country including Akron Art Museum in Ohio, Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee and others.  It's the first major museum exhibition to focus on the photographers who captured and portrayed Rock and Roll in photographs.



"Unplugged"  oil on canvas 20"x16"
by Connie Townsend
Just as Rock and Roll means different things to different people, artists at Wilde Meyer visualize their ideas through paintings.

Linda Carter Holman captures the festive mood as a singing guitarist travels with an audience of animal companions. 

For those who like art with humor, Trevor Mikula and Connie Townsend portray animals bearing musical instruments or wearing punk-rock outfits.  

Energetic paintings of people absorbed in a concert can be seen in the expressive scenes by Monika Rossa. 

Rock music’s effect on the body is shown in the beauty of dance, seen in stylized figure paintings by Sherri Belassen. 

Ryan Hale and Melinda Hall create paintings of paraphernalia and iconic objects of Rock in their still lives of guitars or leather jackets. 

Paintings by Bill Colt and Robert Ransom recall the early years of the rock and roll spirit in vintage caddies and hot rod roadsters.
 
“Wilde Interpretations of Rock and Roll: The ‘50s to the Present” opens on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at our gallery in Tucson and continues through October 29, 2011.

"Be There Or" reverse glass painting with vintage window 28"x30"
by Melinda Curtin
 

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Wilde "Wild West"

Why has Western-themed art always been so popular with collectors?

So many of us are interested in the stories of the American “Wild West” and the characters who colored our history there. To me, Western art has a unique duality: the romanticism of traveling through beautiful country on a horse and the tough, grittiness of the cowboys who embrace this life.

At Wilde Meyer Gallery, there are several artists who have brought their own subjective interpretation to the theme of western art. Their styles range from traditional to contemporary, and their subject matter focuses on landscapes, wildlife and the people who follow the western traditions.

"Once He Rode the Wild Horses" acrylic on panel 24"x24"
by Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson uses very intense colors, which he says are based on the sacred colors of the Lakota people. He is a descendent of Wendel Phillips, a noted Indian rights advocate of the late 1800’s.

Nelson says, "Through my paintings, I attempt to illustrate the legends and spirituality that was taught to me by my grandmother. The subject matter I paint is not a modern Indian, but a people at a period of time when animal spirits were tied to everyday life. In our modern world, an inquisitive public is reaching back into the ancient times for a simpler way of life and the basics; the sky, the earth and the open prairie." 

In this painting, entitled “Once he Rode the Wild Horses,” Nelson uses red and other primary colors to depict the strength of this noble man. His direct gaze at the viewer is riveting, and Nelson’s use of the American flag design on his clothing and in the buffalo appliqué provide thought-provoking irony. To me, the green spots that dance across his chest create additional energy in the painting.

Paul Sheldon
Paul Sheldon refers to old western photographs to make sure his cowboys’ clothing is accurate. But his paintings are far from traditional!  His strong colors energize his western scenes and give his paintings a contemporary edge.

"Montana Busters" 30"x40"
by Paul Sheldon
"The Ranch Lassie"  33"x36"
by Paul Sheldon

In “Montana Busters,” two figures sit straight on horseback against a flat, stylized mountain background. The grassy plain in the foreground is bright red – a considered choice of subjective color – broken by the long cobalt blue shadow. The turquoise outlines around the cowboys make them appear three dimensional, standing out in front of the background.


"Moonrise Over the Red Wall" acrylic on canvas  31.5" x 41.5"
by Thom Ross
 Thom Ross
Thom Ross is another Wilde Meyer artist who interprets Western art in a personal way.   Thom brings his love of history and story-telling to his paintings, which he sees as a “contemplation of history and the people and events which so shaped it."

In “Moonrise over the Red Wall,” the two cowboys take a tough stance, staring at and assessing the viewer.

The artist’s strong brush strokes; unusual horizon line; and stylized mountains topped by a flat moon sphere definitely get my attention. There’s some very strong masculine energy here, and I expect these guys to come to life and start shooting!

Carolyn Hawley

"It's a Hair Cut and Shave" oil on canvas 24.5" x 28.5"
by Carolyne Hawley
 Carolyn Hawley presents a much more traditional view of the western cowboy.

In “It’s a Hair Cut & Shave,” her subject sits in the center of the painting, astride his horse. He looks like he’s just come from a long trip (his horse looks a little tired..) and he’s contemplating whether he should dismount and get cleaned up at the local barbershop.

Carolyn uses sunlight very effectively to make the cowboy and his beautiful horse stand out against the darker background.

"Beyond the Burros"  oil on canvas 31" x 31"
by Sarah Webber
Sarah Webber
Western wildlife is Sarah Webber’s passion.   Her painterly close-ups of southwestern birds and animals show her love of these creatures, as well as her love of the painting process.

Sarah’s work is figurative, but her strokes creative wonderful patterns. You can see this talent in both “Beyond the Burros” and “Trick or Treat.”

These animals look so interested in the viewer! I think any of Sarah’s paintings would look great hanging near other western art, such as one of Carolyn’s pieces.

Writing this blog has really opened my eyes to the many different styles of American western art. I’m pretty impressed!


"Trick or Treat"  oil on canvas 20"x32"
by Sarah Webber
Wilde Meyer will have a special selection of Western art showing in October,  click here for more information or send us an email.

Figures of the West
October 6, 2011 through November 2, 2011
 Wilde Meyer Gallery, 4142 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ. 480-945-2323.

Animals and Places of the West
October 6, 2011 through November 2, 2011
Colores, 7100 Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ. 480-947-1489

Also, please visit us during Western Artwalk on Thursday October 9, 2011.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Now Showing ...

The 19th Dog Days of Summer show is now on the walls at Wilde Meyer and runs through the end of August. As usual, it’s a fun show, with more than 50 pieces of art displayed. Most of the paintings are small, so if there’s an artist you’ve been admiring, now’s the time to acquire an affordable work, or just pick your favorite pooch.

Click here for more visuals or contact us.

"The 19th Dog Days" runs in Scottsdale August 4, 2011 and continues through August 31, 2011.

Wilde Meyer Gallery, 4142 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ. 480-945-2323.

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"The 19th Dog Days" runs in Tucson September 1, 2011 and continues through October 1, 2011.

Wilde Meyer Gallery, 3001 E. Skyline Dr., Tucson, AZ. 520-615-5222.